Optimize your mobile data plan ;-)

Unlimited Internet on your mobile phone is not the norm, yet. So you have to rely on Wifi, and on a limited amount of data that can be exchanged through your mobile data plan. Let me show you how to expand the latter, for free. This will only work for free if you already have a Internet-facing server available somewhere, with Linux on it. You must also be allowed to configure a proxy on your mobile phone.

Note that this post is also relevant to situations where you have a very low-bandwidth Internet connection, provided that your server is remotely-hosted.

Here we go…

The plan is to do what Opera Turbo and Google Data Compression already provide, but do it more efficiently, although probably slower, and with more privacy. In a future post, I intend to propose a better solution, by allowing this optimization process to happen with HTTPS as well as HTTP; with HTTPS being more and more used, and being more and more forced on us, this would be no small improvement!

My goal is to greatly reduce the data throughout, even at the cost of a lower speed. The easiest way to achieve this is with the Ziproxy software.

It is actually very easy to setup. First install Ziproxy in the appropriate way for your Linux distribution (it should be available; even Debian Stable has it). Then edit the config file (usually /etc/ziproxy/ziproxy.conf); here is the content from mine (minus the comments):

AuthMode = 1
AuthPasswdFile = "/etc/ziproxy/http.passwd"
MaxSize = 10485760
UseContentLength = false
ProcessHTML = true
ProcessCSS = true
ConvertToGrayscale = true
ImageQuality = {20,15,15,15}
WA_MSIE_FriendlyErrMsgs = false

Then create the /etc/ziproxy/http.passwd password file. In this file, put a single clear-text line: “myuser:mypassword” (use your own values of course), so that you are the only one allowed to use this proxy.

Start Ziproxy. It should now be running on your host (e.g. proxy.example.net) on port 8080 (unless you changed this in the configuration file).

The server is ready. Now, on the smartphone, you have to configure the proxy. I use ProxyDroid on mine. Use “proxy.example.net” for the host, “8080” for the port, “myuser” for the user, and “mypassword” for the password. That is all :-)

Now you can enjoy longer use of the Internet, since pages are compressed, most notably images, thus lessening the weight of web pages.

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