Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Browsers are often configured to automatically detect settings as a convenience for networks that use proxy servers. Most of us don't need this.
I'm on Firefox 3.6 in Windows XP Home Edition service pack 3. I experience a lot of "server not found" when opening Firefox. Should i have proxy settings checked - "no proxy" or "auto-detect proxy settings for this network". I really don't know about proxy.
This is actually a very simple answer: unless you know you're using a proxy, select no proxy.
Even better, for IE and Firefox users alike, "auto detect", while intended to make life easier is - fundamentally evil.
Not for any malicious reasons, it just gets in the way. I'll explain why.
The issue here is very simple, when "auto detect" is turned on, your browser takes time on every start-up to figure out what the settings should be.
For 99% of you that's time totally wasted.
Most of the time, there is no proxy, and spending time every time you start your browser looking for one is just silly.
In Internet Explorer the setting is in Tools, Internet Options, Connections, LAN Settings:
Make sure that "Automatically Detect Settings" is unchecked. In many versions of IE it is checked by default and slowing you down.
In FireFox go to Tools, Options..., Advanced, Network, Settings...:
Make sure that "No proxy" is selected.
If you know you're behind or using a proxy server, then don't do what I just suggested, it'll probably break your connectivity.
If you suspect you're behind or using a proxy server, then look at the settings and perhaps even jot them down before you do anything. If it shows you're connecting through a proxy server, then don't do what I just suggested because it will probably break your connectivity.
If things break after doing this, then return the settings to their previous values.
But for the vast majority of you, particularly at home, this little tweak may speed up your browser's load time noticeably.