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my network proxy (I assume) is blocking my local wordpress installs to updating plugins and the core. Does anyone know how the update works and what would need to ask IT to whitelisted to allow updates to be done?

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WP_HTTP_Proxy () adds proxy support for http API. You can ask for the info if you don't know already & put it into wp-config.php

define('WP_PROXY_HOST', '192.168.x.x');
define('WP_PROXY_PORT', '8080');
define('WP_PROXY_BYPASS_HOSTS', 'localhost, www.example.com, *.wordpress.org');

Source: https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/classes/wp_http_proxy/

If username & password is mandatory then, add these lines too

define('WP_PROXY_USERNAME', '_username_'); define('WP_PROXY_PASSWORD', 'xxxxxxxxx');

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