Free Proxy Anonymizers Reviewed
You'll find that free proxy anonymizers are unlikely to provide the same speed and reliability -- and sometimes security -- as their pay counterparts.
Why is that?" you may ask. Well, offering an anonymizing service is an expensive venture, requiring network equipment and bandwidth.
So, if that service is offered for free, it's only natural for the provider to keep costs to a minimum, or to recoup the cost in another way. Unfortunately, I've found that this compromises the service offered by free proxy anonymizers, compared to the pay option. Let me explain why...
- The first thing to underline is that with some free anonymizers, there is no privacy guarantee. In fact, some free proxy anonymizers will harvest your information from their servers for onward sale or mis-use.
- Secondly, to keep their costs down, free proxy anonymizers operate on a limited bandwidth. This either limits the number of users or their level of activity. So, at peak and other times, the service can have extremely slow connection times, your surfing can be interrupted, or you will not be able to get connected at all.
- This is why you'll see a number of free anonymous services offering a pay alternative. By paying, you are upgraded to a faster service with more options and, generally, unlimited bandwidth. Quite often, these companies want to attract people to their free service in anticipation that a good number will upgrade to their more reliable and faster commercial service.
The article, The Pros and Cons Of Commercial And Free Anonymizers, explains the service, anonymity and security differences we should be aware of before choosing commercial or free proxy anonymizers.
Below, I've briefly reviewed four free proxy anonymizers I have researched and used...
Proxify is a Web-based anonymous proxy which will hide your IP address and encrypt your session if you click on 'https'.
You enter the URL you want to visit in the browser bar on the site, and choose which privacy and security features to leave on or turn off.
The number of privacy and security features is impressive, such as cookie management and Java applets rewriting. The choice is in contrast to a number of other free and commercial programs that give little information about the workings of their product.
I have found this site to be the fastest and most reliable of the free proxy anonymizers.
To help fund this free service, your web pages will have ads displayed, but you can upgrade to the ad-free, pay service.
There are a lot more features available with the upgrade, including anonymization and encryption of all web applications, such as email. There is also an anonymous search engine provided, and it claims to be the fastest pay proxy.
To try out this anonymizer, go to Free Proxify SSL Proxy
2. The Cloak
Like Proxify, The Cloak uses a web proxy to provide its free anonymous surfing and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt your connection.
Likewise, The Cloak also has an impressive array of privacy and security features. The program will not anonymize FTP downloads, email, P2P, IRC, etc.
I like the site's honesty in stating it doesn't provide guaranteed protection, but I think we'd find this in any free or commercial anonymizer's Terms and Conditions.
The site explains it has a bandwidth throttle and warns that connections may be slow. I've found when I've used it that, after surfing to a couple of URLs, I've been notified I've used my allowance but can purchase a PIN-code valid for a certain number of megabytes of usage.
There is no bandwidth and speed restriction if you pay.
To use the service, go to The Cloak Home Page.
HttpBridge is a Web proxy and implemented by Java servlets -- it's possible that you'll need some technical knowledge to set up this free service.
HttpBridge can be installed either on your computer or on a Web server. All network traffic is routed via HttpBridge and your connection is encrypted (HTTPS).
Although HttpBridge offers anonymous and secure surfing, it doesn't work with Web email services, like Hotmail and Yahoo.
A large downside for some people will be that it doesn't work with any service that requires the installation of cookies, such as membership sites, purchase transactions and some downloads.
JAP is a research project run by the Technical University, Dresden, Germany. It is reliant on donations and a project grant to continue the service. There's a hint that when it's grant ends, it may need to charge. It also warns that the service can be slow and have outages, so if you're looking for reliability in uptime, this may not be for you.
The software is downloaded to your computer and will only anonymize website connections. JAP will not support other web applications, such as FTP, P2P, email, ICQ etc.
To view more details, visit the JAP home page.
Commercial And Free Proxy Anonymizers... Supporting Articles
- What Are Commercial And Free Proxy Anonymizers?
How proxy anonymizers work and protect us.
- Commercial And Free Anonymous Web Surfing Stops This Monitoring When We're Online
As soon as we connect to the Internet, organizations, authorities and individuals are after our identity and other personal information.
- Commercial And Free Anonymous Web Surfing Stops Our Personal Information Being Recorded
Unless we use commercial or free anonymous web surfing, this identifying information is easily collected.
- The Pros and Cons Of Commercial And Free Proxy Anonymizers
Get to know the distinctive differences between commercial and free anonymizers before choosing your anonymizer.
- The Different Types Of Anonymous Surfing Tools
There are a number of different tools for anonymous surfing, each having different capabilities for anonymity and data security. Here's what to look for in making your choice.
- A Review Of The Best Commercial International Anonymizers
Commercial anonymizers have a number of advantages over their free counterparts. Here's a review of the most effective.
- Commercial and Free Encrypted Tunnel Proxy... The Role Of SSL And SSH
SSL and SSH are the key to encrypting our connection so no third party can intercept or view what we are doing.
- A Review Of Commercial And Free Encrypted Tunnel Proxy And VPN Programs
How a tunnel proxy and VPN provides more security than a standard proxy anonymizer.
- Anonymous Email Service Free And Commercial
How to anonymize and encrypt your confidential emails.