How To Choose Between Commercial And Free Proxy Anonymizers

This section will explain the main advantages and disadvantages of free proxy anonymizers and pay, so you can see which type is right to guard privacy for you...

1. Convenience

A large number of free anonymous surfing tools are Web-based -- known as web anonymizers or redirectors.

Before we can surf anonymously, when using a web-based anonymizer, we must remember to go straight to the anonymizer website. There, we enter the URL of the website we want to visit.

The website redirects us to the site destination, which sees the anonymizer website server as our IP address and not our true computer identity.

Commercial anonymizers are usually installed onto our computer browsers as plug-ins. As soon as our browser is loaded, our connections are automatically anonymous... no going backwards and forwards to the anonymizer website.

And for sites we frequently visit, we can directly connect from our 'Favorites' list, which we can't do with a redirector.

A free web-based anonymizer may not be too inconvenient if we're an occasional surfer... but if we regularly want to connect throughout the day, it can be tedious.

2. Capability

A number of free anonymizers are Web-based, where the website masks the IP address. They are also known as redirectors. Be aware that these anonymizers protect web browsing only... they don't usually support other Web-based applications, such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC), email and ICQ (I Seek You). But this is fine for a lot of home/office users.

However, many Web-based anonymizers are not able to enable SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or SSH (Secure SHell) encryption. In other words, we cannot connect to banking, shopping and other secure sites.

There are some free web anonymizers that will enable a secure connection... but be aware that your potentially sensitive data can be intercepted by the administrators of the web anonymizer site and used in their own interests. So, to guard privacy and security, it is important to use only reputable sites, such as those discussed in Free Anonymizers Reviewed

Commercial anonymizers and the better free services tend to use anonymous proxies rather than being web-based. They will operate with secure https sites and, depending on the type of proxy server being used, most other web-based applications can also be anonymized.

You can find out more about web-based and proxy anonymizers at The Different Types Of Anonymous Surfing Tools

3. Are We Truly Anonymous And Secure?

Using a proxy server is the most common method of anonymous surfing. However, not all web proxy servers are anonymous or secure...

  • A number of free proxy anonymizers use proxy servers from free, open, proxy lists. Although some proxies are anonymous, a number of them aren't. Many of these lists do indicate whether a proxy is anonymous or not, but sometimes they are not accurate or up-to-date.

    You also need to be aware that everything you do via these free proxies can be logged and used by the proxy administrators for their own interests and uses.

  • Another problem is that malicious hackers (crackers) and spammers set up proxies in the free proxy lists. They hijack the details of users, who may be open to ID theft or hacking and spamming attacks.
  • If we use a commercial or free proxy anonymizer that does not use SSL or SSH encryption, then we are anonymous when connecting to standard unsecured (http) sites, but when we visit a secure, https link, then our real IP address will appear in that Website's server logs.
  • So, to anonymize ALL connections, we need to use an https proxy anonymizer -- commercial or free proxy anonymizers that use SSH or SSL encryption between the proxy server, website and our computer.

    By using SSL or SSH, we also have the benefit that no third party can monitor us to see what we are reading, purchasing or downloading. This is because the connection between our computer and the website is encrypted and cannot be decoded without the specific keys exchanged between the server and our computer.

    For a more detailed explanation about SSL and SSH, visit Commercial and Free Encrypted Tunnel Proxy... The Role Of SSL And SSH

    And don't forget... use commercial or free proxy anonymizers that operate their own servers and not from the free open proxy lists.

    4. Cookie Blocking

    Some free proxy anonymizers do not support forwarding of cookies, but a number of Websites just won't work without them. Why might we be interested in controlling cookies?

    • Standard cookies can help our browsing experience but can also provide details of our browser and operating system to the Website we're visiting.
    • Tracking cookies provide additional detail of other Websites we've visited, and more.

    A number of Websites that we want to use will require cookies. These are generally sites that require a login, such as Hotmail and membership sites.

    The commercial and free programs I recommend in Section 7, 'What Next?', either process cookies at their server and not on our computers, use a browser plug-in to delete cookies as soon as the session is over, or allow you to switch cookie blocking off or on, so you can control cookies site by site.

    5. Speed Of Connection

    Anonymous surfing will be slower than your normal connection speed. Why?...

    • Any anonymizing service makes the data packets travel at least twice the same distance. Our browser connects through our ISP's server as normal, but then has to connect to our proxy anonymizer, which then routes us to the URL we want to visit.
    • Sometimes, routing may be through a number of proxy servers. Because there are more connections to be made, getting to our chosen website takes longer.
    • Furthermore, with SSL encryption turned on, again there is a delay as contents are encrypted over our connection and then decrypted as they are loaded back on to our computer.

    Inevitably then, by using commercial or free proxy anonymizers, we will experience a slowdown in our connection speeds.

    6. Support

    Customer and technical support is only important when we've got a problem. But for those of us who feel uncomfortable as soon as we need to get technical, or we suspect our program may not be behaving as expected, technical support is a boon.

    Generally, with commercial anonymizers, you'll find support is included in the cost and is usually effective.

    On the other side of the coin, free proxy anonymizers very rarely come with any support and, even if there is any... it's a looong wait. However, if the free program is not working as well as you expected, you can easily try another.

    7. Commercial & Free Proxy Anonymizers...
    What Next?

    The foregoing points may have swayed you towards either free or buy programs.

    Now you may be ready to home in on one of the commercial or free proxy anonymizers. So, for a review of effective programs in each category, go to,

    There are other relevant articles that can help you get the best out of anonymous surfing, so check through these...

    8. Commercial And Free Proxy Anonymizers...
    Supporting Articles

    1. What Are Commercial And Free Proxy Anonymizers?
      How proxy anonymizers work and protect us.
    2. 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.
    3. Commercial And Free Anonymous Web Surfing Stops Our Personal Information Being Recorded
      Unless we use commercial or free anonymous web surfing, a great deal of identifying information about us is easily collected.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Anonymous Email Service Free And Commercial
      How to anonymize and encrypt your confidential emails.


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