Proxy servers are proven tools for improving online privacy and reclaiming digital freedom. They also offer other perks, such as content filtering.
Nonetheless, proxy servers don’t offer impeccable security. This task is better handled by VPNs. VPNs are more reliable, and they provide more benefits than a proxy.
In this article, I will teach you more about proxy servers and how they compare with VPNs, and I will show you the best free proxy servers to use in 2022.
A proxy server is an intermediary system between a client (you) and a server (the internet). A proxy server is used to relay resources (content from the internet).
The client sends a request to the proxy server when using a proxy server. The Proxy server processes the requests, fetches the necessary resources, and sends them back.
Usually, an anonymous proxy server is used. This proxy knows the origin IP address, but it uses its IP address when getting the resources from the internet.
Thus, a proxy masks my IP address, and this feat improves my privacy. Consequently, I get to bypass geo-restrictions since online services will see the geo-location of the server.
Proxy servers mask my IP address with their IP address. This allows me to browse privately without worrying about my digital privacy.
Bypass online restriction
Besides masking my IP address, the server also allows me to access content from its geo-location. This is useful for accessing content from different places.
Most proxy servers cache online content and compress incoming traffic. These functionalities save bandwidth, and they also improve my connection speeds.
Besides anonymity, proxy servers can block or allow websites an individual can visit. This is important in organizations and can also be used for parental control.
Proxy servers also offer a layer of protection between me and the internet. Anyone trying to infiltrate my system will have to pass through the proxy server.
Free proxy servers are a trial-and-error situation. Some might work today and fail to work tomorrow. Nonetheless, after some rigorous testing, I found some that are consistent.
This list includes the best free proxy servers with higher uptime, lower latency, and elite (HIA) or anonymous (ANM) anonymity levels.
Also, the proxy servers are either HTTPS or SOCKS5. Although they don’t offer stronger encryption, they use SSL encryption that makes traffic unreadable to prying eyes.
To use these proxy servers, set them on either your system or your browser.
Note: Some free proxy servers may not offer fast speeds at all times. If the connection speed decreases, move on to the next server.
|IP ADDRESS||PORT||COUNTRY, CITY||Latency||TYPE||ANONYMITY LEVEL|
Unlike the above free proxy servers, website proxy servers don’t need any setup. However, they can only be used in the browser. They offer a few tweaks regarding connections.
I found out that some allowed me to set up encryption and disable cookies, and they offer a wide selection of servers.
Nonetheless, website proxy servers are also a hit or miss when accessing content. For instance, I found that one cannot access some social media sites such as Twitter.
Some sites such as Google and Wikipedia are accessible. Nonetheless, similar to their counterparts, they are also unable to unblock streaming services such as Netflix.
The best thing about website proxy servers is that they can connect without hassle. They always work anytime I need them.
Website proxy: https://www.hidemyass.com/proxy
Website proxy: https://hide.me/en/proxy
Website proxy: https://hidester.com/proxy/
Website proxy: https://www.proxysite.com/
Website proxy: https://proxyscrape.com/web-proxy
Most free website proxy servers also offer a premium service for a small fee. Some of them are renowned VPN services that push towards a subscription.
Here are some popular website proxy servers that I tested. Some may work with social media, while others won’t.
Privacy and security issues
Proxy server owners didn’t declare how my online traffic and related data are handled. Most of them didn’t have a no-log policy, and everything was under their control.
Additionally, free proxy servers need to cover the operational cost. The best way they do this is by selling my data to third parties, which can compromise privacy.
If the owner doesn’t sell the data, the incoming traffic is reshaped to contain various ads that generate revenue for the proxy owner.
Besides privacy, proxy servers implement little to no encryption. If anyone gets hold of the incoming online traffic, they will know what I have been doing online.
Even the best free proxy servers are always unreliable. Due to congestion (everyone can connect), free proxy servers have slower speeds.
Additionally, the proxy owners can cap the speeds or limit what users can access due to the limited infrastructure. These practices coerce users to join a subscription plan.
Both proxy servers and a VPN work similarly; however, a VPN has an effective implementation when protecting my connection and traffic over the internet.
A VPN also uses military-grade encryptions to protect my data from prying eyes such as my ISP, government, hackers, and other malicious individuals.
Besides encryptions, premium VPNs also implement a no-log policy, and their jurisdictions have no mandatory data retention laws.
My online activities are always safe, and not even a court of law can compel them to reveal my online activities. “They can’t give what they don’t have.”
Unlike a proxy server, a premium VPN offers unlimited bandwidth with fast speeds – no congestion or capping problems.
Also, premium VPNs have the necessary infrastructure to ensure that my connections are always reliable and have optimal performance.
With many servers, a premium VPN allows me to access content from anywhere. Most premium VPNs offer unmatched unblocking abilities.
Related: Proxy servers vs. VPNs
In my experience, I found that free proxy servers are a hit or miss. On the other hand, paid proxy servers are costly and might not perform well at times.
This is why I usually prefer premium VPNs, whether I want to protect my online privacy and security, or bypass online restrictions and stream various content.
Here is a list of the best VPNs that I recommend you try in 2022.
ExpressVPN is our top-notch VPN service suitable for any online task. It has servers in over 160 locations that offer unlimited bandwidth and blazing speeds.
These speeds come in handy when streaming and downloading content – no lagging or buffering. ExpressVPN also boasts unmatched unblocking abilities.
With ExpressVPN, I can stream content from Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and other sporting activities.
This VPN also supports torrenting on every server. Privacy and security are air-tight through the TrustedServer technology, leak protection, no-log policy, and a network lock.
ExpressVPN service offers 5 simultaneous connections, and its apps are very user-friendly. There’s also 24/7 customer service.
This VPN service is compatible with almost every computing device and supports major platforms. There’s also a smart DNS for devices that don’t support VPN apps.
Private Internet Access (PIA)
PIA is an excellent choice for protecting online privacy and reclaiming digital freedom. It has a court-proven no-log policy, and its software apps are open-source.
Its worldwide next-gen servers offer unrestricted access to different content, and they provide fast speeds for any online tasks such as streaming and torrenting.
PIA VPN offers flexible encryption on the OpenVPN protocol. I can choose either AES 128 bit for speed or AES 256 bit for impeccable security.
This VPN service also offers features suitable for both novice and expert users. Novice users can use the VPN on default, while expert users can tweak a few things here and there.
PIA VPN offers port forwarding and a multi-hop functionality via Shadowsock and a SOCKS5 proxy.
These functionalities also provide obfuscation.
This VPN service is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, browsers, consoles, and Smart TVs. Its open-source apps have minimal clutter and a good interface.
CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN with a vast server network in over 90 countries. This VPN offers unrivaled anonymity with the highest possible speeds.
This reliable VPN service is suitable for torrenting, streaming, and other online tasks requiring unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds.
A strict no-log policy couples its military-grade encryption. For optimum privacy, performance, and security, CyberGhost offers custom engineered No Spy servers.
The VPN apps sport a streamlined interface across all platforms. They are user-friendly and offer tweaking options for various functionalities.
Unlike other VPN services, CyberGhost is the only VPN that offers a 45-day money-back guarantee alongside the standard 30-day.
Its free 24hr trial doesn’t even require a credit card.
CyberGhost is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more devices. It also offers protects up to 7 devices simultaneously.
Surfshark is a no-log policy VPN that packs advanced security and privacy features. This VPN also offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
This VPN service also boasts excellent unblocking abilities, and its servers in 65-plus countries ensure high-speed content delivery.
The network infrastructure runs on RAM-only servers. This ensures that no data is stored, and the servers use the current software configurations each time.
Privacy and security features include camouflage, no borders, double VPN, bypasser, clean web, leak protection, and next-gen AES 256-bit encryption.
Surfshark also offers a kill switch and leak protection. Its VPN apps are easy-to-use, and they feature a user-friendly interface.
This VPN service is compatible with computers, smartphones, smart TVs, and browsers. It has friendly customer service with 24/7 expert support.
In my experience, proxy servers can get the work done; however, a premium VPN will do the same job effectively and with greater satisfaction.
A VPN offers more than a proxy regarding online privacy and security. That is, a VPN encrypts my online connection and traffic over the internet.
VPNs also offer a no-log policy and other features tailored to enhance my online experience.
I also get a variety of server locations I connect to and unblock online content from anywhere.
Some people found answers to these questions helpful
What is the best free proxy server?
The best free proxy server offers better speeds and unlimited bandwidth. However, the best free proxy servers are hard to come by. Therefore, I recommend a premium VPN instead.
Are premium proxy servers better?
Premium proxy servers offer a better service than free proxy servers. It is rare to get congestion, and they offer access to various server locations. Nonetheless, premium proxy servers are more expensive than VPNs. Additionally, proxy servers don’t provide reliable encryptions.
Is it illegal to use a proxy server?
No. It is not illegal to use a proxy server in most countries. Proxy servers offer various individual benefits, and they are essential to enterprises across the world. Nonetheless, I recommend that you check with the law regarding using proxy servers.
Are proxy and VPN the same thing?
Absolutely not. Although a proxy server and a VPN may have similar functionalities, they are different entities. A VPN is more advanced and offers better online privacy and security.
Can I be traced when using a proxy server?
Yes. Proxy servers keep a log of what an individual does online. This log includes connection times, origin and destination IP addresses, online activities, and other identifiable information.