Proxy sites and proxy servers allow internet users to bypass internet restrictions and access content that would otherwise be blocked.
Lots of free proxy providers exist, but which are the best? Are there any risks of using a free online proxy? And what alternatives are available?
Why Use a Free Proxy Server?
We’ve all experienced blocked sites. Schools, companies, public Wi-Fi networks, ISPs, and governments restrict access to certain types of content.
A free proxy is one of the many ways to circumvent restrictions if content is being blocked based on your geolocation. They route your traffic through a server in a different country, thus hiding your true location.
The Risks of Using a Free Proxy Server
Using a free proxy is not a risk-free endeavor. Some of the risks of using proxy servers include:
- HTTPS: Research has shown that 79 percent of free proxy servers do not use an HTTPS connection, meaning data on the server you’re using is not encrypted—people can see it.
- Malware: It is hard for regular users to verify the security of a free proxy. There’s a risk that the server could abuse your connection and use it to serve malware to your machine. Aggressive ads also pose a problem.
- Service: Free proxies are often slow, overloaded, unreliable, and struggle to display many forms of content.
Read our article on reasons why you should avoid free proxy servers if you would like to learn more.
Which Is the Best Free Proxy Site?
Only a few free proxy sites offer the right mix of security, reliability, service, and reputation.
Our top five picks are:
HideMyAss is best known as a VPN provider, but the company also offers a free proxy service that anyone can use.
Servers are available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.
Unlike many free proxy sites, HideMyAss does offer some security options for your proxy connection. You can choose to encrypt your URL, disable cookies on the websites you visit, and prevent scripts from running.
Again, Hide.me is an established VPN provider that also has free proxy servers.
The list of supported countries is smaller than the HideMyAss proxy; servers are only available in the US, Germany, and the Netherlands.
However, the Hide.me free proxy makes up for its lack of locations with a longer list of security options. In addition to the features available on HideMyAss, you can also opt to remove objects and encrypt the page.
A Chrome extension and a Firefox extension are both available.
KProxy is perhaps the most reliable of the free proxy sites that do not also provide VPN services.
Ten free US-based servers are on offer. Its single-country status means it’s a perfect way for people in the US. to bypass network-based site restrictions, but it will not work as a tool for accessing geo-blocked content.
Whoer is yet another VPN company that provides free proxy servers. It is only available as an extension on Chrome, Firefox, Yandex, and Opera.
The company has proxy servers available in Paris, Amsterdam, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Stockholm, London, and Dallas.
If you can look past the site’s dated interface, you’ll discover Megaproxy is a free proxy provider unlike the other four we have discussed.
It’s one of the only free proxy sites that can also hide your browser and operating system, making it perhaps the most secure of the bunch.
Other features include a toggle to prevent the repetition of on-site animations and an ad-blocker. Megaproxy has a limit of 60 pages in five hours, so it’s not a great long-term solution.
If you’d like even more options, we covered them in our list of the best web proxies.
Notable Paid Proxy Sites
VPNs can hide your location like a proxy, but also come with several security benefits such as encryption, kill switches, and no logging.
If you want to use a proxy, there are paid options that don’t suffer from the same issues as free proxy sites. They are mainly aimed at business users.
Luminati is the largest proxy provider in the world. It offers more than 30 million IP addresses (both mobile and residential) in 20,000 cities across 195 countries. The service is excellent for businesses who want to verify ads, compare prices, source talent, and test their systems.
There are no session restrictions, exclusive IPs are offered, and there’s 24/7 support available.
Luminati offers three different paid packages. A shared proxy is $0.50 per GB, a private proxy is $0.60 per month per IP, and residential and mobile IPs are $12.50 per GB.
If you only need US-based proxies, you should check out Rotating Proxies.
The company provides backconnect proxies (a server that uses a pool of residential proxies) for businesses to perform processes such as SEO, ad verification, account creation, scraping, and more.
All RotatingProxies packages offer unlimited bandwidth and five-minute rotation between proxy switches.
The cheapest package requires you to purchase 10 proxies. It costs $39 per month. Deals go all the way up to 1,000 proxies for $1,683 per month.
Smartproxy provides users with more than 10 million residential proxy IP addresses. The proxies are available in 195 locations around the world and have an average response time of 3.1 seconds.
Like its competitors, Smartproxy’s proxy servers are great for automation, accessing local data, improving marketing, and scraping the web.
At a more user-friendly level, the company’s proxies will let you access sites like Facebook and Twitter if they are blocked on your network.
An entry-level plan cost $75 per month with 5GB of bandwidth. Plans are also available for $200, $400, and $600—each with improving terms.
The Best Solution?
There is a serious question mark over whether free proxies are worth your time. Unless you make sure you use a reliable provider, they are arguably no better than the free VPN services.
Not sure what we mean? Check out our piece on why you should never use a free VPN.
Read the full article: The Best Free Online Proxy Servers You Can Use Safely