A web proxy server alters a user’s IP address without the need for online traffic encryption. This enables the user to privately surf the web making it difficult for malicious forces to infiltrate and acquire your browsing data information.
Using a web proxy will also allow a user to access sites that are otherwise inaccessible. So those websites at work you’re often denied access to are now open season. This also holds true for sites blocked in schools and your ISP.
A web proxy works by camouflaging your identity (hiding your IP address), acting as the middle man between your computer and the website you want to access. Your computer will request access to the website through the proxy, after which it will then go through a filtering process.
Once the process is complete, the request will proceed to the web source. Once the site receives the response it will redirect back to your computer enabling you to view its contents.
The Differences Between a Proxy Server & a Virtual Private Network
Though similar in that they both provide user privacy, the way a proxy server differs from a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is in the approach. A VPN tends to be more efficient in anonymous surfing and provides a more robust service that typically comes at a cost.
There are plenty of free VPNs out there but the bulk majority that can be considered “most safe” tend to have a price tag attached. Proxy servers are more often than not, free of charge.
But as they say, “You get what you pay for,” and when it comes to online privacy, this statement rings true. A proxy server will not encrypt your traffic as is standard with a VPN. They are also browser-specific and exclusive as you can only use a proxy from your web browser.
A VPN is designed for the device it’s used on so you’re able to use it for more than just website surfing. Regardless, a proxy server will do well in a pinch when you need to get past an online geo-block or simply want to surf the web in peace.
Best Proxy Servers To Help You Web Surf Anonymously
Some web proxy servers are of the paid variety. It should come as no surprise that the paid versions are the ones offering the best quality. The better-paid web proxies can compress online traffic, cache files, and even block annoying ads from the websites prior to granting access. However, depending on what you need it for, a free web proxy will do just fine.
If all you require is to mask your identity while online or sneak passed a blocked site, there are several free services available to you. Enter the domain name into the proxy and enjoy your online anonymity.
The most famous and widely recognized proxy server has to be HideMyAss (HMA). It provides the standard feature of hiding your true IP address in addition to a pop-up ad blocker to help smooth over your web surfing experience. The proxy server is completely free but if you want additional protection, HMA also offers a pay-to-use VPN service.
HMA is a collection of varying globally located VPN proxies. This means that you get a very fast and flexible service when using HMA over other proxy servers. There is an official extension for both the Google Chrome and Firefox browsers allowing you to avoid having to download and install the full software.
The only hangup with using HideMyAss is that it stores both your IP address and that of the VPN server currently being used for an undisclosed period. They claim to not use the information and only share it with their partner company, the Avast Group, in order “to execute on the provisions of this service, for direct marketing, or to help our product development.”
So if this is something that worries you, we have other proxy servers from which to choose.
This proxy server is most prominent in the access of YouTube and HD streaming services typically blocked based on geographical location. 4everproxy offers unlimited bandwidth and is perfect for anyone wanting to access video streaming sites outside of their own country.
The streaming quality is of good quality considering you can use it for HD video streaming. It’s very rare you’ll face any buffering when using the service. There is no need to log into YouTube in order to watch videos. The service also provides an extra security measure by automatically removing all logged history from your browser every two hours.
ProxySite increases your online security through the use of SSL encryptions. Similar to HideMyAss, they offer VPN-like quality with your searches. You’ll be able to hide your IP address, get around pesky website blocks, and access popular sites all while having your history logs completely cleared.
There are numerous proxy servers available with ProxySite including those located in the US and Europe which are free to use. There is a premium VPN option for additional security features but the free proxy offers what you’ll need in most cases.
Hide.me shares similar fame with HideMyAss in that it’s a well-known and popular web proxy service. Hide.me won’t log or retain your data. Immediately after exiting your browser, the URL provided to mask your identity will expire. There are no annoying ads on their website and all pop-up ads received while surfing are automatically blocked from your browser, enhancing the browsing experience.
Hide.me is one of the faster proxy servers and allows you to easily change your location, control browser cookies, and block harmful scripts. Server selection is rather limited, housing locations in only Germany, the USA, and the Netherlands. The UI appears very professional and user-friendly.
For a more all-encompassing security solution, Hide.me offers its premium VPN service at $5.41/mo.
Whoer is more than just a web proxy. Aside from the basic proxy server security solution, Whoer allows you to change your IP address incredibly fast. This may sound like something that should be common to all proxy sites but the speed in which Whoer allows is second to none.
The Whoer website offers tools that allow you to track information on a specific website, test your internet connection speed, and run a ping test to determine server response times.
You can manually choose between seven to nine proxy servers that are available in most European countries as well as the US. The only annoying issue the Whoer site has is the inability to remove ads. This could prove irritating but remains unavoidable. The ads are what keeps Whoer in business thus you will need to deal with the ads if you want to use the service.
The Whoer proxy server is available for the Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Yandex browsers.