Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Proxy Servers?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Last Updated: October 6, 2021

Many users want to access websites that are geo-restricted in their Country. That website might not be available in their country or simply the Government restricted it due to some security reason. So, they use proxy servers to access that certain website. Proxy servers have gained popularity among users for two reasons:  it’s an easy way to access blocked websites, and it’s free. Despite this seemingly generous service, the old adage rings true here; “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” As such, you may find free proxy servers aren’t as great as you imagined. To know why you shouldn’t use proxies, you first have to know how a proxy server works.

How Proxy Servers Work?

When you connect to a website it can see your IP address and the location you live. So, it automatically gets blocked if it’s restricted in your country. A proxy server acts as a gateway between you and the website you want to access. What proxy server does is that they assign the user to a new IP address of a country in which the website isn’t restricted. That way you can easily access the website without much hustle. For example, if a user lives in India and they want to access a website that is available in the US, they will simply connect to a proxy server that is based in the US, and tell it to visit the website. The website sees the location of the proxy server instead of the user, then the website gives the content to the proxy server which then will be shown to the user. And most importantly it’s free, so it’s an easy way to access the website without revealing your real internet address to the sites you visit.

There are many free proxies available on the web. They just ask you which website you want to visit and it will connect you to that website. But web proxies ain’t always safe as you may not know who is operating that proxy server, it may be a hacker or an intelligence agency. They can access your data through that proxy server and they can access your online activity. Because why would anyone give you free service if it’s not beneficial to them. It sounds too good to be true.

Why Free Proxy Services Are Not Secure?

To ensure the security that these free proxy servers provide security researcher Christian Haschek did a scan on some of the proxy servers. He revealed that the majority of these web proxies are not secure to use. Here are the reasons

  1. Lack Of HTTPS Connection: Christian Haschek has revealed in his article that 79% of those free proxy servers blocked encrypted HTTPS connections. HTTPS signals the web browser to use an added encryption layer known as SSL/TLS to protect web traffic. This means your connection to those servers is not encrypted which is a huge security problem. Because the data you are sending to those websites travels through those free proxy servers, so someone could easily extract your data like login details, credit card information, photos, and everything else. So it’s not a very secure way to access any website through free proxy servers.
  2. It Can Contain Malwares: Christian also wrote in his article that Only 17 of 199 (8.5%) of the proxies modified JS and most of them were to inject ads to the client. But two of them were just error messages or web filter warnings. 33 proxy servers (16.6%) were actively modifying static HTML pages and inject ads. And if you mistakenly click on those ads your computer will most likely be infected with dangerous malware viruses.
  3. Poor Service: Because the free proxy sites run with little financial backing, the service itself is subpar. The sites themselves are overused and subject to low connectivity. There is no twenty-four-hour support and inadequate access to help when or if needed. Individual proxies in other countries may be blocked or not working at all. There are much better alternatives to losing your information on identity theft and other black-market dealings.

So if you still feel like you have to use a free proxy server you should use one which has an encrypted HTTPS connection.

Alternatives Of a Free Proxy Server:

The best alternative to a free proxy server is to use a paid VPN(Virtual Private Network) connection.VPN gives you privacy and security while you are accessing a website, no one can access your user data or your personal information while you are online. So you can surf online without any worry. With VPN you can connect to a server anywhere in the world which will assign you to a new IP address so you can access the website even if it is restricted in your area.

Paid VPN services rely upon the money they earn from the users, so they are less likely to inject ads into your websites or extract any personal information from you. Moreover, they guarantee you security and privacy while you are browsing the web. Still, if you want to risk your privacy for a free proxy server just don’t submit any personal information when you are using it.

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What to Use – VPN or a Proxy?

VPN or a Proxy
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Last Updated: October 6, 2021

What Exactly is a VPN?

  • VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It safeguards the user while accessing a public network or large network fundament.
  • It enables an individual to anonymously use the internet by blocking or hiding your identity from a third party and protects your data from being stolen.
  • VPNs enciphers your internet traffic and hides your real identity. A VPN also provides the user accessibility to a resource that might be restricted on a public network.
  • The VPNs cannot entirely hide an individual’s identity but can surely bring increment insecurity of the private information of the user.

What Exactly Is VPN

How Does a VPN Work?

  • A VPN server acts as a source of an individual’s data. By using a VPN the user surfs through the internet without disclosing his/her identity that is the IP address.
  • Once connected to the VPN server, the user has its own private IP address which is the VPN Server’s IP address.
  • While using the Internet Service Provider all our online history can be tracked by a third party but through the VPN server the third party can trace the history of an individual only till the VPN server and not the personal location or the real user unless the user is using websites like GOOGLE or YOUTUBE.

What are the Main Benefits of Using a VPN ?

What Benefits Does A VPN Provides

  • The user being unaware, a website can track the online history of a user very easily but while using VPN the personal information of a user is completely secured.
  • When using an ISP after reaching a limit of the data speed is slowed down which prevents you from speedy use of the internet. While when using a VPN, the user can avoid data cap. This is helpful because the internet service provider is also unaware of how much data the user is accessing.
  • A VPN is also effective for remote use as it provides the users access to the internet even outside a particular place.
  • A VPN provides a better performance facility which no user is ready to compromise.
  • Using a VPN also helps a user be secured against online frauds.
  • VPN also gives access to the applications or websites such as Netflix, AmazonPrime, Hulu, and etc which restrict content like movies and shows based on location. Using VPN you can access all the global content at your location.

How To Securely Use a VPN?

How To Securely Use A VPN

  • The user should start the VPN once he is online.
  • VPN acts as a hidden route between the user and the internet.
  • The ISP is not able to trace the VPN route the user is working on.
  • The user now reaches to a VPN route and his/her IP address is being changed to a private IP address that is the VPNs server IP address.
  • Now finally the user is all set to use the internet with all of his personal information being protected by a VPN.

What is a Proxy Server?

What Is A Proxy Server

  • The word proxy refers to “acting on behalf of another” and a proxy servers always works for the user on his/her behalf.
  • Proxy server acts as a gateway between the user and the internet.
  • It is basically a server that has its own IP address.
  • A proxy works on one application at a time
  • Several proxy servers do not support secure HTTPS data transfers and is therefore not much secure.

How is a Proxy Different From a VPN?

VPN

PROXY

1. Provides high level of security with encryption for SSL and non SSL connections 1. Proxy offers low level of security encryption for both the SSL and non SSL connections.
2. A VPN never compromises with the speed of the internet 2. A Proxy server might reduce the speed of the internet when overloaded with several requests.
3. A VPN requires skills for its setup. 3. A Proxy is easy to setup.
4. A VPN is compatible with all the operating systems 4. A Proxy is limited to specific browsers.
5. A VPN summarizes the data and send it to the user. 5. A Proxy usually modifies or alters the data before sending it to the user.
6. A VPN server encrypts all the online traffic  6. Proxy just hides up the IP address of the user and not his/her online traffic.
7. VPN servers are generally paid 7. Proxy servers can be offered for free.
8. The protocols used in a VPN are PTTP(Point to point tunneling protocol) , L2TP(Layer 2 tunneling protocol)etc. 8. Proxy uses protocols like FTP(File Transfer Protocol), SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) , HTTP(Hyper-text Transfer Protocol) etc.
9. VPN works on firewall 9. Proxy works on the browsers.
10. A VPN requires software 10. A Proxy does not require a software

Is VPN Better than a Proxy?

Is VPN Better Than A Proxy

A VPN server is always a better option as it encrypts the entire online traffic of the user and secures the personal information of an individual. A proxy just directs the data to the user without any extra protection. Thus, a VPN is always better than a proxy if a user is willing to choose a secured connection and wants to maintain his/her privacy.

When To Use a VPN Or a Proxy?

A VPN enables a user to surf the internet anonymously but with higher costs. So, if a user is willing to work at a low cost he must opt for a proxy server. Moreover, a proxy only hides the IP address of a user while a user who is willing to keep all his personal information, as well as online history secured, must go for a VPN server.

Can a VPN and Proxy be Used Together?

YES. A VPN and Proxy can be used together but there is no benefit of using both of them as a VPN already inherits the features of a Proxy. Also, if a user thinks that using both of them will provide better internet speed, The answer is NO. The speed provided to the user will be either of the VPN or the Proxy.