People worldwide emphasize the importance of protecting your online identity and data when surfing the internet. While the internet is becoming a more diverse and vivid space, it’s also becoming a more dangerous one.
Cybercrime has recently been on the rise, and more people are falling victim to various forms of cybercriminal activity than ever before.
Luckily, there are several ways of protecting your safety from harmful digital content. Proxies are undoubtedly among the top choices. However, when choosing a proxy server, most people wonder whether paying for private proxies is necessary when so many free versions are available.
Here, we tell you everything about free proxies and whether they’re a terrible idea.
What is a proxy?
A proxy server is a specially designed server for intermediating content between the internet and an internet user. We can say a proxy server separates the end-user from their online content.
An internet user sends a request that flows through a proxy server before completing the request. Similarly, the internet traffic from the requested web page first goes through the proxy server before it reaches the end-user.
What’s the point of using a proxy server that’ll only add an extra step in the process that works perfectly fine without it?
Well, proxies improve the privacy and security of their users by masking their IP address, real-life location, and several other crucial pieces of information. That way, a proxy server can protect internet users by keeping harmful online content at bay.
Therefore, the main features of proxy servers are:
- Performance improvement;
- Online data scanning and filtering;
- Anonymous service access;
- Online privacy and security enhancement.
Are free proxies safe?
Before we answer this question, it’s essential to explain what free proxies are.
Namely, free proxies are free or highly affordable public proxies that are available for open use. Unlike private proxies with a monthly or annual subscription fee, free proxies are available for everyone.
However, because they’re widely available, free proxies are used by plenty of people at all times, so their speed, performance, and reliability are often compromised.
Furthermore, free proxies come with features that are far more dangerous than inconsistent internet speed. For instance, most free proxies don’t encrypt connections to their servers, so anyone monitoring the connection can easily access the data as it flows through the internet traffic.
Even login details and credentials are at risk since they’re also left unprotected and can be viewed by anyone, leading to much greater security and privacy issues. Free proxies can endanger personal data and overall security, despite being designed to do the opposite.
Why are free proxies a bad idea?
Free proxies don’t use HTTPS
Many free proxy servers don’t allow HTTPS connection, meaning they can’t provide an encrypted connection to their users. Without encryption, all data is easily accessible, which is a huge security issue for those who want to keep their digital data safe and private.
Free proxies monitor your connection
Some free proxies don’t use an HTTPS connection because they want to monitor your online activity. Hackers have already set up free proxies in the past, so you don’t want all your information and activity to be tracked by a service you think protects you.
Free proxies can contain malicious malware
Free proxies aren’t the best idea because they can contain malicious malware. When you trust a free proxy server, your device is at risk of being infected. Even if the service isn’t malicious by itself, a proxy service can infect your device by accident if it relies on advertisements as the primary source of support.
Why are paid private proxies better?
Naturally, paid proxies are always a better choice. They excel at:
- Anonymity: Paid proxies never share or make public your personal data. Since they heavily rely on encryption, your IP address, actual geographical location, and other key pieces of information remain hidden.
- Reliability: Private proxy servers offer a stable, consistent, reliable internet connection. They rarely crash, so you can always count on them.
- Security: Private proxy connection is reserved only for one person, so no one can access your information. By not sharing a proxy with a different person, you can enjoy a higher level of personal information and private data security. Read this comprehensive article for more details.
- Speed: The speed of private and free proxy servers is incomparable. You can enjoy increased internet speed and network performance when using paid proxies.
While some free proxies do a relatively good job in keeping internet users safe when surfing the internet, private proxies are always a better choice if you’re looking to truly maximize all elements relating to your browsing experience. From optimizing your internet speed to protecting all your data, private proxy servers can genuinely do it all.