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Why You Shouldn’t Use a Free Proxy — Learn About the Risks – vpnMentor
As governments and tech giants around the world continue their attempt to weaken online privacy using strict surveillance laws and porous privacy policies, users are also increasingly becoming drawn to anonymous web browsing as a means of enhancing privacy, evading censorship, and accessing websites that aren’t available in their country or workplace network.
How web proxies work
Most Internet users have found solace in the use of web proxies as a means to access the Internet anonymously. The majority of these web proxies are offered for free under the term open proxies – this has partly contributed to its soaring popularity. Think of a web proxy is a computer that acts as an intermediary between yours and a website, allowing you to anonymously browse the Web.
Whenever a user connects to a web proxy server and makes a request for a web page, the proxy responds by reaching out to the website and pulling the requested web page. It then sends it back to you and you can view the website. The advantage is that the website you go to through the proxy only sees the proxies’ internet address and not yours. A proxy is, therefore, a good way to safely navigate the web without revealing your real internet address to the sites you visit.
Source: However, the major problems with using free web proxies are that you may not know who is operating them. They could be cyber criminals, intelligence agencies’ honeypot, or a legitimate company with sinister business practices. Although a proxy server hides your identity and activities from the sites you visit, it can potentially see everything you are doing online. This raises concerns about trust. The question you should ask yourself is: why would someone spend so much money setting up a web proxy only to offer it for free? Can such a business entity be trusted with your data?
You can take a look at our most trusted Proxy services here.
Free Web proxies are not secure
According to an analysis by a security researcher Christian Haschek, the majority of free web proxies are not secure or trustworthy. In his initial analysis, Haschek wrote a computer program to check 443 free web proxies to see if a given proxy allows encrypted (HTTPS) web traffic, and whether the proxy attempts to modify website content or inject ads into the user’s browser session.
With the rising trend in global mass surveillance and theft of sensitive personal information, the use of HTTPS protocol to encrypt web traffic is becoming increasingly important. HTTPS signals the web browser to use an added encryption layer of known as SSL/TLS to protect web traffic. By deliberately preventing customers from using the Web securely, Haschek warns these open proxies can potentially analyze your traffic, force you to participate in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on websites, and steal your sensitive information such as credit card or login details.
Are there better alternatives?
For those already using or insists on using web proxies, Haschek created a free tool to help you confirm if a given proxy is not manipulating web content or forcing users to load unencrypted web pages. He, however, recommends avoiding free proxies completely. In his words, “tell your friends never to use free proxies…” As the saying goes, “if you are not paying for a product, you are most likely the product”.
You can also use vpnMentor’s proxy tool to surf the web anonymously.
But it’s not all gloomy though, secure alternatives do exist. One good example of such is Virtual Private Network (VPN). (Read about the differences between Proxies and VPNs. )
The fact that most VPN providers rely on earnings from monthly or yearly service subscriptions to sustain their operations, they are less likely to resort to manipulating web content or traffic in order to inject ads – this is not to say that all paid VPN services give adequate consideration to their customer’s privacy. To be on the safe side, avoid those that keep logs of your web browsing activities as they are more likely to engage in obnoxious practices. You may want to check out our top VPN picks; it’s definitely a good place to start.
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.
VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we’ve tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it’s currently offering 49% off.
How to Set Up a Proxy Server on Your PC, Mac, or Web Browser – Avast
As for what a proxy server is, think of your proxy as a gateway between you and the internet. When you visit a website, the proxy server communicates with it on behalf of your browser. Then, when the website answers, the proxy forwards the data to you.
Proxy servers can do many jobs. These include scanning for viruses, acting as a firewall, speeding up your connection by caching, and hiding your public IP address.
You have lots of choices when it comes to internet privacy. There’s a lot to learn, such as understanding what a reverse proxy is or distinguishing between VPNs, proxies, and Tor. If you want dependable protection and encryption for your internet traffic, consider a VPN. Avast SecureLine VPN hides your data from snoopers and protects your online identity, and it’s also much easier to set up than a proxy server.
There’s no similar guarantee of protection with a proxy, especially if you’re using one of the many web-based proxies available online. These public proxy services may slow down your service, and even worse, they may be insecure. Instead, we suggest you learn how to set up a proxy server on Windows, MacOS, and the most popular web browsers.
If you’re configuring your browser to use a proxy operated by a company, school, or other similar organization, some of these instructions may require you to contact your IT staff. This is the case particularly when you are asked to manually enter a script name, formally called a proxy auto-configuration (PAC) file. You may also need to type in the proxy’s IP and port numbers. In both cases, turn to your IT helpdesk if you haven’t been given this information. If you’re using a proxy that you’ve purchased or created on your own, you’ll already have these details.
How to set up a proxy server in Windows
Here’s how to set up your Windows PC to use a proxy server on Windows 8 or Windows 10:
Press the Windows + I keys simultaneously to access the Windows Settings menu.
On Windows 10, click Settings > Network & Internet > Proxy. On Windows 8, click Settings > Network Proxy.
Under the Manual Setup section, set the “Use a Proxy Server” toggle to On. Make sure the “Automatically detect settings” toggle is also on.
By default, Windows automatically checks to see if your business, school, or local network already has an automatic proxy server setup ready to run for you. If it does, Windows tells you its name, and encourages you to follow its instructions.
Assuming that Windows finds a PAC file, in the Automatic Proxy Setup, set the Use Setup Script switch to On.
Enter the script address and click Save.
Congratulations! You’re done and ready to proxy.
How to manually set up a proxy in Windows 8 or Windows 10
Not every organization sets up the process automatically. If you need to set up a proxy manually in Windows 8 or Windows 10, here’s how to do it.
To access the Windows Settings menu, press the Windows + I keys simultaneously.
On Windows 10, click Settings > Network & Internet > Proxy. On Windows 8 systems, click Settings > Network Proxy.
Scroll down to “Manual proxy setup” and set the “Use a Proxy Server” switch to On.
In the address field, type the proxy server name or IP address. In the Port field, enter the proxy port number. You can get these from your IT support tech.
If the proxy server is protected by a password, select the “Proxy server requires password” checkbox. Enter your account name and password in the Username and Password fields.
That’s all there is to it. You’re now set up to use your proxy server on Windows. The next time you use the internet, you’ll be using the proxy server.
How to set up a proxy server on a Mac running macOS
Here’s how to set up a proxy server on a Mac running macOS 10. 15 Catalina. Other macOS versions use essentially the same commands.
Open System Preferences. One way to get there is to click on the Apple menu > System Preferences.
Choose the Network icon to adjust connectivity settings.
Select the type of network you use, which is usually Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
Click Advanced > Proxies.
To automatically configure your proxy server settings, select Auto Proxy Discovery. Click on Secure Web Proxy (HTTPS). Type in the proxy server address and its port number in the fields on the right.
To use a proxy auto-configuration (PAC) file, select Automatic Proxy Configuration and enter the proxy address into the URL field.
Click OK to save the proxy setup.
You’re now ready to surf the internet via your proxy.
How to set up a proxy in Google Chrome
By default, Chrome uses your macOS or Windows proxy. To change your proxy settings from within Chrome, take the following steps:
Open the Chrome toolbar and select Settings.
Scroll down to the bottom of the display. Click on Show advanced settings…
Scroll down to “System” and choose Open your computer’s proxy settings.
Next, go back to the instructions for your operating system listed above to set up your proxy server settings and follow them.
In short, to set up a proxy server in Google Chrome, you’re just doing the first few steps in the browser, and then completing the process in your machine’s operating system.
How to set up a proxy server in Safari
Like Chrome, Safari’s default setting is to follow the proxy configurations within your OS. Here’s how to change your proxy settings from within Safari:
Click on Safari in the browser toolbar. Choose Preferences.
Click on the Advanced tab. Under “Proxies, ” click Change settings…
Next, you must go back to the instructions for macOS listed above to set up your proxy server settings and follow them.
How to set up a proxy server in Edge
Edge is Windows 10’s built-in web browser, and unless you tell it otherwise, it’ll use your proxy configurations in Windows. The latest versions of Edge are based on Chrome, so the configuration is similar. The following steps show you how to set up a proxy from within Edge:
In Microsoft Edge, at the top-right corner, click the Menu button. Select Settings.
Scroll down to the Advanced settings section and click the View advanced settings icon.
Click the Open proxy settings button.
Next, go back to the instructions for Windows 10 listed above, then follow them to configure your proxy server settings.
How to set up a proxy server in Firefox
Unlike other web browsers, Firefox doesn’t default to using your system’s proxy settings. You’ll need to change your proxy from within Firefox:
Open the Firefox menu and select Options.
Click on the Advanced icon.
Select the Network tab.
In the Connection Settings, select, Auto-detect proxy configuration for this network. When prompted, enter the proxy address.
Alternatively, in the Connection Settings, you can select, Use system proxy settings. If you choose that option, Firefox uses the proxy settings in your operating system.
Click OK to save your settings.
How to set up a proxy server in Internet Explorer
Please keep in mind that Internet Explorer is an outdated web browser. Instead, switch to a browser that’s still receiving regular updates and support, such as Avast Secure Browser, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari. Though since quite a few people and companies still use Internet Explorer (IE), you should know how to set things up when necessary.
As with other browsers, IE defaults to using your Windows proxy configurations. Here’s how to set your proxy up from within IE.
Open the IE toolbar and select Internet Options.
Open the Connections tab.
Select LAN Settings.
Check the “Use a proxy server for your LAN” box.
When prompted, enter the proxy server name and port number.
How to set up a proxy server in Android
With Android, you must configure proxy settings for each network you use. In addition, the proxy will only be used by your web browser. Other internet applications may choose to use or ignore the proxy based on their own internal settings. This is another reason why VPNs tend to be better choices — when you use one, it covers all the internet traffic from your device.
Open Android’s Settings and tap Wi-Fi to view a list of Wi-Fi networks.
Long-press the Wi-Fi network name for which you want to change the proxy settings. Tap Modify Network.
Tap Advanced Options.
Tap Manual to change your proxy’s settings. Enter your hostname and proxy port.
If you have a Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) file, select Proxy Auto-Config and Android will prompt you to enter the PAC address.
How to set up a proxy server in iOS
Go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
Select the active Wi-Fi connection.
Under HTTP proxy, click Configure Proxy.
Tap Manual to change your proxy’s settings. Enter your host name, proxy port, and, if needed, your authentication username and password.
If your provider supports Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol (WPAD), tap Automatic. If required, enter the Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) file location.
Tap back to the Wi-Fi selection window.
Protect your online anonymity the easy way
Proxy servers have their uses, particularly within large organizations. However, setting one up requires a bit of work, and this is a job typically entrusted to network administrators and other IT professionals.
Avast SecureLine VPN is an internet privacy solution that’s both simpler to use and far more protective of your identity and online activities. A single click or tap of a button gets you encryption that keeps you anonymous online and prevents anyone from snooping on your sensitive personal info, such as your online banking, health info, or private photos. Enjoy true online privacy on your desktop, laptop or mobile device with a VPN that’s as convenient as it is secure.
Frequently Asked Questions about unblock proxys
How do I unblock a proxy site?
By deliberately preventing customers from using the Web securely, Haschek warns these open proxies can potentially analyze your traffic, force you to participate in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on websites, and steal your sensitive information such as credit card or login details.
Is unblock proxy safe?
How to set up a proxy server in WindowsPress the Windows + I keys simultaneously to access the Windows Settings menu.On Windows 10, click Settings > Network & Internet > Proxy. … Under the Manual Setup section, set the “Use a Proxy Server” toggle to On.More items…•Mar 11, 2020