Following up our Proxy vs. VPN service article, where we outline the important differences between the two, we can safely say proxies are less than desirable for proper protection. With that said, if it’s the only choice you have, it’s still better than none. Many people just want basic functions, such as unblocking geo-locked websites and care less about privacy. They also come handy when using public computers which you do not have authorization to install software on.
Public vs. Private Proxy Servers
Nowadays, you can literally find thousands of free public proxy servers listed by various providers. Most allow for both HTTP and SOCKS5 protocols while some are strictly ‘Web Proxies’ that only allow HTTP traffic. These free proxies often display ads as you browse and can also slow down your connection. The issue with the free Public proxies is speed and stability. They are not reliable in terms of staying connected at all times, and can affect transfer speeds due to heavy loads of users.
Private proxies are the paid option. Often providing much better speeds, the fact that they are managed and taken care of by the service provider, means you can expect solid reliable connections to the accessible servers. The price is generally supposed to be very cheap, but usually requires you to pay for a multiple month package to get premium rates. We even found some of the most popular providers had higher rates!
In our opinion, proxies should only be used when they are the best option for your needs, as VPN prices have become competitive enough to justify the upgrade. With that said, if proxy is what you need, private service is simply the way to go for speed and reliability. We have not tried any private proxies as we find public ones to suffice, while VPN is the better choice for paid services.
Best Public Proxy
HideMyAss – Full Review
HMA (HideMyAss) is a very popular VPN service provider with a large and fast network. Like many other VPN services, HideMyAss also offers hundreds of IP:PORT proxy servers across 64 countries, completely free of cost over their website. They monitor the list in real-time to ensure the list remains automatically updated with working proxies only. The server list features filter options allowing you to search for various different anonymity and speed levels. They even feature a quick setup instructions for all browsers on the server list page. The servers have indicators showing port, country, protocol and anonymity protection levels, as well speed connection time meters. They also offer a Web Proxy service that allows you to turn on SSL encryption and does not have any annoying pop-ups or ads. For a one-time $25 subscription fee, you can also get a list of ‘Premium’ proxy servers emailed to you every day by HMA.
Freeproxylist.org is also a popular choice as they also offer a detailed server list with search filters that allow you to pick from a large selection of locations, ports, privacy levels as well as setting minimum speed and ping times and more! The search options are even more extensive than HMA but unfortunately require you to enter a ‘CAPTCHA’ screen, and we all know how annoying those are. The layout is not as good as HideMyAss but they also offer an impressive amount of proxies. Freeproxylist.org also offers a VIP service, but they price is ridiculously high and we completely advise against it, in favor for cheaper yet much better VPN services.
CyberGhost – Full Review
CyberGhost also being a very reputable VPN provider, offers a free web only proxy. Although limited to 4 servers in Germany, UK, Romania and US, the service allows the option to turn off cookies, scripts and objects individually. The website layout is pleasing to the eye, but speeds can be slow due to server loads. It is a good choice for accessing video and audio streaming sites as well as encrypting your browsing activity.