Top Proxy Services of 2019

In your search for a VPN, you may have come across proxy servers. Proxy servers are similar to VPNs in the way they work, but bear differences that make them very dissimilar in their effectiveness. A VPN and a proxy are similar in that they both allow you to appear as if you are connecting to the internet from another location. How they accomplish this task and the degree of which they offer privacy, encryption, and anonymity, however, varies greatly.

A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your computer (or phone, tablet, etc.) and the Internet. It is similar to a VPN in that it changes your IP address. Say, for instance, that you live in England and want to access a video on a website located in the US; you could use a proxy server to spoof your location and access content as if you were located in the US. This is a low-risk situation, which really does not require encryption of any sort.

Another example would be surfing the internet through a server in a location in which airfare may be cheaper (yes, airline companies do this). It’s also important to know that proxy server connections are configured application-by-application, not on the entire computer. this means you must configure your Torrent client or web browser separately to accept the proxy connection. A VPN, on the other hand, encrypts all internet-connected applications via one setup; it is computer-wide.

What a proxy does NOT do is encrypt your connection. While it does hide your true IP, it does not strip away the identifying information from your transmissions; essentially, there are no privacy or security considerations built in. A proxy server, for instance, would not be good for someone who is trying to protect themselves while using WiFi. Additionally, when the user encounters Flash or Java script, their true IP can be easily detected. Additionally, many proxy IP addresses that are widely used are known to websites, and therefore blocked by them.

There are two different types of proxy server protocols: HTTP and SOCKS.

HTTP Proxies

The older of the two proxy types, HTTP proxies work only for web-based traffic. In order to use an HTTP proxy, you plug the proxy server into your web browser’s configuration file (or use a browser extension if your browser doesn’t natively support proxies) and all your web traffic is routed through the remote proxy. If you are using an HTTP proxy to perform activities involving sensitive data, like banking or email, you must use an SSL enabled browser and connect to a website that supports SSL encryption. This is because, as stated above, proxies do not encrypt.

SOCKS Proxies

The SOCKS proxy is an extension of the HTTP proxy system that is indifferent to the type of traffic that passes through it, meaning it is useful for more than just web browser traffic and can handle things like Torrents. SOCKS, unfortunately, is slower than HTTP, which is especially noticeable if you are using it to download Torrents.

The final thing we should mention is that like VPNs, not all proxy were created equal. There are more than a handful of free proxy services out there that you can take advantage of but in our experience, when it comes to protecting your information it pays to well… pay. Free proxy (and VPN) services are free for a reason; they generally have poor uptime, are riddled with advertisements, and are fraught with danger. They are sometimes run by hackers who are looking to steal your information (e.g. wait for you to use your financial information such as bank or credit card information).

So, which proxies do we recommend using?  

The following VPN providers also offer proxy services. Whether it’s included in the VPN package or it comes as a separate plan, these are the best proxies to use.

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