Visitors often ask “Why pay for VPN access? Why not just use a free anonymous proxy server?”. There are a number of reasons why we don’t recommend free proxies. Your privacy being #1. Let’s consider when it might make sense to use a proxy and when it’s best to stay away.
Have you ever worked for a company that managed a proxy server for their employees? Most of us have. In fact as IT geeks some of our editors have managed in-house proxy servers.
What might be the reason for a company setting up a proxy server? For your protection? Perhaps. To spy on employees? To ensure work time is being used for work? Not to say that isn’t fair since we’re earning a paycheck. Yet you might be surprised by how much information a proxy server can capture.
Whether connecting through your employers proxy server or an anonymous web proxy site the risks to your privacy are the same. Once your traffic passes through a proxy server you have no privacy. Every web site you visit, every account login and password, details of downloads are all captured by the proxy server. Leaving your personal information in the hands of those managing the proxy server. In addition to capturing information passed through a proxy server, proxies can also lead to malware and other unfriendly system issues.
Let’s think about that a minute. Do you trust your business not to capture such information? Hopefully they maintain a reasonable Internet usage policy and only monitor against abuse.
On the other hand do you really trust a free anonymous web proxy site that you just happened across online? Would you trust them with your bank account information? Email? PayPal? Skype? Facebook login? Record of all your web browsing and downloads?
We sure as hell wouldn’t. That’s the purpose of securing your web access. To protect against identity theft and those who wish you harm online. Many fall into thinking free proxies are the way to go. We would only ever recommend a proxy if your the one managing it or you trust those in control with all your personal and financial information.
Bottom line – if you don’t want your system and online accounts hacked stay away from anonymous proxy servers. Privacy protection is key. Look to reputable Personal VPN services to fill the void. For around $5 a month you can help ensure secure, anonymous web access. While also securing other applications like email and Skype.