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Web Proxies and VPNs: How to Browse the Web Anonymously

No matter what your motivation for browsing the internet, having the option to visit pages on the internet without being “profiled” is your right. Many savvy web browsers use web proxies, proxy servers and VPNs to keep their web surfing activities private. You might want to hire a divorce lawyer, find a new job, or find out why you have that troubling rash. (‘Nuff said)

With many popular commercial websites, you are immediately tracked for attributes like:

  • Your location – both country and city
  • Your browser, operating system and device type
  • The pages you click through
  • Your unique static IP address
  • Your ISP
  • In some cases with corporate IPs, the company you work for

In many cases, this data is gathered for entirely innocent reasons such as marketing demographics or to personalize the content they provide you based on your navigation behavior. Some users of the internet don’t mind being tracked for these reasons, at least on the majority of the sites they visit.

Sometimes you might want an entirely “fresh” browsing experience though, and not miss out on content which is offered to new visitors, or generally not want the company you are researching to see track your activities on your site. If you want to get a wake up call on how much you are being tracked, check out the Privacy Analysis site.

There are three great ways to “cloak” your activities while you are browsing. Depending on the frequency you will want to surf in private, the browsing performance requirements you have, and the content you are consuming, you can select the services which best fits your needs.

Web Proxies

Web proxies from companies like HideMyAss.com and Anonymouse offer free services if you are looking to browse static content such as text or image content, and don’t mind your browsing experience being slower for the benefit of anonymity. Web proxies are best suited for desktops and laptops, and don’t really work with mobile devices. Free web proxies also use advertising. These services need to be funded somehow, and ads are much better than bloatware or spyware that some downloads leave behind on your device.

Web proxies are free, fast and cloak/protect your information. The proxy provider retains your IP information, and if subpoenaed by government authorities, they will have to surrender your browsing behaviors. Your browsing isn’t encrypted like with a Virtual Private Network service. Make sure the web proxy you select has a good reputation, as some “black hat” proxy services pop up out of nowhere and prey on unsuspecting, innocent web surfers.

Proxy Servers

Proxy servers from Hide My Ass , Proxynova and similar companies offer higher speeds, SSL encryption in some areas, and a more configurable browsing experience than with your typical web proxy. They don’t necessarily have the advertising web proxies do, but, as with web proxies, you probably won’t want to do any online banking or other private web content activity which might compromise a user ID and password. Proxies are great for content privacy, but there are still inherent risks involved.

The use of proxies is sometimes forbidden by corporate “acceptable use” policies. Check your employer’s policies on using these applications, as if you are caught with them, you may find yourself without a job.

VPN Services

If you want a VPN which offers the ultimate in

  • Encryption
  • Fast content up and down loading speeds
  • Freedom of which device you use to browse the web
  • Protection of the data you consume, as well as your credentials for sensitive data
  • Unblocking websites when you are a corporate network, or in a café/restaurant/airport and not want snoops to see your web activities, UserIDs or passwords
  • A secure “tunnel” between you, your device and the sites and applications you are using in a particular session

PureVPN was a pioneer in the personal VPN provider space, and they offer 256 bit encryption. Further, they switch your IP address frequently, adding an extra layer of protection for you and your data. With the recent news about the activities about the NSA tracking consumer behaviors, identity theft online and global hackers, subscribing to a personal VPN service can pay for itself many times over within your first few days of use. If you are travelling, you might want to consider selecting a VPN provider which has a VPN service offering based in your home country. PureVPN also has a business VPN plan with a broader spectrum of services.

Your activities online can be as innocent as watching a movie, researching a personal health concern, or wanting to log into your bank or insurance provider’s website without compromising your private data. Don’t take a gamble on your privacy and your credit reputation. Protect your confidential information, and browse the web with confidence.

If you travel frequently for business or personal reasons, there are increased risks to accessing private data online without a trusted VPN service, or at the very least a web proxy. Make the investment in a VPN service, or in some cases, a proxy server but don’t gamble with your private identity.

 

 

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Andrew Horton

Andrew Horton

Andrew Horton is Digital Media Producer for ServerMania.

  • I utilize a web proxy almost all the time when online. I know a lot of people utilize a paid subscription for the same benefits, which is crazy. I use hidester.com/proxy and find that it does not decrease my speed. I have used other proxies like those listed, but they were not up to the speed that I wanted.

  • Lots of VPNs use Transparent Proxies which aren’t anonymous because they forward your real IP address to the website you are connecting to. I use https://www.hide-my-ip.com/ which enables anonymous and Encrypted Web Surfing, unblocks any Website, works on 5 devices, Smart DNS Proxy service, and user gets full access to all IPs in over 90 cities ,worldwide.