Somedays, you might need a proxy from India, others from Germany, yet on the third, there is a need for a US proxy. Paying subscriptions for all of them is expensive and might not be worth it if you just want to test a few things. Free proxies are seen as a savior in such situations, but there are some pitfalls to avoid.
Proxies are devices, usually servers, that can reroute requests of other devices. Such a process hides the original IP address and shows a different location. So, if you use a proxy from Germany, the web server will see a German IP address instead of your original one.
Heightened privacy and bypassing geo-restrictions are two of the most obvious benefits of proxies. However, since they can be integrated into various software, unlike VPNs, for example, they are used for many more tasks. Web scraping, online automation, social media management, email protection, just to name a few.
Knowing what proxies make it even more surprising and suspicious that free options exist. Routing requests of others requires a lot of network infrastructure – high-end servers, routers, and a fast internet connection. All of it doesn’t come cheap, so why would anyone share their connection free of charge?
In most cases, free proxies do not ensure good performance, and the privacy aspect is also dubious. So, why would anyone in their right mind use free proxies? The answer lies in the most common types of free proxies.
The first and most obvious way to attain a free proxy connection is to use a free trial. It’s the least risky option, as providers simply promote their services with a limited-time offer. I also found that with some providers, the free trial performs even better than the proxies you purchase.
The free trial option also provides the most transparency because you know what proxy type you get, and you know the provider. Adding a payment card is mandatory in most cases. While this is a massive drawback for free trials with other products, proxies are an exception.
Once you register and add your card, you are legally a client, even if you use a free proxy. That means the provider is bound by law to not spy on you or infect you with malware. These benefits are not possible with other free proxy types.
Free proxy lists are a way to get proxy credentials – IP address and port number, which can entered almost anywhere. Most operating systems, web browsers, browser extensions, and software support. It also doesn’t take much technical knowledge to set them up.
What takes some knowledge and time is finding proxy credentials that actually work. If you choose this free proxy option, be ready to scroll through lists of proxy credentials, searching for a few that work. Oh, and since you are not paying anything, you can’t be sure they will work tomorrow.
Still, free proxy lists are great for quickly checking proxy compatibility with software or testing websites and devices. There are many quick use cases for them. Usually, providers or developers have left credentials in these lists for these purposes.
One more type of free proxies is worth mentioning and avoiding at all costs. Free web proxies allow users to simply go to a web page and enter the URL of a webpage they want to access. It does not provide any integration possibilities and is terribly slow.
But the real reason you should steer away from them is that they are a privacy hazard. Most such websites have aggressive cookie policies that track and later sell everything you do on these websites. Even if you would bypass geo-restrictions, it really defeats the purpose of the privacy you tried to achieve.
The most imminent risk of free proxy servers is that of privacy. There is no documentation or sometimes even the provider’s name, so you cannot be sure where your data is sent and who can access it. You can reduce this danger by using free proxies only with specific software.
For example, you could use a free proxy with your secondary browser. As long as you won’t be making bank payments or other important tasks, you should be good. But such a strategy won’t save you from another danger of free proxies – malware.
Some free proxies are known to infect visitor devices with various viruses. However, this is only true for free web proxies and some free proxy lists. If you choose a free proxy trial or a list from a reputable provider, the risk of malware is close to none.
Web services, from Netflix to ordinary websites, tend to provide different content for users based on their location. Free proxies are most useful as tools for quickly bypassing such geo-restrictions. Here are the most common locations for free proxies.
India is the fastest-growing country in the world, and this reflects the number of IPs that are created there. A free proxy India is a great choice to blend in with a large crowd and access much of the English-speaking internet.
Free proxies from Germany are very rare, but once you find one, you should definitely make use of it. They are very fast, legitimate, and give access to some great German-exclusive content.
The US is undeniably a place from where most online content is accessible. It also has the most internet users that are well-paying customers. Finding free US proxies should be your top priority, but they are very rare.
There you have it – all you need to know to get started with free proxy trials or proxy lists. But you should remember that free proxies will not solve all of your proxy needs. In most cases, they are just a temporary option for testing or avoiding geo-restrictions before you settle for something more reliable.