5 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Free Proxy Servers

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5 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Free Proxy Servers

If region restrictions have prevented you from accessing a website, you’ve most likely utilized a proxy server to get around them. While free proxy servers are handy for getting past these barriers, their degree of security leaves much to be desired.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should avoid using free proxy servers.

What Is a Proxy Server?

To understand why you should not use free proxy servers, we must first define them and explain why people use them.

When people wish to conceal their location, they utilize proxy servers. When you connect to a website, your IP address may be used to determine which nation you are from. If you connect to a site with region limitations and your nation is not permitted to see the website, it will prevent you from viewing it.

The trick is to utilize an IP address from a non-blocked country. The simplest approach to do this is to “piggyback” on a PC or server in a whitelisted nation. You may then view the website despite the ban. Proxy servers come into play here.

If a Canadian user wants to see a website that is limited to the United States, they may discover a proxy server in the United States and instruct it to visit the website. Because the website sees the server’s location rather than the user’s, it sends its contents to the proxy server. The proxy server then returns the data to the user.

Why Are Free Servers Bad?

There are several free proxy server services on the internet, each of which offers a variety of nations to pick from. All they need is the URL of the website you want to view, and they’ll load it. It seems to be too wonderful to be true, and it often is!

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Despite this apparently generous service, the old adage “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product” applies here. As a result, you may discover that free proxy servers aren’t as good as you thought. Here are five reasons why you should avoid going.

1. Most Free Proxy Servers Don’t Use HTTPS

Christian Haschek ran some simple security checks on various free proxy servers. He noticed that 79% of them refused HTTPS connections. This is a major security issue that everyone should be aware of while utilizing a free proxy server.

Because HTTPS is not present, your connection to the server is not encrypted. Anyone watching the connection might readily see the data you transmit as it goes via the network. As a result, proxy services are a terrible option for anything requiring secrecy, such as inputting your login information into a website.

If you want to keep your data private, see our guide on how to get Chrome to notify you when your connection isn’t secure.

2. It Could Monitor Your Connection

Haschek goes on to speculate in his post that the reason free proxy websites detest utilizing HTTPS is because they want to track you. This isn’t a far-fetched hypothesis, since hackers have already set up proxy servers for this purpose.

When you utilize a free proxy website, you’re trusting that the proprietors put it up out of goodwill and will not use it as a honeypot to gather important information. It’s impossible to tell what the server owners placed on their hardware to watch you, thus it’s not worth the risk!

3. A Proxy Server Can Contain Malicious Malware

The server may not be the most virus- and malware-free solution. By trusting your connection to a proxy server, you’re hoping that it won’t be used to infect your computer.

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Worse, a free proxy owner may inadvertently infect you! Because their service is free, some proprietors depend on advertising money to keep the lights on. They’ll insert advertising into the material they display you in the hopes that you’ll click them and contribute to the server’s upkeep.

Unfortunately, some malware developers employ adverts as a delivery mechanism for their programs, and they prey on websites with loose advertising controls to show them. This is known as malvertising, and you can read more about it in our malvertising guide.

If the proprietors haven’t been careful about whatever advertising they display, they may accidently show you malware-laced adverts. They will most likely be unaware that this is occurring until your machine has been infected!

4. It Could Steal Cookies

When you connect to a server, your computer saves a little file known as a cookie. This saves your login information so you don’t have to log in every time you visit the site. This is generally a very beneficial function, but when a proxy server stands between you and the website, the server’s owners may steal the cookies as they are being created.

They might utilize the login cookies from your browser session to impersonate you online once they get them. The amount of harm they might do is determined on the websites you visited while using the proxy server. You may be in a lot of trouble if you accessed very sensitive sites!

5. The Service Is Poor

You’ll probably discover that putting your privacy at risk by using a free proxy server wasn’t worth it! Free proxies accessible on the internet are often quite sluggish, owing to a lack of financing as well as the large number of people utilizing them.

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With all of the issues that free proxies might cause, the service they give falls short of the dangers.

How Can I Protect Myself?

Using VPNs

If free proxy servers are an example of “you get what you pay for,” a reputable VPN service is the polar opposite. You may surf privately without risking your information being stolen if you pay for a good VPN. More information on how they function may be found in our VPN connection guide.

Just avoid free VPNs, which often have the same flaws as free proxy servers!

Cautious Use of Free Proxy Servers

If you must use a free web proxy, never send any personal information via it. It’s ideal to envision a hacker reading everything you transmit over a free proxy server. If this makes you feel nervous about using the server, it’s better to avoid it!

Installing browser extensions that assist defend against malvertising is also a smart idea. You may also prevent ad-based attacks by using a reputable antivirus product. In our essay on protecting yourself from malvertising, we covered how to achieve this.

Keeping Your Data Safe

Free proxies are a simple technique to circumvent internet country limitations. The lack of a price tag, on the other hand, makes proxy server operators feel more inclined to profit off you and your information. If possible, avoid utilizing free proxy servers and instead use a VPN if you want constant protection.

If you enjoy the sound of a VPN, check out Reddit’s list of the best VPNs.

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