This Article is About
anonymous surfing software
free proxies
open proxies
virtual private networks
couple websites
proxy server
surfing tools
shapes and sizes
ip location
web servers
using software
anonymity
misconceptions
Anonymous Surfing Software
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Anonymous Surfing Software

I own a couple websites about anonymous surfing software, and in my research I've found that there are quite a few misconceptions about proxies and virtual private networks. When talking about using software to browse and download anonymously, these are typically two tools that are discussed. Though there are conflicting opinions and information on the internet, here's my take on both of these anonymous surfing tools.

Proxies

Proxies come in all shapes and sizes. There are some proxies that give you complete anonymity, hiding the fact that you're using a proxy, and will get you past most firewalls/protect your from online attacks. However, other types of proxies will not only show web servers that it's a proxy requesting the information, but actually give your real IP address as well. There are free proxies, and paid proxies. There are web based proxies, and open proxies. Some are public, some are private. The point is that you have a lot of options.

Unfortunately, these options leave a lot of room for mistakes. For example, when using an open proxy, if you are unfamiliar with the sever admin, you run the risk of exposing your IP information and browsing/downloading activity malicious users - completely nullifying the reason you're using the proxy in the first place. If you use proxy server that are overloaded with users because they're free, you have to deal with slow connection times, limited bandwidth, and of course advertising.

However, there are some paid services that do pretty good. Again, there are some services that allow you to choose your IP location (based on country), and some that don't. If you're trying to access specific sites, you should get something that allows you a choice of location. This kind will probably be more expensive. If you're using a proxy just for anonymity, then location isn't important.

Virtual Private Networks

It may be obvious that I prefer to use a VPN for my anonymous surfing software, but I'll try to be unbiased. The reasons I prefer them are as follows:

  1. All VPNs allow you a choice of servers
  2. They have better security
  3. They're more reliable
  4. They get you past more firewalls
  5. They can be used even in countries like China and Iran
  6. You can run other software/programs with a VPN's anonymous IP

So now you may be wondering why someone would want to use a proxy. If VPNs are so good, why do so many people use proxies to surf anonymously then? Well, for one, they don't need to be installed. Though the proxy connecting software may vary from service to service, web based proxies require none of that. Some services provide you with a secure page where you can type your URL, and other provide you with a link to access a proxy browser. Open proxy IPs are used in your normal browser - Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Netscape, and Internet Explorer are all designed to make use of open proxy IPs.

There's also the issue of price. If you find yourself in a fix, and need a quick way to change your IP address, it may be inconvenient or impossible to sign up for a month or more of VPN service, or search high and low for a service that provide a free trial/1 day account. Lots of people at school and work, because they're not using their own computer, don't care about the breach of security and are perfectly happy to unblock sites with an unsecured proxy server for free.

Conclusion

That being said, it's worth shopping around a bit to see what might fit your needs. I remember as a kid that there was no way I was going to pay for a VPN service to unblock Facebook on school computers. But as an English teacher in China, I know that a VPN is my best weapon against big brother, and to access my favorite sites, I can't rely on proxies.


Street Talk

Alex Bert  

Everything we download online is visible. ISP’s can track your activities, terminate your membership, and report you to authorities. So the only way to protect ourselves against possible copyright infringement and p2p lawsuits is to It hide our internet activity. What we do online is our business. We need to protect ourselves when downloading movies or music with using secure SSH tunnels and multiple servers in different parts of the world, Pirate Ray provides an encrypted, fast and reliable connection. You can now anonymously download and feel safe.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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