The internet is a large playing field. It’s the place where most people seek answers to even the most trivial questions. But as most people continue seeking solutions online, the risks and threats continue to grow.
It is reported that in the first half of 2019, data breaches exposed approximately 4.1 billion records. This means that for every click on a page, there was a likelihood that cybercriminals would track the information.
That’s why the popularity of proxies continues to grow. Whether it’s to circumvent restrictions or simply mask IP addresses, a proxy server will limit exposure to cyberattacks.
But for anyone on a tight budget, the concern is always on the safety of free proxies. That’s why we’ve shared these six tips to help you select a safe and free proxy for individual or corporate use.
A point to note is that the benefits of proxies also translate to the tips when selecting one. And just in case you are wondering what the advantages are, here’s a list.
- Hides your computer’s IP address thus improving the security of your data.
- Masks your online tracks and help keep your information private.
- Circumvent restrictions to offer access to geo-restricted content.
- Improve internet speed by reducing your network’s bandwidth.
Let’s now discuss the picking criteria.
1. Know Your Proxy
There are different types of proxies, and all work in various capacities to protect your devices. For example, if you need a proxy accessible primarily by you, you need a dedicated proxy. If you are okay sharing a proxy with numerous users, you can choose the shared servers.
There are, however, instances where you may require a proxy that encrypts data, and in such a case, you can choose an SSL proxy. What about when you need that high-level security protocol? Here you may go with the SOCKS proxies.
All proxies hide your IP address, but they also have additional features that highlight their diversity. And since you are looking for a free proxy, understanding individual features will help you know where you can get one. It’s also a way of ruling out what is necessary and what isn’t in your idea of a proxy.
2. Know Your Provider
It’s easy to assume that since a proxy protects your online tracks, all providers are legitimate. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The internet is booming with free proxy providers, but only a few work for the members’ interest.
It’s common to have issues with providers obtaining sensitive information and selling it to scammers. At times, the providers may use the information to access and steal money from you. That’s why the most important step when selecting a free proxy is knowing your provider.
Luckily, the internet has made it possible to obtain providers’ information. First, you can research the popularity of your supposed company. You can also check online reviews to understand how reliable the provider is.
Alternatively, talk to a friend or family and get recommendations from a good provider. In some instances, you can ask for ideas from your social media communities. If possible, use all the suggestions mentioned above to pick a reliable provider.
3. Consider for Speed
The fact that you are using a free proxy does not mean that it has to be slow. Even when on a budget, you need a proxy that boosts your productivity. Take, for instance, when choosing a dedicated residential proxy for web scraping. If my guess is right, then you’d want one that fetches the most information in the shortest time.
Speed determines productivity. It’s also what will determine your shift from the free to paid plans. Even when you pick a free proxy to test the features, speed will determine how fast you come to a decision.
Additionally, good speed enables you to detect cyberattacks in due time. This will give you ample time to log off your device and seek help. This means fewer losses and a shorter time spent seeking solutions.
4. Check Geographical Restrictions
The location stretch of your proxy will determine how well it works for you. For example, if you need a free proxy for streaming, you’ll want one that’s open to diverse content. The same can be said for business opportunities. A proxy that helps you reach global clients is more beneficial than a restricted one.
And for you to pick a proxy with fewer restrictions, you need to understand the proxy. For example, data center proxies are more detectable and experience more blocks than residential proxies.
Additionally, if the proxy is shared, the IP address is used regularly, increasing the probability of blacklisting. So, if you are looking for a proxy that covers most regions globally, a residential proxy is better than a data center proxy.
5. Determine the Pool of Available IPs
Let’s take, for instance, a company performing massive research. There’s huge data to be collected, various people accessing the servers, and timeless operations. If the company is testing a providers’ features or requires the data for a short duration, they’ll prefer to use a free proxy.
While this may save money, the risk of blocking is inevitable. To avoid this, the users need information on how many free IP addresses they can get from a provider. A good number of IP addresses will ensure that their online tracks are less detectable. Additionally, having a large pool of IPs improves the speed of your operations.
6. Consider the Availability of the Customer Support Team
Problems always seem to appear at the least expected time. Having a customer support team that’s available will ensure a 24/7 approach to your queries. If there are downtime issues, it’s easy for the issue to be addressed. This ensures better privacy and protection of your devices. It’s also a way of ensuring third-party interference is dealt with at the best time.
Get a Free Proxy
From the above tips, it’s pretty easy to select a free proxy. Your focus should be on the provider and features of the proxy. With the internet booming with proxy providers, it’s still possible to get value even when you aren’t spending money.