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With the expansion of online services, we exchange our data with several online platforms every day. Hence, online privacy is crucial.
There are several ways to enhance your digital privacy. However, the easiest (or inexpensive) and the effective method is to use a proxy browser or a proxy browser extension.
After all, we interact with the web browser for almost everything—no matter whether it is your desktop or your smartphone (irrespective of the platform).
Before looking at some options, let us explore what a proxy server means, how it helps enhance your privacy, and the features you should look for in a good web browser.
Achieving Online Privacy Using Proxy in Web Browsers
Technically, you can turn any web browser into a proxy browser. You do not have to look for a particular browser necessarily.
So, it is essential to understand what online privacy is before knowing how these browsers work.
At its core, your IP address and the location information are two of the key elements advertisers or online trackers record. Of course, it does not mean that you are exposing yourself to hackers but data miners.
With the collection of your IP address and associated information, advertisers and marketers get accurate demographics. Hence, they can put effective advertisements or send emails to you that would look compelling.
And, yes, with all other online trackers on a website, some of your browsing habits and device/browser information are also recorded.
With all the collected information, you give away an online profile to data tracking companies. Not all companies misuse the data, but several online trackers end up selling your data.
Hence, it is essential to protect your online privacy. Indeed, you cannot achieve 100% privacy. But, it is vital to keep some of your information private when using a web browser.
And, this is where proxy web servers or browsers help.
How Proxy Web Browsers or Servers Help Maintain Online Privacy?
While you can always rely on some of the best VPNs or secure chrome extensions, utilizing a proxy can prove to be an inexpensive or flexible method.
A proxy helps you hide your original IP address and lets you choose a new one as per the server locations available to select. So, this should essentially help you unblock access to sites restricted in your country.
In addition to unblocking sites, a proxy web server can help you encrypt the URL, get rid of cookies, and remove scripts/objects. In other words, it can remove a lot of tracking elements from a website.
So, if you connect using a proxy, you protect your original IP address, location and prevent standard tracking technologies.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Web Browser Proxy
There are a few things that you need to know before choosing to set up a proxy in your browser, use a proxy web server, extension, or a specific browser:
- Proxy web servers are often effective, but not the same as using a VPN.
- Using a proxy connection can enhance your privacy but could affect the browsing experience. Considering the request is made from a different server, it may affect the page load times when connecting to some websites.
- Proxy web services may record some of your activities. Make sure to check their privacy policies before using them.
- You need not necessarily look for a “proxy web browser.” You can always use your favorite browser to use a web proxy.
Now that you’ve gone through some important pointers, let us take a look at the best options.
Best Proxy Services, Extensions, and Browsers
Bright Data Extension
If you use Bright Data for data collection and extraction, its privacy web extension should come in handy. The extension is available for both Chrome and Firefox browsers. You need to sign up for an account to get started.
It lets you browse through several web pages without revealing your original IP address. You should be able to manually select a location and unlock access to services/sites as required. Unlike some other proxy tools, it can send concurrent requests from various IP addresses, which makes cloaking your original IP address effective while keeping your real origin hidden.
You also get to customize the DNS and the user agent of your choice.
Hide.me is a free proxy service that lets you unblock access to sites and help you browse privately from a set of locations.
You need not create an account to use the service. In addition to the proxy network, you get added options that include removing scripts, encrypting the URL, and allow/prevent cookies.
HideMyAss (HMA) is one of the most popular free proxy services out there. Similar to Hide.me, it lets you unlock access to sites and choose different locations.
Comparatively, HMA provides more server locations to choose from and similar options to enhance your privacy while browsing a site.
KProxy Web Proxy Extension
Kproxy is yet another browser extension that lets you enable proxy for free. You do not need an account to sign up. However, the free version is restricted to specific locations.
So, if you need to get rid of the limits, you can opt for the pro version.
Tor Network or Tor Browser
One of the most powerful solutions to cloak your original internet identity is to use the Tor browser or the Tor network.
Tor browser is a customized version of Mozilla Firefox with all the privacy/security features out-of-the-box. It can send multiple requests to websites from a variety of locations to prevent your original IP address from being tracked.
While it is considered an effective method, it cannot replace your regular web browser. The web pages will take a considerable amount of time to load up when connected through the Tor browser.
The Tor browser is available for macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android.
If you want to utilize the Tor network as a proxy for your Android mobile, you can use Orbot.
ProxySite is a free web proxy service that does not need any account creation for access. It offers a slew of US/EU servers to choose from.
You also get the ability to remove cookies, scripts, and objects to enhance privacy while utilizing the proxy.
Epic Privacy Browser
Epic Privacy Browser is an interesting alternative to mainstream web browsers that include tracking protection. It also has a built-in VPN that you can enable when browsing.
Interestingly, you also get some added perks like a video downloader. It may not be the recommended solution as a daily driver, but this could be an option for temporary browsing needs where you require extra privacy.
You can install it on your Windows/macOS systems or your smartphones.
Hidester Proxy is yet another useful free web proxy that gives you access to US and EU servers. Even though the number of servers is limited to just two, it works fine, encrypting URLs, removing scripts, and more.
Unlike some other web proxies, it also offers a Chrome extension if you need to use it.
InstantProxies is a paid proxy service that lets you test the availability of servers before choosing to purchase a subscription. It starts at $10/month for ten private proxies, and you can pay for a custom order if you need more proxies.
It also offers a support chat option to seek help. Considering it is a paid service with no trials available, you may want to do your research before opting for it at your own risk.
NewIPNow is yet another premium proxy service with several locations, unlimited bandwidth, and options.
You can choose to purchase proxies for a certain server location or randomly across the globe.
Wrapping Up 👨💻
The easiest way to utilize a proxy would be through browser extensions and web proxies. If you need a complete solution, you can use a unique browser like Epic Privacy Browser. And, if you need to use proxy networks for your business or commercial requirements, you may want to look at some paid options mentioned.
If you are looking to enhance your internet privacy and security, you should look at some of the best VPNs instead of these proxy solutions.