ProxyMesh Blog

Don't Trust Free Anonymous Proxy Servers

11 October 2011

You may think that a free anonymous proxy sounds great, after all, what's better than free? But be warned - a free anonymous proxy server is no guarantee of privacy protection, and you may be opening yourself up to a malicious operator that will steal your personal information.

No Privacy Policy

A free proxy server that provides a clear privacy policy is extremely rare. Most anonymous proxy servers have no privacy policy at all, and you have no idea what they are doing with your data. While you may be anonymous to everyone else, the operator can track everything you do. On the other hand, commercial private proxy providers are in the business of protecting your privacy, and therefore take it very seriously.

No Customer Service

Free anonymous proxies are notoriously unreliable, and there's rarely anything you can do about it, except find another anonymous proxy. Because the proxy server is free, you are not a customer, just another user. There is no incentive for the operator to provide reliable service, and there's usually no one to complain to when the service is bad, except for all the other unhappy users. As long as you're not paying for the service, there's no reason to expect the proxy server to work well, and it often doesn't.

But for commercial proxy servers like ProxyMesh, it's in our best interest to provide reliable proxy servers and to quickly respond to customer feedback. Otherwise, we lose customers, and a business that loses customers will not be in business for long.

Possible Malicious Intent

There are few legitimate reasons to run an anonymous proxy for free, but there are many nefarious ones. If the operator is malicious, they can watch everything that you do, and save everything that you type into a web page. This is why you should never ever use free anonymous proxies to do financial transactions, or access any site that requires a username and password. Malicious operators can and do extract this information, and will use it for their own illegal purposes, or sell it to other criminals. Basically, you are putting your personal information at risk every time you use a free anonymous proxy from an unknown operator.

Commercial providers, however, want a sustainable business. They don't particularly care about your personal information or what you use their services for, as long you're a good customer that pays on time and doesn't abuse the service. Malicious intent is extremely unlikely, as any commercial proxy provider that was found to be doing something malicious or illegal with their customer's private information would be out of business in a heartbeat.

Reliable Private Proxies

If you want a reliable anonymous proxy, don't waste your time looking for a free proxy server. Instead, find a trustworthy commercial proxy service with a clear privacy policy. Yes it costs money, but the reliability and customer service is well worth it.