Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you cannot stream your favorite content due to geographical restrictions? If so, you might have used or considered using proxies to circumvent the censorship. A proxy server’s primary purpose is to replace your IP address with a new one.
The internet has thousands of proxies classified into different categories based on different factors. One of the most popular classifications is free and paid proxies. You do not have to part with your money to gain access to the services of the former. All such providers ask for is the address of the site you want to visit. What’s more, most of these providers have proxies in different countries, making them seem all the more reliable. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it often is!
Why Using Free Proxy Servers Is a Bad Idea
So, why should you steer clear of free proxy servers? After all, you do not have to pay for any services. The saying, ‘If you are not paying for it, you are the product,’ has its meaning engraved in this scenario, and we’ll explain why.
Most Free Proxy Servers Do not Use HTTPS
While the free proxy service might look like a good deal from the outside, you will be surprised to know that most free proxies do not use HTTPS. This implies that your private data is exposed to anyone with a need to intercept it as it is not encrypted. Therefore, you should avoid using these proxies for any internet task that requires privacy, such as entering your login details on a website or shopping online. If you do this, you could be exposing your data to significant risk.
They Can Monitor Your Internet Activity
While this is a theory, it is not far-fetched as there have been cases of hackers setting up proxy servers to trap unsuspecting internet users. This is one of the reasons why most proxy providers dislike using HTTPS, as they want to monitor the users. In fact, if you use a free proxy, you will be assuming that the provider has availed the service out of the kindness of their heart which is, let’s face it, quite rare.
You should note that some premium proxy providers offer such proxies with limited features. If you come across a free proxy that uses HTTPS and is legitimate, then you should use a proxy checker tool to check for performance. You can use this website info for the best proxy checker tool on the market.
They Can Harbor Malware
While this may seem far-fetched, some proxy providers could deliberately infect your PC with viruses. Even if the provider is indeed ethical, they still might infect your PC with viruses accidentally. This is because most free proxy providers rely on revenue generated from ads to maintain their servers. While this is a legitimate form of business, it has a significant risk that comes in the form of malvertising. This is where a hacker or a malware owner uses ads to propel their malicious software to unsuspecting users.
They Can Steal Your Cookies
A cookie is a small file that your browser creates when visiting sites to store your login details. This way, you do not have to keep on logging in every time you visit the site. However, if you are using a free proxy as the go-between, then you could find yourself in some trouble. This is because the proxy providers might steal your data and impersonate you online. It becomes even worse if you perform financial transactions as your data might be compromised.
Free proxies have tons of risks which is why you should stay away and instead use premium proxy services. However, this does not imply that there are no legitimate free proxy providers on the market. While they do exist, they are hard to come by. One good example is IPRoyal which has the biggest free proxy list on the market.
In summary, instead of making yourself go through the hassle of finding a legitimate proxy service provider and facing all these risks, it would be best to stick with premium companies that keep your data secure.