So you say you can’t get on the open seas of the Internet at school/work/home? You’re concerned about men in black suits watching what you see? What you need, then, is a proxy server.
You connect directly to the proxy server and it connects you to the rest of the Internet, using its IP address. Simple, effective, but more and more hard to come by.
As groups continue to try to regulate your Internet usage, proxy servers are being shut down. This has the effect of pushing people back into the main lanes of the highway called the Internet. It’s so much easier to track your sheep if they are all in the same field.
Let’s see what we can find for free proxy lists of proxy servers you can use.
Around since 2002, PublicProxyServers is an independent, free service to allow you to find proxy servers for privacy and to circumvent browsing controls.
I think what makes this an excellent service is that they track the performance of each server on their free proxy list.
Poor performance, or slow download/upload speeds has been the biggest traditional complaint about using proxy servers. With Public Proxy Servers, this problem can be minimized.
On average, the proxies listed have response times of less than a second. Not good enough for you? Sort the list by access time! Want to appear that you’re coming from another country? Sort the list by country! You can sort the list by any of 7 criteria.
Probably my only complaint about this site is that they have plain text advertising that looks a lot like their regular content. Not much to complain about, I know.
Stay Invisible has more than just a free proxy list. It provides some tools to help you determine if your IP address is being effectively blocked.
According to Stay Invisible, there is a fault in Java that allows for your real IP address to be revealed, even if you are using a proxy. They also provide solutions for that problem.
You can find a traditional list of proxies here, with more information about each server, such as:
- Originating Country
- Anonymity Level
- Form Submitting
- URL Encoding
- Referrer Hiding
- Cookie Blocking
- Script Blocking
- SSL Access
These details may not seem that important to you, but it would be good for you to learn a bit more about each and what they could mean to you.
What I like best about Stay Invisible is that they have a list of other proxy lists! You can order that list by how many lists each list has added today, or in the last 7 days. This will help you find the freshest lists with more working proxies.
Centurian is another site that offers much more than a free proxy list. With an appealing design and easy to use layout, this is a learning resource as well.
Centurian provides articles on different proxy-related subjects, scripts related to proxy usage, and a forum.
The list can be sorted by the criteria of how new it is on the list, country, or script used to provide the proxy server. The speed of the proxy servers is shown graphically with a bar, that represents its score out of 10 for speed.
Now, I don’t know how that score is calculated or exactly what it means in terms of performance, however it is a nice, simple way to see if a particular proxy is useful.
Yet another site that lists proxy servers, but has a little twist that I think could be quite useful. Their list of servers comes with a ‘whois’ link for each server. This should help you to determine just who is running the proxy server.
Is it a university, business, or government? Consider what each might have to gain for giving you ‘anonymity’. Nothing is free.
Things to Keep In Mind
Please keep in mind that just because you are using a proxy, does not mean you are guaranteed to be anonymous. Some proxy servers will track IP addresses that use them. Some offer no additional protection beyond being a proxy and your IP address can be accessed anyway.
Another thing to consider is this – how safe is a service that is being provided in order to ‘break the rules’? What if the server is being set up for a honey pot attack? That something is too sweet and easy to pass up, but then it becomes a trap.
So, my advice to you is to use these proxies with caution. Do some research and only use a proxy server when absolutely necessary.
Image Credit: Anonymous9000