If you’re new to the world of proxies, you might have a pressing question. Is there really a difference between cheap private proxies and free proxies? If so, is the difference big enough to make paying for a private proxy worth it?

First, let’s look at an overview of proxies in general, and then dig into what you can expect if you get a free or a cheap proxy. At that point, you’ll know which option you should choose.

An Overview of Proxies

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When you moved into your home, you contacted an internet service provider (ISP) to come out and install internet service. The service provider gave you a modem and router, or you provided your own. The router and modem let you browse the internet.

You hooked your computer up to the modem and router via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. That connection lets you browse the internet anytime you want.

You might not realize it, but there are also internet cables involved in the process. A cable runs into your home, and it has an IP address. The IP address serves the same purpose as your home address. It shows the world where you are located.

Now, let’s say you visit Netflix’s website. Netflix will register your IP address. That means the site will know where you are located, and it will even know who you are. It’ll keep that information in its records and can refer back to it at any time.

The same is true for every website you visit online. If you go somewhere on the internet, the site registers your IP address and can use it to identify you. That means all your online activities can be traced and tracked.

Fortunately, people can use proxies to hide their identities. The proxy is like a middleman. You connect to the internet through the proxy, and it provides you with a new IP address. The IP address is located somewhere else, so it looks like you are browsing the internet from another city or state. That means websites won’t know who you are or where you are located. You can browse the web freely without worrying about anyone identifying you.

Now that you know the basics of proxies, it’s time to dig a little bit deeper and look at cheap private proxies and free proxies.

Let’s begin with free proxies.

Free Proxies Come at a Price

When people first start using proxies, they often begin with the free ones. They like the idea of hiding their identity online, but they aren’t quite ready to fork out any money to buy them.

Various websites collect and list free proxies. You can find thousands upon thousands of these offerings online.

The main benefit you’ll get with these proxies is they’re free. That’s a huge benefit for people who are on a tight budget. However, that doesn’t mean these proxies don’t come at a price. It’s just not financial. You have to pay in other ways.

Let’s look at some of the issues that come with free proxies. Keep in mind this list isn’t all inclusive. It just contains the biggest drawbacks, but you might come across some other problems, as well.

It’s Hard to Find Good Free Proxies

You can’t just go to a random website, find a free proxy to use, and expect it to work. Lots of the proxies listed online have been shut down, so you have to do some work to find one that works.

You can use a proxy checker to find proxies that work. You’ll also want to test the proxy’s speed to make sure it’s worth using. This is a time-consuming process, so you can’t expect to just jump online with a free proxy. That’s not how the process works. You can spend hours just finding free proxies to use.

They Disappear

You want some consistency when you use a proxy, but you won’t get it with free proxies. These proxies go down for a number of reasons. The host might unplug the internet, or the server could go down. The host might just decide he doesn’t want to run the proxy any longer and shut it down for good.

There are a number of reasons these proxies disappear, and it tends to happen on a regular basis. That means you have to hunt to find a good proxy once again. In other words, you might spend hours looking for a good proxy. You finally find one, and it goes down. Then, you’ll have to spend hours looking for another one. It’s a pain.

Super Slow

You don’t want to relive the days of dialup, but you will if you use a free proxy. These proxies are shared, meaning that lots of people use them at one time. That clogs up the system and makes them incredibly slow. Just imagine sharing bandwidth with 1,000 other people. That is pretty crowded, and that’s what happens when you use free proxies. Everyone is fighting for bandwidth, so the connection is really slow. If you need to work fast online, free proxies are not right for you.

Lots of Ads

Ads are never fun, but they’re a real pain when it comes to proxies. Some free proxy providers alter the code on websites to show ads. That means you’ll see a different version of the site than everyone else sees. It also means the sites will take longer to load because of the ads. You’re already dealing with a slow connection, and the ads will make it even slower. How much time do you have to waste surfing the web? Probably not as much time as you’ll need to use a free proxy. These proxies are a real drain on your time. You have important things to do, so they might not be the right choice for you.

The Connection Might Not Be Private

You want to use a proxy so you can conceal your identity. Unfortunately, free HTTP proxies aren’t very private. The provider can log your internet usage. That means the provider will know exactly what you’re doing anytime you’re online. That doesn’t sound very private, does it? If you value privacy, it’s worth paying a bit of money for a private proxy. That’s the only way you’ll truly have a private and secure connection.

Some Have Malware

If you’ve ever had malware on your computer, you know how much damage it can do. It slows down your computer, allows people to steal your information, and more. It is difficult to get off, and your computer will never be the same. In fact, some people have to replace their computers after they’ve been infected with malware. Computers aren’t cheap, so this really sets people back quite a bit.

Some free proxy providers use the proxy as a front to install malware. Once the malware is on your computer, the provider can steal your information. He or she can take your banking information and more. The person can even steal your identity.

While not all free proxies come with malware, this is something to keep in mind. It’s not worth taking the risk.

Now let’s look at cheap proxies.

Cheap Private Proxies – The Safe Choice

When you get a cheap private proxy, you pay for privacy, anonymity, and speed. You can go with a semi-dedicated or a dedicated private proxy. If you choose a semi-dedicated proxy, you will share the proxy with a couple of people. Dedicated private proxies are yours and yours alone.

Both options are affordable, and they solve all the issues that come with free proxies. They are safe and secure, and they provide complete anonymity. They don’t run ads, and you don’t have to test them sure they work. You only receive working proxies when you pay for them. That means you can buy your proxies and get right down to work. You don’t have to test the proxy or do any research. You just need to enter your credit card information, add the proxy’s settings to your computer, and start browsing.

That leaves the one issue, which is the cost. You don’t like the idea of paying for proxies, right?

It’s important to understand that proxies really are cheap. You can get a dedicated proxy for just over $1 a proxy, and semi-dedicated proxies are half the price. That makes these proxies affordable. In fact, they are so affordable that people often buy them in bulk. That way, they can switch the proxies out on a regular basis.

Making Your Decision

You’ve taken in a lot of information, and now it’s time to make your decision. It’s clear that cheap private proxies beat free proxies. It’s worth paying a few bucks to enjoy safety, security, reliability, and speed.

Now that you know that you want cheap proxies, you need to be smart when selecting them. Go with a company that refreshes your proxies on a monthly basis. That way, it will be even easier for you to remain anonymous online.

You also want to choose a company that offers a variety of subnets and supports HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS protocols. This will give you some flexibility when using your proxies.

Finally, make sure the company has different countries to choose from so you can pick countries based on your needs. You want to pick a location that is close to home to reduce server lag. Also, you need to avoid countries that are known for spamming websites. If your IP address is traced back to one of those countries, you will set off red flags and could get banned. Then, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and find some proxies that work.

Once you pick the right proxies, you’ll be ready to go. You can surf the internet without fear, and you can also create multiple social media accounts, take care of your site’s SEO needs, and more. Proxies open up the door to do more online, and private proxies open the door even wider. Pick out some private proxies, add the settings to your computer or software, and get to work. You’ll be amazed by everything you can do when you have proxies at your disposal.