Online safety tools come in different shapes and forms, but the first two that pop to our mind first are VPNs (Virtual private networks) and proxies. We have already covered the best VPNs currently available on the market. Now it’s time to give you the list of best proxy services.
While both VPNs and proxies are built to mask your real IP address by routing your internet traffic through a VPN or proxy server, the two are too often mixed up. Here’s a short description of each of them, with their main pros and cons.
How are proxy services different from VPNs?
Proxies are lightweight online security tools created for use at the app level, such as on your browser, torrent client, or email client. They don’t offer any encryption in and of themselves (except in the case of Shadowsocks, and, in certain situations – SOCKS), relying on the web site’s SSL certificate. However, this can be solved using the right browser extension.
Proxies can either be HTTP/HTTPS and work only on web browsers, or SOCKS, which can work on any kind of app that supports it. Therefore SOCKS proxy can be used for streaming, torrenting and similar activities. Their advantage over the VPNs is that they’re typically cheaper but still fast, making them an ideal choice for those whose primary concern is hiding their IP and bypassing geo-blocking.
In contrast, VPNs encrypt all traffic, and offer more features, making them a good choice for big organizations in need of top-level security. More often than not there’s plenty of locations to choose from in case you need to pretend you’re connecting from a specific region. This leads to a price that’s much higher than that of your average proxy service. Sure, there are free VPNs, just like there are free proxies, but in most cases, they offer services of dubious quality in exchange for your personal data while also displaying annoying ads. Finally, quite a few VPNs, eg. NordVPN, also include proxies in their package.
Best proxy services in 2020
For those who want to learn more about the differences between the VPNs and proxy services, feel free to check our detailed VPN vs Proxy battle-style review. And for the rest, it’s time to list the best proxy services in 2020, both paid and free.
When determining which of the best proxy services will end up on the list, we looked at whether they offer a free version or a free trial (if it’s a paid service). Also, having servers in locations other than Europe and North America was a big plus, though truth be told, there aren’t many proxies falling into this category. And most of those are aimed strictly at the local market.
Also, don’t forget that there’s no such thing as a “no-logs” free proxy. All of them know what you’re doing, and if what you are doing is illegal – you might get into trouble. If you’re looking for more privacy, choose a paid proxy, or better yet, a good VPN. The only bright side is that some proxies claim to delete those logs after a while.
Watching Netflix is possible only with a few of the best proxy services
To save your time, we can preface everything by telling you that watching Netflix is possible only with a few of the best proxy services. Heck, it’s even not always possible with a good VPN, therefore for guaranteed streaming we recommend one of the few VPNs for Netflix that still work.
Finally, because HTTP/HTTPS proxies protect your browser traffic only, they cannot help you to use torrents.
1. Hide My IP VPN
A free proxy that unblocks Netflix
Hide My IP VPN is one of the few services that also offers a free proxy good enough to end up on this list. They come in the form of Firefox and Chrome extensions, the latter being ten times more popular.
While the version of the proxy is still at 1.x, with the last update coming out last September, it distinguishes itself from the competition due to the high number of locations offered (120). While this number sounds impressive, be advised that not all of them are available using the free version. In fact, you will have to click them one-by-one to find which works. We had luck with France, the Netherlands, Germany, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, and the US.
Again, it’s all Europe and North America with a pinch of Asia for flavor, but still, a lot more than most of the proxies on this list can offer. The connection times are fast, and you can easily switch between the servers while browsing.
Also, don’t be surprised that Hide My IP will naggingly ask you to log in each time you try to load a site. Just press Cancel and try again – it should finally give you what you desire. The speed is generally not impressive: we were left unimpressed with the loading times from nearby servers.
What’s more important is that Hide My IP proxy service was one of the few to unblock Netflix for us when using Romanian and Russian servers. Yes, that’s not that great, and the connection speed might not be good enough for UHD (4K) streaming, but this still puts it on the “best of” list.
Read our full Hide My IP VPN review
2. ibVPN (Invisible browsing VPN)
A proxy and smart DNS package
Invisible browsing VPN, or ibVPN in short, is built by an experienced online security team, working in the field since 2003. That might be the case why they’re offering a package of proxy and smart DNS for those not looking to unblock torrenting but wanting to stream shows on Netflix and other platforms.
Therefore, you will need to take the 24-hour full package trial to see if you can stream everything you want
The free version of ibVPN proxy has only four locations (the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore) and a genuinely sadistic feature of disconnecting you every 10 minutes. It also doesn’t have Smart DNS which is an effective tool for unblocking Netflix and similar streaming platforms. Therefore, you will need to take the 24-hour full package trial to see if you can stream everything you want.
The full version extends the selection of servers to… a large number of them – the provider seems reluctant to specify how many on its website.
At the moment, ibVPN is celebrating their 9th birthday, offering special deals. One of those deals offers the Proxy + Smart DNS for $2.47/month if billed monthly or $1.54/month if billed annually. The regular price of $4.94/month will return sometime soon, that’s why giving this proxy a try might be a good idea. The 15-day money-back guarantee should be enough to make up your mind. They also offer customer support via 24/7 live chat.
A minor drawback – only one connection per subscription (regardless of whether it’s free or premium). If that didn’t startle you, ibVPN’s premium proxy could be a cheap and secure way to stream Netflix.
Read our full ibVPN review
3. TorGuard Anonymous Proxy
A LOT of servers
Free: No, starts from $5.95/month
Our #3 rank is reserved for TorGuard Anonymous Proxy, which is one part of a family of top-quality security products, the others being Anonymous Email and Anonymous VPN.
The speeds you get should be good as TorGuard offers fast SOCKS5 servers in 8+ (really, TorGuard? How many is that – 9?) countries, and 3000+ Elite Proxy IP addresses in over 50 countries. You will be able to test them with the Chrome or Firefox extension.
If you don’t need VPN-level security, TorGuard will unblock geo-restrictions and allow torrenting, which is what everyone really needs from a proxy service. Of course, this doesn’t include Netflix and similar streaming platforms, but nowadays it’s not a drawback, it’s a harsh reality.
Quality doesn’t come cheap. You will need to pay $5.95 for a month of TorGuard Anonymous Proxy. Discounts come for long-term clients: 3 months cost $4.98/month, and one year is $3.91/month. This includes unlimited bandwidth, five simultaneous connections, and 24/7 live support. But is it worth paying that much if you actually need Netflix or other streaming services? In that case, you’d better pick a premium VPN.
Read our full TorGuard review
4. Thunder VPN
A proxy service for BBC iPlayer lovers
Don’t let the name fool you – Thunder VPN is actually a proxy service, and also a free one. If you’re not new to using tools for IP hiding and geo-unblocking, you may have encountered it already, as it has over 5 million installs, and its developer is US company Signal Labs.
Apart from being an Android-only service and using baby Thor as a mascot, Thunder VPN might just do the trick for those wanting a free and easy-to-install proxy that has nine server locations in 8 countries. That’s about twice as many compared to the average competitor.
While you don’t have to register anywhere to use this app, you can be sure that Thunder VPN gets heaps of data from you in exchange for a free proxy. This includes your IP address, ISP (Internet service provider) and even email address! In addition to that, be ready for an onslaught of third-party ads.
But what makes Thunder VPN a service you shouldn’t just ignore is the fact that it unblocks the notoriously impenetrable BBC iPlayer. Sadly, the same cannot be said about Netflix, and we’d be surprised if the situation changes anytime soon, given the popularity of this proxy.
Even though connecting to the desired server doesn’t take long, the overall speeds are low and might not be enough even for streaming HD content. And if you want to complain about it, do it on Facebook because there’s no customer support to dry your tears.
Read our full Thunder VPN review
5. Opera VPN
It can be fast, and also unblock Netflix
While a free proxy from the creators of a free and well-known browser seems like a good idea, that’s not always the case.
First, it works only with the Opera browser which might not be everyone’s cup of cake, mainly because it’s featured neither on Android nor iOS.
From the security perspective, be ready to have your data collected and even sold to third-parties. Also, don’t be surprised to experience WebRTC leaks that expose your real IP address.
Opera VPN proxy speed is a mixed bag – it fluctuates from ultra-fast for Optimal locations to one-legged for everything else. But the real reason why it’s still worth giving a try is Netflix. We were able to unlock libraries on three continents twice in one month.
There’s no support whatsoever for the Opera VPN proxy, but you can search Reddit for some tips about security, features, and technical issues.
Read our full Opera VPN review
6. UltraSurf VPN proxy
Free and fast like the wind
It’s not flashy, but contrary to the competitors aimed at selling your personal data collected via those free proxy services, it has a clear mission. The people behind Ultrasurf are Silicon Valley engineers who decided to create online freedom for everyone. And they’re keeping their promises – last time we reviewed UltraSurf, they only had Windows and Android clients. Now we find macOS, Linux, and iOS is probably in the pipeline.
Ultrasurf is a high-speed proxy service unless it becomes overcrowded due to some significant event. But even it slows down, it usually gets back to its full speed quickly. Unfortunately, there’s no way to select a server in your preferred location – you can only choose one of three based on their load, which can prevent you from using the service at all.
While this proxy is great if you’re not too worried about hiding your true identity, those wanting to avoid the WebRTC leak will have to use a separate browser extension, especially when using Chrome. What’s good though is that their concern in privacy and anonymity means you will not need to login anywhere to use this service.
US Netflix library can sometimes be unblocked with UltraSurf. Again, it all depends on the server load – if it’s at its peak, even an SD stream will stutter.
7. DotVPN proxy
A free proxy and a cheap VPN
We’ve covered DotVPN as a VPN service already, and now it’s time for the free proxy service, which is one of the more popular ones, boasting almost a million downloads on the Chrome store.
The free version gives you servers in the Netherlands, France, and the US only, meaning clients in Asia won’t enjoy this service much. The paid DotVPN service unlocks a dozen countries with 700 servers, which is not the biggest spread available, even for $5/month.
Add one of the best privacy ratings among the freebies, zero ads, a traffic saver that compresses up to 30% of data, and it might be very useful for mobile users.
To log in, you will need to create an account. There are quite a few settings to tweak compared to the competition. There’s a bandwidth saver, an ad blocker, tracking protection, and an analytics blocker.
Does it give you Netflix? No, and it probably never will, because currently, you can’t even access the Home page.
While DotVPN proxy has customer service, it’s not the fastest or most helpful one. That being said, it’s still a bit better than having none at all.
Read our full DotVPN review
8. Hoxx VPN proxy
Offers an extensive location list
When a service gets over 500,000 downloads on the Chrome store, one cannot just ignore it. Most of the time, like this, this is because something’s being offered for free. And Hoxx VPN is not without its issues. For example, to prevent WebRTC leaks, it offers you to install a separate extension, which is not the most convenient option, especially for novice users.
For once, this US-based free proxy gives an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, something rarely found even among premium VPNs. But is there any service to connect to, when Netflix and similar streaming services are dead-blocked?
In fact, the only reason why Hoxx VPN is even on this list is the number of servers on its free version. For the first time, this indeed is a proxy for everyone around the world, be it Australia, Japan, India, Russia, Israel, or South Africa. The minor drawback is that you need to disconnect before being able to browse the server list again.
While the speeds will not knock you off your feet, in most cases, the speed will be enough for browsing and casual YouTube streaming, with everything else being simply blocked. And should you encounter some painfully slow connection, try changing the server by reconnecting – it worked for us.
Read our full Hoxx VPN review
Not among the best proxy services? Not in our book!
While serving a pretty average free VPN, VPNBook also offers a pretty good SSL-encrypted proxy service. With servers in the US, Canada, France, and the UK, it is yet another predominantly Western service, advertising itself as a means to unblock websites like YouTube and Facebook. What we missed is the option to change the server while browsing, because it’s quite common to get the French version of a site after choosing Canada.
VPNBook is one of the fastest proxy services on this list
VPNBook is one of the fastest proxy services on this list. While overseas connections took quite some time as always, we were able to browse across Europe without looking at our smartphone.
While keeping logs is a common practice among free proxy services, VPNBook clearly states in their policy that they delete the data about you after one week. This means that they are also one of the more privacy-oriented options. And while, contrary to ProxySite.com, VPNBook doesn’t give options to load or block certain content elements, it manages to remove the annoying ads and various scripted elements pretty well, making browsing a clean and sleek experience. Unfortunately, VPNBook tends to overestimate its malicious content detection capabilities and more often than not kills all pictures on the home page, which sometimes have the only link to the content.
On some occasions, we even ended up with VPNBook spitting out some plain HTML code after a 504 Gateway timeout error.
Nevertheless, it is one of the best proxy services that are also free, rightfully claiming a spot on this list. We hope that in the future it will give us a decent browser extension and an option to tone down its harsh blocking rules.
Read our full VPNBook review
10. Hide My Ass! proxy
Good speeds but no browser extensions
Hide My Ass! has the option to hide your URL, remove scripts, and disable cookies. Unfortunately, just like VPNBook, this proxy was unable to load the vice.com Home page images even with cookies and scripts enabled.
The server selection is virtually the same as in competitors’ offers – the US (one for each coast), the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and the Czech Republic. What’s not the same is the speed that you get using the Hide My Ass! proxy, which is really good, just like its VPN counterpart. Unfortunately, you won’t get to try it while streaming UHD on Netflix, which is blocked.
There’s no browser extension, and we don’t believe there will be one anytime soon because Hide My Ass! profits from its popular VPN service, whereas the proxy acts as bait.
While Hide My Ass! doesn’t hesitate to collect info about you and your activities, it claims to keep the logs for one month only, which is the second best result after VPNBook.
Read our full Hide My Ass review
11. Hide Me proxy
Three servers and no Netflix
While Hide Me VPN is certainly not among the top VPN services by any means, its free proxy, most probably created as bait for its overpriced premium package buyers, can be found not only on our best proxy services list.
There are only three server locations – the US, Germany, and the Netherlands. That’s a bit strange considering the headquarters of the developers are in Malaysia because users in Asia will look for the best proxy service for this continent. None of the servers unblock Netflix, which is not a surprise because even the Hide Me VPN is unable to handle this task.
Contrary to some of its competitors, Hide Me is still actively working on the proxy, with the last client version dating back to December 2018.
Hide Me offers to browse either from its website while they display ads for their VPN or by adding an extension to Chrome or Firefox.
Read our full Hide Me VPN review
Outdated, but still running
Free: Yes, limited
Krpoxy offers extensions for Chrome and Firefox, but they were updated in 2017. If you’re not into outdated extensions for popular browsers, Kproxy has a portable version of its own besides the in-page option.
Proxy veterans, active since 2005, seem to be a little gassed out today. Their last Facebook post was in mid-2018. Despite that, Kproxy still is up-and-running.
Switching servers is really easy, but you only get Canada and France in the free version. Premium adds the US, Germany, and the UK.
Paying for Kproxy Pro gives you access to the premium servers, unlimited downloads and usage, and no ads. Unfortunately, its price is bigger than most VPNs will charge. A 10-day plan for five bucks is nonsense because there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. Therefore taking one month for $10 is your go-to move. If you will feel satisfied, there’s a six-month option for $30 or $5/month only.
We would be happy to place Kproxy higher if it had a decent free version that unblocks Netflix. Now it acts like some sort of punishware, stopping after some time and refusing to work for 30 minutes. What an ass.
Running from the Surveillance cat since 1997
Free: Yes, limited
Anonymouse’s website seems to have retained the design of 1997, making one question the reliability of such service. Despite the outdated looks, the Seychelles-based crew is active, now offering a VPN service as well.
The price of the free version is seeing ads, using slower servers, having a download limit, and not being able to browse HTTPS websites. To avoid these debilitating restrictions, you’d need to pay $6/month for a monthly plan, $4.17/month for a six-month plan, or $3.17/month annually. These prices aren’t low, even if the premium plans include AnonVPN service, available on all major platforms. Finally, the only way to pay is PayPal.
Probably for the last time on our list
Whoer.net is probably the most comprehensive array of services you will find among the best proxy services. In addition to the proxy and VPN, it has its own mascot (a fennec fox named Mr. Whoer), Whois service, a speed test, and an overall anonymity checker with tips on improving your rating.
The presence of the VPN and merely two servers in the Netherlands means this proxy is interesting to those in Europe only. Though to be fair, the close distance didn’t give us good speeds, which might be a sign that Whoer.net is quietly shutting down its proxy. This guess is backed by the number of servers dwindling from the last year’s nine to the aforementioned two.
15. Hidester proxy
Are you a Symbian with Opera Mini?
Free: Yes, limited
In addition to the usual options for encrypting URL, allowing cookies, and removing scripts and objects, Hidester allows you to choose a browser and OS combination you want to seem to be using for the website you’re visiting. The options themselves are pretty outdated, so unless you derive a certain pleasure from disguising as a Symbian with Opera Mini, this option will be utterly worthless to you.
Speaking of the outdated, Hidester has a Chrome extension version 0.0.2, updated in 2016, at your service. And hey, don’t judge the book by its cover – 11,841 users can’t be wrong!
Many servers doesn’t always mean faster connection
Proxysite.com offers 15 US (15th and 12th loaded Canadian versions of our test website, one of which was French) and 10 EU servers but it’s hard to tell how this number translates into your connection speed. Chances are these become pretty crowded during peak our in each continent. Luckily, you can easily hop between the servers without a need to reconnect. The only inconvenience is the lack of browser extensions that would make things easier for the user.
ProxySite.com allows you to connect straight from its website. It also has special links for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, so you should be able to visit these sites easily. What is more, you can choose whether to load cookies, scripts, and objects, giving you some control on what’s loaded in your browser.
It works faster than Hide Me in the EU, but for the overseas connection more often than not you have to click and pray. Naturally, users from other continents will probably find it difficult to use, but then again it’s clearly aimed at Europe and North America, just like most of the best proxy services on this list.
While it’s not entirely fair to offer a VPN to someone looking for a proxy, those who are not afraid of installing an actual service on their device might be inclined to try ProtonVPN, which earned a good score in our review. The reasoning is simple: it has a nice free version that offers servers in three countries, has no bandwidth limit and is more secure than any proxy can ever be.