When you open a web browser and go to a website by typing its URL, a direct connection is established. The website can see certain information about the browser and computer you are using, and even your ISP and location.
To see what information you are revealing when you browse websites, go to What every browser knows about you and scroll down the page to read the details.
Your location, browser, operating system, CPU, battery charge level, network and public IP addresses, service provider, internet connection speed, which social networks you are logged into and more. It’s all there!
This is crazy and frightening too!
No-one can see your exact location like your house number, your name, age and other personal details, but they can tell a lot about your computer and software.
Increase privacy from proxies
A proxy acts as an intermediary.
After configuring the computer to use a proxy, when you want to go to a website the browser will connect to the proxy and request the site. The proxy fetches the web page and then sends it to your browser.
The browser on your computer does not contact the website directly, so much less information is revealed about you. In fact, because the web pages are fetched by the proxy server, when the website tries to discover anything about you, it sees the proxy server and not you.
This increases your privacy. It is not perfect and a few details are still is revealed, but not as much as without a proxy.
Are proxies private?
One thing to bear in mind is that all your internet traffic is going through the proxy, which is a computer run by someone else. They can see that traffic.
Don’t do anything like shopping and banking online through a proxy server unless you trust the company running the proxy server. Security companies, such as those providing VPN services, which offer even more privacy and security than a proxy, are usually trustworthy.
An open public proxy is OK for general web browsing like reading the latest news, catching up with Hollywood gossip, looking up recipes for your next meal, browsing Wikipedia and similar things. You aren't giving out personal information with those.
The easy way to use a proxy
If you want to temporarily hide your personal details you can use a proxy like NordVPN Free Proxy. Enter a website address into the box and click Hide in the jungle.
These free services don’t always work, but are worth trying.
Configure your browser to use a proxy
Instead of going to a website and entering the URL into a form, which is slow and tedious, you can configure a browser to always use a proxy and you can then just browse the web as normal.
Web browsers use whatever proxy Windows is set to use.
- Open the Control Panel and in small icons view, click Internet Options.
- Select the Connections tab and click LAN settings.
- Tick the box under Proxy server.
- Enter the proxy server settings.
What are the settings?
There is an IP address and a port address, The two sets of numbers must be entered.
Free proxy servers are often slow, sometimes display adverts on top of the site you want to visit, and sometimes don’t work.
I tried 5 before I got one to work, and even then it was slow. If you avoid peak times of the day then they are a bit faster. It is all about user numbers and large numbers cause proxies to run slowly. Find one with few users if you can.
A VPN is similar to a proxy, but it offers greater privacy, security and speed.