Best free tools for anonymous browsing 2016
Internet these days is becoming a less private place as several individuals, corporations, and even governments in some cases, track your activities to collect users’ information and metrics. Also, it is very easy to track a user because of the IP, the unique address that we all use to connect to the internet that makes online privacy a big concern.
However, you can use a VPN or proxy tool to help you, if you wish to keep your personal information private. These privacy tools can open up the web, give you permission to access the sites blocked in your country as well as access region-locked content when you are traveling away from home, and add a layer of protection when you use a public Wi-Fi network.
Provided below are the best proxy and VPN tools for anonymous browsing.
Tor is perhaps the best tool for browsing anonymously. Tor is termed as a ‘censorship circumvention tool’ and is perhaps the most popular and free software for enabling anonymous communication in the market.
Tor is available for Windows, Apple Macs, and Linux, with a lot of users in the privacy and security communities. Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”. Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.
Tor makes use of complicated technology, but the browser itself is interestingly accessible. Depending on the same code as Firefox, it directs you through the process of getting online.
Based on what you are trying to attain, it uses different connection methods. However, there’s no need to know the information because it’s all taken care of for you.
But, Tor has its own disadvantages as well mainly that it reduces your internet speed, which is important to remember for streaming media or downloading large files.
You can download Tor anonymous browser for your Windows, OS X or Linux PC/laptop from here.
Developed by AnchorFree, Inc., Hotspot Shield is a software application that allows the user to connect to a virtual private network (VPN). It is used for securing Internet connections, often in unsecured networks. It is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, which means that you can use it on almost any device that you own.
You may not want to use Hotspot Shield at all times. For example, you may only be interested in using it to access certain sites that are blocked in your country. In this case, you can create shortcuts to individual sites in the Hotspot Shield window, which will enable protection before launching the sites. Protection can also be switched to on an off with a single click.
You can download Hotspot from here.
While the paid-for version, Hotspot Elite, only costs a few dollars or pounds a month, it is recommended that you first try the free edition. Its additional features include the elimination of advertisements, antivirus protection and the ability to choose which country from several wherein the VPN is located.
Similar to other VPNs, TunnelBear has the ability to bypass content blocking in most countries. The desktop client uses AES-256 encryption while the extension uses AES 128-bit encryption. When connected, the user’s real IP address will not be visible to the websites visited. TunnelBear is currently available on Android, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS. There is also a Google Chrome extension.
The free version of TunnelBear offers up to 500MB of data each month. For those, who are looking for unlimited data can avail it for a subscription fee, with prices starting at US$4.16 per month (about £2.86, AU$5.75).
You can share a single account between up to five phones, tablets, Windows PCs or Macs whether you go premium or continue with the free version.
TunnelBear is perhaps the most accessible VPN tool out there whose configuration is extremely simple and can be used with any browser. It’s just about impossible not to endorse.
Privoxy is an extremely powerful “privacy-enhancing proxy”, filtering Web pages and removing advertisements. It is a non-caching web proxy tool with filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, manipulating cookies and amending web page data and HTTP headers before the page is rendered by the browser. This tool is available not only for Mac, Windows, and Linux but also for Android and iOS.
The biggest advantage of Privoxy is that it can be used in combination with just about any web browser. All you need is to just set the browser to run its traffic through the tool.
However, this biggest advantage can also be its flipside for new users, as it gives you very granular control over privacy settings, and arranging them is very much a manual process. Having said that if you are ok to continue, you can set up advanced filters that will not only make sure that you remain anonymous online but also protects you against unwanted ads. Also, Privoxy can be customized by users, for both stand-alone systems and multi-user networks.
CyberGhost allows users to connect to a VPN and access the internet anonymously. It is available as a free ad-supported app, as well as a paid-for edition that provides enhanced performance and more features. The free version should be perfectly adequate for daily or random use.
The configuration is very easy, with the only possible stumbling block being the installation of a virtual network adaptor.
CyberGhost will start with a single click giving the imprint that you are browsing from another country. Using a handy graph, you can also keep track on how much traffic you have transferred through the service.
However, the disadvantage of using the free version is that you may have to wait to gain access, as there are restricted numbers of spaces on the servers.
Remember, anonymous browsing also means safe browsing as the end website will now know which place you are surfing from. It will also help you beat the website censorship rules applicable in your country.