Proxy browsers, or proxy sites, can access blocked websites on home, business, and school networks.
This article outlines how to use a proxy browser and the best ones available.
What Is a Proxy Browser?
A “proxy browser” is not the same thing as a proxy search engine. can bypass the method of DNS filtering used by libraries, businesses, and schools to prevent access to restricted websites.
The name itself is a misnomer. You don’t install a browser. Instead, you use a browser like Firefox to visit a third-party website that functions as a proxy, or a middle-man, between the blocked website and you. It’s better described as a proxy website or proxy site.
On top of being able to unblock streaming websites and access geo-blocked content, browser proxies allow users to repeatedly return to paywall websites, like the New York Times, without signing up for the service.
How Does a Proxy Browser Work?
Just like mirrors for the Pirate Bay and other torrent sites, the third-party proxy browser funnels your traffic through its own servers to the destination website. Administrators at your school or workplace will only know that you visited the HMA website; the actual website that you visit won’t be visible to the network administrators.
Unfortunately, network admins often know about how their users dodge around website filtering methods—so they will often block proxy sites whenever they find them.
Your proxy browsing experience is not ad-free. Proxy sites display a frame at the top of your desired website, which lets you know that you are still on the proxy service.
Proxy browsers are best used when VPN access is impossible, such as on school computers where users are prevented from installing their own software.
Before you use a proxy server, make sure you understand the safety implications of using one.
If you have your own computer, you are always better off installing a VPN service.
1. CroxyProxy: The Best Proxy Browser
CroxyProxy is among the best proxy sites on the internet. While it includes advertising and user tracking, it also offers a premium version, which requires registration and costs as little as 2.60 euros per month. The premium version comes with faster servers in the European Union, server selection, which allows you to control where your traffic is routed through, removal of the 100Mb file-size limitation, customer support, and removal of advertisements.
CroxyProxy offers a browser plugin for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. The plugin automatically funnels your traffic through a third-party server, which means you don’t need to visit a website. All traffic is automatically routed through CroxyProxy’s servers.
The proxy offers SSL encryption which means your traffic is automatically protected against spying from third parties. It supports video playback, SSL encryption, link sharing, and Android and Chrome support.
CroxyProxy has a premium version, which requires registration and costs as little as 2.60 euros per month. The premium version comes with faster servers in the European Union, server selection, which allows you to control where your traffic is routed through, removal of the 100Mb file-size limitation, customer support, and removal of advertisements.
2. Hide.me: A VPN Company With a Free Proxy Browser
Like HMA, Hide.me is first and foremost a VPN company and its proxy is merely a front-door into a VPN subscription. That means it’s a surreptitious advertising scheme for its VPN service.
On the downside, Hide.me displays a large ad for its VPN services on the bottom of the website that you’re visiting, which may make some websites more difficult to use. Fortunately, the ad can be minimized.
3. HideMyAss: Ad-Free Proxy Browser
HideMyAss’ core business model is selling VPN subscriptions. However, it also offers a completely free browser proxy add-on via the Chrome store.
It includes features like server and region switching along with no advertising. HideMyAss also has the largest selection of foreign servers. It can switch between two US servers, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the Czech Republic.
Overall, if you just want a simple way to access a blocked site in your browser, HMA is the best, no-strings option out there.
Proxy Browsers vs. VPN
Proxy Browsers compare poorly to a VPN in efficacy and security. If you want to stream video, like Netflix, a proxy’s performance oftentimes causes playback stuttering. Additionally, proxies are oftentimes blocked by most streaming-video providers.
While a proxy browser doesn’t require installation or cost money, it’s also far less secure compared to a VPN. While the providers of proxy services claim that they offer SSL-level encryption, your data still passes through their servers. And whether they monetize that information by reselling it to third-party marketing companies is unknown. However, you can have some assurance that if the product is completely free that they are likely harvesting your personal information somehow.
Unlike a proxy browser, VPNs always use comparatively high levels of encryption. Encryption prevents a third party, like an ISP, from snooping on the contents of your browsing.
Learn More About Streaming
If you would like to learn more about the streaming options available to you, have a look at our list of the best Kodi addons for live TV, movies, and TV shows.