Best free proxies of 2024

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(Image credit: Shutterstock) (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best free proxies should provide the same basic functionality as paid-for services, such as IP masking and providing access to geo-blocked websites, without breaking the bank.

Proxies aren’t as effective at providing security and privacy in the same way the best VPNs can, but free proxies are a good choice for those looking to protect their digital footprint on a budget.

To test the best free proxies, we looked at how safe they are to use, their efficiency, and ease of use and tutorials across manual setup and accessing blocked content. We also looked into how well free proxies integrate with other apps and how well they work with multiple users.

For those looking for additional premium features, you may want to check out the best proxy, or the best proxy for data centers. Here are our top picks for best free proxy service: 


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We've also listed the best proxy sites.

The best free proxies of 2024 in full:

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Best free proxy overall

Website screenshot for IPRoyal

(Image credit: IPRoyal)
Versatile with plenty of options

Reasons to buy

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Versatile proxy network
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Direct support available - 24/7/365
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A lot of free proxy IPs available

Reasons to avoid

-
Proxy speeds can be a little slow

With over 8 million IPs, IPRoyal is one of the more popular proxies on the market. Based in the United Arab Emirates, the service offers a variety of proxy solutions - datacenter, sneaker, residential, and 3G/4G/5G mobile proxies.

IPRoyal has a list of proxies on their website which are free of charge to use, and the company states that the list is updated every ten minutes. There are thousands of HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS proxies on the list, located in many different countries, and they are all carefully selected and tested.

On the off chance that users aren’t satisfied with those proxies, the company also provides a free trial of their services, which include the mentioned proxy solutions, like residential or datacenter.

Live chat and email support are available 24/7/365. Even though the phone support is missing, in general, the support agents are swift and knowledgeable, so you shouldn’t wait too long to get a response.

While IPRoyal might not seem like a free proxy in a traditional sense, the extensive list they provide is surely something worth considering.

Read our full IPRoyal review.

Best free proxy for city-specific servers

Website screenshot for Hide My Ass

(Image credit: Hide My Ass)

2. Hide My Ass

Strategic server locations

Reasons to buy

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City-specific servers
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Can encrypt URLs

Reasons to avoid

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Confirms before loading website

Our second pick on the best free proxies list is Hide My Ass. This popular provider has turned into a household name in the proxy landscape. HMA ensures smooth, unrestricted web access. Over the years, it has garnered the trust of millions of users worldwide with its consistent, high-quality service.

HMA was founded back in 2005. Thus, it boasts one of the lengthiest track records in the privacy business. Leveraging HMA, you can access free proxy services in several ways. Among them, pointing your browser at its proxy page is the simplest. 

HMA's proxy servers are spread in Germany, the United Kingdom, the USA (New York and Seattle), the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Its exclusive privacy features include the option to hide destination links from snoopers, disable cookies, remove scripts, etc. 

HMA allows you to unblock sites efficiently. Its extension is identical to a VPN app. All you need to do is to choose a location, and your browser traffic will be redirected through a server in that country. 

The proxy also features a WebRTC blocker. This helps reduce the room for IP leaks.

As an added advantage, HMA utilizes cutting-edge encryption standards to protect your browsing data from potential cyber threats. However, it might not be the best choice for complex tasks as its free version has certain limitations. 

For instance, while accessing sites via HMA, you won’t get regular Java script support. You may need to take HMA's second proxy route to dodge this inconvenience. 

Best free proxy for web scraping

Website screenshot for ScraperAPI

(Image credit: ScraperAPI)

3. ScraperAPI

Supports automatic retries

Reasons to buy

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Ideal for web scraping
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Vast IP pools
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Features intelligent routing 

The next on the list is ScraperAP. Unlike HMA, ScraperAPI doesn’t limit itself to lightweight browsing. Instead, it seamlessly serves developers and companies involved in heavy web scraping tasks. 

With its pool of over 40 million IPs, ScraperAPI ensures a high success rate while extracting data from websites.

This API-based proxy service intelligently routes your requests through different IPs, reducing the chance of getting blocked. It also automatically retries failed requests, ensuring a smooth scraping experience. However, due to its highly technical approach, non-tech-savvy users might find it challenging to operate ScraperAPI.

Best free proxy for security

Website screenshot for Hide.me

(Image credit: Hide.me)
Multiple server locations to bypass geo-restrictions

Reasons to buy

+
Advanced encryption
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Clean and easy-to-navigate user interface 
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Supports various protocols, including SOCKS, PPTP, and L2TP

Our next pick, Hide.Me, is a Malaysia-based provider. Though a little less popular than HMA or ScraperAPI, Hide.Me is a stalwart in the proxy and VPN industry. While the free version has some limitations, it still delivers a seamless experience for basic internet usage. Its significant server locations facilitate unrestricted access to geo-blocked content. 

However, it may not be the best fit for resource-intensive tasks like high-definition streaming or large-scale web scraping. Unlike HMA, Hide.Me’s free version doesn't come with an auto-hide feature. 

Read our full Hide.me free proxy review.

Best free proxy for ease of use

Website screenshot for VPNBook

(Image credit: VPNBook)

5. VPNBook

Easy to install and set up

Reasons to buy

+
Free access
+
Unblocks US Netflix
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Simultaneous Device Connections

VPNBook is an entirely free proxy service known for its simplicity and efficiency. While it doesn't offer a broad feature set like HMA, Hide. me, or ScraperAPI, VPNBook is perfect for users seeking straightforward, unrestrictive web access.

The provider offers various server locations, including the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, and Poland. Multiple server locations allow you to bypass regional restrictions and access geographically locked content.

It uses military-grade encryption to protect your data. The typical encryption algorithm used is AES-256, which is widely regarded as secure. 

What’s more, different governments and corporations worldwide rely on AES-256. It's virtually uncrackable, providing strong protection against data breaches. Furthermore, the provider supports protocols like PPTP, OpenVPN, and SSL-based 2048-bit encryption as well.

Unlike many other free VPNs, VPNBook doesn't impose a bandwidth limit. In addition, VPNBook is compatible with various platforms, such as Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. This wide compatibility allows users to use the service on virtually any device.

However, the speed might vary depending on the server load and your own network conditions. This could consequently affect activities requiring a stable connection, like streaming or online gaming. Lastly, torrenting is not recommended if you’re using VPNbook.


Best free proxies FAQs

1. Can I use a free proxy for streaming?

Yes, you can use a free proxy for streaming. However, the streaming experience might not be optimal due to bandwidth limitations and speed issues.

2. Are free proxies safe?

While free proxies offer anonymity, they may not provide the same level of security as premium services. Always opt for reputable providers and read their privacy policies carefully.

3. Can I use proxies for web scraping?

Yes, some proxies like ScraperAPI are specifically designed for web scraping tasks. They offer a large pool of IPs and intelligent routing to avoid getting blocked.

4. Do free proxies keep logs?

Policies vary among providers. While some like Hide.Me and VPNBook follow a strict no-logs policy, others might keep some user data. Always read the provider's privacy policy before using its service.

5. Can I use a free proxy for P2P file sharing?

While it's possible, many free proxies block or limit P2P traffic due to legal and bandwidth issues. It's better to use a VPN for such purposes.

6. How to set up a proxy server?

To modify or set up a proxy server on Windows 11, you need to access the proxy settings first. Start by opening Settings, which you can do by pressing Windows + I. Then, navigate to the 'Network & internet' section on the left. Here, you'll find the option for 'Proxy' on the right side.

Within the proxy settings of Windows 11, you'll notice the "Automatically detect settings" option is enabled by default. This feature is particularly handy in many corporate environments where proxy settings are often distributed via DHCP or group policies. These settings are automatically applied by your laptop or PC when you connect to the corporate network. Business users should ensure this option is activated. If not, they can simply click or tap on it to turn it on. For manual configuration of proxy settings, it's essential to have the specific IP address and port number of the proxy server you plan to use. Once you have this information, navigate to the Proxy page in the Settings app and click or tap the Set up button adjacent to “Use a proxy server.”

In the “Edit proxy server” dialog box, activate the “Use a proxy server” option by clicking or tapping on its switch. After enabling it, you can then proceed to fill in the necessary information.

7. Are proxy servers illegal?

The act of utilizing a proxy server is not inherently illegal, but the legality of its use is contingent on the purpose and the jurisdiction in which it is employed.

There are regions where employing a proxy to circumvent internet censorship or to access restricted websites is deemed illegal. Conversely, in other countries, the use of proxies for privacy protection is both legal and supported by law.

Conclusion

While you may opt to go for the best offering overall due to all of its “bells and whistles,” that doesn’t mean that it is the best option for your needs. Once you figure out why you need a proxy and how you will use it, figuring out which one to choose from the list above will become easier. A general rule of thumb is to pick the one with the best security options, easy setup, and a UX that is to your liking. If there are free options, we always prefer taking a test drive of all free options before making our final decision.

How to pick the best free proxy 

Before we delve deeper into the topic, let’s help you understand how to evaluate a free proxy. Here we go!

Check for security

Free proxies often feature significant pitfalls. They may include malware-ridden ads, traffic monitoring risks, inadequate encryption, cookie theft, and privacy violations. You should be extremely careful when choosing your free proxy server. 

HTTPS support is a priority, as connecting to a non-encrypted server can expose your data to unauthorized access. 

In fact, it may elevate the chances of leaking important credentials or private communications. You should be extra mindful of these because some free proxy servers force their users to load pages in their unencrypted form. Don’t fall into that trap. 

Furthermore, many free proxy operators attempt to generate revenue by embedding exploited ads into the content. This may make you a victim of malvertising. In addition, they may steal cookies that store your login credentials. 

Consider the risks when choosing your free proxy server to avoid nasty instances. 

Ideally, you should look for an alternative that offers AES 256-bit encryption and a no-log policy, ensuring top-notch security. 

Weigh the performance 

Free proxy services can sometimes compromise performance. Slow speeds and limited bandwidth can make your browsing experience frustrating and time-consuming. This becomes even more concerning when you use your free proxy to carry out data-intensive activities like streaming or downloading.

Remember, free proxy servers are extremely popular. Hence, they manage a massive number of concurrent connections. This may lead to connectivity and performance issues. 

You can go through reviews and testimonials to measure the performance and reliability of your chosen server. Alternatively, you can look for services with unlimited bandwidth. This will help you obtain a smooth and seamless experience. 

Does it hide?

When it comes to using a proxy, the primary goal is, indeed, maintaining anonymity. However, while all free proxy servers claim anonymity, most fail to stick to their promise. 

A handful of proxy servers have advanced attributes like IP rotation, ensuring more anonymity. Such servers change your visible IP address, allowing you to secretly carry out your web-scrapping activity. 

Check for global coverage

The number and spread of servers as proxy providers may significantly impact your browsing experience.

Providers with many servers across multiple countries are often better at bypassing geolocation restrictions. This allows you to access a wider range of content that may not be available in your location. Therefore, consider the geographic coverage of the proxy servers when selecting your provider.

Test for convenience

A user-friendly interface can greatly enhance your experience, especially if you're a beginner. Proxies that are easy to set up and navigate can save you time and frustration. 

Look for services that offer clear instructions, intuitive controls, and responsive customer support.

Measure the Compatibility

Not all free proxies can work well with your device, so before signing up with one, carefully check if it's compatible with your device and operating system

Additionally, look for a service that supports simultaneous connections to use the proxy across multiple devices and operating systems.

How we test

We test by evaluating numerous factors. To start with, we look at the feature set, the range of tools available, and what size of businesses this would be ideal for. We consider how easy the setup is, the simplicity of the interface, and whether there's sufficient documentation and tutorials for users to utilize necessary options optimally. 

We assess how well the service integrates with other relevant apps, and check the overall scalability of the service. We also analyze whether there are collaboration features for multiple users, and lastly, we judge the quality of the customer service and the different pricing plans available.

Read more on how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.


Get in touch

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict has been writing about security issues for close to 5 years, at first covering geopolitics and international relations while at the University of Buckingham. During this time he studied BA Politics with Journalism, for which he received a second-class honours (upper division). Benedict then continued his studies at a postgraduate level and achieved a distinction in MA Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy. Benedict transitioned his security interests towards cybersecurity upon joining TechRadar Pro as a Staff Writer, focussing on state-sponsored threat actors, malware, social engineering, and national security. Benedict is also an expert on B2B security products, including firewalls, antivirus, endpoint security, and password management.

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