Before we get to the titular question, you need to consider the value you are trying to get from proxies. When using proxies, whether they are paid or free, you are essentially trying to ensure online anonymity. What if I tell you that free proxies do not always ensure anonymity – would you still use them? By thinking about this question, we can answer briefly that it’s always a wise decision to go with paid proxies if you want to maximize the true value of staying anonymous with proxies. Let’s find out more by comparing the two different types of proxies.
Free Proxies: Pros and Cons
Of course, the biggest advantage of using free proxies is that they are free. You don’t have to fork out a single dollar for them, and you can find free proxies being offered on different websites easily. Using them isn’t hard either, simply copy and paste the IP address as well as the port number – and you’ll be good to go. If you are an SEO trying to harvest certain metrics online, free proxies might be adequate for your job. The key reason is because you are only trying to use free proxies at their most basic level which is to hide your IP address.
But what if you are using free proxies to surf the web whereby there are instances where you are actually entering sensitive data during your browsing session? This is the part where you will re-think about using proxies that are free. Because you are directly connected to them, proxies have the capability to access all your data. Many proxies are created out of malicious intent, and provided free of charge so that the proxy providers can lure people into using them.
That said, malicious free proxies can be used to steal financial information (such as when you are using a free proxy to enter bank details on your internet banking page), infect your computers with malicious code, and even keep logs of your online browsing data (it’s an irony that you used a proxy in the first place to deter this).
For non-malicious proxies that are free, you generally cannot expect high quality from them because well, they are free. Other users are also using the same proxies that you have found on a free list so this will make your internet connection slow because of the overcrowding logic. There are also free proxies that come with many ads to justify the reason of letting users utilize these proxies for free.
Paid Proxies: Pros and Cons
Paid proxies are often preferred because they generally help you enjoy the true value of anonymity online while avoiding all the issues that free proxies can bring. Because they are paid, you would expect them to help you to surf the net anonymously in a decently fast manner without being hogged by targeted ads that are placed by those free proxy providers.
When you use a paid proxy, the proxy provider that you are buying from has a duty to cater to your needs, which means that if you run into any low quality connection issue, you have someone to turn to for troubleshooting the problem. Most paid proxy providers offer 24/7 support so you can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that you won’t have to settle any proxy issue on your own.
Naturally, because they are paid, some people would say that their biggest con is the cost involved. However, let’s take one of Proxy Key’s price plans for example, you only pay $16.80 for one private proxy that comes with a dedicated IP address and your preferred GEO location. Plus, you get customer support as and when you need it. Isn’t this worth it compared to risking your online browsing data to malicious proxies or those that are so slow that you give up using halfway?
The Bottom Line
It’s almost always a better decision to go with paid proxies instead of free proxies. The amount you will pay to use a paid proxy is justified when you think of all the risks you are avoiding. If you are thinking of using proxies to watch sports, perform and carry out better SEO strategies, download torrents without getting caught, surf securely and anonymously, then anything less than paid proxies wouldn’t cut it.