How (and why) to surf the web in secret

Essential tips and tools for hiding your IP address and surfing the web in blissful anonymity.

By Brad Chacos, PC World |  Security, privacy

The three web proxies identified above are long-standing and well-trusted, however, and each offers a paid subscriber service that nixes the speed and content complaints. and also maintain extensive, frequently updated lists of web proxies.

Manual proxy servers

Some proxy servers don't have a simple website interface, but still allow you to utilize their service for anonymous browsing. You just need to manually configure your browser to connect to the proxy's IP address. As with web-based proxies, you'll want to shy away from revealing sensitive information or passwords with a proxy server.

Hide My Ass and ProxyNova keep two of the best lists of active proxy servers, with each individual proxy's speed, uptime, country of origin and level of anonymity clearly identified. (You want an anonymous or high anonymous proxy server, of course.)

Once you've picked a proxy server, you'll need to configure your browser to connect to it, a simple procedure that's slightly different depending on your browser. Here's how to do it on the big three:

Internet Explorer 9: Navigate to Tools > Internet Options > Connections tab > LAN Settings. Check the Use a proxy server box and enter the port and IP address info for the proxy server, then click OK. If the proxy you chose uses a secure or SOCKS connection rather than HTTP, enter the settings in the Advanced option.

Firefox: Click on the Firefox button and navigate from Options > Advanced Tab > Network Tab, then hit the Settings button in Connections.

Chrome: Click the Wrench icon choose Show Advanced Settings > Change Proxy Settings, then simply proceed as you would with Internet Explorer.

Hide your IP address with a VPN

Virtual Private Networks are a good option for people who want an anonymous yet speedy connection and don't mind paying for the privilege. Premium VPNs maintain dedicated proxy servers for their users. Your connection is encrypted and the websites you visit see the VPN's identifying information, not your own.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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