Free vs. paid proxies: pros and cons

22 February 2022

On Astro, a trusted proxy website, anyone can buy the best residential, mobile and datacenter IPs or try them for free. We offer geo targeted proxies as well as static, rotating, individual, anonymous, etc. In this post, we’re going to break down the differences between free and paid proxies. You will get an insight into what ‘free’ and ‘paid’ means and which is better for specific cases.

Should I opt for a free or a paid proxy? What are the differences between them? These are the understandable questions all proxy users ask. Even on trusted proxy websites they offer services for free. This means you can try proxies and then buy the best residential, mobile or datacenter types. For example, on Astro you can choose a free trial and then decide if you are ready to buy our proxies (geo targeted, anonymous, transparent, shared, static, rotating, etc.). 

Many websites offer free proxies but in fact they come at a certain price. A user is tempted to pick a free service; meanwhile what they get is a pig in a poke. Look sharp — there are a number of services to fool you around!

The pros for using free proxies

  • They are easy to find. Search engines are here to help you find popular and trusted proxy websites. Check out review sites to pick the best of the best.
  • They are always available: at any time, to anyone.
  • They serve the basic purpose of hiding a user’s IP address whenever they access a restricted website.

And the risks are...

  • Security, safety, encryption. Here’s where you should look for a trick, if any. Free services are always about online protection. When a proxy provider avoids answering security questions, it’s an alarm bell.
  • In reality, free proxies offer little to no protection from various outside threats, including malicious software attacks, traffic interceptions and data theft. Poor encryption is another stepping stone because free proxies almost always lack it. The last thing users want to do is send unencrypted data to an unauthorized third party. Are you ready to send your full credit card info in plain text to someone you don’t know? Are you ready to share your personal pictures with a stranger? You plan to use proxies for security, don’t you? So you need to find and buy the best datacenter, residential or mobile ones. Thus, with a trusted proxy website you can be 100 percent certain that all of your valuable data is safe.
  • Free proxies are often dead ones. This means that when you find a list of proxies, chances are most of them are blocked. With a public proxy list you are sharing IP addresses with other users who care less about IP bans. Well, in our practice, in a free proxy list with thousands of IPs on it only a mere 1 percent of that list fits for work.
  • Slow is how free proxies usually work.
  • Poor maintenance, lack of customer support, unprofessional attitude is what you often meet on free proxy websites. Such treatment cannot be trusted. What if the service crashes or if your device gets infected with malware? You want to turn to a specialist who quickly solves the issue. Unreliable providers of free proxies are far from the best experience, whether you try datacenter, residential or mobile IPs.

And once again, free proxies are only advertised as such. In reality, as soon as you sign up, here and there you see a bunch of costs. Hidden or not, they are only found once you’re already working in the system.

You could use them to access a couple of restricted websites to view specific content, that’s all. When reliability, protection and flexibility is key, use a paid service only.

The pros for using paid proxies

We’ve covered that for a stable, fast, trustworthy connection you need to pick paid proxies. They are what serious people choose for their personal or business tasks like geo targeted data collection. Paid proxies also offer a lot of features and benefits we are going to review below.

1.      Higher level of security

Opting for paid proxies you can rest assured that no unauthorized third party will get their hands on your valuable data. With paid services from a known provider you get access to a clean pool of IP addresses. They are carefully selected, whitelisted and will not let you down.

2.      More reliable

This implies that residential or mobile proxies you buy are available exclusively to you. With free proxies they are shared between countless users across the world, so no wonder 98 of 100 are banned. Besides, paid ones offer IP rotation, which enables you to work with a live, whitelisted IP address no matter what.

3.      Better anonymity

Paid services ensure you a high level of anonymity. You are not to be tracked in any situation. Geo targeted proxies ensure flexible capabilities meaning that you can easily choose a target location. Europe, USA, Australia, Russia — countries and regions, cities or Internet service providers to your choice. Astro’s extensive pool of more than 100,000 IPs per day and 1,000,000 unique IP addresses per month is growing all the time.

4.      More professional support and maintenance

The price you pay for the best datacenter, residential and mobile proxies includes great maintenance and customer support. Oftentimes, you get 24/7 support via a variety of communication channels. Check out our contacts where you can connect with us or ask your question in a live chat on the site.

Signing up for a free proxy service may be tempting, yet your online security is at stake. Remember, that for casual purposes free proxies are good but if you’re serious about your security, or if you want to find a reliable proxy solution to support your business needs, then you’d better consider choosing a trusted paid proxy website.


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