The Best Services For Anonymous Web Surfing
You can basically fit anonymous web surfing into three categories
- Personal Safety
Here’s what I mean.
I don’t know for sure, but my general impression is that most people are just trying to get access to sites they’ve been blocked from. This could be access to Facebook and YouTube at work. It could be access to Hulu and Netflix in The UK or BBC iPlayer and Sky Player from The USA. It could be about streaming music from Spotify and Pandora, or downloading music/movies from P2P and torrent sites like uTorrent or Pirate Bay.
The point is that your IP can be a problem for a number of reasons. Without an IP from the country of the site in question, you’ll be blocked. For example, without a US IP, you can’t access Hulu or Netflix. Without a UK IP, you can’t get access to Spotify or iPlayer. But with a US or UK IP address, you could be facing fines, jail time or having your computer confiscated. In New Zealand, if you’re accused of copyright infringement, you could even get banned from The Internet!
Doing business online can be done in a number of ways. You could, of course be completely online, as I am. I run websites, write blog posts, and do all my money transfers from my home, through the internet. However, computers, phones, and the internet may be just a vehicle for your IRL business. You may need to send employees across the country or even overseas.
Even when accessing the internet from the cafe across the street, if you’re sending sensitive information, without an anonymous IP address, you’re taking a huge risk. Actually, the easiest way to monitory and intercept data is through sharing an IP address on public internet.
Even if you’re not a big time business-guy sending top secret documents about the millions of dollars your business is going to make, you personal security is still at risk on public networks. Your credit card information, you passwords, and the content of your emails/browsing session.
And aside from hackers and malicious organizations, your own ISP can monitor your activity and collect data. If they do, how they do it, and who they do it for is unknown to most users.
I guess I covered a bit of the ‘personal’ aspect in security, but it goes much deeper than that. If you’re a citizen of a developed country, sure you may talk about things like ‘Big Brother’, FBI Surveillance, and secret organizations watching you because they have nothing better to do. But there are countries out there where this is a reality.
In Egypt last year (2011), when the government found out that people were using Facebook and Twitter to organize protests, the government shut off all internet communications with these sites.
In China, thousand of websites are blocked, and no explanation is given other than “national security”.
Similar things are happening in Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait and a few other Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Internet access is illegal in North Korea.
The consequences of accessing blocked sites, or trying to unblock these sites will vary from country to country.
Access to the tools which can unblock them will vary as well. For example, in China, though it’s listed as one of the 13 “internet black holes” by Reporters Without Borders, it’s very easy to access a VPN service, connect, and unblock any site you like. Some ISPs here even sell internet packages with VPN access! I can’t say whether the same is true in other countries or not.
Whatever your reasons for anonymous web surfing, VPNs are the way to go. Excellent security, access to all websites, and a choice of IP location. For a longer subscription, you can get a VPN service for just about $6 a month. IF you sign up for one month, you can expect to pay about $10 per month. Prices will vary, and depend on whether you want a VPN for your phone or computer, how many IP locations you get, and what kind of customer support they provide. Here are my top pics.
Best VPN for Entertainment
Hide My Ass
Fast servers, unlimited bandwidth, free server switching, and a large variety of server locations means that you can access websites from anywhere in the world, and stream or download any time, all the time, and as much as you want. $6.55 per month is a price you won’t find many other places.
Best VPN for Personal Safety
No other company can boast 4096-bit military grade encryption – the standard is 128-bit. They support the widest range of devices, including phones, computers, tablets, and VPN routers. In countries where most other VPN services are blocked, 12VPN has managed to create alternate domains and give access to the users who need it most – users in China, Vietnam, Egypt, and other places in Africa, The Middle East, and Asia.
Best All Around VPN