Anonymous Web Surfing
If you want to surf the web anonymously and leave no trace of your true identity, the best way is to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. By removing your IP address, and assigning you a new anonymous IP address, a VPN will mask and encrypt all your online activities.
A VPN also allows you to get around firewalls or censorship. If you live in a country where content is censored, or if your ISP, school, or workplace blocks certain websites, you can use a VPN to browse the web uncensored and unrestricted. Additionally, some web services restrict their content to certain countries. For example, you cannot watch Hulu from outside the USA. But, with a VPN, you can change your IP address to be a USA IP address, and bingo, you’re watching Hulu!
We’ve tested and recommend the following VPN services. All are easy to set up and were found to be fast and reliable.
- HMA (Hide My Ass)
Hide My Ass installs an easy to use application on your computer that allows you to route all your internet traffic through anonymous proxy servers around the world. The Windows version includes a feature similar to the VPN Kill Switch which they call “IP Binding.” HMA is also available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. (accepts Bitcoin)
- Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access allows you to route your internet traffic through servers around the world including servers in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, and Romania, among others. A great feature of Private Internet Access, which makes it stand out from the rest, is the VPN Kill Switch. The VPN Kill Switch will automatically disable all internet access if the VPN service accidentally disconnects. This keeps you from inadvertently exposing your IP address if the VPN connection fails, if the software crashes, etc. This is an especially useful feature if you leave your computer on overnight with BitTorrent running and don’t want to run the risk of the VPN disconnecting while you’re away. Private Internet Access can also be set up on iPad, iPhone, Android, and various other mobile operating systems. (accepts Bitcoin)
BTGuard provides a fast VPN gateway as well as specialized anonymous BitTorrent software. Of the three recommended VPN services on this page, this is the only VPN that does not require you to download and install a program. BTGuard makes use of the Network Connections tool already installed on your computer to connect to the Virtual Private Network. The setup process during our testing was relatively painless — instructions were easy to follow. The BTGuard VPN proved fast for both surfing and torrent downloads. BTGuard servers are located in Canada, Asia, and Europe. (accepts Bitcoin)