Anonymous proxies can be a very useful privacy tool, hiding your IP address from websites, and perhaps allowing you to bypass local restrictions on the websites and pages you can visit.
The technology can also be complicated, interfering with your regular network settings, and drastically cutting your online performance, of course. But Freegate proves that it doesn’t have to be that way.
The program is a compact 2.75 MB download, for example, with no installation required, no extra network layers to cause other issues: close Freegate down and your system will be back to normal.
It’s simple to use, too. After a one-time opening screen, where it asks whether you’d like to use its own servers or restricted Chinese offerings (it’s developed for use in China, though works well elsewhere, too), Freegate quickly finds a few servers and redirects your web traffic through them.
Once its working, the program will then open a browser window at a Chinese-language site, but otherwise there’s no adware or ads to worry about (and even that initial browser launch can be turned off in the settings).
And there are one or two configuration options which might be handy, too, like the ability to delete your IE history when Freegate closes (there’s no support for other browsers, though, unfortunately).
Performance during our tests wasn’t bad. Inevitably, there are some issues; pages might take longer to load than expected, and a few would freeze occasionally. But overall it worked well.
If you want an easy way to bypass some IP-related restriction on your general browsing, then, Freegate is ideal. It’s small, simple and won’t get in your way.
But as with most similar free tools, there’s no way to tell how secure your traffic really is. And so if you want to do anything sensitive – shopping, online banking and so on – then we’d recommend you close it down to restore your normal network settings, first.