Many years ago it was entirely possible to hide your location by using a free proxy server to bypass blocks and filters. However times have changed massively over the last few years and for several reasons, using a free proxy from some random website is impractical and risky.
There are a variety of reasons but one of the most important factors, is the huge growth of cyber crime over the last decade or so. There are now huge, powerful criminal gangs all over the world who focus almost entirely on internet based crimes, they have the resources and the infrastructure to steal vast amounts of money irrespective of your location – they just need your identity or access to some login credentials.
Which is why free proxies have changed greatly in nature, a few years ago they were largely badly managed and insecure servers which some administrator had accidentally left open. There were a few genuine ‘free proxies’ made available by educational organisations however these mostly disappeared simply because they cost an awful lot of money to run (for no return). Many of the mis-configured servers now have been infiltrated by hackers and identity thieves – they seem usable but at the same time your internet activity is being logged and analysed, whilst malware and trojans are installed on your PC.
The risks are huge and simply not worth taking, having your identity stolen or losing access to your online accounts can be extremely expensive and a very stressful experience. So unless you know a friendly IT administrator, make sure you choose a proper legitimate service. Also forget about using proxies nowadays, they don’t protect your identity enough and are not sufficient to bypass most blocks and content filters.
The modern essential requirement for both privacy and bypassing the various filters is a VPN (virtual Private network). By using a VPN service you can encrypt all your online activity and by switching to VPN servers in different countries you can watch content and access web sites which are normally blocked due to location. The key is to use ensure that the service is is both secure and quick, a fast VPN will add little latency to your browsing and be almost unnoticeable.
If you look at the market carefully you can find some of the providers offer very sophisticated software front ends. This is especially useful if you want to access a variety of different websites across boundaries. For example you can get software that can switch you from a server in the UK to access the BBC over to a Polish proxy to watch TVN player from Poland.