Options for not using a VPN
If you cannot or do not want to use a VPN, here are several interesting alternatives to browse the Internet with privacy and security.
SmartDNS to replace a VPN
SmartDNS is a service that uses a domain name server (DNS) and works similar to a proxy server, redirecting our Internet traffic through a remote server so that your IP and location cannot be deciphered. However, it does not redirect all of our Internet traffic, like a proxy or VPN server would. Instead, it mostly redirects your DNS queries to its remote servers. DNS queries involve a user’s device requesting information from a server. However, unlike proxy servers, this alternative does not hide our public IP address. SmartDNS what you do is change the location of your device so that it can access geographically blocked content.
In addition to not involving any encryption, SmartDNS can offer a considerably faster connection speed than a VPN can. On the other hand, some websites trace your IP to the VPN server and then block our access because we are hiding our IP.
One very important thing to consider is that SmartDNS does not hide our IP address nor does it encrypt our data. Therefore, it is a good option for those who only want to access geo-blocked sites and content, but not for users who want to increase their security and privacy.
zero trust networks
Zero Trust Network Access whose initials are ZTNA, involves providing negotiated access to data and applications within a network. This way of working has a focus on security and privacy. Here users have to verify their identity compulsorily in order to access content and software.
Thanks to this type of technology we get the services of a VPN and we also work with a principle of zero trust. In the case of ZTNAs, we could say that they are more for large corporations with many users. Its goal is to prevent cybercriminals from infiltrating an entire network because they are limited to what their verification can give them access to. Thus, in the event that an attacker gains access to a network, zero-trust security means that more obstacles will have to be faced before accessing other areas.
On the other hand, it should be noted that a user using ZTNA gains access through an encrypted tunnel and their IP address is kept hidden just like a VPN would. You may also be interested in knowing about Zero-Trust VPNs.
Among the tools that we have at our disposal to be able to improve our anonymity when browsing the Internet and that can also replace a VPN, we can mention the proxy server. Basically we find a computer equipment that acts as an intermediary between a client and a server.
The way a proxy server works is very simple. When we make a request, it goes to the proxy server and is then sent to the destination web page or service. What you are going to see that destination page or service is the proxy IPs, so our anonymity is achieved. Then a response is sent to the proxy which returns it to us.
We also have to take into account some important things regarding a VPN:
- Proxy servers do not encrypt our Internet connection like a VPN would.
- A proxy works at the application level, for example through our browser. Instead, a VPN works at the operating system level so it affects all applications.
- The cache data used by proxies allows them to remember information such as our passwords, so this is an aspect to take into account.
A VPN server can be a good alternative to replace a VPN if what we want to do is hide our public IP and have access to geographically blocked content. However, we must be careful because sometimes our data could be sold to third parties, such as browsing history.
Finally, you may be interested in trying this list of free proxy servers to hide your IP.