Aside from the more obvious reasons here in the west, there are other and more serious reasons for making yourself anonymous online. Countries that prevent access to certain sites or types of material, for example, or individual service providers who do so.
One way to add a layer of deception to your connection is to use a proxy server, which sits between you and the rest of the internet, and acts as a go-between. The main points in favor of this are that it can be cheap, or even free, and protects you from being detected by your IP address and traced from there onwards to your computer. But there are some significant downsides, too, aside from the need to install software on your own computer.
Proxy servers are well known, and in many cases, their own IP addresses are on file and can be accessed by the public. That means that anyone trying to prevent their use can also find them, and block those addresses along with the addresses of sites they don't want you to visit.
Further, the free proxy servers are also extremely slow, and may have other restrictions such as preventing file transfers. You may be able to use one for basic web surfing, if your service provider allows it, but it's still going to be so slow, it may not be worth your trouble.
Even if you're using your own laptop computer in a store or restaurant, the service providers for many "hotspots", even those used by adults, will impose some degree of censorship and that can be pretty random, too. SiteJabber, for example, has been banned from a network for 'unspecified' reasons, leaving everyone wondering where and what the naughty bits are. But also banned, are so-called "anonymous gateways" which are web pages allowing direct access to proxies without the need to download software.
Lastly, although there are some "highly anonymous" proxies that aren't on any or many lists, they're expensive to use and harder to find.
One alternative is to use a VPN, or "virtual private network" system. These were originally used for businesses, allowing their remote operatives to connect to company networks using encrypted "tunnels" to prevent the public collecting private data that would otherwise be floating around in the ether. They were expensive and exclusive, but very safe. It was and still is common for a corporate VPN user to carry a physical digital "key" with a long number that changes in value every day, and which, along with a private password, makes the system about as secure as it can get.
Now, that technology is available to consumers, too. You aren't likely to have a huge corporate network that you want to connect to from afar, but you might have a home network, or want to operate one computer from the safety of another. And in the case I'm about to describe here, you can use the encryption plus a VPN server to get around all sorts of national and international restrictions with a considerable degree of safety.
So, sorry for the long preamble, but on to hostizzle.com and an explanation of this relatively new start-up and its services.
Hostizzle, despite the name, has serious applications. It's a VPN server in the USA, and it uses (or as we say these days, "leverages the power of") a free VPN client called OpenVPN. It will utilize any other client, but OpenVPN is free and easy to install so let's stay with that.
By downloading the OpenVPN client and installing it, you create one end of the tunnel but you still need a certificate which opens up the tunnel at the server end. This comes from the hostizzle site, and it's free, and needs only to be renewed every 30 days. The only information hostizzle asks for, is an email address, and it also collects the IP address you connect from. So with only a little thought, you can arrange to be entirely anonymous at this stage. Your current IP doesn't have to be one you regularly use, or it could be something like a hotspot that several people use. You get the idea.
Once you have your certificate package, which you can also download as a self-installing application, you should be able to fire up the OpenVPN application and watch as it creates an encrypted connection to the web. If it works first time, you may then go to an IP checking site such as whatismyip.com and find out whether your IP address has changed. Then you can do a "reverse IP lookup" and you should find that wherever you really are, the internet is showing you as being in the USA. And since the connection is encrypted all the way from your computer to the server, nobody can know what you are uploading or downloading.
The service should allow you to access sites previously barred to you because your IP address can be traced back to a particular country or establishment. To the sites you are visiting, you are entirely transparent and the only object they will see is another server in the USA.
You'll already know if you have a need to try this out, so all that remains are the details. Firstly, the basic package is free, and allows you a substantial 100 Gigabytes of traffic per month. If you need more, a touch over $2 gets you 350 Gigabytes and for five bucks, you can put your name on a terabyte of data, which should keep even the busiest downloader happy. Why so cheap, when average prices are around ten times this? According to the site owner, the price of bandwidth has dropped so much that a terabyte is only going to cost him a dollar. And that means lower prices to customers too.
There are just a couple of cautions to mention. Firstly, you'll have to consider the potential risk of dealing with someone you don't know, and trust that the terms of service are honest, i. E. your data is not being tracked secretly. Obviously such a revelation would kill the business, so the chances are slim, but if you're a conspiracy theorist you'll already have worked out that this is a secret government-run project. Not an American secret, there aren't any of those left, but someone else's.
Secondly, the business might not last for one reason or another, so you might want to use it for free at least initially. Though frankly, a couple of bucks a month seems worth the risk and that, of course, is why it's priced so low.
I set this up myself on a couple of machines and it's running fine, as far as I can tell, right now. My "location" has moved about 3000 miles from where I was earlier in the day. I did have some problems getting OpenVPN up and running with the configuration file that hostizzle provided, but there's a lot of information around about the program and it didn't take too long to get right. Whilst I don't have the time to set myself up as tech support in general, if you do want to give this a go and can't seem to get it going, drop me a message and I'll see if I can help.