Anonymizer Private Surfing 2.1 review: Anonymizer Private Surfing 2.1

  • 1
MSRP: $29.95

The Good Proxy servers create anonymous e-mail, chat, and newsgroup sessions; easy to use; good help system; nice phone support.

The Bad Tools are inflexible and can slow Internet access.

The Bottom Line Your identity is safe with Anonymizer, but its yearly subscription fee is less attractive than Steganos Anonym's onetime price.

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7.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 6
  • Support 9

Anonymizer Private Surfing 2.1 is a duo of tools that route all your online activity through Anonymizer's proxy servers to conceal your identity. They do their jobs well, but inflexibly; you can't tell them not to block something specific that you want, and the anonymizing-via-proxy-server process definitely slows Web access. And, unlike the $25 Steganos Anonym 5.0, this $29.95 package is a one-year, subscription-only service. For that one reason, we like Steganos slightly better, although Anonymizer is equally good at protecting your privacy.

Anonymizer Private Surfing 2.1 consists of a 3MB toolbar app and a 1MB secure-tunneling app. Unfortunately, each has to be downloaded and installed separately. Anonymizer places a plug-in toolbar within your Web browser's toolbar and a separate icon in your Windows system tray for the secure-tunneling software. Configuring the separate Anonymizer Secure Tunneling software is complex, but help screens walk you through setting up your online apps to be routed through Anonymizer's proxy servers.

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The Anonymizer Toolbar is merely a button that turns a suite of tools on or off.

The Anonymizer toolbar plug-in hosts seven tools that basically switch your originating Web address to the Anonymizer proxy server, thus concealing your identity. The toolbar plug-in is just an on/off switch. To configure its contents, click the Set Custom link on the toolbar, which brings up a separate page to adjust each tool's settings.

We found Anonymizer frustrating at times. The toolbar plug-in is turned off by default, and it must be turned on again with every new browser window. We also experienced occasional problems keeping our custom settings from session to session. For example, we turned off all but one tool, then chose the Save Settings > Lifetime option to make the settings permanent. However, the next time we opened our browser and checked our customized Toolbar settings, only some of the tools remained in their custom settings.

The Anonymizer Toolbar's seven tools block cookies, disable pop-up and banner ads, hide browser and OS information, and keep Web sites from seeing your browser history. JavaScript and pop-up window blocker options are included, but only as beta features.

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