Update: UK Proxy Server has been rebranded to Liberty Shield. The service infrastructure and management remain the same.
Liberty Shield is a UK-based VPN and smart DNS service that offers everything you should expect from a professional, reliable and secure VPN/Proxy provider. The service was launched in 2008 and provides you with the choice between VPN, Proxy or both solutions in a hybrid package to suit your online usage requirements.
This is a perfect option for UK residents who are looking to protect their online identity. Likewise, if you are a British expat living abroad and need access to UK-restricted sites such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, HULU, Sky Go and many more, Liberty Shield guarantees you unrestricted access through their dedicated UK servers. These servers will accommodate for fast download speeds and high-level data encryption.
The Proxy package lets you to assign a UK IP address to your web browser and is compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera. This is an ideal solution for unblocking geographically restricted content and being able to watch your favourite streams, that would have otherwise been blocked in your location. Unlike VPNs, the proxy will not lead to any loss of connection performance and is therefore ideal for streaming content. However, using a proxy will not encrypt your traffic, so if it’s privacy you are after, the next option will be more suitable.
With the full VPN package you can encrypt your entire internet connection, meaning all of your online data will be tunnelled through a secure server. Liberty Shield offers unlimited VPN bandwidth and do not throttle speeds, meaning that if your ISP provides fast fibre-optic internet, you will encounter no speed loss issues when downloading or streaming content. You will also be provided unlimited server switches by country and will be able to access the internet through each of the available servers including locations in USA, UK, other EU countries and New Zealand. VPNs are a lot more secure than proxies, thanks to the encryption methods applied when handling your traffic. It is common to experience slight loss of speed when using any VPN, but unless you are connected to an extremely distant location, slower numbers in a speed test will not noticeably reflect through worse performance.
Software and compatibility
Liberty Shield offers custom-made software applications for Windows, Mac and iOS systems. The Windows client is compatible with XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8, and allows users to quickly connect to their chosen VPN location. Similarly, the Mac client also provides access to all available servers and is compatible with Mac OS 10.7 and higher. iPhone and iPad users can take UK Proxy Server out on the go by downloading the free app, which is available from the Apple App Store.
For this review, we took a closer look at their Windows client, which took little more than a minute to install from the moment we downloaded the initial setup file. The installation process completed itself almost instantaneously, prompting to automatically launch the app. On the surface, the client looks very simple with its one screen broken up into two very basic step. The first step prompts us to enter our login, which was send to us by email, after we had registered with the service; the second step asked to choose our server location and encryption protocol (between PPTP and L2TP). Once we had picked a location and security level, we were good to go by pressing the green Connect Now button. After a 3-5 seconds, the button colour changes to red, indicating that our VPN connection had been established, and at this stage we were able to begin testing the server connection speeds.
On a quick side note, it’s important to mention that the service doesn’t leave out Android and Linux users, who are also able to utilise Liberty Shield and its VPN on their respective operating systems. Although the process is manual, the configuration is not as difficult as it may first seem. There are lots of useful setup guides that can be found on their website to help you get your VPN up and running. The company also offers prompt online chat support to help with any questions regarding configuration and accounts.
Now that we were connected, it was time to conduct a few speed tests using their servers. For the test, we chose three popular locations – UK, Ireland and Spain. We ran the tests out of the United Kingdom, using a 15Mb/s broadband connection. Our aim was to see how short the ping response was and how closely the download speed could match our original connection whilst using the VPN.
1. United Kingdom (London, PPTP)
We firstly tested a London-based server in the United Kingdom. The result was close to 10 Mb/s, with an excellent ping response of 16ms, indicating that if your own internet speed is much faster than ours (i.e. fibre-optic), you will get equally as good results based on your initial connection capabilities.
2. Ireland (Dublin, PPTP)
Our second server test was run through Dublin, Ireland. The result showed an impressive 7 Mb/s and a very good ping response at 24 ms. Having browsed using this server for over an hour, we did not experience any lag or random disconnections. This server would be ideal for both Ireland residents and anyone requiring an anonymous IP based in the country.
3. Spain (Madrid, PPTP)
Our third and final test was run through the Spanish capital of Madrid, with which we achieved 8.22 Mb/s in download speed. This server is optimal for holiday makers who are bound to use unprotected hotel WiFi networks whilst on vacation, and is likewise suitable for any Spain residents and expats who wish to encrypt their internet traffic at home.
Another great addition to their catalogue is the pre-configured MicroTik router, with which you can encrypt your entire home internet connection and secure every single device connected to your local WiFi network. The router is powered by a 300MHz processor, offering faster VPN speeds in comparison to standard routers. When connected, the router is capable of matching up to 25 Mb/s over wireless signals and up to 30 Mb/s through a wired connection (depending on your original internet speeds). It also comes with a built-in antenna that supports 802.11b/g/n wireless AP. The routers can be ordered with either a UK, US or a Euro power supply cable, depending on which country you will be using it in.
- Unblock your web browser with Proxy
- Encrypt your entire internet connection with VPN
- Unlimited server switches on VPN package
- Watch UK TV, access blocked websites
- 128-bit and 2048-bit encryption
- PPTP, L2TP and Open VPN encryption protocols
- Torrent/P2P data allowed via Dutch server
- Pre-configured VPN routers
- 24-hour money back guarantee