About those proxies, I’m fairly certain proxies don’t provide encryption. That said, if you want to avoid being spied on by your ISP or big brother, I wouldn’t recommend using a proxy. I would also recommend avoiding any PPTP connections to VPN servers. If they don’t provide any other connection methods (such as OpenVPN), you should avoid them like the plague.
I like TOR. I also like VPN providers that do not log the users’ activities.