Proxy vs. VPN is a constant battle that never seems to end. Everyone knows how vital web security and privacy are, so people are trying to find a tool to equip them with all the necessary features.
Both proxies and VPNs seem to provide their users with the safety and anonymity features so many people are looking for, making it increasingly challenging to choose one out of the two.
If you’re struggling with the same issue, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll analyze the essential proxy and VPN features to provide informative details regarding the similarities and differences between proxies and VPNs. Read on to find out more!
Web Proxies Defined
Proxy servers have been around for some time now. They’re special servers that act as a gateway between web browsers and websites.
When internet users go online, all their requests go directly from their computer or another device. As a result, web pages can gather information about the web browser and IP address that has accessed their domain.
However, that’s not the case with a web proxy. When you use a proxy server, all requests and data travel through that server before reaching your web browser and device.
Proxies are intermediary tools that hide the user’s IP address and instead use one of that proxy server’s IP addresses for sending out online requests.
Moving on to VPNs, they’re also designed to reroute internet traffic via a remote server and hide the user’s IP address in that way. However, VPNs are software solutions that you typically install on a device, protecting the whole operating system from dangerous people and harmful data lurking online.
Since they were developed after proxies, the main goal of VPNs was to give users everything proxy servers did and more. Well, VPNs accomplished that by introducing data encryption.
That means ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and web owners can’t see what you’re doing online, so you can enjoy significantly higher privacy and anonymity.
What Makes Them Similar
Some people think proxies and VPNs are the same. We’re not surprised, as these servers have several features in common:
- They Both Hide IP Addresses: Proxy and VPN servers have the elementary function of hiding the user’s IP address. That prevents website owners and cybercriminals from getting hold of the IP information that can reveal the real-life location.
- They Enable Anonymous Web Browsing: As more and more people become interested in online anonymity, very few feel comfortable with other people following their every move online. Proxies and VPNs both enable an utterly private web browsing experience.
- They Allow Viewing of Geo-blocked Content: Not all internet content is available worldwide. Plenty of data is geo-blocked, meaning that internet users can’t access it from some locations. Proxies and VPNs are excellent solutions to get around geo-blocking.
How They are Different
Proxies and VPNs are similar solutions, but they also come with their own set of differences. Consider the following features proxies and VPN servers don’t share:
- Protection: Proxies reroute traffic from a specific browser or app, while VPNs redirect traffic from an entire operating system.
- Encryption: VPN servers encrypt data and traffic, while proxy servers don’t. As a result, VPNs can protect users from ISP tracking, hackers, and government surveillance.
- Speed: In some cases, VPNs are slower than proxies. That is because VPNs first need to encrypt data. However, premium VPN solutions offer high-speed browsing to their clients.
- Price: Most proxies are free, while quality VPNs require a paid subscription. However, free proxies are not secure, so we recommend opting for a paid solution. Still, even those are typically more affordable than a VPN.
Choosing the Right Option for Your Needs
Even with all the available proxy vs. VPN comparisons, internet users can’t decide which option to choose.
While both are great, the best solution will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
If your goal is to track your internet usage and you want to upgrade online safety and privacy at a low cost, a proxy server is more than enough. It will provide you with the elementary features for a safer browsing experience.
However, if you want to treat yourself to the ultimate online anonymity and security levels, a VPN is a better solution. Nothing works better than VPN software for enhanced privacy, improved protection, and data encryption.
To sum up, proxies and VPNs come with their similarities and differences. Choosing the best solution for you depends on personal preference because these tools will equip you with different advantages.
We strongly recommend implementing either (or both) of them, as they will significantly increase your online privacy and protection. Your online security and data are at risk without a proxy or a VPN.