Proxy vs VPN


We all want to be protected from unwanted viruses and use certain websites without revealing our identities. Doing that would be a task if we didn’t have ways to protect our network. We mostly use a VPN or Proxy for doing so, but how do we choose between both of them? The struggle is never-ending.

Proxy vs. VPN
Proxy vs. VPN | Image by Dan Nelson from Pixabay

Both VPN and Proxy networks help us in securing our personal data and assess data tools securely. Although they work similarly, they both have different functional systems. In this article, we will dive deeper into the uses, types, and preferences of both and clear the air for our readers.

VPN vs. Proxy

Let us take a look at what these two settings mean before we understand more about their similarities and differences.  VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an app-based system that protects your entire network traffic and helps you securely visit any site or app, but only while the VPN app is running. A proxy works specifically with one app or one site and secures your data for only that site or app.

Usually, a VPN encrypts your data and promises secrecy by replacing your IP address with the VPN’s IP address. A Proxy also hides your IP address in the same way, but no encryption of data is promised which may be a concern to the user. While a Proxy only secures your browser or one specific app from all the digital entities, a VPN secures all data going to or from a device. To keep all your online activities like private browsing, protection from hackers, prevention of ISP from tracking, and changing IP addresses confidential, only a VPN will reroute your internet traffic over an encrypted tunnel. While a proxy is adequate for browsing the internet and changing IP addresses, it lacks the additional functionality and high level of protection that a VPN gives.

Types of VPN

  • Remote VPN Access

Have you ever used a VPN for personal purposes? If so, you are already familiar with the remote access VPN, which is currently the most common type of VPN. In order to access a private network, remote access VPNs simply link the user to a secure remote server. Secure communication is maintained, thanks to the additional encryption. The so-called commercial VPN services are constructed on this basis. These services enable you to access the internet via their network while keeping your sent and received data hidden from nearby networks.

You can, therefore browse, in private, access online information that might otherwise be unavailable in your geography through your regular connection, and protect your data from hackers and snoopers. Easy setup and hassle-free use are remote access VPNs’ key advantages. This kind of VPN is perfect for personal use and can be readily accessed by both experienced users and newbies with the correct software. However, it might not be appropriate (and perhaps incompatible) for the needs of large-scale businesses.

  • VPN Site-to-Site

Site-to-site VPNs operate differently; their major objective is to enable many users in various fixed places to access one another’s resources. Here’s a straightforward explanation: You work for a large corporation with a branch in the east, and you’re now cooperating with staff members from a branch in the west. Your local area networks (LANs) are both connected to the same wide area network (WAN) because of the site-to-site VPN you are utilizing. In other words, information and resources can be safely shared between both branches now.

  • Extranet VPN

This is employed when a connection between two distinct intranets is necessary, but direct access between them is not possible. Working jointly between two different businesses would be one illustration of such. Large-scale business environments, where secure communication between departments throughout the world is essential, frequently use site-to-site VPNs. However, they are difficult to implement because they call for specialized tools and substantial funding. Additionally, this kind of VPN technology was created for a specific purpose and lacks the flexibility offered by commercial VPN services.

Types of Proxy

  • Forward Proxies

An individual or group of clients can receive proxy services from a forward proxy, gateway, or simply “proxy.” On the Internet, there are probably hundreds of thousands of open forward proxies. They do this to reduce and manage the group’s bandwidth usage by storing and forwarding Internet services (such as DNS or web pages). Users can conceal their IP address when accessing other Internet services or browsing the Web by using forward proxies, which can also be anonymous proxies. For anonymity, TOR (The Onion Router) routes internet traffic across several proxies.

  • Reverse proxies

A reverse proxy operates in the exact opposite way from a forward proxy, as the name suggests. A forward proxy represents clients (or requesting hosts). Forward proxies provide identity concealment. Reverse proxies can conceal the identities of servers, whereas forward proxies can conceal the identities of clients. Among the many uses for reverse proxies are the following:

  1. Distribute the load among several web servers using load balancing.
  2. Cache static material: By caching static stuff like images, you can relieve the burden on the web servers.
  3. Compression: Use compression and content optimization to shorten load times.
  • Data Center Proxies

Data Center Proxies are offered by a different company through a data center, and are not connected to an internet service provider (ISP). The user’s queries are forwarded through the proxy server, which is physically located in a data center. For those that require quick responses and a cheap solution, data center proxies are a suitable option. They are a wonderful option for those who need to swiftly obtain information about a person or business. They have the advantage of enabling quick and low-cost data collection for consumers. However, they do not provide the highest level of anonymity, which could endanger the privacy or identification of users.

How to use VPN and Proxy?

Using the VPN Server as a gateway to access the internet is a typical prerequisite for a VPN connection. This means that the VPN Server will receive all of the traffic coming from the VPN client. It is always used to bypass a local network restriction or to accomplish some other objective. Here’s how you can use VPN or Proxy on your computer or phone:

  1. Start your VPN or Proxy as soon as you are online. Between you and the internet, the private network functions as a secure tunnel. This tunnel is undetectable to your ISP and other outside parties.
  2. Your device is now connected to the private network’s local network, and you can change your IP address to one that the secure network server provides.
  3. Now that the network has protected all of your personal data, you can freely browse the internet.

You can use them effortlessly on any device by investing in a secure network, maybe a VPN or a Proxy. A paid network comes with immense specifications and premium tools to use.

Why do you use them?

The simplest answer for this is privacy. No matter how much we think our devices are secured, they are not. They aren’t secured even when they come with high-degree functions. Our personal information can be leaked in many ways to the internet. We all have the right to privacy, and our personal reasons to use VPN and Proxy may differ. One may use it for many reasons like preventing hackers or accessing some data tools, which are otherwise not available in one’s country, or to simply just browse the internet anonymously. The reasons can differ from trivial to extravagant. To secure our data and to prevent them from reaching unknown hands we use these secured and private servers.

Proxy vs. VPN – Which one is the best for you?

A VPN is preferred over a proxy even though it is slower because it provides added benefits like protecting all your sensitive data. Its connection is also more reliable as proxy servers may drop at times. A VPN is superior because it encrypts your traffic and routes it through a secure VPN server, giving you enough privacy and protection, while you use the internet. A proxy does nothing more than route your traffic through a mediating server; it does not always provide additional security. Furthermore, VPNs safeguard all of your traffic at the operating system level, unlike proxies. Hence, a VPN is the clear winner in the Proxy vs. VPN discussion.

Bottom Line

If you had your doubts about choosing proxy vs. VPN, we hope the above points provided you with enough clarification about the same. Irrespective of your choice, it would be great if you could follow some basic points when choosing a private network. You should never use free proxies or free VPNs as they have several limitations, and may do you more harm than good.

Free proxies and VPNs also come at the cost of your own privacy, which contradicts the entire purpose of using them. Premium VPNs may cost you a lot initially, but they’re always the safest option. Both VPNs and proxies can conceal your IP address and reroute your traffic through a different server, they may seem to be identical on the face of it. However, the advantages of a VPN clearly outnumber those of a proxy server. You should unquestionably select a VPN if your security and privacy are important to you. Surf safe all the tech geeks!


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