VPN And Proxy: Pros And Cons
When it comes to VPNs vs proxy servers and which to choose, there are pros and cons for each option. Proxy servers are usually the cheaper and quicker choice and are really handy if all you want to do is hide your IP address. But VPNs offer much greater security by encrypting all your online traffic.
This means that only a VPN can help you protect your online activity from hackers, government agencies, and businesses that might be looking to learn more about you and how you spend your time while surfing the internet.
But there are still loads of benefits of each option. Weve pulled together a list of pros and cons to help you decide if you want a proxy server or a VPN.
What Is The Difference Between VPN And Proxy Which Is More Secure
Cybersecurity is becoming an important issue in todays era. Both the prying eyes and hackers are getting experienced and malicious in gaining access to our personal information and data. This situation is increasing day by day and every other day or week we see news about leaked data, encryption, prying, and other digital privacy concerns.
For the sake of protection and security of the internet traffic data and activities and to use the Internet safely without any fear and concern, users either use a VPN or proxy service. Both of these methods are known best for keeping the identity anonymous and hiding the IP address, however, the functioning ability of both the technologies differs from each other.
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Proxy Vs VPN: Which Is Right For Me
Privacy and security matter these days, regardless of if its your company data or your own personal data you need to protect. Make sure youre investing time and money into the correct tools for your security goals: both proxies and VPNs add an additional layer of security and privacy to your data.
If you want to enable your team to work remotely with secure access to the company resources, set up and maintain a VPN users to access the network with the VPN.
If your concerns are more around what websites are my users hitting, a proxy server is a better tool.
To get the most bang for the buck , . For the most part, VPN services allow you to use servers in different locations to work around content restrictions. If you need to use a free proxy server occasionally for that purpose as well, just be aware of the risks.
If youre just starting to implement your data security strategy on an enterprise level, there are more complex attack vectors to account for. Insider threats, APTs, privileged account escalations along with plain old social engineering are just as dangerous to your data as an unencrypted data stream.
Neither a proxy nor a VPN will protect you from 100% of the cybersecurity threats your company will encounter: they wont stop an insider from stealing personal data, a ransomware attack, or a coordinated infiltration effort.
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The Difference Between Proxy And VPN
Now that you know how the two server types work lets see the difference between a proxy and a VPN.
As I mentioned above, to keep in mind those two points from each server, you might have already spotted the difference.
Basically, point from proxies and point from VPNs are almost the same: they both connect their users to websites and display their details as being their users. So websites wont know the real location and IP address of users connecting through proxies and VPNs.
From this point of view, a website cant identify if youre using a proxy or a VPN, because both of them hide your IP address. The web server cant possibly know or make a difference.
Their similarities end here because they achieve this anonymity in different ways.
Heres point from proxies: the user sends his requests to the server.
And heres point from VPNs: the user connects securely to the VPN server.
This is a significant difference in how they work. A device connected to a proxy will start sending its requests without any prior connection.
While a device connecting to a VPN server first connects securely to the network and then tunnel its requests through it.
This is the main difference between the two.
You should use a VPN to hide your Internet traffic from your ISP and local government .
ISP Internet Service Provider a company offering access to the Internet.
And you should use a proxy server to hide your real IP address and location only from the websites you want to access.
Can I Get In Trouble Using A Proxy Or VPN
Yes, you can get in trouble depending on where you are located.
For example, VPN usage is either restricted or blocked in several countries such as China, Turkey, Russia, or Iran.
As a matter of fact, in China, according to ZDNet, one guy was arrested for distributing a VPN illegally.
It is not the usage per se that gets you in trouble, but what you plan on doing with proxies and VPNs. If you want to do illegalities, then yes, you can get in trouble using either one of them.
ProtonVPN has more info on what countries restrict VPN usage and to what extent.
Countries where VPN usage is restricted
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What Is A Proxy And How Does It Work
A proxy is a remote server that acts as a middleman between you and the website youre visiting.
If youre using a proxy, your internet traffic will flow through the proxy server on the way to the web address youve requested. The proxy will connect to the website on your behalf, retrieve the contents of the web page, and then forward the information to you.
The main benefit of using a proxy is that you dont connect directly to the websites you visit. If configured correctly, this means that websites wont be able to see your IP address. Instead, they see the IP address and location of the proxy server keeping your true location a secret.
This means you can use a proxy server located in a different country to access websites that are geographically restricted. Some proxies even allow you to choose the location youd like to connect from.
Using a proxy is therefore great for simple tasks like watching region-restricted videos or .
Most people use web proxies in their internet browser. You simply install the proxy as an extension and then enter the URL you want to visit.
Good proxy servers can also improve performance by saving copies of a website locally. This means that if one hundred people ask for the same website simultaneously, the proxy server only needs to send one request to that website. This process is known as proxy caching.
To summarize, a web proxy will:
A Connection With VPN Is More Reliable Than With A Proxy
VPN is focused on securing the data and keeping a stable VPN connection to prevent any information leakage. To ensure that VPNs have better server configurations and hardware, compared to Proxy servers. Consequently, these servers are constantly maintained to ensure the entire system is running efficiently hence highly reducing breakdowns that are experienced when dealing with proxy servers.
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What Should You Use A VPN Or Proxy Server
When it comes to proxy vs. VPN and which one to use, the differences between the two might help you decide whats the best choice for you.
If you want to hide your IP address, using either a proxy server or VPN will work. And if youre worried about browsing speed, and youre only worried about hiding your IP address from a single site or app, then a free proxy server will do the job.
If cost is an issue, then connecting to single sites, apps, or file-sharing services through a proxy server might be the smart move. Its easy to find free proxy servers that will hide your IP address.
But if you want to keep your browsing activity hidden from snoops, logging onto the internet through a VPN is the better choice. Again, it comes down to encryption: VPNs encrypt your data while online. Proxy servers dont.
If you plan to access several sites while online, especially if youre connecting to sites such as your bank account or credit card portal, a VPN provides more security.
And while many of the preferred VPN providers will charge for their services, this price might be a small one to pay if it means that your most sensitive personal and financial information is shielded from the eyes of online snoops.
VPN Providers Promote Online Privacy
If you want total privacy, work with a VPN provider that has a no-log policy. No log means the providers pledge not to track and store your activity while you are using the service to connect to the internet. This means that these providers wont have any data to give to anyone else who wants information about what sites you browse or files you share. On the other hand, a free proxy may monitor traffic and sell data to third-parties.
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A What Is Tor Advantages Of Tor
- If you are looking for anonymity on the web then Tor would be the right pick for you. It will work by letting your internet connection bounce off several nodes or relays that are run by volunteers.
- The Onion Router or Tor allows you to browse the web anonymously. You will have a decentralized system that will enable you to connect with the help of a network of relays without using any direct connection.
- Opting for this method will let your IP address stay hidden from the sites you browse through by bouncing your internet connection from one server to another server randomly by losing their trail.
- People choose Tor because of its ability to set up so easily. Plus, it is also free to use as well.
The Main Differences Between VPN And Proxy Servers
Both Proxy servers and VPNs achieve the common goal of hiding the users IP address from the website they visit when acting as an intermediary. Therefore, they may seem quite similar when viewed from this bearing, but this is the only similarity between these two services.
Here are some essential differences between VPN and Proxy servers:
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How Did A Proxy Servers Work
- When you connect to proxy server, this asks the user about the remote host with which the user required to establish a link for the communication . It also asks the user ID and password required to access the services of the proxy server.
- Now When you send a web request, your request goes to the proxy server first.
- The proxy server then makes your web request on your behalf, collects the response from the web server, and forwards you the web page data so you can see the page in your browser.
- When the proxy server forwards your web requests, it can make changes to the data you send and still get you the information that you expect to see.
Paid And Free Versions
Each service provided by Private Proxies and VPNs has paid and free options. You will open yourself up to malware, questionable contracts, and a slower connection if you will go on free route. If you are running a business and you need the services to crunch the numbers or you are getting it for personal purposes like entertainment subscription, i.e. Netflix or Amazon Prime- you definitely need to make the investment for proxies a real step.
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What Is A Proxy Server
Proxy servers act as relays between the website youre visiting and your device. Your traffic goes through a middle-man, a remote machine used to connect you to the host server. The proxy server hides your original IP address so that the website sees the IP of the proxy . However, proxies only work on the application level, meaning it only reroutes the traffic coming from a single app you set your proxy up with. They also dont encrypt your traffic.
There are three main types of proxy servers:
- HTTP Proxies These only cater to web pages. If you set up your browser with an HTTP proxy, all your browser traffic will be rerouted through it. They are useful for web browsing and accessing geo-restricted websites.
- SOCKS Proxies These proxies are not limited to web traffic but still only work on the application level. For example, you can set it up on a game, video streaming app, or a P2P platform. Although they can handle all kinds of traffic, they are usually slower than HTTP proxies because they are more popular and often have a higher load.
- Transparent proxies These are a different kind of proxy because their users are usually unaware of their existence. These proxies can be set up by employers or parents who want to monitor users online activity and block access to specific websites. Hotels and cafes use them to authenticate users on public Wi-Fi and companies or home users might also set them up to save bandwidth.
The Main Differences Between VPN And Proxy Services
Here is a quick comparison between the two:
- VPNs encrypt your traffic while proxy servers dont. A VPN service protects you from ISP tracking, government surveillance, and hackers. Proxies dont, so they should never be used to handle sensitive information
- VPNs work on the operating system level and reroute all your traffic while proxies work on the application level and only reroute the traffic of a specific app or browser
- VPNs can be slower than proxies as they need to encrypt your data however, there are ways you can improve your connection and browsing speeds
- VPNs are usually paid while many proxy servers are free
- A VPN connection is more reliable while proxy server connections drop more frequently.
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What Is VPN Used For
Using a VPN allows browsing the internet with enhanced privacy levels. Furthermore, it can unlock geo-blocked content and ensures that all internet communication from the users device is encrypted.
On a businesss level, the use of a VPN only comes in handy to secure the employees devices while being connected to other networks, e.g. WIFI public spaces. However, a business wouldnt use VPN as proxy to perform web data gathering operations, as it is simply not built for this kind of purpose.
In a nutshell, a VPN will translate your original IP address into a new one, ensuring higher anonymity level as your real IP address is hidden. It will allow accessing geo-blocked content, and perhaps most distinguishing feature in comparison to a proxy server is that it will encrypt all the internet request coming out from the users device.
How Do I Choose A Good VPN
Here are the important selection criteria to choose a VPN:
- Fast Speed: VPNs can be slow, and therefore, it may be hard to stream video online. You need to first try out the VPNs. If the server speed is good, then you can buy it.
- Large server network: It is good that you choose a VPN having more proxy servers at multiple locations. This will provide you enough choices to locate server locations.
- No traffic restrictions: Many VPNs block P2P networks and movie streams. This will also restrict your downloading bandwidth per month. It is crucial that you go for VPNs that do not have such limitations.
- Zero-logging policy: If your VPN does not have a zero-logging policy, it is potentially harmful to your privacy. You need to make sure that a virtual private network must not store any information that belongs to you.
- Kill switch: This is an important security feature that helps you to instantly disconnect from the Internet. Kill switch can keep your IP address and identity secure. Ideally, you can check such a feature before choosing a VPN.
- Ease of use: VPN software should be user-friendly so that you can easily get stress free experience. It must be easy to install without having technical knowledge.
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Pros And Cons Of VPNs
Using VPN brings many benefits:
- All the network traffic between you and the VPN server is encrypted, so that makes it almost impossible for anyone to see what websites you visit or what services you use on the internet.
- VPNs hide your real IP address. Websites and internet services can only see the VPN server’s IP address.
- VPNs hide your real geographical location. The internet thinks that your location is the location of the VPN server that you are using.
- Using a VPN server can help you bypass geographical restrictions. You can access content available only for some countries or regions if you connect to a VPN server from those regions.
- Your network traffic can’t be sniffed because it’s all encrypted.
- There are plenty of VPN providers that offer paid services, as well as free VPN servers.
Although VPNs have lots of advantages, there are also some not-so-positive features that you should consider:
What Is A Proxy
Normally when you browse the web, your computer connects to a website directly and begins downloading the pages for you to read. This process is simple and direct.
When you use a proxy server, your computer sends all web traffic to the proxy first. The proxy forwards your request to the target website, downloads the relevant information, and then passes it back to you.Why would you do this? Theres a couple of reasons:
- You want to browse a website anonymously all traffic appears to come from the proxy server, not your computer.
- You need to bypass a content restriction. Famously, your UK Netflix subscription wont work in the USA. But if you connect to a UK proxy server it looks like you are watching TV from the UK and everything works as expected.
Although they work very well, theres also a few problems with proxies:
- All of the web traffic that passes through a proxy can be seen by the server owner. Do you know the proxy owner? Can they be trusted?
- Web traffic between your computer and proxy, and proxy and website is unencrypted, so a skilled hacked can intercept sensitive data in transit and steal it.
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