Important Difference Between Proxy and VPN With 11 Pros & Cons

Many of us use proxy servers and VPNs to hide our privacy, but do we know the difference between proxy and VPN? It’s best to explain why we are discussing the difference between proxy and VPN in the first place. First, they both share a common goal; hide your identity online.

Websites’ servers can easily distinguish geo-location from your IP address when you go online. Here’s where VPNs and proxies come in, as they can mask your IP and provide the websites with their IP address. Now, why would someone want to hide their IP address? Well, it depends on what the user wants to achieve with their anonymity. And this is where you can establish the proxy and VPN difference.

What Is a Proxy?

What Is a Proxy - Difference Between Proxy and VPN
What Is a Proxy? – Difference Between Proxy and VPN

Think of proxy servers as a “middleman” between you and the sites you visit. Usually, you can find free proxies online on a website. You click on them, enter the URL you want to visit and surf the website under a proxy server with its IP.

The key benefit of using a proxy is that you don’t connect to the site directly, so its server cannot recognize your home IP address. Instead, the proxy server’s IP is displayed, keeping your location hidden and secure.

What’s more, you can use a proxy that is attached to a specific geo-location that allows fooling websites.

Difference Between Proxy and VPN

This practice not only masks your location but can also unlock substantial savings when shopping online. For example, if you are located in the United States but connect to an e-commerce site from a country with lower prices, you might get a bargain, or a website is blocked in your region. You can use a proxy in that site’s area to access it. After that, it grants the proxy access to the website and all the information and content passed on to you.

Pros and Cons of Using a Proxy Server: Difference Between Proxy and VPN
Fast speeds, good performance overallNo encryption may keep activity logs
Provides anonymous IP addressSome services and sites block proxies
Fewer CAPTCHAs and bot checksThird parties could see your activity on servers
Doesn’t use a lot of bandwidthPrices can be expensive
Difference Between Proxy and VPN

The two most common proxy server protocols are HTTP and SOCKS:

HTTP Proxies

The oldest type of proxy server, HTTP proxies, is designed expressly for web-based traffic. You plug the proxy server into your web browser’s configuration file, and all web traffic is routed through the remote proxy.

If you’re using an HTTP proxy to connect to any diplomatic service, like your email or bank, you must use a browser with SSL enabled and connect to a website that supports SSL encryption. Proxies do not encrypt traffic, so the only encryption you get when using them is the encryption you provide yourself.

SOCKS Proxies

The SOCKS proxy system is a helpful extension of the HTTP proxy system in that SOCKS is indifferent to the type of traffic that passes through it.

Where HTTP proxies can only handle web traffic, a SOCKS server will pass along any traffic it gets, whether that traffic is for a web server, an FTP server, or a BitTorrent client.

The downside to SOCKS proxies is that they are slower than pure HTTP proxies because they have more overhead, and, like HTTP proxies, they offer no encryption beyond what you apply to the given connection.

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What Is a VPN?

What Is VPN - Difference Between Proxy and VPN
What Is VPN? – Difference Between Proxy and VPN

A Virtual Private Network, a VPN, works similarly to a proxy server. Your data moves to a server, is transferred to the destination, gets the response, and hands it back to you. However, the main difference between proxy and VPN is how the data is initially passed to the server.

You need to install VPN software to use VPNs on your smartphone or PC. Once you switch on the program, the data you send to the VPN server is encrypted by the software, making your data unreadable to stalkers. It is called a “tunnel.” You can think of it as a physical tunnel in the real world.

For instance, when you drive your car on an open road, people can easily see who’s driving the vehicle and the model and number plate. However, if you go through a tunnel, no one outside of the tunnel can tell who’s driving it or what car model it is.

Pros and Cons of Using a VPN: Difference Between Proxy and VPN

Good VPNs provide a high level of anonymityMonthly fee
Encrypts your internet connection and activityIt can slow down your connection, take up bandwidth
Premium providers have a “no log” policySome (free) VPNs keep logs
and sell your data
Protects from third-party snoops and hackersSome websites block VPN servers
you can use it with all kinds of websites and appsIllegal in some countries
Difference Between Proxy and VPN

There are different types of VPNs, including remote access VPNs, extranet-based site-to-site, and intranet-based site-to-site. 

Corporate VPN: Corporate VPNs are used by businesses to protect users and their devices, regardless of where employees connect to them.
Individual VPN: These are services that are meant for personal use.

The Benefits of Proxy Servers

Benefits of Proxy Servers - Difference Between Proxy and VPN
Benefits of Proxy Servers – Difference Between Proxy and VPN

Most people associate proxies with unblocking Netflix US/UK or staying secure on an open Wi-Fi network. However, the reality is that proxy servers can do much more and are vital for businesses. You can use them for crucial business functions, from security to customer experience.

Below are key reasons to use proxy servers that every business owner should know about:

1: Improve Business Security

A data breach can be costly regarding public image and monetary loss. A proxy can reduce the chances of a breach. A significant difference between a proxy and VPN is that a proxy server adds a layer of security between your servers and the outside traffic. This way, hackers will have trouble reaching the server where your data is stored.

2: Carry Out Important Tasks Anonymously

Proxy servers are best known for their ability to anonymize web traffic fully. Any potential hacker tracking web traffic to discover your business's development will fail to follow your employees if your company uses a proxy 24/7. Any sensitive tasks over the internet are much more secure with a proxy.

3: Balance Traffic

A proxy server creates a single web address as the access point. It will balance the requests to each server so there is no overload. All this happens in the background to ensure your website never crashes and that the customers have a seamless experience on your site.

4: Control Internet Usage

When the network is accessed via a proxy, network admins control which devices can access it and which sites they can visit, you can easily block undesirable content and pretty much any websites you don’t want your employees using during work time.

The Benefits of Using VPNs

Benefits of VPN - Difference Between Proxy and VPN
Benefits of VPN – Difference Between Proxy and VPN

There isn’t much to say about VPNs. They are great for masking your activity online. A VPN creates a tunnel from your device, so not even your ISP can see what you are sending over, meaning you have a secure, encrypted connection 24/7. It makes VPN more valuable to a single B2C client.

With a VPN, you can send sensitive information and manage finances without worry, even on a public Wi-Fi connection. The only downside is that VPNs aren’t cheap, but if you’re serious about your security, you’ll find them a worthy investment.

1: Privacy First

A VPN or Virtual Private Network secures your connection and hides your IP address over the internet. It does this by tunneling your internet traffic between your device and the internet. Besides tunneling, the VPN service encrypts and routes your internet traffic through a VPN server.

2: End-to-End Encryption

Encryption ensures that no one will know what your internet traffic entails. Hence your online activities are generally safe from sniffers, eavesdroppers, your ISP, and even the government. When your traffic is routed through the VPN server, the server assigns you a new IP address.

3: Data Security

Paid VPN services implement other mechanisms and features to ensure your data is safe, private, and secure.

Proxy vs. VPN: Difference Between Proxy and VPNVPNs and proxy servers may appear identical, but a significant difference exists between proxy and VPN. Businesses should consider the following factors when picking between a proxy server and a VPN.

Proxy vs. VPN - Difference Between Proxy and VPN
Proxy vs VPN – Difference Between Proxy and VPN

Security Difference Between Proxy and VPN:

Although they can make you anonymous to websites, proxy servers do not encrypt your connection. A web server connection using a browser is more secure than a public proxy server. Because data is encrypted before being sent to the client via VPNs, your identity is concealed from the internet and your ISP.

Privacy Difference Between Proxy and VPN:

While a VPN and a proxy server will mask the user's IP address, they work with data in distinct ways. Proxy servers act as a “middleman” between the user and the internet. They conceal the user's IP address from a web server visited by the user but do not safeguard the data delivered and received.

Using a VPN advances the procedure. The user's IP address and location are hidden, preventing their identification.

Difference Between Proxy and VPN

The user is guaranteed complete privacy since it employs end-to-end encryption to prevent an ISP or router from accessing user data. Additionally, if malicious actors cannot decode the data, even if it is intercepted, they will not be able to utilize it.

Speed Difference Between Proxy and VPN:

A proxy server is a single server that may be utilized by several individuals simultaneously. It can cause connection speed delays. A free proxy connection is likely to be significantly slower. VPN servers located a long distance from the user's location may also result in a slower connection speed. Any delays will be unnoticeable if you select a VPN service with the appropriate technology and maintenance protocols.

Proxy and VPN Benefits

Proxy and VPN Benefits - Difference Between Proxy and VPN
Proxy and VPN Benefits – Difference Between Proxy and VPN

The biggest argument for using a VPN instead of a proxy is the total encryption for all traffic you get with the VPN. a VPN is more secure than a similarly priced proxy. VPN providers maintain their networks and use their IP addresses for your connections.

The top VPN providers advertise a no-log policy, which means they don’t have data to provide to anyone about your browsing habits.

Difference Between Proxy and VPN

If you’re an IT business owner charged with data security and users, there are advantages to both, and you likely have both configured for your company. For users in the network, you might route traffic through a proxy server to log web traffic, protect the organization from malware or other attacks, and enforce a web content policy.

When users are operating out of the office, you will want to use a VPN to create a secure connection to access company resources like email, internal shares, etc.

FAQs About the Difference Between Proxy and VPN

  1. Is a VPN better than a proxy?

    Difference Between Proxy and VPN

    VPN is superior because it protects your privacy and security by routing your traffic via a secure VPN server and encrypting it. A proxy routes your traffic via a mediating server and does not provide additional protection. Furthermore, unlike proxies, VPNs protect all your traffic at the operating system level. In the proxy versus VPN discussion, the latter is unquestionably superior.

  2. Do you need a proxy if you have a VPN?

    No. Proxy functions are duplicated and expanded upon by premium VPN providers. For a rapid IP change, you might use a proxy extension, but be aware that not all proxies are secure, and some of them might gather your data.

  3. Can I use VPN and proxy together?

    Using proxies and VPNs simultaneously is possible, although configuring this can be difficult. Additionally, we advise against it because using a proxy server would only add another middleman, slowing down your internet connection with no discernible advantages. When utilizing them, it is preferable to alternate between the two.

Final Words on the Difference Between Proxy and VPN

There's more than you might think regarding the difference between proxy and VPN arguments. However, there’s no clear-cut winner. It all comes down to your web browsing habits and what you expect from an anonymizing service. For example, VPNs are an excellent option for average users, while proxies are much better for B2B clients.

Both proxy and VPN allow the user to access the web from a different location, but VPNs are more secure VPNs are to use than a proxy. VPN is a good option for those who want to encrypt their connection on public Wi-Fi networks. Whereas proxy only hides the IP address. VPNs provide more location options to the user. Therefore, users should worry about the location or place they are in and can surf the internet carefreely.

Many indicate that a VPN is more acceptable and exceptional than a proxy server. Although both services efficiently hide the user's IP address and protect them from prying eyes, the added functions of VPN make it superior, safe, secure, and private to the proxy server.

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