Proxy vs VPN – What’s the difference? Lets take a look

Many people confuse proxy networks and a VPN service. It is true that in many cases they have the same utility when it comes to avoiding geoblocking and the like, but an essential difference is that you do not get the same privacy protection through a proxy.

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Both VPN and proxy work great if you intend to hide your original IP address or Bypass Geo-restricted content. But the way VPN and proxy achieve these goals is very different. And to make things easier here in this post we have a detailed guide, on what is VPN and proxy, how these services protect your online activity from hackers and what is the main difference between proxy and vpn. so let’s start.

What is a proxy and how does it work?

A proxy or proxy server is an intermediary between your device and the internet. That means all your data or requests are sent through a proxy server which will then connect to the page your want. Usually, proxies are used for different reasons including efficiency, privacy and security. using a proxy server you can browse the internet anonymously, unblock or bypass geo-restrictions, save on bandwidth for faster connectivity, load balance between services and more.

How does proxy work?

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Usually, a proxy server retrieves data out on the internet, such as web pages, on behalf of a user. For example, normally when a computer wants to view a web page on the internet you just open up the web browser and then type in the address bar and retrieve that web page from its web server. but when you go through a proxy server the proxy server will act like a middle man and will retrieve that web page for you. so when you want to go to a website the proxy server receives the request from your computer and the proxy server directly retrieves the web page on your behalf and then send it to your computer.

what is proxy server

In practice, if you have set up a proxy network correctly, you should be able to visit websites without information about your location and IP address being left behind. This can be beneficial if you are going to try to bypass geoblocking or just want to visit a page without cookies and other personal data being stored.

The more advanced proxy solutions will also let you choose where you want to connect so that you can choose the country or area you want to appear as a visitor from. This applies in particular to websites that send content or news that is geo-blocked outside the country’s borders.

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The advantage of a proxy is that it is installed directly in your browser and thus only affects traffic from your browser. If you use Firefox or Chrome, there are a number of good alternatives with a stable connection and high speed that are controlled directly from the browser.

Many people also find that surfing can be faster with a proxy because the proxy server likes to store a version of the website locally known as “proxy caching”, this means that it can retrieve the page more quickly without having to load the entire structure again.

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The only disadvantage of a proxy server is that a proxy server cannot encrypt data. And when the data is not encrypted that can be intercepted by hackers, ISPs, or governments with the proper equipment, so this is where a VPN comes in.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

A VPN stands for virtual private network and works in the same way as a proxy when it comes to masking your original location, as well as creating a virtual presence somewhere else. It is on security that VPN really differs from a proxy and we will look at this in a little more detail now. The reason why many choose to invest in a VPN service is the possibility of being anonymous online and the security this offers for your privacy.

A VPN or virutual private network not only hides hides your IP address but it also encrypts the data thas being transferred between your computer and the internet.

More and more VPN services offer extensive encryption as part of their security protocol and the physical servers are most often equipped with no-log protocols. This means that no user data is stored on the physical servers to prevent leaks should someone seize or break into a server park.

The premium selection of VPN services today offers AES-256 bit encryption, which is the same security level that both the Pentagon and the Norwegian Armed Forces use for their computer networks. In other words, you can encrypt your private data stream with the same security as military networks.

Another point that differentiates VPN and proxy is the level of protection they offer on your device. A Proxy will only collect data from your browser and send this through a proxy network, while a VPN will encrypt all information from your device through its network.

Last, but not least, VPN services are also most often offered by larger companies with a clear infrastructure. For you as a user, this means better speed, effective prices and, not least, the opportunity to contact customer service should problems arise.

How does VPN works?

When you connect to a VPN service, it provides a dedicated secure tunnel between two points over the internet. And all data go through the secure tunnel which is highly encrypted and secured, no one can brake it even your Internet service provider.

How a VPN works

Proxy VS VPN: The main differences

Below we have collected some of the biggest differences between a proxy network and a VPN solution. The list is not exhaustive but is intended to show roughly what the differences between the two services are in terms of privacy and security.

A VPN and proxy server both mask your IP address. But a VPN will also encrypt the data you send and receive, something that a proxy server doesn’t do.

  • A proxy works at the software level, while a VPN works at the device level. In practice, this means that a proxy server will take the information from your browser and send it through a proxy server. A VPN, on the other hand, will send all information from your device through the VPN server
  • A premium VPN encrypts your information stream, while a proxy leaves you visible online. This means that when you connect through a VPN service, it will be virtually impossible for third parties to track or monitor what you are doing. If, on the other hand, you only use a proxy, they will still be able to monitor the data stream.
  • A proxy server is usually faster than a VPN. If you connect through a proxy, you will often find that the speed is faster than if you use a VPN. An important point to remember, however, is that connection through VPN is often far more stable than a proxy.
  • A premium VPN costs money, but proxy networks are usually free. Serious VPN operators require payment for their services, but in most cases, you can obtain free use of a proxy network.

What is the best of Proxy and VPN?

There are some similarities between proxy and vpn but the main difference is that a proxy easily bypasses a geobock but a VPN is a more compact security measure for your privacy. If you only need to circumvent a geoblock as quickly as possible, a proxy may be sufficient, but if you want to remain anonymous and leave as few traces as possible for third parties when you surf, you should definitely get a VPN.

proxy acts as an intermediary, while a VPN offers privacy, security and support.

The main function of a proxy is that it hides your original IP address and makes your online search history a little more private than if you had surfed without it. However, only data from your browser is masked and not everything else such as applications, e-mails and the like.

However, if you switch on a VPN, all outgoing data from your computer or mobile will go through the VPN network and be completely encrypted. This makes it virtually impossible to track your location, and hackers and unwanted entities will have much more difficulty seeing what you are doing or which page you are visiting.

Something important to note is that a proxy server is not considered a privacy tool, but rather a solution for faster surfing and avoiding geoblocking. VPN services, on the other hand, are comprehensive privacy solutions that make it difficult for both the internet provider and other actors to follow what you do online. Everything you do will be under heavy encryption, while both location and activity are hidden.

If we are to decide what is best for the vast majority of users, the choice will quickly end up on a VPN rather than a proxy. The reason behind this decision is the comprehensive security that serious players offer and should you choose ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Cyberghost or SurfShark, you will get comprehensive security protocols for privacy without significantly affecting the speed of the network.

Video – Difference between VPN and proxy

FAQ

Is it safe to use a proxy server?

As long as you do not process sensitive data or have a need for anonymity, a proxy will in many cases be sufficient to avoid geoblocking. On the other hand, if you use public networks or send sensitive information, we recommend using a VPN.

Are VPN services legal?

VPN solutions are fully legal in the vast majority of countries as long as the activity you do is also in accordance with the legislation. If you use a VPN to download illegal films, it will be illegal regardless of whether you use the VPN or not.

How much does a VPN cost?

There is a lot of competition in the VPN market and the vast majority of players are at a price between $3-$6, which is equivalent to a large cup of coffee. In other words, a small price to pay for increased security.

Are there free VPN services?

There are some players who offer free VPN services, as many proxy networks do, but we generally recommend that you stay away from these. The reason for this is that unclear user conditions and poor capacity often make them not very user-friendly.

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