The primary purpose of Proxies and VPNs is to establish the factor of privacy for your internet ventures. Both of these technologies allow you to browse over the internet anonymously, and they execute that task by hiding your IP address along with directing your traffic via an encrypted tunnel.
However, the Proxies vs VPN debate starts as per the processes that both technologies utilize while delivering security.
One can say that VPN vs Proxy comparison is wrong, to begin with. They both can protect their users’ identities and help in accessing all types of geo-restricted content. Although there is a massive difference between these technologies, one protects your privacy at another level while the other does not.
There is no doubt that the privacy of our data or our overall activity over the internet is not secured. There are hackers out there who are continuously trying to exploit your accessible content, Govt. Agencies constantly keep tabs on their citizens and other sensitive organizations, trying to track what sites you visit, your downloads, and the links you click while browsing.
All of this creates a need for securing your internet browsing. The most famous technologies available in the market for providing internet security are VPNs or Proxies. They both hide your locations and ISP addresses from all kinds of tracking activities.
One thing that Proxies do not deliver is the encryption of your data during your web browsing. Only a VPN does this.
- User’s Guide for the Selection of VPN or Proxy
- Servers – Proxy Vs VPN
- Proxy – Discussion
- VPN – Discussion
- Proxy – Drawbacks
- VPN – Drawbacks
User’s Guide for the Selection of VPN or Proxy
Nowadays, there are several incidents where people have their data getting leaked, and data breaches are becoming common, data collection, tracking, Govt. agencies spying, etc. All of these security concerns can be pretty overwhelming.
An everyday joe might get distracted, concerned, and feel helpless in that situation. That’s why we here at TechNinjaPRO have always told our audience to beef up the security of their devices to gain protection from hacking and phishing attempts.
How can you secure your internet browsing? You can connect your internet surfing via a VPN or Proxy. A Proxy and a VPN direct your internet traffic via a remote server which helps you in unblocking the restricted content not accessible in your country.
But how can you choose what is the best choice for your needs? Well, you might be amazed when we tell you this, the selection of a VPN or Proxy is pretty straightforward. It all depends on what your requirements are.
When to use a Proxy
If you require unblocking the geo-restricted content on the internet, you can use a Proxy without having a second thought.
When to use a VPN
If you are concerned about the following points, then a VPN is the best choice for you:
- Unblocking of content (websites, streaming websites, geo-restricted content).
- Security measures like protection of identity via many servers.
- Website getting directed through a VPN tunnel where data gets encrypted.
- Coded transfer of files.
- Full anonymity.
- Getting your entire device (including multiple applications) protected under the umbrella of a VPN at the same time.
- You don’t want anyone to keep logs of your internet activity.
Giant companies in the VPN industry like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark VPN are based in countries like The British Virgin Islands and Panama. These areas of the world have strict security policies, and no one can get up (even the Govt.) and ask for your data (even forcibly) from these VPN companies.
So, right now, VPN is the ultimate security-delivering technology all around the globe when it comes to “secure internet browsing.”
Servers – Proxy Vs VPN
If you are stuck in between the debate of Proxy Vs VPN, and you have some difficulty in choosing what to use for your internet security, then here’s a layout of the fundamental differences between them.
VPN and Proxies provide:
- Private browsing over the internet.
- Streaming videos (accessing streaming websites not available in your country).
- Accessing geo-restricted content.
- Downloading those files safely.
- Sending Emails securely.
Working & Functioning
Based on their workings and how they function, there’s a noticeable difference.
A Proxy server is a computer that acts as an intermediate between you and a server. Its principal function is to act as a gateway wherever you go online. A Proxy will serve as an external host server. How will this benefit you?
The function of the Proxy is to hide your IP address and hide your location from the tracking bodies i..e. Proxy protects your identity. Any of the websites that you’ll visit or try to gain access to, the P2P files that you would share, all will happen via the IP address belonging to that Proxy server.
Moreover, a Proxy server functions in such a manner, it acts as relays between the website you are trying to visit and your device. Your traffic gets redirected via the middle-man (Proxy server), a remote machine working independently to connect you to the host’s server.
Even though your IP address is hidden during all of this process, Proxies only work with a single website or an individual application (with which you’ll set your Proxy with). It will not encrypt your traffic and will not work once you switch to another website or application.
A few of the significant types of Proxy servers are:
- SOCKS5 Proxies
- Transparent Proxies
- HTTP Proxies
SOCKS5 Proxies are famous for not only giving you access to websites where data can be accessed but also it can unblock any video streaming site, blocked online games, and file-sharing services.
These SOCKS5 Proxies are used by a considerable number of users worldwide. However, the SOCKS5 Proxy is slow and has fewer configuration options. Its support structure is also flawed, along with its slow speed.
SOCKS5 Proxies are slower than HTTP Proxies.
As the name suggests, this type of Proxy is transparent, and one can be using this type of Proxy without even realizing it. Many parents, schools, institutions, and companies use transparent Proxies to filter the internet user’s content and block their access to the websites of their choice.
The best server in the industry of Proxy is the HTTP Proxy server. You can use this Proxy to access:
- Geo-restricted content
- Restricted videos/content
The HTTP Proxies will hide your original IP address and show the HTTP Proxy address you use to access that content.
Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, is a series of virtual connections distributed and routed over the internet. It encrypts your website traffic and data that you transfer (P2P), and it travels in-between your chosen server and the device on which the VPN is installed.
Most of the VPNs are famous as per their considerable number of servers spread all across the globe along with their security protocols integrated into their systems.
Some of the most famous VPN security protocols are:
These VPN security protocols encrypt your data and are responsible for delivering the ultimate security that you require.
VPN servers work and function in such a manner, data gets transmitted from your VPN provider’s server to their machines. The integrated VPN protocols encrypt your requested data along the way. It also applies a process called split-tunneling while transferring that data. Once your data reaches your device, it decrypts, and the access is then given to you.
Proxy – Discussion
We can term Proxy as a gateway that allows you access to anonymous web browsing and gives you access to restricted content. You’ll find several free Proxies on the internet. These free Proxies serve the purpose of unblocking geographically restricted content.
Proxies mask your IP addresses and misdirect the tracking software that is placed for tracking your internet activity. You will be able to easily bypass any of the firewalls set by your company, websites, your country, or even by your ISPs.
However, internet security is not something that is a strong point of Proxies. The technology used by Proxies is not that efficient in delivering privacy while surfing over the internet.
VPN – Discussion
In contrast to a Proxy, a VPN functions in a much different manner. If you have a VPN service provider installed in your computer or device, what it does is the VPN client on your device establishes a secure tunnel with the VPN server of your choice (or automatically connected server). This action replaces your local ISP (internet service provider) routing.
A VPN does not stop there. It goes on to do encryptions and helps you in the security of all of your network traffic.
For instance, you are in a coffee shop or some public place where you need to access the internet urgently. What will you do? You’ll connect your device to the public wifi available in that area. Now, is that public wifi secure or not?
This public wifis is never secure. You never know whether someone has launched that wifi in public as a disguise to steal information and data from its connected users. Several incidents like these have occurred where people’s private data was leaked or stolen by potential hackers also connected to that same network.
One can say that a VPN is very similar to a Proxy, but not entirely. A Proxy will only work with the website of your choice, whereas a VPN will work every time, irrespective of how many times you try to access various websites or use several apps of your choice.
Like Proxies, a VPN will also shield you by giving you an IP address once you log in to the internet to access the restricted content. However, once you jump onto another site in the case of Proxies, the Proxy will no longer function, and this will expose you to the potential hackers and tracing bodies out there.
A VPN does not do that. Once you have a VPN provider’s server address linked to you, you can browse over the internet all you want, and no one can track you along the way. This keeps your identity shielded 24/7. You can visit websites, watch videos, send Emails, or share/download files, all of your traffic would be encrypted and almost impossible to decode.
Note: One thing that needs mentioning here is that you should never use free VPNs as they have limited features. There is a chance that they have logging policies integrated into their products, which creates a threat that your personal information might get shared with third parties. This loophole is the reason for never using a free VPN service.
Proxy – Drawbacks
When you use a Proxy, there are a few drawbacks to it. Technology is not perfect, and there is always some kind of imperfection embedded into it.
A few of the drawbacks of using a Proxy are listed below:
- Performance issues in streaming and downloading files.
- Many people using the same server can slowly cause the Proxy server to load and unblock web pages.
- High and low times of the day where a lot of traffic is passing the same server simultaneously. Load issues.
- Security threats are always there like:
- Cyber attacks.
- Networks can be easily infiltrated.
- Stealing private data is accessible as walls of security are not as strong as a VPN.
- Proxies store your data, and they can sell your data to third parties. They store your browsing habits, track your activity, store your username & passwords; thus, there is no anonymity.
A Proxy only unblocks content for you that is not accessible in your country. The promise of security is not there. However, Proxy’s counterpart “VPN” is the ultimate security tool for browsing over the internet.
VPN – Drawbacks
Talking about the drawbacks in the debate of Proxy vs VPN, we can safely say that VPN is more secure than a Proxy, although some issues are found in the VPN technology.
A few of the found issues in VPN or Virtual Private Network are as follow:
- Once you connect to a VPN server, your connection might slow down your CPU & internet speed. It varies from server to server, but the factor of slow downloading/uploading speed is there.
- VPN technology is not cheap. It’s costly and not as easy to manage in comparison to using a Proxy.
- The factor of complete anonymity is also not guaranteed by a VPN. If you use a VPN like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark VPN, then there might be some protection you’ll get in the department of anonymity. Still, there is always some loophole via which a user might get affected.
- The majority of VPNs that are not integrated with AES-256 encryption tech might not completely encrypt your web traffic.
- VPNs work well in unblocking content. However, websites that require a login, passwords, financial information, and online payment options, even a VPN, can’t guarantee total security. Some people suggest using the HTTPS security protocol when you log on to websites like these, so you’ll get an extra layer of protection.
VPNs encrypt your information, and they promote your online privacy, while Proxy connections can be slow and unreliable. VPNs do cost more than Proxies, however, if protection is what you are looking for then the debate about Proxy vs VPN should convince you to go for a VPN.
Here’s a list of the Best VPN Services in 2021. You can check that out, and see what the VPN industry has to offer.