VPNs and proxy servers both protect user identities and are great tools for for accessing content securely. Since both of these services can get the job done, people tend to speak of them interchangeably. However, one protects your privacy, and the other one does not. Proxy vs VPN — how are they different?
May 03, 2021 · 4 min read
Proxy servers act as relays between the website you’re 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 (in some cases, the computers of other proxy users are used for this). 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 don’t encrypt your traffic.
There are three main types of proxy servers:
Like a proxy, a VPN also reroutes your internet traffic through a remote server and hides your IP address so websites can’t see your original IP or location. However, it works on the operating system level, meaning that it redirects all your traffic, whether it’s coming from your browser or a background app.
A VPN client also encrypts your traffic between the internet and your device. That means the Internet Service Provider (ISP) monitoring your internet activity and collecting data about you can no longer see what you’re doing online – just that you’re connected to a VPN server. The encryption also protects you from government surveillance, website tracking, and any snoopers or hackers who might try to intercept your device. A VPN provides you ultimate online privacy and security.
It’s important to note that both VPN and proxy providers can log user data such as user IP addresses, DNS requests, and other details. You should avoid such providers because they can give this information to law enforcement agencies, advertisers, or hackers if their servers get breached. To keep your activity online truly private, look for a provider that has a strict no-logs policy.
Here is a quick comparison between the two:
Yes, a VPN is better as it provides privacy and security by routing your traffic through secure VPN servers and encrypts your traffic. A proxy simply passes your traffic through a mediating server but doesn’t necessarily offer any extra protection. Moreover, unlike proxies, VPNs work on the operating system level to secure all your traffic. In the proxy vs VPN debate, the latter is a definite winner.
No. Premium VPN services do the same things as proxies and much more. You could use a proxy for a quick IP change, but keep in mind that not all proxies are safe, and some of them may collect your data.
VPNs and proxies can be used together but this can take some work to configure. We also advise against it as the proxy would simply add another middle-man that slows down your internet connection without significant benefits. It’s better to switch to one or the other when using them.
Free proxy and VPN services might come at a cost of your security and privacy. Since developers have to make money somehow, they can snoop on your data in the background, bomb you with adware, or limit the amount of data you can use.
Premium VPNs invest heavily in their infrastructure and provide you with top-notch encryption. They offer you a rich server base, 24/7 customer support, and continuous improvement of their services. We recommend avoiding free proxies and free VPNs, as a couple of saved bucks might cost you much more in the long run.
A VPN and a proxy are similar because they both reroute your traffic through a remote server and hide your original IP. However, a VPN is superior to a proxy server in many respects. If you care about your privacy and security, you should, without a doubt, choose a VPN.
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