The battle between proxies and VPNs have been going on for years now, and although both are similar in function (providing you with online anonymity), they actually have a couple of differences that can ultimately define the pros and cons of using each.
So how exactly do proxies and VPNs work, and how are they different from one another> Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the differences between proxy servers and VPNs.
How a Proxy Server Works
A proxy server is a filter that acts as your “proxy” for requesting accesses to websites you want to visit. Most proxy servers, if not all, are browser-based. So, if you want to access a geo-restricted website from your current location, you can simply find a proxy server that supports that particular web content and you’re watching it in a matter of minutes. When you connect to a proxy server to access certain web content or websites, you are basically directing your traffic via another computer (which is the proxy server), and it will be the one to talk with the websites you are trying to access.
So the setup for connecting to a proxy is that everything that you do will be shared with the websites you are trying to view, but will also be shared with the proxy server as a result. This is one of the drawbacks to using a proxy server, since it can see your login credentials and other personal/sensitive information. This can be troublesome if the data were to fall into the wrong hands – and mind you, there are a lot hackers or third-party data-collecting companies that would greatly benefit from getting their mitts on your personal data.
Although you can still achieve complete privacy if you use HTTPS secured websites, you still won’t be able to maximize your security and privacy with a proxy server. So what’s the alternative?
How a VPN Service Works
Like a proxy server, a VPN also acts as your proxy to the websites you are accessing. When you are connected to a VPN network, your IP address changes altogether, so with a VPN, you can hide your real IP and have a fake one to access your desired websites.
But why do you need to fake your IP? To get online anonymity, of course. When you are represented with a masked IP, you become invisible online – which is what everyone wants to achieve with either service, ultimately. This will keep you away from all prying eyes, while also letting you bypass certain geographic restrictions at the same time. Another huge advantage of using a VPN over a proxy is that you get better security features. Since your data and traffic passes through the VPN network, everything becomes encrypted by default. Even a seasoned hacker will find it impossible to decrypt anything from a properly secured VPN network.
There is really no drawback to using a VPN network, aside from the fact that you have to scrutinize every VPN provider in the market to find a service that will suit your needs best. Note that not all VPNs are alike: some VPNs offer remarkable services, while others are just out to rip you off or worse – sell you out to data-collecting companies for a profit.
Are You Safer With a VPN or a Proxy Server?
Ultimately, you can achieve complete anonymity with a VPN, and even with some paid proxy servers. But keep in mind that when routing all your web traffic through an anonymizing tool or service, make sure that that company can indeed be trusted in the first place.
Use a service that will protect you from cyber threats, and at the same time provide solutions to your browsing needs. We’d love to help you achieve online anonymity, so to start out we’re giving out our service Proxy Server Pro for a 7-day trial so you can experience the web without restrictions and worries.