The debate of proxy vs VPN is never ending. Users are still unsure to opt proxy or VPN either for their online privacy. However, a general rule of thumb suggests VPNs are ideal solutions since they offer better functionality and options to netizens.
Users often confuse functions and benefits of a VPN with a proxy. Nevertheless, a VPN and proxy can be contrasted in several ways. In fact, Users must adopt aforementioned tools in compliance with the issues encountered. In this article, I will compare and contrast features and benefits associated with a VPN and proxy so that you can select the right tool as per the nature of issues encountered.
In this post, I will try to differentiate between VPN vs proxy by examining different characteristics of both services. By doing so, you can make a better decision about your privacy timely.
What is VPN and how does it work?
If you do not know what VPN is all about, I tell you. VPN is a short abbreviation of Virtual Private Network. The usages of VPNs are unlimited as multiple subscribers can connect to the same VPN service simultaneously.
It works through the combination of tunneling protocols and encryption that create virtual connections among devices and VPN servers. As a result, you can spoof your online locations from ISPs and hackers. This is because they cannot trace what you do over the internet.
What is proxy and how does it work?
In my opinion, a proxy acts like an intermediary between you and the sites you actually visit. In this process, it keeps the record of most visited sites. Hence, you can access them at a faster pace anytime. Furthermore, it helps you to unblock your preferred content.
Likewise, it can also block content as per your wish. You can differentiate between what is proxy and what is VPN through various attributes. A proxy does not encrypt your whole traffic but a VPN does.
Proxy vs. VPN
VPN and Proxy are the tools we use today to facilitate our online freedom and fight censorship. These tools also enable us to break through any geo-restriction prohibiting our access to the content we wish to seek. Despite of a few common similarities, VPN and Proxy can be contrasted by many differences.
Usually, the objective of users to prefer a VPN or a Proxy is to conceal their identity. The use of a VPN however is much more sophisticated; hence, it can’t be considered as an alternative to proxy. There are many other benefits associated with the use of a VPN except hiding user’s identity and bypassing geo-restrictions.
The security offered by a VPN is no match to that of a Proxy. A VPN operates through a complex mechanism. A VPN forms a secure network for our data to travel. This network is formed by supporting different tunneling protocols. Furthermore, a VPN represents features like data encryption and takes our security to the whole new level. Yet, users are often confused to differentiate a proxy and a VPN.
You have numerous options to choose an efficient VPN or a proxy. However, the selection of any tool must be in compliance with the user’s needs and requirements. Bypassing geo-restrictions and censorship concerns can be coped easily with a proxy; but, if you need privacy and security along the road then we suggest you use a VPN.
|Protection||Compromises on security||Provides next level protection and anonymity|
|Speed||Users face speed and connectivity issues||Offers immaculate streaming speeds|
|Unblocking Content||Partially unblocks content||Bypass region blocking hassles completely|
|Performance||Vary at times||90% uptime|
|Compatibility on different devices||Limited compatibility||Impressive compatible on all major platforms and devices|
|Customer Support||Does not have this feature||Provides 24/7 365 days|
|Torrenting||Does not secure while torrenting||Makes you anonymous while torrenting|
The concept of VPN with pros and cons
A VPN is much more sophisticated tool than a proxy is. A VPN not only facilitates you to bypass geo-restrictions and cope with censorship concerns but it also promotes your security and anonymity. A VPN also requires certain protocols to formulate a virtual tunnel between your device and the server. These protocols are much more secure than the ones supported by proxy.
There are different protocols a VPN uses to form the tunnel such as PPTP (point-to-point tunneling protocol), L2TP (layer-to-tunneling protocol), SSTP (secure socket tunneling protocol), SSL (secure socket layer), SSH (secure shell) and OpenVPN etc. A VPN protects all of your data through different encryption levels ranging from 128bit to 2048bit.
Unlike a proxy, VPN’s work isn’t confined to unblock websites only. With a VPN you can bypass all geo-restrictions and cope with censorship issues. With a VPN, you don’t need to worry about cybercriminals or surveillance agencies. Once you have connected a VPN on your device, it will work like your digital camouflage. You will become absolutely anonymous as your IP is hidden and completely untraceable. In addition to these perks, a VPN does whatever a proxy can. In fact, a VPN does it better than the proxy. There is another related article about which you must read for better understanding about a VPN.
Advantages of a VPN
There are many advantages associated with a VPN but this post will enlighten the most significant of them.
- A VPN allows you to bypass all geo-restrictions and cope with the censorship concerns.
- With a VPN you can hide your real IP and make yourself undiscoverable on the Internet.
- Say goodbye to the fear of online surveillance with a VPN.
- Acknowledge the new level of security with sophisticated protocols offered by your VPN service provider.
- A VPN promises outstanding data security by providing different levels of encryption ranging from 128to 2048bit.
- With a VPN, you can share, upload, download and torrent without any restriction or fear.
Disadvantages of a VPN
- It comes with a cost.
The concept of Proxy with pros and cons
Proxy is one of the most commonly used tools to unblock websites and access restricted content. A proxy serves the purpose with assistance of its server that forms a bridge between the user and the Internet. The proxy server masks your real IP with that of the server’s. This is the reason you bypass all the restrictions imposed on content.
In fact, the bridge formed by proxy server carries your request through the path and routes the traffic as requested. Since your IP has been masked, censorship restrictions imposed by your locality won’t affect you anymore.
Furthermore, using the IP of a particular locality like the US, you can unblock all geo-restricted sites and content such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Pandora etc. HTTP and SOCKS are the protocols used by proxy servers to create a bridge between your computer and the Internet. These protocols are the mechanisms facilitating the functions of a proxy.
HTTP protocols usually facilitate a proxy’s function to unblock web pages and websites. This protocol handles HTTP and SHTTP requests and facilitates liberated Internet surfing experience. On the other hand, SOCKS protocol is not concerned with the network traffic. SOCKS protocol facilitates Internet traffic and allows you to access things you are not allowed to. SOCKS protocols facilitate diverse processes but the most likeable among all from user’s perspective are file sharing, uploading, downloading and torrenting without any hassle.
Advantages of a Proxy
There are many advantages of using a proxy; but, the most important of them all are listed in this post.
- A proxy is either cheap or represents no cost at all. This means that you can unblock anything you want in exchange of not even a single penny.
- A proxy hides your real IP and somehow masks it with the one representing the proxy server. This enables you to access content restricted to a particular locality and allows you to cope with censorship.
- With a proxy, you can share, upload, download and torrent without the fear of any restriction or copyright infringement concern.
Disadvantages of a Proxy
Despite the advantages stated earlier, there are many disadvantages associated with a proxy; nonetheless, this post will only prescribe the most crucial flaws.
- Used only to access blocked websites
- Doesn’t work all the time
- Free version can flood your browser tabs with unnecessary promotions
- Proxy fails to hide your identity completely; hence, your IP can still be visible to some websites.
- Unlike a VPN, proxy doesn’t facilitate your security because the encryption level representing proxy isn’t good enough.
- In order to use a proxy on a different browser, you will have to manually configure it and the process goes on every time you change a browser.
Why do we need Proxy or a VPN
There are diverse concerns we face today in this digital universe, some are related to our privacy where as others represent censorship policies and geo-restrictions imposed. Cumulatively, these concerns victimize our online liberty and freedom. Every day we face a new foe. Cybercriminals at every corner of this digital world are waiting for an opportune moment to strike. In addition, we have to live with the fear that our online activities are under surveillance.
In the midst of all this chaos, if we manage to find peace by any chance, censorship and geo-restrictions come to haunt us. Time taught us how to cope with these concerns. In time, we learned that in order to take back what is rightfully ours (privacy) we will have to take a stand. And to serve this cause, we are facilitated by different tools; but, proxies and VPNs are the most effective and widely accepted.
What is a proxy server and how does proxy server work?
Theoretically speaking, a proxy server enables you to surf your preferred sites and services instantly. As per my knowledge, it plays a role of intermediary between users’ networks and users’ end destination. This way, you can define proxy and understand its basic concept to another level.
These proxy servers allow you to access certain sites and services. This is because these servers work just like an intercessor among users’ browsers and websites they surf. When you explore proxy vs VPN differences, you would realize that proxies are good options to stream restricted content. On the other hand, you have to compromise on your privacy a great deal.
At times, your browsers direct data to a website of your liking, the information is gone with the help of third party servers. The said process takes place before it finally reaches to the final destination. In this case, a proxy server validates your IP addresses through a third party.
Common Proxy Server Protocols
You can commonly use two types of proxy server protocols. These are HTTP and SOCKS that I described in detail below.
HTTP proxies are used specifically for web-based traffic as you can plug proxy server into your web browsers’ configuration file. Furthermore, you can avail a browser extension in case your browser is not compatible with proxies. This is how you can route your whole internet traffic with remote proxy.
Image Credit: ISOC
Besides, you can use a SSL enabled browser when it comes to connecting to any sensitive service through HTTP proxy. As a result, you can be sure of encryption since proxies do not have the power to encrypt your traffic. You have to encrypt your traffic at your own.
After connecting to websites that have built-in support SSL encryption, you are able to secure your web traffic finally.
SOCKS proxies aid you to pass along any sort of traffic be it for FTP server, BitTorrent client, and web server. Similarly, they do not have any feature that could provide encryption benefit to users. Likewise, they work slowly as compared to HTTP proxies.
Image Credit: CodeProject
Proxy vs. VPN, which is better?
You would concur with my opinion that VPNs and Proxies both help you to use the web from different IP addresses. Still, VPN is a go to choice as it has all the right reasons to protect your online activities better than proxy server does.
Conversely, proxies do change your IP addresses but the question still exist does they protect users’ web browsers. Also, if you connect to a VPN service, you have a privilege of using comprehensive list of servers.
Image Credit: HeapNeverFlow
Why you should use VPN instead of proxy?
When you have to secure your identity from different online threats, nothing comes close to VPNs. VPNs are responsible for hosting their own server networks. Surprisingly, another factor entices you to choose a VPN over proxy is log-less feature.
Unlike VPN, a proxy server does keep a record of its users. If you observe VPN services’ features in detail, you would realize that they do not keep their users’ logs.
Image Credit: Digital Citizen
Proxy vs VPN Reddit reviews
Reddit is one of the most sought forum that provides unbiased reviews about proxy vs VPN comparison. Here is the response of one Reddit user indicating about the importance of VPN over a proxy.
Interestingly, VPN goes ahead as compared to proxy in terms of torrenting.
Also see: VPN Reviews on Reddit for 2019
VPN vs Proxy for torrenting
As I already mentioned VPN does surpass it users’ expectations to another level in fulfilling their streaming needs. It means you can securely perform your torrenting process from anywhere with a VPN. In the last but not the least, I would never go with a proxy if I need to download a torrent through proxy.
VPNs work much faster and reliable than proxies do. Moreover, you are deadly sure about your privacy when you connect to a VPN service. Sadly, it is the not the case with proxies. You may lose your interest while torrenting through proxies.
In this section, I will try to solve your various VPN vs proxy queries by answering them briefly.
Proxies and VPNs allow you to unblock Netflix content accordingly. However, you may face issues like Netflix proxy errors and so on. On the other hand, VPNs do provide complete Netflix unblocking solution.
You can find diverse reviews about proxy vs VPN comparison on Quora. According to some users, proxy is easy to use and does not require a lengthy setup process. Still, there are users those who go with VPNs to secure their privacy.
A BitTorrent proxy only hides your IP addresses. But, a VPN provides additional layer of security through tunneling protocols and encryption to users. Hence, you can download torrents with a VPN anonymously.
Anonymous proxy helps you to mask your original IP addresses. Still, you will have to compromise your online protection, as you will not have a luxury to attain maximum level of encryption. If you talk about anonymous VPN, you become anonymous and perform your online tasks securely.
A difference between IP proxy and VPN software is obvious. You can change your IP addresses with proxies. A VPN software offers a comprehensive list of privacy features to its subscribers.
Off course, a VPN works much better than a proxy does in any case. As I mentioned above, when you look for ultimate privacy, you must use a VPN.
I assume you would like my post on proxy vs VPN comparison. Proxies play their roles differently unlike VPNs that work as comprehensive package. Both, proxy and VPNs are the most exceptional tools you can use to enhance your online freedom.
These tools are the arsenal we have to counter censorship policies and geo-restrictions. Nevertheless, when it comes to security, VPN proves itself far better than a proxy does. Moreover, you should not bother yourself about the restrictions imposed on content but bother regarding your privacy too.
Thanks for reading my post; you are welcome to provide your feedback in comments section below