A Proxy works as a gateway that helps in unblocking websites and keeps your data private, but your internet traffic is not encrypted. A VPN is an online privacy tool that hides your original IP address, keeps your data encrypted and safe, and it even unblocks restricted websites.
A VPN is the most recommended choice for anyone who wants to secure their online privacy and doesn’t want their online activity to be seen by ISPs or the government.
I’ll be discussing everything you want to know about Proxy vs VPN and how these two works. If you decide to choose a VPN over proxy, then you must get ExpressVPN because it doesn’t keep track of your browsing history and is quite affordable too.
Proxy vs VPN: Key Differences
Here is the key differences between VPN and Proxy based on multiple factors:
|Encryption||The data is not encrypted||Provides 256-bit encryption and your data remains secure|
|Speed||Users face speed and connectivity issues||Slow speed but nor or limited connectivity issues|
|Unblocking Content||Partially unblocks content||Unblocks every website from anywhere including US Netflix|
|Hides IP||It hides IP but not completely||Completely hides your IP and assigns a new IP address|
|Compatibility on different devices||Limited compatibility||Available on all platforms and devices|
|Customer Support||Does not have this feature||Provides 24/7 customer support|
|Torrenting||Does not secure while torrenting||Have P2P optimized servers for secure torrenting|
What is a Proxy?
Proxy or a proxy server actually works as a gateway between you and the internet. The internet traffic flows through the proxy server on to the website you requested. The request from the website to the end-user flows through the same proxy server.
Proxies are used for a number of reasons. It is used to get around blocked websites, filter web content, and keeps you anonymous while browsing. Once you connect to a proxy, your original IP address will be hidden and the IP address of the proxy server will be shown to the world.
Proxies are mostly free or cost very little money. A premium proxy will be more secure and will let you access websites that have string geographical restrictions so you can watch the content without being detected.
Types of proxies
Here are 3 types of proxies you must know:
HTTP Proxies – HTTP proxies are used specifically for web-based traffic as you can plug the proxy servers into your web browsers’ configuration file. Furthermore, you can avail of a browser extension in case your device is not compatible with proxies. This is how you can route your whole internet traffic with a remote proxy.
SOCKS Proxies – SOCKS proxies aid you to pass along any sort of traffic be its FTP server, BitTorrent client, or web server. Similarly, they do not have any feature that could provide encryption benefits to users. They work slowly as compared to HTTP proxies.
Transparent Proxies – These proxies are set up by institutions, businesses, or shop owners who want to monitor the online activity of their users’ or restrict them from visiting certain websites. It might be set up at homes or in educational institutes to save up bandwidth and prevent students from visiting restricted websites.
How to choose a proxy?
Here are some of the tips to look out for, when choosing a proxy:
Servers that unblock websites – You might want to check websites that you frequently unblock. Test out some of the websites and see if it works perfectly.
Compatibility – Not all proxy servers work with different platforms or devices. You better check if it works with your preferred device.
Cost – Many proxies are free and require no cost at all. However, if you want better service and anonymity, you can always get a premium Proxy.
Convenience – Make sure the proxy you are using is user-friendly.
Free of ads – Lastly, you would want a proxy that doesn’t consume your device overflowing with advertisements. Some proxies also offer a premium version for ad-free browsing.
Proxy Pros and Cons
- A proxy is either cheap or represents no cost at all
- Unblocks websites that don’t have strong restrictions
- A proxy hides your real IP and masks it with the proxy server
- It does not encrypt your internet traffic (Only used to access blocked sites)
- Downloading torrents can be risky
- Doesn’t work all the time
- A free version can flood your browser tabs with unnecessary promotions
- Proxy fails to hide your identity completely (your IP remains visible to some websites)
- Not compatible with all devices and platforms
What is VPN?
A VPN is a privacy tool that encrypts your data through a secure tunnel. It assigns you with another IP address and masks your original IP address. It helps you unblock websites and apps that are geographically restricted.
For example, if you are in the United States and want to access New Zealand websites, you will connect to a New Zealand server on the VPN app. Once connected, you can stream everything you want.
But how does a VPN work? VPN has servers all over the world. When you download a VPN app (ExpressVPN is our recommended choice) and connect to any country server, your internet traffic will be routed through an encrypted tunnel. Your data will not be seen by your ISP nor the government.
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 tunnelling 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.
How to Choose a VPN?
There are simple ways to choose a VPN based on 6 factors. These are:
Price – You need to look at the price and compare it with what other VPN providers are offering. Also, compare it with the features these providers are offering as well. You will then have a better understanding.
Encryption – Encryption is the security aspect of a VPN. Strong encryption will enforce better protection for online users. The industry-standard VPN is a 256-bit encryption.
Refund Policy – If you are not satisfied with a VPN you have chosen, you can get a refund. Therefore, you need to look out for a VPN that has a refund policy for at least 30 days.
Compatibility – A VPN must be compatible with major devices and platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon devices, and similar platforms.
VPN Pros and Cons
- It keeps your internet traffic completely encrypted
- Unblocks geo-restricted websites and apps from anywhere
- Masks your original IP address
- Safe torrenting
- Secure streaming on public Wi-Fi
- Slow speed
- Some free VPNs keep logs
- If the connection drops your IP is exposed
Why you should use a VPN instead of a 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 that entices you to choose a VPN over a proxy is a 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.
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 cyber criminals or surveillance agencies
Once you have connected a VPN to your device, it will work as your digital camouflage. You will become absolutely anonymous as your IP is hidden and completely untraceable.
Proxy vs VPN: Which is right for me?
VPNs are far more powerful and secure than a proxy. If security and privacy is your ultimate goal, then no online toll will fulfill that goal except for a Virtual Private Network. A VPN creates a secure tunnel that keeps your data private. But with a Proxy, there’s no such thing as a secure tunnel. The data flow in the open and is easily intercepted by your ISP. If I had to choose between Proxy vs VPN, I would easily go for a VPN service.
It is important that you spend your money on the right privacy tool. The best VPN service that I recommend to my users is ExpressVPN. This VPN doesn’t keep logs, has an affordable price, and is available for all devices.