What’s the Difference Between a Proxy vs. VPN?
Many privacy issues, including data security breaches, botnets and ransomware, affect our personal and professional gadgets, including thermostats, baby monitors, work PCs, and mobile phones. If you are concerned about the security and privacy of your appliances and gadgets, you may want to consider setting up a VPN or proxy server.
By using proxies or VPN hosting solutions you can securely mask your IP, which provides a higher level of anonymity while browsing the web. This in turn will mitigate the risk of security breaches and ransomware attacks on your computer.
In this article, we will look at what proxies and VPNs are, what advantages and disadvantages they present, and the main differences between the two.
See also: Hybrid Smart Servers
What is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server is a router or system that acts as a gateway for users to access the internet. Because it stands between a user and the websites it accesses online, the server is known as an “intermediary.” A proxy aids in preventing online intruders from breaking into a private network. The IP address is what a computer uses to connect to the internet.
With this, incoming data will know where to go, and outgoing data will be marked with a return address so that other devices can validate it. A proxy server is a device connected to the internet with a unique IP address. Proxy servers offer different degrees of efficiency, security, and privacy depending on their usage circumstances.
When you use a proxy server, all internet traffic goes to the IP you requested and passes through the proxy server. The request is then redirected through the same proxy server (there are some exceptions), and the proxy server sends the information from the webpage to the user. Besides providing data security and network efficiency, proxy servers also undertake several tasks in addition to delivering web requests.
While serving as a firewall and web filter, proxy servers offer shared network connections and data caching to expedite routine queries. A reliable proxy server protects users and the internal network from malicious content on the open internet. In general terms, proxies can offer a significant amount of privacy.
How Does a Proxy Server Work?
An individual Internet Protocol (IP) Address is required for each machine connected to the internet. Consider this IP address to be the physical location of your computer. The internet can transmit the appropriate data to the right computer using the IP address.
A proxy server is a computer connected to the internet with a unique IP address recognized by your computer. Your web request initially travels through the proxy server when you send it. Then the proxy server submits your request to the web server on your behalf, gathers the server’s response, and transmits the data for the web page to you so you can access it in your browser.
The proxy server alters the data you provide when it redirects your web requests while still providing you with the information you request. The location of your IP address can be concealed using a proxy server, hiding your location from the web server. The data can be encrypted so that it cannot be read while transferred. Finally, a proxy server can restrict access to a specific website.
Advantages of Using a Proxy Server
Here are some reasons you should consider using a proxy server. They include:
- It helps you to control the internet usage of employees and children.
- Bandwidth savings and improved speeds
- It offers privacy benefits.
- Improved security
- Access geo-blocked content
- Protects you from online threats
- You can get access to blocked resources
Disadvantages of Using Proxy Servers
Before choosing a proxy server, you need to consider its drawbacks. Some of the risks that affect the usage of proxy include:
- Any user on the network with access to the proxy server’s cache can retrieve the information about visited websites and use it for nefarious purposes.
- It does not offer strong encryption.
- Some proxy servers are not compatible with existing local networks.
- The cost of setting up and maintaining a proxy server can be high.
Types of Proxy Servers
The functionality of proxy servers can vary depending on the intended use. These include:
- HTTP Proxy: These are solely useful for websites. All browser traffic will be forwarded through an HTTP proxy server if you configure your browser with one.
- SOCKS Proxy: Although these proxies are not just for web traffic, they still function at the application level. Despite being able to handle all types of traffic, they are typically slower than HTTP proxies.
- Transparent Proxy: Employers and parents who wish to keep an eye on their employees’ online activities and restrict access to particular websites might set up these proxies. They are set up by businesses or household users to conserve bandwidth, and hotels and cafes use them to validate users on public Wi-Fi.
What is a VPN?
A virtual Private Network or VPN can create a network connection when utilizing public networks. The most straightforward and reliable way for users to secure their internet activity and maintain their privacy online is via a VPN (a virtual private network). Your internet traffic passes through an encrypted channel as you connect to a secure VPN server, making it impossible for hackers, governments, or your internet service provider to know what you are doing online.
VPNs mask your online identity by encrypting your internet activity. As a result, third parties will find it more challenging to monitor your internet activity and steal data. While browsing, shopping, or conducting online banking, a VPN hides your connection and keeps you anonymous.
VPNs are used by customers to protect the privacy of their online activities and to guarantee access to websites and services that could otherwise be blocked. Businesses also use VPNs to link remote workers as though they were all utilizing the same local network at a single workplace.
A VPN grants you online privacy and anonymity by building a private network out of a public internet connection. VPNs hide internet protocol (IP) addresses, making it nearly impossible to track your online activity. To prevent hackers, businesses, governments, or other snoops from seeing your online activities, a VPN builds a channel that conceals everything you do online, including the links you visit and the files you download. There are different types of VPNs: remote access VPN, extranet-based site-to-site, and intranet-based site-to-site.
How does a VPN work?
VPN can conceal your IP address by directing your network traffic through a specific remote server managed by a VPN client. In other words, if you use a VPN to browse the internet, the VPN server becomes your data provider. As a result, neither your Internet Service Provider (ISP) nor other parties can see the websites you visit or the data you transmit and receive online. A VPN acts as a filter that converts all your data into jargon, making your information useless to anyone who wants to use it.
Advantages of using VPN Connection
Of the many benefits offered by a VPN connection, it also:
- secures encryption
- disguises your location.
- allows you to access geo-content
- secures data transfer.
- avoids bandwidth throttling.
- hides your private information
Disadvantages of using a VPN Connection
The drawbacks that comes with using a VPN include:
- It is not entirely secure.
- Unpredictable performance
- It is not designed for continuous use
- Unreliable availability
- It is complex to configure and scale
Difference between a Proxy Server and VPN
Differences between VPN and proxy server include:
Encryption is the crucial distinction between a proxy and a VPN. Proxy servers alter your IP address and do not encrypt your online activity. In contrast, VPNs encrypt all data you send and receive. Data encryption offers an added layer of security for important transactions like online banking or shopping since it prevents thieves from spying on your sensitive data, such as credit card information or login passwords.
VPNs and proxy servers can potentially impede browsing speed depending on how users reach them. Free proxy servers can be slower and less secure due to limited setup options, a lack of infrastructure, and inadequate support. Although speeds differ between providers, VPNs are typically the speedier choice.
Free VPN services have limited features and a propensity to exploit your data, so using one is not a good idea. Due to the increased data encryption and security offered by commercial VPNs, consumers frequently use them. Contrarily, many proxy servers are free to setup. As a result, VPNs are generally the more expensive choice.
Proxy servers merely reroute the traffic of a particular app or browser, but VPNs function at the operating system level and redirect all of your traffic through a VPN server. In contrast to proxy servers, which can only conceal one website or app at a time, VPNs encrypt all web activity, irrespective of the website or application used. Because of this, VPNs provide improved security and protection.
- Traffic Log
Compared to proxy servers, most VPN companies don’t keep records of your web activity. If you want complete privacy, pick a VPN provider with a no-logs policy; this ensures that people won’t monitor or record your online activities. A free proxy, in contrast, might track traffic to sell the information to outside parties.
While proxy and VPN offer similar features and benefits, they differ. You may want to consider a free proxy server if you are concerned about browsing performance and only need to mask your IP address from one particular website or app. However, if privacy and security are your key priorities, you should consider using VPN. At ServerMania, we provide individuals and businesses with hybrid servers and VPN hosting solutions at competitive rates.