VPN versus Proxy
You’ve heard of Proxies and VPNs.
If you’re like most people, you must be wondering if there’s actually a difference between a VPN and a proxy.
You might even wonder if the VPN is more secure than a proxy.
I have all the answers you’re looking for here.
To put it briefly, Proxies and VPNs may seem similar, but they are very different, narrowing them down to their features.
Whether you’re looking to protect your personal information, bypass geoblocks, or both, it’s crucial to your safety and privacy that you choose the right one.
Having said that, I’ll explain the difference between VPNs and Proxies, discuss what they can do, and provide the information you need to see which is a better fit for you.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network is a service that protects your online privacy while surfing the Internet via an encrypted tunnel.
When you’re using a VPN, it will encrypt all your sending traffic and data and put it through a secure tunnel to a remote server.
This remote server masks your device’s original IP address and geolocation as it routes the traffic to another destination.
When your data leaves the server, it looks like it came from the server’s location instead of from your device.
Using a VPN prevents you from being traced back and stop hackers, government surveillance from seeing your online activity.
The very reason why VPNCodes is about.
VPN apps are very easy to install in just a few clicks. Most of them are pre-configured with all the basic settings. All you have to do is log in and press ‘connect’.
Before I dive straight into the inner workings and differences between them, I highly recommend you read this article for a more in-depth explanation of what a VPN is before you read this one: Do we need a VPN?
Now, What is a Proxy?
The actual nuts and bolts of how the Proxy works are very different compared to VPNs.
Some people assume they are the same thing, but I am are here to tell you — THEY ARE NOT!
When you use a proxy, your device sends all the web traffic to the proxy server first.
Proxy servers act as a middle-man between the visited website and your device.
It has its own internet protocol (IP) address, which is made public.
The Proxy transmits your request to the selected website and hides your original IP address as the website, now, sees the Proxy’s IP.
For example, if you’re surfing the Internet in Kuala Lumpur and come across a geographically restricted website to people who live in the USA, you can connect to a proxy server located in the USA and then browse that website as you please.
It may sound exactly like what VPNs do, but they are far vulnerable and less secure than VPNs.
They don’t create a secured connection for your data as they simply missing out on all the encryption features of a VPN provider.
A proxy simply transports web traffic back and forth using an unsecured HTTP protocol.
While VPNs require you to install software on your device, on the other hand, Proxy can be set up within your Internet Browser’s advanced settings.
For multiple usages, you’ll need to set up another configuration for that. Which can be a pain in the ass.
Because of this, proxies are perfect for low-stakes internet browsing, such as watching a YouTube video.
Now, let’s discuss further the works of proxies.
There are three different types of Proxy.
I’ll start with the oldest:
1. HTTP proxy
Known as the oldest kind of proxy server, it was solely designed for web-based traffic and web pages. When you set up a web browser with an HTTP proxy, you plug it into the configuration file.
If it doesn’t work, you can use a browser extension.
Then, all of your traffic is routed through the HTTP proxy.
So, if you’re looking to browse on websites that restricted based on geographical locations, an HTTP proxy is the right choice.
Just remember that when you’re using it to connect to any sensitive data such as logging into your email address, HTTP proxies don’t encrypt your data.
So, beware of this!
2. SOCKS Proxy
A SOCKS proxy, referred to as Socked Secure, works on application devices.
For example, if you’re looking to set up a game or video streaming app — a SOCKS proxy is suitable for this.
The only downside is that their connection is very slow compare to HTTP proxies.
Again, just like HTTP proxies, they don’t provide data encryption.
3. Transparent Proxy
Just like the suggested name, it’s considered transparent because the user is not aware of it. It’s basically invisible, which sounds too good to be true. It doesn’t modify your IP address.
Now you might be wondering what the point of a transparent proxy is?
If you’re a parent looking to monitor your child’s online activity or block access to specific websites, this is where Transparent Proxy comes in.
You can create blacklists and whitelists for users, which would allow them to use particular sites.
When and Why You Should Use a VPN
If you don’t know this by now, your internet service provider can see everything you do.
Yup— it’s true. Even wearing a tinfoil hat on your head won’t protect your privacy.
With a VPN, you can add a layer of protection to your online activities using an encrypted channel between your traffic and anyone who tries to spy on you.
So, here’s when you should use a VPN:
- If you live in a country where there are strict internet surveillance and censorship, a high-quality VPN can equip you to bypass these strict rules while keeping your browsing activity secret from the prying eyes.
- Whenever you’re browsing the Internet, VPN can protect your online anonymity and data.
- This brings me to my next point — when you’re out and using a public Wifi, it’s effortless for hackers to access your online data. With a VPN, the encryption prevents hackers, virtually anyone, from accessing your private data.
- If you’re looking to download torrent movies, a VPN makes it impossible for copyrighted agencies to trace this back. By using a VPN, you won’t face hefty copyright fines and other legal consequences for piracy as what’s happening for VPN in Singapore.
- If you want to bypass geoblocks to use platforms such as Netflix VPN ban, Prime Video, HBO Go, or Hulu, VPN can do that for you.
VPNs also provide encryption functions, making them safer and more private than proxies. They also offer full coverage for all kinds of network traffic — not just traffic from a single-use.
They also invest more in performance optimization and application infrastructure.
Last but not least, the connection in VPNs is more stable and reliable than a proxy. Proxy server connections tend to drop more frequently.
When and Why You Should Use a Proxy
As I explained earlier, a proxy can mask your actual IP address and ensure the server monitoring your target website unable to detect your real address.
However, proxies don’t offer a lot of protection against any online threats — so they offer very limited featured compare to VPNs.
Now that you have a greater understanding of what a proxy is and the types you can choose from, how would you want to use it?
Here’s when you should use a proxy:
- If you’re looking for a quick and simple solution to bypass geoblock such as reading a friend’s blog that’s blocked in your own country and as long as you’re not accessing any sensitive data, it’s okay to use a proxy. However, if you plan to use a proxy to watch streaming services such as Netflix, it will defunct. Netflix uses anti-proxy technology to block proxy servers’ connections.
- If you’re using an old laptop with an old OS, then a proxy is useful. Because you don’t require installation, it won’t impact your laptop’s performance and drain the system resources.
- If your device is slow by nature, proxy servers can detect your most frequent websites and store cached copies to reduce bandwidth usage. But due to its cache nature, you can’t use it to access live services such as Instagram or Facebook news feed.
Which is Better – VPN or Proxy
To be frank, there isn’t a black and white answer when it comes to choosing a VPN or Proxy.
But of course, my preferred choice will always be a VPN, but that’s entirely up to you.
On the surface, Proxy and VPN are two sides of the same coin.
At the end of the day, both allow you to browse the Internet while making it appear as though you’re connected from a different location.
The only difference between the two is the encryption, privacy, and other security features presented in VPN services.
To simplify for you, here’s a comparison table that sums up everything I discussed in this article.
I hope the table below gives you better clarity:
|Ease-of-use||Yes||Can be complicated — the user needs to know how to set up and select the server locations|
|Speed||Depends on the VPN. Some may affect your speed connection as it takes to decrypt your data||Depending on the server, some can be average or slow|
|Streaming||Yes||Limited due to anti-proxy technology|
To sum up, if online security and privacy are more important, don’t settle for a Proxy. Go with VPN instead.
With less than $2 a month for Surfshark, I see no reasons why your privacy is not worth more than that.
A proxy may be notable for bypassing geoblocks and masking an IP address.
Still, it’s lack of encryption, and limited protection leads users to be vulnerable to data leaks and cyber-attacks.
Not to mention, Proxy server operators can access your internet activities and often keep internet logs that can trace your activity back to you.
This is especially dangerous if you want to do torrenting.
Top VPN services, on the other hand, abide by strict no-logs policies.
They don’t keep records or histories of your data. It can’t be traced back to you.
On the contrary, using a proxy can lead to transmitting sensitive information to anyone who’s spying on your connection. It’s also visible to the Proxy server owner.
Above all, VPNs are remarkably easy to set up with the click of a mouse.
With proxies, you’ll have to go through the setup process every time to connect.