When it comes to proxy and VPN, most people only know that they are used to open blocked websites. But when someone asks them, what’s the difference between a proxy and a VPN, they usually give a confused look. Today, I am going to compare Proxy vs VPN in every possible manner. So that you will have a perfect concept of both of these and won’t have to look at the walls for the answer again.
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Proxy vs VPN: Let’s Start with Explanation
Proxy Servers act as a gateway between your system and the website you want to access. It hides your identity (IP Address) and makes you appear as you are browsing the internet from some other country. Proxy Servers are very useful for Anonymous web browsing and viewing country-restricted or limited content.
Furthermore, if you are an IT administrator, you can also use Proxy servers to enforce content restrictions on websites and restrict your employees to access certain web pages during working hours. The two most common proxy server protocols are HTTP and SOCKS.
Talking about the VPN, it also does the same thing but in a different and more advanced way. When you open a website via VPN, it doesn’t only fake your location but also establishes a secure tunnel to the VPN server. It encrypts all the traffic so that no eavesdropper can steal your login credentials and other sensitive data.
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Proxy and VPN: Benefits
Both Proxy and VPN are useful if your requirements are clear and you know when to use them. If you just want to hide your IP Address or open geographically restricted content, you can opt for a proxy server. But if privacy and security are your primary concern, you should go with a VPN.
VPN provides total encryption for all the traffic and keeps the data safe. VPN usually costs more than a proxy server, but spending a little extra money can save your organization from some serious troubles. VPN providers have their own network setup and they mask your IP Address with one of theirs. In this way, the destination website wouldn’t able to identify the real source or where the traffic is actually coming from.
There are some cases where you may need both a Proxy and VPN server. Like, if you are responsible for strengthening the security of data at your company. Then, you should install both of these for better security.
The proxy server will be used for traffic monitoring, enforcing web content policy, protecting the company from malware and other attacks. Whereas the VPN will create a tunnel to the office network, and enable the employees to access the company’s files from outside the office network securely.
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Proxy and VPN: Drawbacks
Now, let’s talk about some drawbacks of Proxy servers. If you have read the above explanation carefully, one thing must be clear to you i.e on using a proxy server, your request will be sent to the proxy server first, then it will mask your IP Address and forward the request to the destination server.
Suppose, you are at point A and you need to visit C. If you take the straight path, you will reach there very soon. But you don’t want people at point C to recognize you. Now, instead of going straight, you will go to point B, buy a face mask, wear it and finally visit C via the other route. In this case, you are not only taking the longer route but the crowd at the mask shop will also waste your time. Hence, you will reach point C quite late.
The same thing happens with proxy servers resulting in high ping times, slow downloading, buffered streaming, etc. Some users even pay for proxy servers to limit the number of connections and improving internet speed. Also, proxy servers are not always secure.
You should never use unknown free proxy servers for sensitive tasks. Proxies can track your browsing habits along with storing usernames and passwords, leaving you somewhere you always wanted to save yourself from.
Coming to VPNs, the users also suffer slow speed and other similar issues. VPNs run on a local client to create a connection to the VPN server. Now, for any reason, if your CPU or RAM faces issues, it will also affect the performance of the VPN. VPNs are indeed more secure than proxies, but 100% anonymity also not guaranteed here. A VPN only guarantees end-to-end encryption if the destination website is using HTTPS protocol.
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Proxy and VPN: The Difference
You have already learned a lot of things about Proxy vs VPN and I hope you can easily differentiate between these two. Proxies just hide your IP Address without assuring any privacy during transmission. Whereas VPNs establish a secure tunnel replacing the default ISP routing and encrypt all the traffic. In simple words, proxies just provide a gateway but VPNs also create a tunnel to reach their server safely.
Proxy vs VPN: Which is Right For You?
Nowadays, security is something no one wants to compromise in. Companies are hiring experienced professionals and spending a surplus amount of money just to ensure the privacy and security of users and data respectively. For an individual, it’s easy to decide whether you want to use a proxy or a VPN. Just think about what you actually want to achieve and if privacy is important there or not.
Lastly, if you are a company professional, you should act according to the requirement. If you want your employees to work remotely and access the company’s resources securely, you will need to set up a VPN. And, if you are only concerned about your employees’ Internet usage like what websites they access, etc – a Proxy server is enough.