What Is the Difference Between a Proxy and a VPN?
Last updated: November 19, 2021
If you’re looking for ways to stay safe and secure online, two of the options you might be considering are proxies and VPNs. They’re two options that you should take the time to learn more about before deciding whether you should use them to stay secure and keep yourself safe online.
They have their own benefits, features and drawbacks that you should be aware of. That way, you can make an informed decision. We’re now going to look at the things that make proxies and VPNs different to one another and what they can be used for.
VPNs work at the operating system level, allowing the VPN network to cover the entire connection of the device. This is what makes them differ from proxies, which only cover a single browser being used, for example, rather than the entire device. It means VPNs are more comprehensive in terms of their scope and have a range of benefits that you can learn about below.
Features of a VPN
VPNs capture all traffic relating to each and every application on the device you’re using. The process employs an encrypted tunnel between the VPN server and your device before you access the internet. Your IP address is hidden and it appears that your location is elsewhere as a result.
The Key Benefits of Using a VPN Service
The key benefits of using a VPN are that you can hide your location effectively and all of your data is completely encrypted. Anyone concerned about security or privacy can benefit from what a VPN service offers. It offers extra security when accessing financial sites and information too.
How it Protects Your Privacy
The VPN server is the thing that all of your data goes through before you even connect to the greater internet. And the data going between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted at that stage, so it’s made completely secure before you reach the internet.
In terms of performance, there are no real drawbacks associated with using a VPN. However, running VPN servers isn’t easy and as a result, they aren’t free. But you get what you pay for.
Like a VPN, a proxy service will allow you to hide your location and IP address, making it look like you’re using the internet from a location that’s different from your actual location. However, they’re different in many other ways, including the level of security and protection they offer. Find out more about them below.
Features of a Proxy
Proxies simply make it appear as if your online activity is coming from somewhere else. It does this by acting as a middleman between a single application on your computer (such as a browser) and the internet. But no encryption takes place.
The Key Benefits of Using a Proxy Service
Proxies are easy to use and are often free. They’re good at hiding your location and making it look like you’re using the internet somewhere else entirely.
How it Protects Your Privacy
If you only care about hiding your location, proxies can do that. But they’re not going to make you more secure online or do a comprehensive job of protecting your privacy in any meaningful way.
There is no encryption involved when using a proxy server and it doesn’t cover your entire computer. Instead, it only applies to a single application.
Are Private Browsers and Incognito Mode Sufficient to Protect You?
To put it bluntly, private browsers and incognito modes don’t offer much in the way of protection, especially not when compared to a VPN. Instead, they simply prevent the browser from saving your activity while you’re in that mode and they also prevent cookies being stored on the device you’re using. They’re good for stopping companies from using your browsing activity to target you with ads, but that’s about it. They don’t offer anything like VPN-level protection.
Better Movie Streaming
If all you’re looking for is the ability to watch region-locked content wherever you want, proxies will do the job for you. All you need to do is hide your IP address and you’ll be able to watch Europe-only content in the US and vice-versa. The same applies to any kind of region locking. A VPN does the job equally well because they both hide your location.
Now that you know more about proxies and VPNs, you should have a better understanding of which of these two options is best for you and your needs. For most needs, VPNs offer what you’re looking for, especially if you value security and privacy above all else.
Published on: June 17, 2019