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Which is Which: The Difference Between Proxies and VPNs Revealed

Choosing between several cybersecurity options can be a challenging task. As their functions overlay, it becomes difficult to differentiate between them.

Choosing between several cybersecurity options can be a challenging task. As their functions overlay, it becomes difficult to differentiate between them. VPNs and Proxy servers often reappear next to each other. Are they the same? The answer is no. Is VPN a Proxy? Again, no. They certainly have similarities, but they’re not synonymous.

VPNs and Proxy servers both protect user identities and are great tools for accessing geo-restricted content. Since both of these services can get the job done, people tend to speak of them interchangeably. However, one protects your privacy, and the other one does not.

Both VPNs and Proxy servers are tools you can use to help keep your activity private when browsing the internet, sending emails, reading online message boards, streaming video, and downloading files. But both of these tools work in different ways. Selecting the perfect tool for you is crucial that is why we are here to help.

Here’s everything that you need to know between a Proxy and a VPN and which among the two can be of great use for you.

What is a Proxy?

Proxy servers act as relays between the website you’re visiting and your device. Your traffic goes through a middle-man, a remote machine used to connect you to the host server. The Proxy server hides your original IP address so that the website sees the IP of the Proxy and not your real IP. However, proxies only work on the application level, meaning it only reroutes the traffic coming from a single app you set your proxy up with. They also don’t encrypt your traffic.

What is a VPN?

Like a Proxy, a VPN also reroutes your internet traffic through a remote server and hides your IP address so websites can’t see your original IP or location. However, it works on the operating system level, meaning that it redirects all your traffic, whether it’s coming from your browser or a background app.

A VPN also encrypts your traffic between the internet and your device. That means the Internet Service Provider (ISP) monitoring your internet activity and collecting data about you can no longer see what you’re doing online – just that you’re connected to a VPN server. The encryption also protects you from government surveillance, website tracking, and any snoopers or hackers who might try to intercept your device. A VPN provides you ultimate online privacy and security.

Proxy VS. VPN

  1. VPNs encrypt your traffic while Proxy servers don’t. A VPN service protects you from ISP tracking, government surveillance, and hackers. Proxies don’t, so they should never be used to handle sensitive information.
  2. VPNs work on the operating system level and reroute all your traffic while proxies work on the application level and only reroute the traffic of a specific app or browser.
  3. VPNs can be slower than proxies as they need to encrypt your data; however, there are ways you can improve your connection and browsing speeds.
  4. VPN connection is more reliable while Proxy server connections drop more frequently.

Key Takeaway

A VPN is better than a Proxy as it provides privacy and security by routing your traffic through secure servers and encrypts your traffic. A proxy simply passes your traffic through a mediating server but doesn’t necessarily offer any extra protection. Moreover, unlike proxies, VPNs work on the operating system level to secure all your traffic.

VPNs and Proxies are similar because they both reroute your traffic through a remote server and hide your original IP. However, a VPN is superior to a proxy server in many respects. If you care about your privacy and security, you should, without a doubt, choose a VPN.