While VPN and proxies may appear very similar at first, there are actually many profound differences that exist between them. They are closely connected, and they can be used for similar functions.
Both VPN and proxies are used as tools to conceal an individual’s identity, or to make an IP address appear from a different location than it is actually in. Additionally, Many VPN providers also offer proxy services to their customers. These similarities tend to make matters quite confusing, and they leave individuals wondering what the differences between VPN and proxies are, or if there are any to begin with.
What is a Proxy?
The definition of a proxy is a computer that acts as a middleman between an individual’s personal computer and the Internet. All of the traffic that winds up flowing through a proxy server appears as if it comes from the proxy IP address, rather than the actual computer that it is coming from. A major difference that exists between proxies and VPN is that proxies are able to process many more users at the same time, simply due to the fact that they do not have resources responsible for encrypting all of the traffic that passes through them.
Generally speaking, proxies communicate with the Internet through one of two different protocols: HTTP or SOCKS. There are also several different types of proxies, which include private proxies, public proxies, and shared proxies.
What is VPN?
VPN, otherwise known as Virtual Private Networks, are responsible for linking private computers to host networks via specially encrypted tunnels. When this is done correctly, the traffic from the Internet then goes in and out from the host server. No one, including the government, is able to see anything other than the fact that the individual is connected to the VPN server. Your browsing activity is completely safe, and no one is able to view the IP addresses that you have previously or are currently connected to.
The VPN server, however, is able to keep logs of what you are up to online. Because of this fact, I strongly recommend that you only use VPN servers that publicly guarantee that they do not keep logs of their customers. If they do keep track of everything, your online activity may eventually be compromised. Naturally, this is not something that you ever want to have happen.
When comparing these two items, it is clear that a VPN is a much better option than a proxy. VPN help to substantially improve online anonymity, and they protect you against a multitude of things. What person wants others to have the ability to monitor their every day life? Certainly not me.
One of the only reasons why I might recommend that you choose to purchase a proxy over a VPN, however, is because of the price. Proxies are generally much cheaper than any form of VPN, and this is why so many people choose to purchase them. Despite the fact that they do have fewer benefits than a VPN, proxies are still great options if you are on a tight budget and unable to afford a VPN for whatever reason.