You’ve probably heard that some folks are using proxy servers rather than VPNs. In some cases, that’s ok – but in some others, proxy won’t do the trick.
In fact, a proxy is oftentimes compared to the VPN, but the two terms are not the same. Let us explain the differences between the two, starting with definitions of both terms…
What is a proxy?
In tech/Internet lingo, a proxy is a tool that helps you hide your IP address from the websites and services you’re visiting. It sits between you and the server you’re accessing, so when you try to open a website – your traffic goes to the proxy server and from there to the web server. As a result, the website you’re on can see only the IP of the proxy server and not your real IP.
To put it differently, a proxy acts as a relay between the website you’re visiting and your device. It’s like a middle-man that hides your original IP address and that could (but doesn’t have to) encrypt your traffic. The problem, however, is that a proxy works only with a single app.
Generally speaking, there are three main proxy types:
- HTTP proxies – used for web browsing
- SOCKS proxies – while they are not limited to web traffic, they still only work on the application level and are used for specific purposes like online gaming, video streaming services, torrenting, and so on.
- Transparent proxies – these proxies act in the background and in most cases, users are unaware of their existence. Typically, these are set up by employers and/or parents who want to monitor users’ online activity and block access to specific websites.
Next come VPNs…
Working in a similar way to proxies, VPNs reroute Internet traffic while hiding your original IP address. In their best form, they use what is considered unbreakable encryption so that no government agency nor major corporation can know what you’re doing online. Plus, they work across apps and that would include both your web browser as well as any other app connecting to the Internet.
Also, there are some VPNs that work on a router level to the benefit of all devices connecting through that router. This comes in especially handy for folks with smart TVs, which usage is getting tracked these days, as well.
VPN vs Proxy: Conclusion
For most users, VPN is a better solution. Period.
Generally speaking, VPNs provide for a better out-of-box experience, letting users fire up their VPN app, select the server — or go for the one suggested by a VPN app — click “Connect”, and they’re good to go. It’s that easy.
Should a user needs more advanced settings, they can be easily accessed, as well.
The Best VPNs have big networks that include a few thousand servers, ensuring global connectivity and fast Internet speeds. We have a page dedicated to such (Best) VPN services that we advise you to check out. As we’ve said before – they are easy to use, affordable and you should get one for yourself today. 😉