VPN vs Proxy: Learn the Fundamental Difference

By Srikanth 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
VPN vs Proxy: Learn the Fundamental Difference 1

Both VPNs and proxies are great tools for accessing the internet safely and securely. So, how do they differ? Understanding the difference between a VPN and a proxy is important to ensure you use the right technology suited to your needs. So, let’s discover the key differences between VPNs and proxies.

VPN vs Proxy: Key Differences

VPN vs Proxy: Learn the Fundamental Difference 2

VPN vs. Proxy Defined

A proxy is typically a remote public server that accesses websites on the user’s behalf. It is ideal for basic functions like IP masking and anonymous web browsing. However, proxies only work on the app level, meaning it only reroutes the incoming traffic from a single app you set it up with. Most importantly, a proxy server does not encrypt your traffic.

On the other hand, a VPN app creates a secure, encrypted connection tunnel between VPN servers and your device. All your traffic is rerouted through this secure tunnel and reaches its destination at the tunnel’s other end. Finally, it gets decrypted to be read by the intended recipient. That is how a VPN allows for safe communication online.

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Security and Privacy

In Q1 2023, 6.40 million data breaches were recorded globally. Fortunately, data breaches can be avoided to a great extent through fundamental data security efforts, like using proxies or VPNs.

When it comes to proxy vs VPN, proxies are not as secure. According to Tuxlervpn, even though proxy servers mask your identity from the websites or apps you visit, they do not encrypt your connection or data. 

On the other hand, reliable and reputable VPNs ensure your safety and security when browsing the web. As mentioned above, they encrypt your data, keeping it hidden from websites you visit, your ISP, and cybercriminals. VPNs also protect your original IP address and your devices from brute force attacks, like DDoS attacks. So, end-to-end encryption and IP address masking ensure both security and privacy when browsing the web.

Speed

VPNs are generally faster than proxy servers. A proxy server may make you struggle even to get a single megabit per second (Mbps). This is because a proxy is a single server with many users at the same time. This often causes delays in connection speed. 

In comparison, a VPN offers speeds of 50 Mbps or higher. VPN servers located far from the user’s location may be slower. But if you choose the right service which uses the right technology and protocols, the delays become unnoticeable.

Cookies

With a growing focus on internet privacy, consumers are now conscious of how websites, apps, and advertisers use cookies to track them. Fortunately, with compliance laws like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), virtually every website with cookies has to ask for your permission.

Cookies get downloaded to your device through VPNs and proxy servers also. The difference is that with a VPN, the cookie mistakes the VPN’s virtual IP address for your own. So, you get some level of protection against digital tracking techniques like fingerprinting. In the same way, proxy servers also trick sites into storing a cookie with a different IP address. 

Important advice: Before using a VPN or proxy, make sure you clear all cookies on your device to keep them from interfering with the added privacy layer.

VPN vs Proxy: Which Should You Use?

By now, you should be able to decide between a VPN vs proxy server as per your needs and the level of security you want.

If you only want to mask your IP address, you can use either a VPN or a proxy server. However, if you want to hide your IP address from a single app or website, a free proxy server can help. In addition, if you are concerned about the cost and have to connect a single site or app, consider using a proxy server. 

However, if you want complete anonymity, privacy, and security when browsing the internet, we highly recommend using a VPN. The most important thing is that a VPN encrypts your data online while proxy servers do not. So, VPNs keep your data private and safe from potential cybercriminals who always keep an eye on the sensitive personal information of internet users. So, while you may have to pay a little for a trusted VPN service, the cost is totally worth it. 

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