VPN or Proxy: Which One to Choose?

by Daniel Segun January 13, 2020


Online privacy and security is an urgent issue nowadays. Because of the risks of being monitored and exposing your data on the Internet, various solutions emerged to ensure your anonymity. 

If you are searching for a way to protect your data, let’s discover together how proxy servers and VPNs work to help us cover security issues.

VPN basics

The system of a Virtual Private Network or shortly VPN allows you to a secure tunnel. In simple words, with a VPN your actions on the Internet seem to come from a distant IP address, involving the whole network connection.

How to start with a VPN? It is simple. First of all, choose a service. Look for the one that will suit your needs and remember that these services differ in quality. Then, you should install their software on your computer to have a private connection. It will protect your activity, such as browsing, downloading, etc. from surveillance on the Internet.

All the traffic you use will go through a VPN encrypted. Such a process gives you the benefits of extra security as your IP address will not be associated with your actions on the Internet. No one will be able to see your information processed through a VPN even having a connection that lacks security.

However, note that because of the process of encryption, the speed of your connection likely to be lower than usual. What is more, the power of your computer will be invested in such a connection too. 

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that the proxy server is free while you should usually pay for VPNs.

VPNs are different in terms of the quality of services they provide. Pay attention to the level of encryption, the number of servers, price, speeds, and information about an organization itself such as its location among others.

Benefits of VPN

  • High-level security and privacy provided
  • Progressive encryption
  • High level of anonymity
  • Great variety of providers with different services offered

Disadvantages of VPN

A VPN has some disadvantages. Firstly, it is obviously not free. Secondly, the speed of your connection will be lower because of encryption. Finally, a VPN uses not only your speed but also the power of your device.

Reasons to use VPN

There are a few reasons why you may need a VPN when online.

1. To have anonymity and privacy
If you are looking for a way to enjoy anonymity on the web, you should start using a VPN. Usually, its providers do not collect and keep your IP address, so it remains anonymous without the possibility for third parties to spy on you.

2. To overcome region blocks
A VPN can help you to get access to webpages that are blocked in your region thanks to its servers spread in various locations. Building your connection with a VPN allows eliminating any restrictions based on geographical point. 

3. To have protection with any king of connection
VPNs cover all activities within your network. It includes not only browsing but also uploading, downloading, and others. It works even is your connection is weak and unsecured. A VPN provides you with some extra protection also with the help of data encryption.

4. To use torrenting without restrictions
Internet Service Providers often resort to throttling in case you use torrenting. With a VPN, your data will be hidden from them and they won’t be able to identify what you are doing on the Internet.

Proxy server basics

With a proxy server, your IP address remains unseen for the websites you use because it is in the middle between your personal computer and the Internet. They can see only the proxy IP address. Usually, proxy servers are used to get through geo-limitations. 

The function of a proxy server described above is the only feature to ensure the privacy it offers. It just makes it seem that your activity is coming from someplace else. 

As the level of security is not high, third parties can access your unencrypted data. What is more, it can cover only certain apps and does not protect the whole system.

Types of proxy servers

There are several types of proxies available for you to use: Public, Web and SOCKS proxies. 

Public proxy serve are usually without charge but may be unstable because of their popularity. What is more, they have certain protection issues. So, consider this option only if you want to go through blocks. 

Web proxy servers work from your browser. They do not require additional software and usually, Web proxies are free. You can deal with limitations using this type of proxy server but only on simple websites. 

SOCKS proxy servers are more complex than the two mentioned above. It can work with different traffic and ease it. You can use it when torrenting.

Benefits of proxy servers

  • You do not need to pay
  • You can overcome any limitations on the web
  • Geo-restrictions will not be an issue
  • They are perfect for easy tasks

Disadvantages of proxy servers

  • Their owners are hidden and they can collect your data
  • They know your IP address
  • They rarely run smoothly
  • They do not encrypt data
  • Some websites block proxies
  • Other people may use the same server as you for illegal actions

Reasons to use proxy servers

1. Simple-level security
If you do not need complex and full protection, you can try proxy servers. It offers some basic level of security covering your IP address from others. However, it never offers complete anonymity and your data may be accessed by other people. 

2. Eliminate targeted ads
Using proxy servers, you can get rid of targeted ads as your activity is not associated with your IP address. On the other hand, proxies can fill the websites you use with their ads. 

3. Easy option
A proxy server is the fastest and the easiest way to have some level of security as no software is usually required and it does not use much of your computer power. 

4. No geo-limitations
It is the most common reason for people to use proxy servers. In such a way, you can easily eliminate geo-blockings but you should attentively choose the one within a suitable location. For instance, if a website is blocked in France, choose a server from Germany. 

In general, proxy servers possess their advantages and downsides. It’s free, fast, and you do not need special software. However, the level of security is not that high in comparison with the other option. You should be cautious with your private information, try not to expose it using a proxy.

VPN or Proxy: What is better?

In most cases, it is recommended to use VPNs. Why? Your level of security and anonymity will be much higher. Proxy servers have nothing to offer what is not already covered by a VPN. 

Of course, you will need to pay for using a VPN but it is a much better and secure long-term solution for your privacy. You can be sure that your personal information will not be under surveillance. 
To sum up, VPN obviously seems to be a better option in terms of security and anonymity. It is the best option available unless you need only a one-time solution.

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