Proxy or VPN: Unraveling the Differences to Find Your Perfect Solution

Proxies and VPNs are similar tools that work in different ways. So, how do you know which is best to use? Let’s break down the key differences between residential proxies and VPNs to help us reach a verdict.

Firstly, What are Proxies and VPNs?

Proxy

A proxy is a server that acts as an intermediary between you and the internet. Normally when you visit a website you enter a direct connection. Proxies are a way to fake your IP address as they can hide your real location and communicate with websites on your behalf. They are designed to protect data and privacy while retrieving data across different sources. Proxies can be set up as web filters and firewalls, protecting you from malware and other internet threats.

VPN

A VPN is a virtual private network. It protects your internet connection and privacy online through an encrypted tunnel between your device and the web. VPNs mask your IP address from your ISP, internet service provider, and other third parties. One of the most common uses of VPNs is to bypass geo-blocking restrictions and accessing streaming content from other countries, such as watching American Netflix from the United Kingdom.

While both hide your IP address, they offer different levels of security with proxies operating at an application or browser level and VPNs operating at device level.

What Does a Proxy Do?

Proxies provide you with enhanced security, preventing hackers from having easy access to your IP address. They allow you to privately browse online and avoid unwanted ads. With the rise of cyber-criminal activity, it’s important to consider your safety while browsing. Be aware of any browser extensions installed on your device, as a hacker could leverage your device as a proxy for their own malicious intentions. Proxies also let you access restricted content as you can connect to the internet with an IP address in another country. Residential proxies in particular are the most trusted form of proxies, as they are attached to a physical location.

What do VPNs do?

VPNs encrypt your information. This means that businesses or government agencies won’t be able to see anything you are doing online. A VPN is especially useful when you are logging into the internet from public WiFi. Any sensitive data, such as passwords and banking information, is protected from any hackers who might be trying to gain access to your device. VPNs also offer coverage across multiple websites and apps at once. Similar to a residential proxy, VPNs also bypass geo-blocking, meaning if you’re in a country where access to foreign media is restricted you can still reach these sites by using a VPN to change your IP location.

Which is best for me?

This really depends on what your priorities are while online. Data breaches are a major concern for businesses while accessing another country’s Netflix library might be your main interest.

VPNs are great for security while browsing the web, especially when you are using public WiFi. For example, installing a VPN on your mobile would be a great choice if you travel frequently. This would allow you to browse safely while aboard, bypass any geo-restrictions, and protect your phone from any hackers.

While internet safety is important for everyone, businesses may want to take extra precautions. There are many reasons for companies to use residential proxies such as SEO research, ad verification, price comparison, and heightened online security. As business data is vital to a company’s brand security, taking an extra step to prevent unauthorized access to that data is worth doing.

Overall, both will mask your IP address from third parties, but the difference is in the details. If you are looking for better security, a VPN is the better choice as all data traffic sent and received through your device goes through an encrypted tunnel. If you are looking for better speed while browsing and a way to cache data, a Buy Romanian proxy is a great choice.

Feature Comparison

  • Cost – Proxies are usually free while VPNs are usually paid
  • Number of uses – While VPNs are unlimited, proxies are a one time use on one application or website
  • IP address encryption – Both proxies and VPNs will encrypt your IP address
  • Web activity encryption – A VPN will hide your browsing activity including what websites you visit but a proxy won’t encrypt your online activities which can still be seen by your ISP.
  • Selling user data – With a proxy, your data (such as what you search for) may still be sold to third parties for marketing purposes. A VPN will fully protect your data from everyone.
  • Compatibility with streaming and gaming – Both proxies and VPN are compatible with streaming and gaming
  • Geo-restrictions – Both proxies and VPNs can bypass geo-restrictions and access blocked content.
  • Speed – Proxies can be used to increase internet speeds while VPNs tend to make browsing slower with their encryption process.

The bottom line is that both proxies and VPNs have their advantages and it is up to you to make an informed decision on which would work best for you and your needs.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.