Proxy v/s VPN – Know The Basic Differences Between These Two Security Tools
Do you consider proxy and VPN as the same thing? Do you have a tough time finding substantial differences between these two?
Well, you’re not alone. Many of us think these two security tools are just two different names of the same thing, as both are useful to hide the actual IP address details and make your internet a safe place to be. But that’s not the only thing these two cyber security tools do.
The more you will know about these two options, the better you’ll be able to understand that these two are poles apart. Read this post to understand the proxy and VPN key differences better.
VPN – Understanding Every Aspect Of This Security Tool
VPN or Virtual Private Network is a cyber-security tool that features an extensive server network, working as a proxy server.
Using the server network allows end-users to replace the existing IP address and encrypt the incoming/outgoing traffic. It sits between the end user and the website server and creates a highly encrypted tunnel. This tunnel receives the user request before it reaches an internet server.
While the request is inside the tunnel, VPN replaces the actual IP address with the IP address of a different server and removes any specific personal request. This highly modified request is then forwarded to the internet.
When the website server receives this request, it won’t be able to trace the end user’s actual location as a different IP address is attached to it. For instance, if you’re in Canada and using a UK server, the internet server will consider your actual location as per the UK IP address (if you are in the UK). This way, no one will be able to track the actual location of the end user.
Now, it was one of the many outcomes of VPN implementation.
Learn more about what a VPN is here – VPN for Dummies: An Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
It does many other things, such as:
Helping in accessing geo-restriction content
The core of geo-restriction is the IP address. Websites and ISP track the IP address of the device a person uses to access the internet. They decide which content to show to you and which to hide. As VPN will replace the actual IP address with a false one or an IP address of an entirely different location, it’s easy to bypass any geo-restrictions in no time.
Accessing an SSL-certificated website is insufficient to remain safe in today’s highly vulnerable digital world. Cyber dangers are coming from all sides, and their impact is highly brutal. You can experience data theft, logging, malware attacks, and many other dangers.
With the help of a VPN, it’s easy to enhance the security of the internet connection as the best VPNs are packed with features like military-grade encryption, malware/adware blocker, multiple security protocols, and many other features.
Prevent data logging
Data logging is a prevalent issue these days, and people want to eliminate it as it comes with serious dangers. A VPN with a no-logging policy ensures that none of your browsing activity, digital footprint, or personal details are tracked and blocked. It makes your browsing experience a bit more advanced.
You will find these articles useful:
- Top 6 Cheap VPN Services You Must Try in 2023
- 5 Best Free VPN Services (Verified and Tested in 2023)
- The Best VPN Service with Double VPN Feature in 2023
What is a Proxy – The nearest Counterpart of a VPN
A proxy is an intermediary place between the end user and the website server. It doesn’t sit ideally. It receives the user request and replaces the IP address with a new IP address.
Doing so ensures that the website or internet isn’t able to track the actual location of the end-user, preventing tons of dangers and helping in unblocking geo-restricted content.
Generally, a proxy server is placed on a local router and is most commonly found when you use a public Wi-Fi connection. No configurations and set-ups are required to use a proxy. It can also be placed remotely and replace the IP addresses from there. For such proxy servers, end-users must change device settings to permit proxy settings to work.
It rarely adds encryption and security to the traffic. Its functionalities are limited to granting new addresses and helping with blocked content. Not more than this should be expected out of a proxy server.
Learn more about proxies here:
- Residential Proxy Guide 2023 – Everything That You Must Know
- SOCKS5 Proxy: What, Why, And How
- A Detailed Guide On Torrent Proxy
Proxy vs VPN – Which is Better?
We know the post’s topic concerns proxy vs VPN differences. But, knowing similarities will bring more clarity to the topic. So, let’s talk about the features that these two share.
For instance, these two replace the actual IP addresses and help eliminate geo-restrictions.
They both are useful for accessing blocked content. A certain speed drop is expected in both cases as both these tools filter the traffic.
They both are intermediary tools deployed between the user and the server.
Now that you’re a better understanding of the similarities, it’s time to learn about the differences between these two. Let’s get started.
Of course, the main goal of using a VPN or proxy is to have improved internet security. So, we need to find a proxy v/s VPN that is better.
The best proxies (only the best ones) can offer encryption. Refer to this list to know the best proxy options available. You can experience HTTPS protection only with HTTPS proxies. Rest all proxies fail to impress on this front.
On the other hand, VPNs are all about security as the traffic, back and forth, is highly encrypted. Mostly 256-bit encryption is used to protect communication. It is the strongest possible encryption used by the military and banks. Hence, hackers won’t be able to decode the information you’re exchanging.
That’s not the only offering you enjoy with a VPN. You also have the facility to pick various security protocols and use them to protect the data. All in all, VPNs are more secure than proxies.
Data privacy is the talk of the town these days. All the organizations and government agencies are keeping a watch on what you’re doing over the internet. But, every internet user has the right to protect their data privacy.
When we compare VPN vs proxy on the privacy front, we figured out that proxy is weak as no data logging privacy is strongly imposed. The difference is mainly due to vpn vs proxy server.
The server for the proxy service is also not a bare metal server, but it does logging (unless you have a premium proxy server that is known for no data logging). Free proxies disappoint greatly.
VPN servers are equipped with many privacy-specific features. For instance, the best VPNs will have bare metal servers for no data logging. The end-to-end encryption deployed already makes decoding the information impossible. The information isn’t shared with any others.
Best VPNs adhere to a strong no-logging policy. Some even go through 3rdparty audits to validate their no-log policy. With all these things, it’s easy to conclude that your personal, professional, and financial information is safe with a VPN.
Paying attention to server networks is important as a higher number of servers ensures more functionalities. Proxies do have a vast server network, but they fail to match the server network that established VPNs offer. With some of the best options, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, you have access to over 5,000 servers.
The part is VPN providers cover the entire world strategically so that people across the globe will be able to have easy connectivity. It is not the case with proxies, as their server allocation could be too vague.
Because of this coverage, VPN gives you more freedom. You can access blocked content within and outside your country.
You can be physically present in the UK and have a digital location anywhere in the world. You could be virtually in the US, Canada, Australia (VPN for Australia), or Singapore by simply selecting the server from the extensive server network and connecting to it. That’s it. The job is complete.
In case you are wondering how to access the internet from China – 5 Best VPN for China to Break Through Great Firewall 
If you want to make the most of the VPN or proxy subscription, the tool you’ve picked up must be compatible with most kinds of devices. Sadly, the proxy has very limited compatibility. Very few offer app support. Most of them are web proxies and are compatible with browsers or PCs only. Hence, you become restricted.
It’s hard to VPN when it comes to device compatibility. With the right choice, you can enjoy VPN support on all sorts of devices. Whether it’s a router or mobile phone, you will be able to have a dedicated app or solution for all kinds of device types. That is what makes VPN gain an incomparable edge over proxy.
Talking about device compatibility:
- 5 Best VPN for Mac to Use in 2023 (Tested and Reviewed)
- 5 Best VPN for iPhone That 100% Work in 2023
- 5 Best VPN for Android That Work in 2023
- 5 Best VPN Software for Windows in 2023
How can we forget to compare these two at the speed front? Before we talk about which one is better on the speed front, you must understand that the original speed will drop for sure when you start using a proxy or VPN. The reason is the traffic filtration that both these tools perform.
The proxy does the light traffic filtration. Hence, the speed drop will be manageable. VPN does heavy filtering to improve security. Some leading VPNs even use double VPNs that involve dual traffic filtration to maintain 100% anonymity. All these added security features will certainly hamper the traffic speed.
So, if speed is concerned, a proxy might win the race.
Ease of usage
Technically speaking, both these tools are very easy to use. Proxies won‘t drag you into too much downloading, installation, and set-up kind of stuff. You only need to connect with the server and start enjoying secure internet access.
With VPN, there is a separate app installation process to go through. But all the apps are so intuitive that they come with a one-click installation. Mostly, the apps are extra light and will easily download on the system of your choice.
No special technical knowledge is required to complete the set-up and installation.
Customer care support
Having robust customer care support matters the most, as it will help you instantly fix any technical glitch. Usually, the best you get with proxies, in this case, is a live chat feature or a helpline number. Honestly speaking, that’s enough for proxy users as it’s not very complicated.
VPN providers go beyond the mile on this front.
The industry leaders leave no stone unturned to make their customer experience exceptional. As a VPN user, you’ll likely experience live chat support, a helpline number, email support, troubleshooting and FAQ sections, and even detailed tutorials. All these supports are here to ensure that your overall experience remains trouble-free as a VPN user.
It would be unwise to ignore the cost front when we’re making an extensive proxy server v/s VPN comparison. If you pay due attention to the price of these two security tools, you’ll be able to find out that most of the proxy servers are available for free.
Even if you have some paid options, they are very cost-effective. Well, its limited functionality is a major reason behind its pocket-friendliness. Most of its features will not increase the cost. The server network is also not very extensive that will demand high-cost maintenance. Because of all these things, proxy servers are generally very inexpensive.
Blame it on the far-reaching offerings of VPN; you have to spend more with this option.
Even with the most pocket-friendly option, you need to spend not less than $5 per month per user. With the use and features demanded, this cost increases.
When we see from the surface, it’s obvious to think that proxies are more cost-effective than VPNs. But, considering the offerings, the price of VPNs is fully justified. If you’re a bit concerned about the cost of using a VPN, you can avail of a free trial and experience its power in full swing. Most market players are offering a free trial of their VPN services.
So, give it a try first, and then invest your hard money. VPNs even offer a money-back guarantee. In a nutshell, you don’t have much to worry about regarding the high cost of a VPN, as you can try it before buying.
Because of the cost, proxies are better for small businesses and start-ups. They can easily afford proxies without experiencing much of a financial burden.
VPNs are for commercial usage. They are an ideal fit for big enterprises where data exchange is heavy and top-notch security is essential.
With its premium-grade security feature, enterprises can ensure secured data exchange. Also, they can bear the high expenses easily. Honestly speaking, VPNs will be able to bloom only when they are used in full swing, which is only possible when they are used on a large scale.
However, there are specific personal use VPNs as well. They are suitable for security experts and someone who deals with sensitive information.
VPN v/s Proxy: Ideal Use Cases
Now that you have a better understanding of VPN v/s proxy key differences – learn about the ideal use cases.
You must think of using a proxy over a VPN when:
- You only need to access blocked content within your locality or country.
- Minimal security is enough.
- You can’t make heavy investments.
- You don’t want to get involved in app installation and setup.
- Limited concurrent connection support is enough.
All these above situations are perfect use cases of the best proxy. But, you should think of replacing the proxy with a VPN when:
- You’re more concerned about data security and privacy
- You don’t have to compromise on data privacy and want to ensure that not a single piece of information is stored and saved
- You aim to access the internet without any restriction. It will help you access blocked content within and outside your country with the same ease and perfection.
- You need dedicated app support for every device.
- You need to block malware and ads as well.
- You need a vast IP pool for expanded possibilities.
Now that everything is clear – choose one as per your requirements.
Can You Use a VPN and Proxy Together?
Technically speaking, you don’t require to club these two. If you’re using VPN, you’re already experiencing the capabilities of a proxy. So, there is no point in using them together. However, there is no hard and fast rule that you can’t pair these two. You can. But it will only complicate things.
VPN v/s Proxy – As per Redditors
Let’s find out what proxy vs VPN Reddit opinion is:
- This user explains a lot of things. Read for yourself.
- Here is another user comparing Proxy and VPN:
Proxy v/s VPN Conclusion
Proxy v/s VPN is a debate that has no end. This one topic needs a deeper understanding of these two tools. VPN extends its capabilities by adding encryption, virus blocker, security protocol, double VPN, and many other features. Its focus is on improving digital presence and lift-up geo-restrictions.
Proxy is useful only when IP masking is the goal. It only replaces the IP address and provides a new IP address. It’s standing at the security front isn’t that strong. So, if you’re wondering which one is better, you need to find out what exactly your requirements are and make a choice accordingly.
When you make a choice that suits well to your needs, both tend to work wonderfully.
Let VPNWelt warn you: to be completely secure on the internet, you will need the help of the best VPN service.
You probably don’t have time to learn all the details about VPN services, but you want to know which one is the best for you. Here are six trustworthy VPNs I can recommend to you, depending on the scope of use of each of them.
- Best VPN overall: NordVPN
- Best value for money: CyberGhost
- Cheapest annual subscription: PIA
- Best for streaming: Surfshark
- Best premium VPN: ExpressVPN
- Largest country selection: VeePN
For more information, see our picks for the best VPNs here.
When compared extensively, one will be able to find out that VPN capabilities are beyond what a proxy offers. Proxy is limited to replacing the IP addresses. But VPN does more than this. It adds double encryption, blocks ad blocker, monitor traffic quality, allows accessing blocked platforms/website, and does more than this. Most VPNs are compatible with multiple kinds of devices. Considering all this, it’s easy to conclude that a VPN is far better than a proxy.