Proxy v/s VPN – Know the Basic Differences Between These Two Security Tools

Do you consider proxy and VPN to be 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 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.

Read also:

VPN – Understanding Every Aspect Of This Security Tool

how does vpn protection work

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a cyber-security tool with an extensive server network thar works 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, the 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 end user’s actual location.

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 ISPs track the IP address of a person’s device 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.

  • Added security

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 fierce. You can experience data theft, logging, malware attacks, and 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 blockers, multiple security protocols, and many others.

  • 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 helpful:

What is a Proxy – The nearest Counterpart of a VPN

proxy server picture

A proxy is an intermediary 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 one.

Doing so ensures that the website or internet service cannot track the end-user’s actual location, preventing many dangers and helping to unblock 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 setups 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. A proxy server should not be expected to do more than this.

Learn more about proxies here:

Proxy vs VPN – Which is Better?

Key Similarities

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 help access 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.

Key Differences

Now that you have a better understanding of the similarities, it’s time to learn about the differences between these two. Let’s get started.

  • Security

Of course, the main goal of using a VPN or proxy is to improve internet security. So, we need to find out what is better: proxy v/s VPN.

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. The rest of the 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. 256-bit encryption is mostly 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 benefit of a VPN. You can also choose various security protocols to protect data. Overall, VPNs are more secure than proxies.

  • Privacy

Data privacy is the talk of the town these days. All the organizations and government agencies are keeping an eye 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.

The best VPNs adhere to a robust no-logging policy. Some even undergo third-party audits to validate their no-log policy. Given these factors, it’s easy to conclude that your personal, professional, and financial information is safe with a VPN.

  • Server Network

Paying attention to server networks is essential 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 can access over 5,000 servers.

The part is VPN providers cover the entire world strategically so that people across the globe can have easy connectivity. This is not the case with proxies, as their server allocation could be too vague.

Because of this coverage, a VPN gives you more freedom. You can access blocked content within and outside your country.

You can be physically present in the UK (VPN UK) and have a digital location anywhere. By simply selecting a server from the extensive server network and connecting to it, you could be virtually in the US, Canada (VPN Canada), Australia (VPN Australia), or Singapore. That’s it. The job is complete.

  • Device compatibility

If you want to make the most of your VPN or proxy subscription, the tool you’ve picked up must be compatible with most devices. Sadly, proxies have very limited compatibility. Very few offer app support. Most are web proxies and are compatible with browsers or PCs only. Hence, you become restricted.

It’s a bit harder 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 can 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:

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 definitely drop when you start using a proxy or VPN. The reason is the traffic filtration that both these tools perform.

The proxy does light traffic filtration, so 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 undoubtedly 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 setup 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. However, all the apps are so intuitive that they come with a one-click installation. The apps are mostly extra light and will easily download on the system of your choice.

No special technical knowledge is required to complete the setup 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 as a VPN user remains trouble-free.

  • Cost-effectiveness

It would be unwise to ignore the cost when making an extensive proxy server vs. VPN comparison. If you pay attention to the price of these two security tools, you’ll find that most 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 and 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 will spend more money on this option.

Even with the most pocket-friendly option, you need to spend at least $5 per month per user. This cost increases with the use and features demanded.

It’s obvious from the surface that proxies are more cost-effective than VPNs. However, considering the offerings, the price of VPNs is fully justified. If you’re 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, try it 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.

  • Targeted Customers

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 use. They are ideal 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, they are also suitable for security experts and people who deal 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.

vpn icon home page

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 need to combine these two. If you’re using a 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:

Reddit VPN vs Proxy thread

Reddit Proxy vs VPN 2

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, which 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.

For more information, see our picks for the best VPNs here.


Is proxy better than VPN?

When compared extensively, VPN capabilities are beyond what a proxy offers. A proxy is limited to replacing IP addresses. But a VPN does more than this. It adds double encryption, blocks ad blockers, monitors traffic quality, allows accessing blocked platforms/websites, and more. 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.

Is VPN the same as a proxy?
Should I use a VPN and a proxy?


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