If you’ve once inquired about hiding your identity during Internet usage, you may have heard of proxies and VPNs.
Needless to say, the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably and in certain respects, they perform the same functions. However on a broader note, there are differences which make one a greater security tool than the other.
What Does a VPN Do?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps render your IP address invisible to the websites you’re browsing. In other words, a VPN does traffic rerouting via a remote server and prevents websites from accessing your original location or IP. Also, a VPN serves the purpose of traffic encryption between your device and the Internet so that your online activity becomes inaccessible to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) tracking your Internet use.
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While VPNs are widely used for boosting security and privacy during Internet usage, you can rest assured that VPN-provided encryption will keep you secured against hackers, website trackers and government surveillance willing to pry into your online activity.
What Does a Proxy Do?
A proxy is a server that plays an intermediary role between a device (such as a PC, smartphone, etc.) and the website being used on the device. As you’re browsing a website, the website can only see the IP of your proxy rather than your own original IP address. In other words, the proxy helps render your IP address invisible and while proxies are quite useful for hiding one’s identity, it’s noteworthy that your proxy only works for the application with which you have set it up. Put simply, the proxy is capable of rerouting traffic only from the app you’ve set up the proxy for.
While proxies are also not capable of encrypting website traffic, the three notable categories of proxies are:
SOCKS Proxies –While these proxies are restricted to the application level, they may still be used for web traffic rerouting and other purposes. A SOCKS proxy can be activated for a peer-to-peer platform, video streaming app, game, etc. The downside of these proxies is that they are more commonly used and are characterized by a greater load, hence making them operate more slowly than HTTPs. However, one great advantage of using them is that they’re suitable for all sorts of web traffic.
Transparent Proxies –These are the proxies that specific people (probably parents, hotels, companies and employers) devise for tracking the online activities of those using the proxies. Transparent proxies are quite different from the two other proxy categories since their users do not know that they’re using such proxies. Notably, transparent proxies can be used by their activators to prevent users from accessing certain websites.
HTTP Proxies –If you’re keen to access a website which your location is barred from accessing, an HTTP proxy could be all you need. While an HTTP proxy helps you reroute all your browser traffic, it’s also noteworthy that the proxy only accommodates web pages.
What Are the Differences between VPNs and Proxies?
- Although users can expedite browsing speeds and Internet connections, proxies often work faster than VPNs since the latter require data encryption
- VPNs are usable for traffic encryption while proxies aren’t. By reason of this, it isn’t safe to use proxies in handling sensitive information
- Proxies operate at the app level whereas VPNs operate at the OS level
- Proxies are liable to constant connection drops but VPNs happen to be more reliable
With this post, we hope you’ve found out the differences between proxies and VPNs. In the light of this discovery, you should be able to decide which of the two servers is suitable for your specialized online activity. Notably, both VPN and proxy keep your original IP secret but on several grounds, a VPN serves you better than a proxy does.
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