Proxy vs. VPN: What is the difference?

Dec 13, 2023 3 min read

Proxies and VPNs share a common goal – they both alter your IP address, granting access to restricted websites hindered by IP-based constraints like geographical location or blacklisting. But what distinguishes them, and which one suits your needs best?

 

In this post, we'll dissect the disparities between these two IP-altering methods.

Proxy vs. VPN: Similarities

  • Middleman role: Both proxies and VPNs act as intermediaries between users and web servers, shaping the following setup: Client -> Proxy/VPN Server -> Internet.

  • IP concealment: They enable users to conceal their real IP address. When a web server detects incoming data, it registers only the IP of the Proxy/VPN.

  • IP spoofing: Users have the flexibility to assume different IP addresses based on their requirements. For instance, opting for a US or UK IP to access Medium or a Chinese IP for Douyin.

Proxy vs. VPN: Differences

  • Encryption: Data routed through a Proxy goes directly to the web server, while data transmitted through a VPN is encrypted before reaching the web server.
  • Impact scope: Proxies solely alter the IP address for the specific browser they're configured with, allowing multiple proxies for distinct browsers, each with its IP address. VPNs, conversely, modify the IP for the entire computer's operating system, encompassing all applications and browsers, with only one IP address in use at any given time.

Quick comparison

Speed

  • Datacenter Proxies outpace VPNs in terms of speed.
  • VPNs outperform Residential Proxies.

Security Level

  • HTTP Proxies, although common, provide the lowest security level and are susceptible to data breaches.
  • HTTPS and SOCKS Proxies offer improved security.
  • VPNs, equipped with data encryption, provide the highest level of security.

FAQs

Should you use VPN or Proxy?

The choice between VPNs and proxies hinges on your specific needs. If your aim is solely to change your IP for faster web browsing, a VPN is the way to go.

 

However, if you require efficient management of numerous accounts concurrently, it's advisable to assign a dedicated proxy to each account for streamlined operation. Particularly, for accessing challenging websites while safeguarding your true IP, high-quality proxies are the preferred choice.

Can you use both VPN and Proxy?

Yes, you can effectively employ both VPNs and proxies together. For example, during instances of sluggish internet connectivity in Vietnam when accessing US websites proves tedious, using a VPN to switch your IP to Hong Kong can facilitate faster internet access from Vietnam to Hong Kong and onward to the US. Subsequently, you can continue to employ proxies for your regular tasks.

Should you use free VPN/Proxy?

Using free options is not advisable. Quality often aligns with cost, and free alternatives are generally unreliable, frequently leading to compromised IPs and blacklisting complications.

 

Moreover, if your intentions involve registering or managing accounts, investing in high-quality proxies is the prudent choice to avert the risks of account data theft commonly associated with free options.

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