VPN vs Proxy: which one to choose?
Top VPN service providers continue to report the community’s growing interest in the technology. The reason is the increasing striving for online security and anonymity. VPN, as well as proxies, have proved to be effective tools that help users protect their devices and connections against cybercriminals and work anonymously.
So far, there is no telling, whether VPN is more widely used than proxies or vice versa. Both are good for specific purposes, so people choose between these two according to their needs. Although these tools serve similar purposes, they use very different technological approaches.
What is VPN?
VPN (Virtual private network) is a technology, which translates traffic into an encrypted code, which travels between a user’s device and a VPN-server. The code is created by a VPN client, which is provided by a VPN network (like BroVPN) and installed on both the user’s device and the VPN server – the same kind of device, which a user allows other members of the community to use as a server.
Once the data is translated into a code, it becomes undecipherable for onlookers (hackers, authorities, etc.) Even if they do intercept it, all they can see is a combination of unknown symbols. The user, who has connected to a VPN network, gets a new IP address, which hides the one assigned to him/her by the ISP.
A VPN server may be located in your country or abroad. For example, BroVPN is present in Russia, France, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Finland and the United States, so you can connect to a server located in any of these countries and check content, which is restricted in your home country or region. This definitely adds a degree of security and anonymity.
It should be noted, however, that although VPN enables you to hide your private data and identity, it is hardly possible to hide the mere fact that you are using a VPN connection. If you live in a country, whose government and legislation is restrictive or suspicious about VPN, you should be more careful and be sure you are using it legally.
What is a proxy?
A proxy server is an intermediary server, which passes data traveling from your device to a websites that you visit and back from websites to your device. Once are connected to a proxy server, you act on its behalf, and websites will be able to identify the proxy’s IP address, not yours.
Like VPN, proxies are intended for setting up a protected IT connection. There are several types of proxies, which provide different levels of anonymity and therefore differ in price and effectiveness: datacenter, residential, mobile, shared, semi-dedicated, dedicated, etc.
Which is good for what?
As follows from the above, VPN and proxies are used for similar purposes (both make it look for websites like a request comes from a different IP address), and some people do not even differentiate between these. However, they rely on completely different technologies, and therefore cannot be equally good in every little use case.
A VPN connection implies that a connection is set up between an individual’s device and a VPN server with the help of software installed on both devices. The software creates an encrypted tunnel between these devices. This technique is good for individuals seeking to bypass geo-restrictions and access information they are interested in.
Proxies are better suited for scraping tons of data, as they provide an opportunity to connect to many IP addresses at once (particularly residential and mobile proxies) within a short period of time. This helps businesses, who scrape data, avoid blocks, maintain access to important information, run marketing campaigns, protect copyrighted data, etc. For this reason, proxies are better for larger-scale projects.
So, which is safer to use? As long as VPNs guarantee encryption, they are generally safer than proxies in terms of data stealth prevention. For example, BroVPN is among VPN networks, who are known to help individuals safely share sensitive data when using public wi-fi Internet. Wi-fi networks are notoriously attractive for potential intruders and hackers, and many of them are set up and controlled by cybercriminals, who feel free to pry on clients’ private information. The encryption pattern used by BroVPN simply disrupts this opportunity.
Also, VPNs encrypt all data coming from a user’s device. It includes data on all apps installed on the device, not only the browser, while proxies process only browser data. This is another reason why VPNs are better at protecting traffic than proxies.
On the other hand, VPNs show a greater occurrence of slowdowns, because they are less equipped, yet have to process a greater bulk of data per server. Therefore, proxies, especially datacenter proxies, provide a much faster connection.
As we can see from above, the VPN vs proxy battle goes on, but the winner is still unknown. These are just two different online security tools. VPNs have proved to be effective in data protection, so long as encryption leaves zero chance for onlookers. However, they do not have the capacity to handle massive data scraping or social marketing projects, so they are more suited for individuals seeking to protect their personal data and access restricted content. In this respect, proxies are more business-oriented, as they help complete a spectrum of tasks, and are mostly used by organizations.