Proxies vs VPNs: What Are the Key Differences? This is the eternal question that torments the minds of all who in one way or another seriously work via the Internet.
The staff of the Proxy-Seller Internet service, which provides its clients with access services to high-speed private HTTP(s) and, in fact, SOCKS5, helped us to reveal the topic. Here’s what we learned in the end.
Virtual protocol network (VPN) and proxy are two terms that are often confused and misunderstood. This is not surprising. Both function in much the same way and have the same purpose: safe, secure, and private web browsing.
But they differ in how they work and how they are used. In this post, we will discuss the main differences between VPN and proxy.
What is a proxy?
A proxy server or proxy is a separate server that acts as an intermediary between your device and the website you are visiting. When you use the Internet, your request goes through a proxy server and not directly to a website.
It hides your original IP address and sends traffic to a site with a different address. But proxies work at the application layer and don’t redirect all of your traffic.
Proxies work with the following protocols:
SSL proxy server
Depending on the application and functionality, proxies are divided into different types such as transparent proxies, anonymous proxies, SOCKS4 / SOCKS5, and elite proxies.
What is VPN?
A virtual protocol network (VPN) works similarly to a proxy server. It redirects traffic going through your device while hiding your original IP address. A VPN also encrypts your traffic, so your ISP cannot track and control your online activities. But unlike a proxy server, a VPN works at the operating system level and redirects all traffic coming from your device.
VPNs work on various protocols such as:
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
SSL and TLS
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
Secure Shell (SSH)
VPNs are also categorized into different types such as remote access VPN, intranet-based VPN, extranet-based VPN, and site-to-site VPN.
Proxy vs VPN: Key Differences
There is not much difference between proxy and VPN. Both route your IP address and help you browse the Internet with more privacy and security.
However, they differ in the way they work, as well as their use and applications. Let’s dive into some of the differences between proxies and VPNs.
What does a VPN do?
A VPN protects your data as it encrypts all traffic from your device. This means your ISP, government and hackers will not be able to see what you are browsing on the Internet. VPNs also help prevent targeted ads from companies like Facebook and Google.
It’s the same with other third parties. Since a VPN completely anonymizes your activity, third parties cannot track your activity. This means that even if you visit an illegal website or download a copyrighted file (which you shouldn’t), your information will remain hidden.
One of the biggest benefits of using a VPN is bypassing geo-blocking and censorship restrictions. For example, Netflix is banned in countries like China, North Korea and Syria. By using a VPN, you can bypass geo IP blocking and view blocked sites and content in your country.
The downside of VPNs is rate throttling, which is common with free and shared VPNs. When using a free VPN service, you will likely experience a noticeable drop in your internet speed. However, this is usually not the case for high-quality premium VPNs.
What does a proxy do?
Proxy servers offer limited functionality compared to VPNs. They may not be the best choice if the anonymity of your data is important.
Proxies can also help bypass firewalls and geoblocks, but their advantage is data extraction. Proxy servers have a unique feature for creating proxy pools. These pools allow you to strip your IP address and distribute requests across multiple servers.
This feature makes proxy servers a helper for data retrieval, such as crawling web pages. Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. This is an automated process that involves sending many requests to a website in a short period. Most sites have scraping detection programs installed that easily detect these sudden fluctuations.
You can strip your requests between multiple servers with different types of proxies, such as home proxies and datacenter proxies. Thus, instead of receiving many requests from one server in a short time, the website will receive a small number of requests from multiple servers. This reduces the risk of being detected and allows you to clean the Internet seamlessly.
A large number of companies, mainly aggregators, data analysis services and marketing agencies, use proxies to retrieve data.
Conclusion: which is better?
Which one you choose will depend on your requirements. If your only goal is to hide your information while browsing the web or bypass geoblocks, a VPN is the perfect choice. It has end-to-end encryption and improved security features.
But proxies are the best choice if your goal is to extract data using crawling or web scraping techniques. They offer IP masking and rotation, and they also work well with cleanup software and headerless browsers.