For starters, proxies and VPNs do share some similarities. For example, they can shield personal information of users who surf the web. Proxies and VPNs can also spoof a certain geo-location, and that’s why users are able to access TV streaming websites and watch videos outside their country of origin. While proxies and VPNs seem to perform more than one similar function, keep in mind that the actual processes involved are very different, and they are designed to produce different results. Let’s find out more about their differences.

What is a Proxy?

Proxies act like a middle-man between you and the target website. It also allows users to block and unblock content on the Internet. If you are using a proxy server that keeps a record of frequently visited websites in its local memory, you may be able to access your target website at a faster rate. What’s more, there are different types of proxies, including HTTP proxies, SOCKS proxies, private proxies, and more.

What is a VPN?

Also known as Virtual Private Networks, VPNs serve as a means to securing your data. There are users that utilize VPNs when they need to access their corporate network from abroad. VPNs maintain online privacy by combining VPN tunnel protocols and encryption to establish a virtual connection between your mobile device or computer as well as the target server.

Proxy vs VPN: A Quick Comparison

Proxies offer basic security features and has the ability to ensure data stays encrypted in SSL connections. If proxies are used to establish non-SSL connections, you should remember the data will not be encrypted. VPNs, on the other hand, offer bank-level encryption features. Next, VPNs are performance oriented and can unblock all content restrictions. Proxies are very fast too, but overtrafficked servers may slow down performance. A proxy server also has the ability to circumvent basic geo-restrictions. When it comes to operating systems/device compatibility and support, proxies work on certain browsers while VPNs can be used for all systems.

The Bottom Line

If you need to unblock certain websites for research purposes that are not vulnerable to snoopers and/or hackers, proxies are stellar one-off website unblockers. What’s more, proxies work very fast if the target website is a frequently visited website.

If you want to unblock the internet, surf the way you want, and prevent your personal information from being accessed by the government, you may consider using VPNs. However, this option may only be suitable if you have deep pockets to afford the higher costs that come with using them. If you are looking for more cost effective solutions, you should definitely opt for proxies.