differences between proxies and VPNs

New to proxies and VPNs? If you are not completely sure what they are or which option is better for your needs, you have come to the right place. In this post, we will break down the key differences between proxies and VPNs so that you can make an informed choice.

A Quick Introduction to Proxies

One of the simplest ways to understand what proxies are is to imagine that it is a curtain drawn between the Internet and your computer or mobile device. It is designed to act as an intermediary waypoint that re-routes the direction of the request – sent from you – to the target website. This way, your identity online is protected. In other words, any requests you make on said website will not be sent directly from your computer or device.

With proxies, you will be able to access websites and other content that are normally restricted in your geographical location. You just have to find the location that your desired websites are accessible to and select the appropriate proxy server location.

Here’s a quick look at what usually happens when you decide to visit a site via a proxy:

  • You log onto your proxy account
  • You send a request to the proxy server
  • The proxy server forwards that request to the host server of the target website
  • The host server acknowledges the request and sends a response back to the proxy server
  • The proxy server finally sends the information you seek to your computer or device

Let’s learn more about the differences between proxies and VPNs by looking at what they can do for you.

Understand the Key Differences Between Proxies and VPNs

When you use a proxy, the websites you are visiting only see the location of the proxy server. However, your location cannot be completely hidden when advanced detection techniques are employed. Virtual Private Networks, on the other hand, can hide your IP address and encrypt the network traffic so that third party entities cannot interfere.

Remember earlier that proxies are like curtains between your website and device? When it comes to Virtual Private Networks, it is not just a curtain. It is actually a completely new network. This means that all the network traffic that travels through your connection is fully encrypted. Your online activities are only known by the VPN.

Why Use Proxies Rather Than VPNs?

On the surface, it does look like VPNs offer lots of advantages. But here’s why you should use proxies rather than VPNs:

  • VPNs are usually the costlier option. If VPNs are out of your budget and you use free versions, you will realize that they are not good for performance and may even slow down your connection.
  • Malicious VPNs do exist and can keep track of your online activities. This information may be used by authorized or unauthorized third parties. May happen at the point of decryption.
  • VPNs usually require powerful hardware to keep up with the demand of encryption and decryption. Again, this is why VPNs cost more than proxies, which is often the key reason why people avoid VPNs.