Many people confuse the difference between a VPN and a proxy, and it’s easy to see why. A VPN is for when you want to browse the web anonymously by redirecting your traffic through an encrypted tunnel. This will keep you safe from hackers or government agencies that might be monitoring your activity. On the other hand, a proxy is used to unblock restricted content on certain websites such as YouTube or Facebook in some countries where they are blocked by ISPs.
What is a proxy and how does it work?
The main purpose of a proxy is to unblock websites and let you browse the Internet safely and anonymously. A proxy server is just like any other server, but instead of hosting data or applications, it simply acts as an intermediary between your computer and the website you want to visit. When you request to visit a website through your regular web browser or Internet application, you send that request to the proxy server. The web hosting service will hide your IP address and forward the website’s contents to you via a secure connection before delivering it back to your browser where you can view it without any restrictions.
What is a VPN and how does it work?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology used to connect your computer to a secure server in another location, for you to access websites that might be banned or restricted in your country. You will have an IP address from the country the VPN provider has servers in, which means you can use it to change your virtual location at any time. This will allow you to access all sorts of blocked content from anywhere in the world.
How much do VPNs and proxies cost?
Both a proxy and a VPN can provide privacy to your internet connection, as well as security from hackers or government agencies monitoring your activity. Unblocking restricted websites is also free, but accessing those websites through a secure connection comes at a price. Most VPN providers cost around $10-$15 per month, sometimes even less if you commit to a longer subscription period. Proxy servers are often free of charge but many paid services provide better quality and access to more websites online.
Proxy vs VPN: Security Comparison
There are three main protocols for encrypting your Internet connection when using a VPN: PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and OpenVPN. PPTP is an old protocol that has long been compromised so it’s safer to use the more secure L2TP or OpenVPN protocols which are also supported by all VPN services.
With proxies, however, everything depends on the location of the proxy server you’re using. If it’s located in a secure location and has the appropriate security software, you can be sure of strong encryption and protection. However, some free proxy servers do not encrypt your connection, which leaves you vulnerable to snooping and tracking by anyone with the right tools to intercept your online activity.
If you don’t get a VPN or use an HTTP proxy, your data will be transmitted in clear text which can leave you at risk of being monitored by hackers or government agencies that are monitoring the activity on your network. However, if you use a VPN, your online traffic is encrypted and even someone monitoring it would see only random bits of code.
There are many different types of proxies but they all work in the same way: you connect to them, and the site you want to visit will think your IP address is that of a proxy instead of your own. Both a VPN and Proxy can provide privacy to your internet connection, as well as security from hackers or government agencies monitoring your activity. However, they also have their pros and cons, so make sure you know which is the best option for your specific needs.