In summary, the difference between proxy and VPN is their encryption. Both are online anonymity tools. Let’s take a closer look at these two anonymity technologies.
Experienced internet users may be familiar with the terms proxy as well as VPN. For those of you who are new to these two terms and who know more about them, this is the article for you.
What is the difference between Proxy and VPN?
Let us look at the definitions of the two and then summarize their differences.
A proxy server (technically an open proxy) is a computer that acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet. All traffic directed through the proxy server will appear to come from its IP address, not from your computer.
Unlike a VPN server, a proxy server does not need to devote resources to encrypting all traffic that passes through it, and can therefore accept concurrent connections from many more users (usually tens of thousands). Proxy servers typically communicate with the internet using one of 2 different protocols; HTTP or SOCKS.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) create encrypted ‘tunnels’ between your computer and the host server, with internet traffic going in and out of the host server.
Your ISP or government can only see that you are connected to the VPN server and nothing else. Your activity, the IP addresses you have visited, etc., are all completely hidden from them.
The minimum VPN uses 128-bit encryption. The VPN service provider encrypts all your traffic, changes your ISP and routes all traffic through the VPN server. Not only that, it includes programs and applications that you might use on your laptop or smartphone.
The VPN will work with all internet based services. Everything is routed through the server when connected, so all web traffic and devices you use are 100% protected when using the VPN service.
The essence of the difference between a proxy and a VPN
So, what’s the difference between a proxy and a VPN? Proxies can only mask your real IP address and give you another IP address which allows you to unblock some sites.
But your internet activity isn’t hidden because there’s no encryption, it’s basically just bypassing your ISP and connecting you directly to the internet. Proxy settings are applied to your internet browser whether you are using Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or another web browser. Proxy servers are completely browser based.
Therefore, it is not compatible with certain web pages that use non-browser technology. There is no way to automatically configure usage for your other smartphone applications or computer programs.
Where a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel to transfer all your internet data which keeps your activity away from snoopers, which means you get anonymity while using the internet. VPN also masks your IP address with IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection which allows you to access blocked websites.
The technical difference between a proxy and a VPN is that a VPN is usually a virtual LAN somewhere inside the VPN server, with all clients connected to it. Everything connected to the VPN appears to be on the same LAN.
So, if your system is not secure enough, you become vulnerable to attacks from other VPN participants (read: infected computers), just as if you were with them on the same LAN.
Although Proxy does not provide encryption services it can represent HTTPS traffic – in which case you have end-to-end full encryption.
What are the shortcomings of a VPN and Proxy?
Of course, both have their drawbacks. A Virtual Private Network is a system association that empowers you to create protected associations with other areas, in this way allowing you to appear as if you were somewhere else.
Your PC creates a random virtual path to the VPN server and you appear as if you are coming from this VPN server. However, VPN service providers can reveal client logs if requested.
Proxies, on the other hand, are not meant to hide a large part of your Internet movement, usually just the program. Additionally, many proxies assign clients a unique IP to the target site, making them unacceptable for security or client protection.
Finally, the proxy must be set independently for each application (email, program, external application) and some applications may not support it.
What is the difference between a proxy and a VPN at its most basic? Proxies are like intermediaries. They act on your behalf. They’re good at masking your IP, but JS and Flash can reveal your true identity. Many proxies are free, but all of them are useful only for browsing and they are quite slow.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is more reliable. VPNs are superior in most respects to proxies. They are like a tunnel created between you and the provider.
Then the VPN acts on your behalf. Generally, they are safe and no one knows where you are but you and of course the VPN. So, you should be able to access blocked sites using this technology.
A VPN provides much better online anonymity and protects your entire online life. Also, since ISPs cannot monitor your online activities, it is an effective way to bypass ISP restrictions.
Your government and ISP will only know you are connected to the VPN and nothing more. It’s just that VPN services cost more and they may keep logs of your activity.
Download and browsing speeds also slow down a bit when using a VPN, but not to the point of creating a noticeable distraction. You may not even be able to play online games, such as Mobile Legends if you use a VPN application.
So, the difference between a proxy and a VPN, the main one, is that a VPN encrypts all your traffic while a proxy doesn’t.
Both VPNs and proxies hide IP addresses but proxies do this only in your browser and if you need to disguise your IP address in some applications – use a VPN.