What is the difference between VPN and Proxy?


To differentiate the two, we need to start with what they really are. VPN is a service provider also known as a Virtual Private Network that encrypts all your traffic, replaces your ISP and routes all traffic through the VPN server, though it might run at a slower rate, which includes applications and programs that you might be using on your laptop or phone. It also works with all internet based services with everything routed through the server connected to ensure that your device is 100% protected when you are using VPN services.

Proxy or a proxy server is a computer that sits between your computer and a wider network which is usually the internet. It acts as the link between the internet and your computer. This is a good thing as your IP address is hidden from anyone on the internet. For instance, a proxy server IP address is given when you visit a website instead of your IP address. With a physical location of the proxy server, you will be able to access the internet from anywhere, even if you are in a different country. It can be referred to as a web filter as all speed, security and option to choose geographic location are enhanced, only when you are browsing the internet.

There are some disadvantages to using proxy. A proxy server is completely browser-based and not compatible with web pages that use non-browser technology. It does not protect you from any additional benefits when you use the apps. Also, anyone with access to stream data can snoop on your traffic; this is dangerous as your JavaScript element in your web browser can be used to reveal your true identity.

There are different types of proxy that do different things such as DNS proxies, also called Smart DNS which are setup in your device’s internet settings instead of installing the app or modifying another app’s settings. Its main use is to fool websites that geographically restrict content into thinking you are in a place you aren’t.

HTTP proxies are the most common and free proxy often used to get around firewalls put in place by offices and schools. They are mainly used with web browsers; paid HTTP proxies offer excellent speed and mask user’s IP address even though they are not encrypted.

SSL proxies are primarily used for web browser traffic with an added layer of encryption. The connection between the proxy server and your computer is encrypted and so is the connection between the website and proxy server. The proxy server acts as a middle man with your traffic decrypted to ensure you trust the host. This proxy is useful for accessing blocked sites requiring more security such as login pages.

SOCKS proxies work for all types of traffic including games and apps and they are usually set up in individual apps setting and can be used in web browsers for specific pages and sites. It is useful if you want a proxy when you in as needed basis instead of funneling all or none of your traffic.

Both are used to route your traffic through a third party server, allowing you to mask your location and IP address. They are used to bypass firewall and geo-locks while adding a layer of privacy.

The difference between the two is that all proxies except SSL, lack encryption which makes you vulnerable when browsing. While VPN offers encryption, it runs slower. Also, VPN routes all your internet traffic be it your Spotify player or online game; while proxies just route a specific type of traffic, like HTTP or torrents.

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