Recent data breaches and cyber attacks have increased the need for enhanced internet security. Unsurprisingly, many internet users use VPNs or proxy servers to enable secure browsing and prevent cyber threats. Both of these are security tools you can use to enhance your online experience. However, both work differently.
VPNs (Virtual Private Servers) exist in the form of browser or app extensions and are used to secure web activity and IP addresses. Proxy servers are devices connecting users and their servers by securing IP addresses.
Confused if you should opt for a free VPN service provider or a proxy server? Here are the major differences between VPNs and proxy servers that will help you make an informed decision.
The biggest difference between VPN servers and proxy servers is that the former provide encryption. When you use a VPN, your private IP address is concealed along with all of your web activity. This includes the websites you visit, the information you exchange online, and your search history.
Proxy servers don’t offer this advantage. While your IP address is hidden, your online activities aren’t encrypted. This means your browsing activity can still be tracked even if your IP address is changed.
In other words, VPNs provide greater security. Think of it this way: you need to access your online bank account. When you use a VPN to do this, all your online information is encrypted, such as your bank account numbers and credit card provider’s details. This strengthens your online security, making it difficult for hackers and cyber criminals to access crucial information you used to log in. If you use a proxy server for your transaction, the information will not be encrypted and your online activity can be tracked.
VPNs use a secure VPN server to reroute all web traffic. They target the operating system level, covering all web activity.
On the other hand, proxies work on an application level. Thus, they only reroute specific web, browser, or app traffic and provide less coverage.
Finally, both VPN and proxies differ because of the speed of the connection used. Proxy servers are usually slower and individuals using public servers often struggle to get even a single megabit per second. On the other hand, VPNs offer greater connection speeds of up to 50 Mbps or even higher.
One of the main reasons for this is that VPNs don’t typically log web traffic due to encryption. Proxy servers, however, do log web traffic. This causes a delay and slows the internet browsing experience.
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