VPN vs. Proxy
VPN vs. Proxy
VPNs are what we specialize in here at PinpointVPN, which probably isn’t very surprising when you consider the name of our site. You’ll probably be happy to hear that today’s article will help expand your knowledge of VPNs and how they work. More importantly, we’ll look at how they differ from proxies.
Over the course of this guide, we’re going to take a look at how a VPN functions and the various types of VPNs available. After that, we’ll do the same for proxies. Once the basics are out of the way, we’re going to take a closer look at the key differences between VPNs and proxies and determine which will work best for you.
VPNs like PureVPN and IPVanish tend to work similarly to each other, with only slight differences in their technical functionality. You likely already know that VPNs work by masking where your internet traffic is coming from, making it seem like it’s coming from an IP that is not yours.
VPNs are made up of networks of different servers connected by encrypted tunnels. These tunnels make it difficult to determine where the traffic is coming from and where it’s going. The traffic tends to go through several of these tunnels, bouncing between different servers before it reaches its destination.
This helps keep you secure while you’re browsing the internet and it ensures that anyone snooping on your traffic will just be redirected to a confusing server if they’re even able to get past the encryption. Due to the strong encryption that the majority of VPNs use, this is nearly impossible.
VPNs can also be used by people operating on public wifi networks to ensure that their information isn’t at risk. This could be possible due to the weak security that most public networks have because they need to be accessible to the widest possible range of users.
Individual VPNs are the types of VPNs that you’ve likely heard of if you’ve ever tried to get a VPN to ensure that your browsing is as secure as it can be. They are marketed to individual clients and they tend to have fewer features that would make them easier to use on a larger scale.
While they may not be as easy to use for a larger number of people, individual VPNs have the advantage of being much more affordable and easier to use. Most of these VPNs are designed to be as user-friendly as possible and that means that anyone can secure their internet browsing and ensure what they do on the internet is private.
Corporate VPNs are designed for corporate clients, and they tend to be a little more complicated than individual VPNs. These can often be applied to entire networks to ensure that the internet traffic coming out of and going into a specific network is always encrypted, which is crucial for sensitive information.
Larger businesses looking to keep a tight lid on their user data can benefit from corporate VPNs and they often get preferential rates on these large-scale VPNs. Corporate VPNs are also easier to install on a large number of machines to ensure that work devices also have first-line defence against privacy breaches.
Proxy servers are similar to VPNs in that they make it look like your traffic is coming from somewhere else, but they have a few key differences. The main difference is that your internet connection isn’t connected to a proxy server through an encrypted tunnel, making them a little less secure.
Another thing to consider is that a proxy server often consists of just a single server that lies between your internet connection and the sites that you’re visiting. This makes it a little easier for a dedicated observer to determine where your internet traffic is coming from if they do a bit of digging.
Proxy servers have been around for longer than VPNs because of their simplicity. In fact, you can set up a proxy of your own with limited networking knowledge. Due to their age, there are many more types of proxies than there are VPNs, and each of them differs slightly in how it operates.
Proxies can also be used as an alternative to firewalls and filters so that certain sites can remain inaccessible since they all operate the same way. Every one of them acts as a go-between for your information and the sites that you’re trying to access.
Residential proxies aren’t as popular as some of the other options because they require you to point your traffic at another physical location. This can result in someone else looking like they’re the ones doing your browsing, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to keep things anonymous.
Another thing about residential proxies is that they’re a little more challenging to set up compared to other kinds of proxies. This means that it will cost you more money to get them up and running and to maintain them, so there are better options for proxies on a budget.
Whereas residential proxies tend to be the more expensive choice, public proxies are some of the most affordable ones available. In the vast majority of cases, public proxies are free to use but this also means that they tend to be slower and less secure than other kinds of proxy servers.
Public proxies are slow because they have a larger number of users than paid ones, which clogs up the proxy’s ability to browse things swiftly. If you don’t care about speed or privacy and you just need a proxy that you don’t have to pay for, one of these would probably be the best choice for you.
Shared proxies are similar to public proxies in that they are accessible by multiple users but a key difference is that shared proxies aren’t necessarily accessible by everyone for free. In many cases, there are a limited number of slots available for a shared proxy and each user pays a moderate fee.
This makes shared proxies a lot more affordable but they also have a few key downsides like less security and a slower speed based on the other people who are using it. Another downside is that you may get banned from sites due to someone else using the proxy in a way that was against the site’s terms of service.
Anonymous proxies are typically transparent proxies that don’t make it obvious to the user that they’re currently working. These are typically used by companies on their own machines to ensure that their employees have free access to the internet while still keeping themselves protected.
As the name suggests, an anonymous proxy makes it harder for an external observer to determine who you are and what you’re doing on the internet. Keep in mind that anonymous proxies are often used by people who have ill intentions, so you may end up getting banned for using one of them.
Forward proxies are mainly designed for internal use across local networks, so they won’t be that great for most home users. Where these proxies shine are in corporate environments where internal traffic should be screened by a proxy to ensure that nothing is amiss with the traffic.
One issue with this kind of proxy is that it can make things a little restricting for the users on a particular network. If you don’t mind having to jump through some additional hoops to perform certain network tasks, then a forward proxy is a good way to ensure that a business or corporate network is secure.
Which is Best?
Whether you need a VPN or a proxy depends on what you’re trying to do with it. If you merely want to browse the internet anonymously and you’re not exchanging any confidential info or data that you would like to keep private, then a proxy may be the right choice for you.
This is because proxies tend to be a lot more affordable than VPNs, with many of them being freely accessible for people who merely want to change their region so they can access blocked content. However, many sites have grown wise about proxies and they’re getting less and less capable by the day.
VPNs, on the other hand, may end up being more expensive in the long run but they also do a lot more for you than proxies. Since the traffic through a VPN’s tunnels is fully encrypted, you have a lot less to worry about when it comes to people spying on your traffic to see what you’re doing.
Also, if you do any online shopping, it’s usually a good idea to use a VPN to ensure that your sensitive payment info doesn’t end up falling into the wrong hands.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily need a proxy if you already have a VPN. Since a VPN can accomplish everything that a proxy can while keeping it encrypted, we believe that it’s a far more effective tool.