The increasing number of cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities have made the internet a scary place. This makes online anonymity difficult to achieve. To gain maximum anonymity users are in search of the best tools that can help them in this regard. Using a VPN and proxy are two impressive tools to increase your digital privacy and allow you to browse the web freely. But deciding between proxy vs VPN can seem daunting at times.
Users might think that both tools provide the same level of protection. But in reality, they don’t. A VPN and proxy differ significantly. Here’s a quick overview of how both VPN and proxy differs:
|Hides Your IP Address||Yes||Yes|
|Set-Up||Automatic setup||Manual Setup|
This article explores in depth the context of proxy vs VPN, providing insight on how VPNs and proxies are similar enough to cause confusion and how they stand starkly apart. So to find out which one is more secure, read along!
What’s the Main Difference Between a Proxy and a VPN?
Although a proxy and a VPN guarantees online protection and allow you to circumvent restrictions, there are significant differences between the two. When it comes to proxy vs VPN, the following differences paint a better picture for a clearer understanding:
A VPN is a more secure and reliable option to consider compared to a proxy for online privacy. It first encrypts the data traffic into deep packets and then routes your traffic through a remote VPN server and thus changes your IP address. Because of this encryption, no snooping eye can see what you are doing on the web. Even if they make some efforts, it is all in vain because one needs a decryption key to read and view the data.
On the other hand, when you connect to the proxy, it acts as a middle-man and routes your traffic to the proxy server and the requested site. Since a proxy offers application-level security and doesn’t encrypt the data, this can risk your online privacy. A poorly configured proxy server or browser can leak your IP address and can expose your online activities.
When you use a proxy, it keeps your activity and connection logs. This makes them less reliable. If by any means your IP address gets exposed, the snooping eyes can get hold of your online activities. Whereas VPNs are reliable to use. The best VPN providers have a strict no-log policy under which they refrain from storing any connection or activity logs, including the IP address and other sensitive data.
Unlike a VPN, a proxy offers basic online protection. It doesn’t offer any features that are essential to safeguard your online security and privacy. A VPN comes with impressive security and privacy-boosting software such as a kill switch DNS and IP leak protection, and more. These features collectively strengthen your online privacy.
When it comes to pricing, proxy wins in this area because they’re free to use. A VPN offers both free and premium plans, but from a security and privacy perspective, investing in a paid VPN provider is a more reliable option than using a free proxy. A premium VPN provider offers numerous added features like unlimited bandwidth, fast connection speeds, supported security features that enhance your browsing experience.
VPN wins here because a proxy doesn’t offer any such feature
Proxy VS VPN- Are They Similar In Any Way?
A VPN and a proxy are anonymity tools that are used to protect users’ online identities. Though both tools hide the IP address and strive to help you anonymously browse the internet, they aren’t similar in any way. From their working mechanism to the benefits they offer varies significantly.
A proxy can only hide your IP address, and this alone can’t guarantee maximum online protection on the web. Here a VPN proves a handy solution. It not only provides you anonymity but also maintains your online security. By using secure encryption and ciphers, it ensures that no one can breach your online privacy. Unlike a proxy, it leaves no room for prying eyes to monitor and track your activities. For this purpose, VPNs use a wide range of features that enhance their digital privacy and allow them to browse the web freely and securely.
As a whole, both VPN and proxy enhance your online anonymity but when it comes to proxy vs VPN it is best to choose a VPN to make your browsing experience amazing.
Do VPN and Proxies Have Any Subtypes?
Both VPN and proxies have subtypes. Here’s an insight into the different types of proxies and VPNs that can help provide a better understanding of proxy vs VPN:
Types of Proxies:
A proxy is an intermediary server that allows you to surf the web anonymously. There are three different types of proxies which are as follows:
- HTTPS Proxies: You install these proxies on your web pages. It disguises your traffic as regular traffic and helps you to bypass ISP filters and censorship without anyone knowing about it.
- SOCKS5 Proxies: You can set these proxies on any streaming app, online games, and P2P platform. They are quicker than HTTPS but fail to encrypt the data traffic.
- Transparent Proxies: These proxies remain unnoticed until you access any particular site. Your parents, employers, or anyone who wants to prevent you from accessing any website set up such proxies.
Types of VPNs:
There are two main types of VPN which are discussed as follows:
- Free VPNs: As the name indicates that such VPNs don’t charge a fee from the users. You can directly sign up for an account and start using them. However, they come with limited features and significant privacy and security concerns. They don’t encrypt the data correctly and collect and sell your browsing data to advertisers. Thus, they should be avoided.
- Premium VPNs: Though they charge a fee, they are reliable and secure to use. They offer unlimited bandwidth and a wide range of privacy and security-boosting features that enhance your online privacy.
You can use any type of proxy to enjoy anonymous browsing. But when it comes to VPNs, it’s recommended to go with premium ones as they’re more reliable and secure to use.
How to Use a VPN on Your Device?
A VPN not just obscures your IP address or encrypts the data traffic. There are a number of other benefits of using a VPN. Such as it allows you to stream on Netflix, download torrents, or access any blocked website. But to avail of all these benefits, you should have a VPN on your device.
Installing a VPN on your device is way too easy. Follow the steps as mentioned below and enjoy the perks a VPN offers:
- Select any of the best secure VPN providers.
- Subscribe to it and create a new user account on its official site.
- Complete the downloading and installation process.
- Log in to your VPN account
- Pick up a VPN server of your choice and tap to connect.
Wait till the connection gets established. Check your VPN icon soon; it changes to green means that you’re now connected to a VPN. Open your web browser and try accessing any blocked website. Successful access means that your VPN has changed your IP address and has also encrypted the data traffic. Enjoy browsing safely.
How to Use a Proxy Server?
Like a VPN, you can also use a proxy on multi-platforms. It is compatible with all major platforms and operating systems like Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. You can even set up a proxy on the browsers you use and browse the web anonymously. But, the steps for installing a proxy differ from device to device. Here are the steps to install a proxy on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. So, here you go:
Here’s how you can set up a proxy on the Windows platform.
- Go to the Windows Settings menu.
- Tap on Settings > Network & Internet > Proxy. This goes if you’re using Windows 10. If you use Windows 8, click on Settings > Network & Proxy.
- Under the Manual Setup, tap turn on the Use a Proxy Server option.
- Also, turn on the Automatically detect settings.
- Follow the instructions that appear on your screen to set up and run the automatic proxy server.
- In the Automatic Proxy Setup option, toggle on the Use Setup Script.
- Now, enter the script address and click on the Save button.
That’s it. You can now successfully use a proxy server on Windows.
Below are the steps to set up a proxy server on an iOS device:
- Navigate to Settings and then click on Wi-Fi.
- Tap on the active Wi-Fi connection.
- Under the HTTP proxy option, click on Configure Proxy.
- Click on Manual and change your proxy settings. Like, enter your hostname, username, password, and proxy port.
- Go back to the Wi-Fo selection Window, and that’s it.
You can now surf the internet with a proxy server.
This is how you can set up a proxy server on macOS:
- Go to System Preference > Network icon and make changes if needed.
- Choose the type of network you use.
- Tap on Advanced > Proxies.
- Configure your proxy server settings. For this, choose Auto Proxy Discover > Secure Web Proxy (HTTPS) > enter your Proxy server address and port numbers.
- Select Automatic Proxy Configuration if you use PAC file and then insert your proxy address into the URL field.
- If you’ve used a password to protect the proxy server, choose the Proxy server that requires a password box and enter your credentials.
- Tap on the OK button to save the proxy setup.
You can now enjoy online anonymity over the web while being connected to a proxy server.
The steps are as follows:
- Open your Android Settings and tap on Wi-Fi.
- Choose the Wi-Fi network name for which you want to change the proxy settings.
- Click on Modify Network > Advanced Options.
- Click on Manual to change your proxy settings.
- Tap to Save the settings.
Now, when you browse the web, you’ll be assigned a new address with which you can enjoy greater online anonymity.
Which Is More Secure to Use a VPN or Proxy?
When it comes to protecting online privacy, there is no better tool than a VPN. It is an excellent privacy-boosting software that safeguards your data from all spying eyes and boosts your privacy level. A VPN by assigning you a temporary IP address hides your actual IP address and makes you anonymous over the web. A proxy also ensures online anonymity and protects your IP address from all snooping eyes.
However, VPN’s ability to encrypt the data traffic makes it a better option than the proxy. A VPN encryption makes it difficult for anyone to see what you are doing online and guarantees maximum online protection by encrypting the data.
Unlike a proxy, a VPN offers a top-notch level of protection while you perform specific tasks like gaming, streaming, or torrenting. If you use a reliable VPN provider, no one can ever breach your online privacy, and you can surf the web without getting any tension.
Can We Use a Proxy and VPN Together?
A VPN is a fully-featured packaged software. It has all the essential features that are required to enhance your online privacy. If you’re using the best, most secure VPN, there is no need for a proxy. It is capable enough to hide your IP address and provides a data encryption feature. Some VPN providers come with a SOCKS5 proxy that helps download torrents, leaving no room to use a proxy server.
Besides this, if you decide to use a proxy and a VPN, it will slow down your internet speed and ruin your browsing experience. As a whole, when it comes to deciding between a proxy vs VPN, it is best to use a VPN over a proxy and enjoy maximum online protection while browsing.
A VPN and a proxy are two good options that guarantee online anonymity. Both of them hide your IP address and allow you to browse the web anonymously. With a changed IP address, both VPN and proxy helps in bypassing censorships and accessing the blocked websites without anyone knowing about it. However, a VPN is a more secure option than a proxy when it comes to online protection.
A VPN provides data encryption features that further strengthen your online privacy. In this way, a VPN makes it impossible for your ISP or any snooping eye to monitor and track your online behavior. To sum up, it is best to use a VPN instead of a proxy and enjoy enhanced online protection while browsing the internet.