Many of us often get confused between VPNs and proxies and wonder if they are the same. While it’s true that both a VPN and a proxy tend to mask your identity on the web, they certainly aren’t interchangeable as they have various noticeable dissimilarities.
Here, we are going to list the main differences between the two so that it becomes quite easy for you to decide which one is the best bet for you.
So, let’s start our discussion on Proxy vs VPN.
What is a VPN?
VPN is an acronym for virtual private network, and it allows users to access a public network as a private network. In other words, VPN encrypts all your traffic so that it does not get exposed to others on the network.
What is a Proxy?
A proxy or proxy server is an intermediary that stands in between your device and the internet. Everything that you want to access over the web passes through the proxy server. Also, the proxy server hides your IP address and sends the request to the host server (the one that stores the resource you want to access) from a different IP address.
VPN vs Proxy: Key Differences
Now as you have developed a basic understanding of VPNs and proxies, it’s time to outline the differences between the two in the table below:
|VPN encrypts the data shared over the network and thus ensures data security and integrity.||A proxy does not encrypt data and thus the data exchanged over the network is not secure.|
|When using a VPN, government agencies, ISPs, and hackers can’t track your activity on the web.||A proxy doesn’t hide your web activity.|
|A VPN is an ideal option for handling sensitive information.||Sharing sensitive information while using a proxy is not a good idea.|
|As a VPN encrypts all the traffic or data send and received by the device, it works on the operating system level.||A proxy only masks the IP address and reroutes the traffic for a certain application or web browser. Thus, it works at the application level.|
|The browsing speed becomes slower when using a VPN as all the data needs to be encrypted and decrypted.||Due to the absence of encryption and decryption process, you can enjoy a faster browsing speed with a proxy server.|
To Sum it Up
VPNs and proxies are both suitable for surfing the web anonymously. However, a VPN is more powerful and secure as it can encrypt all the data that your device share over the web.
A proxy is an ideal option if you want to protect your digital identity from the servers that host websites or other resources. On the other hand, if you want to safeguard yourself from hackers and prevent activity tracking by ISPs and government agencies, you should stick to a VPN.