You can choose between a proxy server or a VPN when you need to cloak your identity and access blocked content. Both have their pros and cons, but which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between Proxy vs VPN so you can make an informed decision. Keep in mind that while both are great tools for privacy, neither is 100% foolproof.
Proxy vs VPN: Introduction
What is a proxy?
You can use a proxy to function as an intermediary between you and the internet. Consider a proxy as a web filter that manages your requests on the internet. Your true IP address will be concealed because the website you are visiting will only be able to identify the proxy IP address.
What are the most common proxy types?
The most popular proxy servers are divided into several categories based on their origin. Residential and datacenter proxies are the two categories of proxy servers in this situation.
Residential: It is a legitimate IP address that an ISP gave a homeowner. These proxies make it possible to mimic real user activity, which is crucial for web scraping. Residential proxies lessen the likelihood of being blocked by desired websites. Additionally, a residential proxy ensures greater levels of anonymity by masking a genuine IP address.
Datacenter proxy: This kind of proxy is independent of an ISP. They originate from supporting businesses like cloud hosting companies. They are quicker than residential proxies, but there is a greater possibility of getting blocked. Datacenter proxies do, however, also guarantee excellent anonymity.
Additionally, proxy servers can be classified based on access type. There are three different proxy kinds in this situation: shared, semi-dedicated, and private proxies.
Shared proxy: These proxies are utilized concurrently by numerous people. Low performance is the shared proxies’ main shortcoming. Shared proxies also carry several potential problems since if one user is blocked, all the other users will be as well.
Semi-dedicated: Similar to shared proxies, this kind of proxy can only be used by a specific number of people. A semi-dedicated proxy provides noticeably higher performance because of this.
Private proxy: An individual uses a private proxy as it is more anonymous. Private proxies offer a high level of overall performance and total user privacy.
What is a VPN?
When users connect to the internet, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) acts as a middleman to transmit data while encrypting it. VPNs are typically used to protect sensitive information and surf the internet secretly.
What are the uses of VPNs?
Internet browsing can be done with greater privacy by using a VPN. Additionally, it makes sure that all internet traffic coming from the user’s device is encrypted and can unblock geo-restricted content.
On a business level, a VPN is only useful for protecting employees’ devices when they are linked to other networks, like public WiFi. A company wouldn’t utilize a VPN as a proxy, though, because it was never intended for web data collection.
Simply put, a VPN will change your original IP address into a new one, increasing your level of anonymity by concealing your true IP address. It will provide access to geo-restricted content, and its encryption of all internet requests coming from the user’s device may be its most distinctive feature when compared to a proxy server.
Proxy vs VPN: Advantages and Differences
Now that you know why, a proxy and a VPN are frequently confused since they provide the same function. Users frequently do not understand the distinction between a proxy and a VPN. Let’s examine the distinctions to avoid posing new queries like, “Is a VPN a proxy?”
Despite serving the same fundamental function, VPNs and proxies were developed with distinct purposes in mind. Setting up proxies can be a little trickier because businesses typically utilize them and design them for that purpose.
For proxies, effectiveness typically comes before a visually appealing user interface and overall design.
On the other hand, when VPNs are designed, simplicity of use is a crucial feature. Making a VPN simple to set up and use is more crucial than making a proxy simple to use because the intended audience is just one person. Most VPNs are simple to set up and operate, requiring just a few clicks.
Benefits for the end user
Using a proxy enhances privacy levels while browsing the internet for the average internet user. Additionally, users’ internet requests can be encrypted if proxy servers are set up properly, which raises security standards.
Furthermore, a proxy can unblock geo-restricted content even if the user’s actual IP address is not authorized to access it. Geo-blocked content can be unblocked by selecting to use a proxy server that is connected to the necessary geographic area.
Internet communication from a user will appear to be coming from a different IP address thanks to a VPN, much like a proxy server.
Additionally, using a VPN greatly improves security measures and makes it possible to access geographically restricted information. After that, however, there are some significant changes in how a VPN functions and how it helps the end-user.
Most VPN services are designed for a single user, and people who want to conceal their true identities as well as make sure that their internet requests are encrypted use them.
A proxy or proxy server, on the other hand, likewise enables anonymity but is most frequently utilized (in substantial numbers) by people and organizations who carry out web scraping operations.
On a business level, using a proxy or proxy server is helpful for a variety of reasons, including brand protection, market research, online scraping, real estate, and many others. Avoiding being blocked by the desired data source while gathering the necessary data is a common difficulty experienced by many. Utilizing a proxy enables overcoming this difficulty.
Proxy servers and web scraping work together to provide the impression that a website is being visited by lots of real people. Because of this, a sizable amount of necessary data can be successfully extracted without tipping off the web server.
So, what’s the verdict – VPN or proxy?
If you need to access content that’s blocked in your country, a proxy is the best way to go. But if security and privacy are your top priorities, then you should go with a VPN. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you’re looking for in a service and how much you’re willing to pay for it.