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A complete overview of VPN vs Proxy

29th May 2015

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks, and proxies have become very common nowadays. With the internet becoming more and more important in people’s lives, it’s hardly surprising to see these things finding such a tremendously high amount of demand. After all, the internet also seems to be coming with quite a few restrictions along with the convenience it offers. In order to get around such restrictions or similar things, VPNs and proxies are being used.

A small overview on what they do

In simple words, a VPN and a proxy server both does almost exactly the same job, which is hiding one’s real identity, and/or showing a different location by hiding the original one of the user. Nowadays, as the internet users find quite a lot of uses and advantages of keeping their identity private, VPNs and proxies have become tremendously popular. This has also led to the emergence of a ton of websites offering VPN and proxy services.
However, usually, websites offering VPN services also offer proxy services, with most of them going on to offer public proxy server services, which can be used by anyone completely free.
So, what exactly is the difference between a VPN and a proxy server, and what do they actually mean. Well, let’s try to find out below.

Proxy servers

A proxy server is usually a computer that acts as the intermediary between you and the websites you visit. This means that you don’t have to give out any of your real details to the websites you visit if you’re using a proxy server. Similarly, the traffic details the website receives will show not yours, but the proxy server’s IP address, thus protecting all your private information.
However, unlike VPNs, proxy servers don’t use any resources to encrypt the traffic passing through them. Due to this, they can handle as many as tens of thousands of connections at the same time, as they are not using any separate resources for each user.

VPNs

Virtual Private Networks, though seemingly helping to do the same thing as the proxies, work quite differently. To put in simple terms, a VPN simply sets up a highly secure connection between you and their host server, with traffic going in and out not directly from your computer, but from the host server. This connection, in its technical form, is known as an encrypted ‘tunnel’.
The reason a VPN is considered to be highly secured and way better option to protect your privacy than the proxy servers is that it uses a minimum of 128-bit encryption system. It is secured enough to hide everything, including every single tiny detail from your ISP or government. They will only be able to see that you’re connecting to a VPN server and nothing beyond that.
However, it is worth noticing that your VPN server will be able to see everything. This means that they’ll be able to see all the websites you’re visiting using their server, as well as most of the other activities you do.
Hence, it’s considered extremely vital to go with a VPN service that doesn’t keep the logs. If they do, your privacy may well be getting compromised, making the whole point of going with a VPN server useless.

A final word

Usually, there are well known VPN service provider in the market that don’t try to compromise on their user’s privacy by keeping the logs. Also, a VPN service is superior to a proxy service hands down, thanks to the fact that it usually ensures total privacy. A proxy service is usually way cheaper than VPNs, sometimes free if you go with a free public one, but it’s far from being reliable if you’re doing something serious and need to hide your identity regularly.

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