VPN vs Proxy: What is the Difference? – Zorro VPN
The Internet can be a dangerous place. Even though security for operating systems, applications, and browsers has improved over the last decade, the number of threats have increased as well. By using VPNs or proxies, you increase your security while online. Together proxies and VPNs allow bypassing firewalls to access content without restriction. However, VPNs and proxies are not alike. By knowing the difference, you will figure out you can make the right choice between proxy or VPN based on your needs. This article will tell you what you need to know about proxy servers vs VPN.
Proxy server works
A proxy server works as a relay amidst you and the website you`re visiting. The data from your computer goes through a remote machine that acts as a middle-man between you and the website that you are visiting. A proxy doesn’t show your Internet Protocol (IP address) so that the website that you visit sees the IP of the proxy instead of your IP.
An IP address is a number with a label that is assigned to every device linked up to a network. You can choose the location of the proxy server. However, a hacker staring at your DNS request may be able to discover your real location and IP address.
Proxies work at the application level instead of the traffic level. Proxies only change the route of your traffic and do not encrypt your traffic. Generally, you must set up a particular application to route its traffic through the proxy. There are various types of proxies that offer alternative levels of security. If the proxy server offers SSL certificates, the proxy server may be somewhat more secure.
The first type of proxy server is an HTTP proxy server. An HTTP proxy server works only for accessing web pages. You set up your browser with an HTTP proxy. The browser then routes all of the traffic for web browsing through the proxy. Using an HTTP proxy server will allow you to access content, only available for certain locations. If you want to set up an HTTP proxy server in your browser, you will want to navigate to the browser’s advanced settings. Within advanced settings, there will be an option for a proxy server where you can input the address of the proxy you want to use.
SOCKS proxy server
The second type of proxy server is a SOCKS proxy server. The SOCKS proxy server works on the application level. You can use a SOCKS proxy server for a video streaming app, game, or a platform for P2P. Free public proxies are generally too slow to watch streaming videos. Many of these public proxies do not have multiple servers or load balancing.
Another issue with public proxies is that the person running the proxy has all of your data and can access your private social media accounts. You have no guarantee that the person running the free proxy server will protect your data. Someone running a proxy server could also inject malware into your computer and gain access.
Additionally, a proxy server owner could track all of your online activities. SOCKS proxy servers can be slower than HTTP proxy servers because SOCKS proxy servers need to process all of the data for diverse types of applications instead of just web browsing traffic. You should be able to use both FTP and SMTP on some SOCKS proxy servers depending on the configuration.
The third type of proxy server is a transparent proxy server. A transparent proxy server is sometimes set up by a hotel or café to monitor users’ activity. A transparent proxy server can be used to authenticate users on public Wi-Fi before allowing use. A general negative of using a proxy server is the thing you can be vulnerable to viruses or malware from the proxy. One positive of proxy server vs VPN is that they are usually less expensive than VPNs.
The fourth type of proxy server is called a reverse proxy server. A reverse proxy server is individual than those explained previously. A reverse proxy protects the server instead of the connecting user. A reverse proxy is used to protect data by putting up a firewall.
A company can protect its data by using a reverse proxy. Companies can protect private information, such as bank records, by not allowing anyone outside of certain IP addresses to access. Reverse proxies are also used to speed up websites by caching content.
VPN or proxy?
A VPN is similar to a proxy that it routes traffic through a remote server to change your IP. However, a VPN works on the operating system level. A VPN uses a secure tunnel to connect your computer to the remote server. A VPN will channel all traffic no matter which application or browser.
An important difference between proxy and VPN technologies is a VPN will encrypt all traffic. A proxy server does not encrypt traffic. A VPN can encrypt at a very strong 2048 bit encryption or more. This level of encryption is very difficult for hackers or even the government to decrypt.
VPN for public WiFi
Your ISP will not be able to easily monitor your activity online. Importantly, your ISP will not be able to collect information about you. A VPN can be used in the same way as a proxy server to access content which is only available in certain locations.
A VPN is more secure than a proxy server when using public Wi-Fi. Public WiFi offers no encryption. Public hotspots at locations such as the airport are not safe. A VPN will function as a virtual firewall when using public Wi-Fi. You may be able to obtain a pre-configured router to use a VPN more easily.
Certain ISPs have sold or given users information to governments and corporations. Hackers will have more difficulty intercepting your activity and gaining access to your computer. Using a VPN will make it more difficult for websites to track your activity online. Comparing a proxy and VPN, a VPN can be slower than a proxy server because a VPN needs to encrypt your data.
Options to access a VPN
There are multiple options to access a VPN. One standard way is to download a VPN application to access the VPN. Many VPN companies offer an application to download for their customers. If a user is not highly technical, using one of these applications is probably the best way to access it. If a user has a lot of technical skill, a user can set up a VPN through their operating system. Another option is to use an open-source software program to access a VPN.
Setting up a VPN through the operating system or using an open-source software program is more secure, but both require more work and technical knowledge. VPN software sometimes offers the feature to stop any outbound connections if your connection to the VPN is ended. This feature is very useful as you will not leak your location to outside parties by accident. Always remember to connect to the VPN before creating any connections.
Final ideas about VPN for ios
Also, VPNs generally offer a more stable connection than a proxy server because of the traffic connecting at the operating system level. One negative of using a VPN is that you may notice slightly increased lag time if you play online games.
If you need a faster VPN connection, you should try to log into a server closer geographically to you. An additional positive of using a VPN is that there are more software options to connect to a VPN. You will only have to configure one connection with a VPN. With a proxy, you will have to configure each application manually.