Not many people know the difference between proxy servers and VPN. Although both tools offer the safe result, there are slight differences that you need to take into account when deciding to pick one of them.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF PROXY AND VPN
The main purpose of each one these tools is to offer online protection through anonymity and geo-location spoofing.
Both services achieve their goal of anonymity and protection by acting as middlemen between your device and the greater Internet. By letting your traffic passing through proxy or VPN servers, you will appear as being in a different location.
WHAT ARE PROXY SERVERS
Although the Internet is full of public proxies, we are not going to talk about them. Usually the so called public proxies are not stable at all and their usage can be limited to a few minutes.
The only real proxies are the private ones. Comparing with public proxy, the private proxy servers are reliable and offer real anonymity. Private proxies achieve their purpose because the servers are especially maintained for them.
The most important characteristic of private proxies is that they are implemented on an app level. For example, if you live in Canada, you can integrate a UK proxy in your browser.
While all web surfing will be directed through the proxy server, every website you visit will think that you are living and surfing from UK.
At the same time, any other app that is not connected through the proxy server, such as your email client will act the same and the email server will understand that you read your emails from Canada.
THE TWO TYPES OF PROXY SERVICES
1. HTTP – designed for web-surfing one. They ca n interpret and filter only http:/ and https:/ traffic. With these proxies you can only surf the web. You will not be able to download torrents or send anonymous emails. Any traffic outside web- surfing will not be filtered through the proxy.
2. SOCKS – these proxies are more flexible because they filter any internet traffic coming to and from your device. Through these proxies you can download torrents or send emails without disclosing your location.
No encryption – your traffic will not be encrypted, thus your government of ISP can sniff your traffic.
App based – you might forget to divert your email through the proxy, thus disclosing your location and your identity.
Cheap – some providers offers start from less than 1 USD/proxy
Flexible – dedicated proxies for special use – social media proxies.
WHAT ARE VPNs – VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORKS
The main differences between a proxy server and a VPN is that the VPN is system based, meaning that ALL your Internet traffic will pass through the VPN connection.
At the same time, it creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server.
Nobody can see what your traffic is. Not even your government or ISP. They will see that you connected to the VPN,but they will not be able to see if you are downloading thousands of torrents or just checking your Gmail.
Expensive – they are 2 or 3 times more expensive than private proxy servers.
Slow traffic – through encryption, all your traffic passes through a filter and it needs to be encrypted and decrypted, thus slowing down your system.
All traffic anonymity – it can be achieve if your VPN provider does not keep any traffic logs.
Nobody can spy on you – not even your ISP or government.
Note: there is no tool to offer COMPLETE anonymity. While you can cover your Internet trucks, you will not be able to become 100% anonymous.
WHY CHOOSE A PROXY SERVER OR A VPN
While the main purpose of both these services is anonymity, the end goal for your use should matter when deciding what service to choose.
For almost complete anonymity you should choose a VPN provider.
If you are looking for anonymity in special cases, such as social media automation or SEO, you have to choose a proxy provider. The flexibility offered by them and the traffic speed they offer is best suited for your special purposes.