Back to Basics: Understanding the Difference Between VPN and Proxy
Whenever we find ourselves struggling to access a website or use an application with geo-limitations, we turn towards a VPN. Even though the physics behind a VPN is quite straightforward, yet, a lot of people confuse it with Proxy.
Why is it that people interchange the underlying mechanism of a VPN with that of a Proxy?
Are these two really a single entity or is there a difference? It’s about time we learned the difference between VPN and Proxy.
What is a VPN and When Does it Come in Handy?
A VPN or Virtual Private Network, just as the name suggests, allows us to bypass geo-limited content by creating a secure ‘virtual’ network. IP addresses are concealed underneath this virtual network. A VPN redirects network traffic through a remotely-located server and hides IP addresses so no one can see it, along with a device’s original location.
Internet is not always safe. With hackers and viruses lurking around the digital world, your data is always at risk. However, you can avoid this risk if you use Spectrum internet service. Spectrum ensures its users a fully-secure internet connection, along with an array of other services such as a full-fledge security suite.
A security suite is good, but for an extra layer of protection, you can use a VPN. You may have heard that your ISPs keep an eye on your activity and data. You can avoid this by using a VPN. When you have a VPN turned on in the background, your ISP won’t be able to access your data and your online activities will remain hidden.
VPN is best when you’re residing in a country where geo-limitations are strict and you’re afraid that the government might have you under surveillance. Besides, if you believe that your work often exposes you to unsafe networks, then VPN can shield you from potential hacking attempts, tracking activities, and any other sort of device-interception that may lead you to lose sensitive information.
What is a Proxy Server and Where Does it Apply?
Proxy Server acts more like a source of communication between your device and the website that you’re trying to visit. When you connect with a website, Proxy Server passes your information through a mid-source, which then sends it forth to the host server.
Proxy server also hides your IP address and shows the website the ‘Proxy’ IP instead. Also, unlike VPN, the Proxy server doesn’t encrypt your traffic. This means that if you’re trying to bypass a geo-limitation using a proxy, chances are you won’t end up with good results.
Proxy servers don’t work on an operating-system-level approach, which means that they ONLY encrypt traffic of a specific application or browser. Maybe, this is the reason why they’re always available for free. Plus, with Proxy servers you often experience dips in connection and relative to VPNs their performance is quite slow.
The Abridged Narrative
Whenever you’re online, the only thing that matters the most is security. VPNs are way better than Proxy servers since they create a personalized tunnel for your traffic, so it can safely travel from one point to another without any risk. VPNs are also excellent anonymity-builders, unlike Proxy servers.
So, if you own or work with an organization and find yourself dealing with limitations, then opting for VPN is the way to go. Now, we hope that you’re clear on the difference between these two terminologies. In the future, whenever the need arises, we’re sure you know which of these two to opt for.