What is the difference between Proxy and VPN?

This question appears at about the moment when we start to think about our cyber security. Although the work of these two resources is very similar, it is completely different. Let’s try to understand this in more detail together. And we will help you with the help of this very material.

What are VPN  and Proxy?

Proxy is an additional server, it is an auxiliary agent that acts as a bridge between your devices (PC / Smartphone) and the server serving the site to which connections are made. Proxies provide an opportunity to bypass the blocking of sites in the country or strengthen your anonymity on the network. In addition, a proxy is a reliable protection against «vampire» scripts that provide information about their users for commercial purposes: displaying contextual advertising, spam mailings, and other annoying evil spirits that sometimes annoy us so much.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an encrypted user connection to a virtual network, thanks to which he can ignore many restrictions and remain anonymous. While the user accesses the network, a unique IP address is assigned to the PC or smartphone. This IP address allows third parties to systematize and track you — to see what sites you open, what kind of information you are looking for in search engines, what you buy in online stores, and so on.

Can Proxy and VPN be used together?

In general, yes. But this will require additional network settings and it makes no sense. As a result, you will get a huge collapse in connection speed and anonymity with data protection, which can be achieved separately (using only Proxy, for example).

What common?

Both platforms are similar in that they redirect traffic through a virtual server, and also encrypt the data of their clients. Both VPN and Proxy free options are unlikely to become reliable companions, and given the increased popularity of VPNs due to the constant blocking of popular resources, it is very difficult to be responsible for the quality and integrity of the latter product. Alas, the truth is quite simple: no one will support and create a quality product for free.

More about Proxy

When using quality proxies, there is no need for additional installation of special software, because the connection that is made through the proxy is assumed in the Operating System (OS) itself or in the web browser you use. To gain access, only the proxy IP address, port, as well as login, and password are needed (when authorization is expected and the service supports login and password). There are situations when authorization occurs through IP. In such cases, authorization by login and password is not needed, since the IP acts as an identifier. In addition, the privacy level of a proxy is entirely dependent on the specific proxy and the proxy settings of the system. Thus, proxies can be divided into the following types: non-anonymous, anonymous, and, accordingly, encrypted, provided that the corresponding protocol is in effect.

It is also very important to take into account that a connection using a proxy will be if not many times faster and more stable, then definitely better than a VPN connection. The reason lies in the fact that proxies are initially meant for individual use and a specific task. Often, proxies can cost less than VPNs, and a wide selection of required connection types and anonymity is available upon purchase.

What are the main differences?

To summarize the above, VPN and Proxy allow you to change your IP address and change GEO. But unlike a proxy, a VPN is a connection through a virtual network, which means that when you connect to a VPN, all traffic will go through the virtual network. And if we use Proxy, then we choose how we pass traffic. For the entire system (settings in the OS) or only for the web browser. At the same time, for example, having 3 different web browsers, we can get the opportunity to work simultaneously with 3 different proxies. The main difference is just this (VPN from Proxy). Even if they are designed for similar purposes, often, Proxy will help solve more problems, they are cheaper, they often work too, faster and more stable. A VPN is more suitable for «turn on and forget» cases. Proxies, when you need flexible and dynamic work. In addition, proxies are easier to use in some programs, as they allow you to have a set of different IP addresses and geolocations at hand. When a regular VPN is limited to just one IP.