Most people find it difficult to differentiate between a VPN and a proxy server. The main aim of using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and a proxy is to protect the identity of the user. Even though both VPN and a proxy server re-route Internet traffic and alter your IP address, the way they function or their process of functioning is a bit different. An in-depth comparison of a VPN and a proxy server is presented below.
What is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server is a computer that acts as a link between your computer and the Internet. When using a proxy server, the user actually connects to the proxy server first and from there connects to another server. Proxy servers play the role of a middleman.
Disadvantages of Proxy Servers
Proxy servers are generally used for low profile work. That is, for watching restricted websites, videos in YouTube and for avoiding IP restrictions. The main disadvantages of proxy servers are that they don’t encrypt data and because of that reason, proxy servers are not used for high profile work. Privacy and security is also low.
Types of Proxy Servers
The two types of proxy servers are
- HTTP Proxy Servers: HTTP proxies are considered to be the oldest proxy servers. They are designed mainly for website-based traffic. If you are using HTTP proxy servers to connect to your email or bank account, you need to ensure SSL encryption is “ON” in your web browser. HTTP proxies do not encrypt your data and hence security is an issue.
- SOCKS Proxy Servers: SOCKS is another type of proxy server. It has the ability to bypass any traffic. The main issue with SOCKS is that it is very slow compared to HTTP proxy servers.
What is VPN?
VPN is the abbreviation of a Virtual Private Network. A VPN allows secure access to private networks. It is mostly used by employers to connect to their company’s network using the Internet. VPN is set up at the operating system level and it captures the traffic of every application in your machine.
Advantages of VPN over Proxy Servers
Though both VPN and a proxy server are used for routing and security, the VPN process is highly protected and is a fully encrypted process. Because of its high security, VPN is used for high profile work. Using VPN, a person can log into his/her email account, bank account and can handle other confidential matters without worrying. But a VPN is costlier than a Proxy Server and it requires good hardware support. Compared to proxy servers, VPN also needs a good Internet connection to establish the required connection. Cisco is a VPN Internet provider.
Choosing the right VPN is a complicated task. There are a number of VPNs available. Among them, PPTP VPN is the most common. PPTP is the abbreviation of “PointToPoint Tunneling Protocol.” The user needs to choose the right VPN depending on factors like usage, bandwidth, cost and security.
Both a VPN and a proxy server differ in their functionality. Selecting a VPN server is more complicated than selecting a proxy server. Proxy servers are good in hiding information and can be used for low profile jobs, but if you are looking for a highly secured connection, then VPN is the best option for you. A VPN connection helps to protect your data and is more safe and secured. The above discussion shows that you can choose from a VPN and a proxy server depending on your requirements and budget.