September 23, 2022
5 min.

VPN vs Proxy

When it comes to privacy, the two major tools that most people think about are proxies and VPNs. Which tool to use, however, appears to be a source of some confusion. So let’s figure it out.

Proxy - what is it?

A proxy works like an intermediary between you and the website you're visiting. Think about a proxy as a web filter that handles all of your internet request processes. Your actual IP address will be concealed because the website you're on can only identify the proxy IP address. 

What are the most popular types of proxies?

  • Residential proxies

It is a real IP address that an ISP (Internet Service Provider) gave a homeowner. These proxies make it possible to mimic real user activity, which is crucial for web scraping. Residential proxies lower your chance of being blocked by requested websites. Additionally, residential proxy guarantees a higher level of privacy by hiding a real IP address.

  • Datacenter proxies

This kind of proxy operates independently of an ISP. They originate from companies like data centers and are much faster than residential proxies, but they have a bigger chance of getting blocked. Datacenter proxies do, however, also guarantee high anonymity.

Check out our blog post “Proxy: What is It ? Meaning and Types of proxies”  if you want to learn more about proxy types.

What is a VPN?

Similar to a proxy server, a VPN creates the appearance that internet data is coming from a different IP address. However, VPNs are a useful tool for ensuring network security because traffic between the user's computer or device and the remote VPN network travels through an encrypted tunnel. 

When using public Wi-Fi at a place like a café, users can browse the internet safely by using a VPN from a trustworthy provider. Instead of using the public Wi-Fi, which, if unencrypted or has lax security, can reveal user information to others, users can connect to a VPN. 

Remote access, intranet-based site-to-site, and extranet-based site-to-site are the three basic divisions of VPNs. In contrast to large enterprises that frequently use site-to-site VPNs for corporate purposes, individual users are more likely to use remote access VPNs.

Proxy and VPN: Differences

Although VPNs and proxies may appear to be similar at first glance, there are some important distinctions to be aware of. Take into consideration the following when choosing between a proxy server and a VPN:

  • Purpose

VPN services are typically designed for a single user and are used by those who want to conceal their true identity while also ensuring that their internet requests are encrypted. A proxy or proxy server, on the other hand, likewise enables anonymity but is mostly used (in significant amounts) by people and organizations who carry out web scraping operations.

  • Security

Despite the fact that they can hide your identity from websites, proxy servers do not encrypt your connection. A web server connection made using a browser is more secure than one made using a public proxy server. Because data is encrypted before being sent to the client by VPNs, your identity is concealed from the internet and your ISP.

  • Performance

Because a proxy does not have to encrypt and decrypt data, it could be faster than a VPN. 

  • Price

While VPNs may be a little more expensive, proxies may be free or low-cost. Proxy servers are therefore a better choice for operations like web scraping, where you may need to find several thousand or even millions of distinct IP addresses to send out automated requests.

As you can see, you can hide your IP address using either a proxy or a VPN. Additionally, a VPN can be slower and more expensive than a proxy, despite offering a connection that is more private and secure. The ideal choice for you will rely on your specific needs and the required degree of security.

Read similar blogs