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Proxies Vs. VPN: Which One Do You Need

Proxies Vs. VPN: Which One Do You Need
The Siliconreview
28 May, 2021

There has become an increasing concern over data security and privacy, mainly because more brands and companies are losing valuable information to nefarious elements on the internet. Such cyber-attacks have prompted businesses and individuals to invent and use only the best tools, with two of the best being proxy and VPN. While both tools can effectively add sufficient levels and layers of security to your data, the way they do it varies.

For instance, while a VPN can allow you access and work with data remotely, a proxy will allow you to access safe data in whatever quantity from any server or website and at any time while still protecting the data at the same time.

What is a proxy?

A proxy server can be defined as a gateway that can sufficiently act as a relay between an internet user and the target website. It is a computer or software that can sit between you and the servers you are visiting, ensuring smooth and safe communication between you two.

A proxy can perform primary functions such as conceal your internet protocol (IP) address while using its own to allow you to browse anonymously, rotate proxies for you to prevent blocking, and help you change your location to enable you to browse restricted contents even from a forbidden geo-location. For instance, a brand can use an Indonesia proxy to access contents from Indonesian servers from any part of the world. So when choosing a proxy service provider, make sure to check on the proxy pool size they offer (e.g., Oxylabs has one of the largest proxy pools in the market).

How does proxy work?

While there are so many types of proxies, the way they function are closely similar and resembles the process described below:

  • Every internet-enabled device has a corresponding and allocated IP address
  • When you make a request to the internet using a proxy, the proxy intercepts the request, modifies it, and sends it to the target server using its IP
  • Connection is made with the server, and the data is returned
  • The proxy, again, intercept the returning information and screens it for malicious content before presenting it to you in the form of a webpage you can easily view and read

Main benefits of proxies

There are several benefits of using proxies, with the most important ones being:

  • They help to improve data privacy and security significantly
  • They are important for bypassing geo-restrictions and accessing restricted contents (just like our example with a Indonesia proxy).
  • Proxies can also help businesses control and monitor their employees’ website access
  • They can help balance web load, distribute traffic, and prevent servers from crashing
  • Proxies generally improve server performances by employing caching mechanisms and traffic compression

What is a VPN?

 A VPN or virtual private network, just as the name implies, is a network owned and managed by a third-party company and not your internet service provider (ISP).

The software usually works at the level of the operating system rerouting traffic using a remote server. This makes it able to both conceal your original location and encrypt your traffic. Just like proxies, VPNs can, therefore, grant you access to restricted data as well as hide your information from prying eyes on the internet.

Primarily, a VPN grants you internet privacy and makes you anonymous by helping you create some private network from a public connection. It makes your online activities untraceable and your data impregnable.

How does a VPN work?

VPNs also have a general way by which they function and is as described below:

  • Every time you send out a request to the web using a VPN, it uses encryption to scramble the data
  • Your outgoing traffic then becomes unreadable while passing through a data tunnel that runs from your local network to your target server
  • The VPN hides both your IP and location and allows the freedom of appearing to be accessing the internet from your location of choice
  • The returning traffic is also encrypted to prevent anyone from accessing it
  • This form of encryption is important to secure your data from both unscrupulous individuals and your service providers, and even search engines

Main benefits of VPN

The main advantages of using VPN include:

  • It can secure your network and prevent others from gaining access to your communications.
  • It can help to conceal your company's sensitive information from websites and servers
  • It helps to prevent intentional data and bandwidth throttling by your service providers as they will not even be aware of your activities
  • VPNs are important for granting access to Geo-blocked servers and contents
  • It can allow work to be done remotely and even supports seamless scalability

Conclusion

Proxies and VPNs are two proper tools for protecting your business and ensuring better data privacy and security. While they share several similarities in the nature of the task they perform, they also have numerous differences.

For instance, they both offer protection for your data, but VPN does so at a higher cost.

Also, a lot of websites and servers can tell when you are using a VPN, and even though they may not be able to read your data or tell what exactly you are doing, they could use VPN blockers to render the VPN ineffective completely.