VPN Articles and News

VPN vs. Proxy Server – Which One Is Better And Why

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Using a virtual private network (VPN) or a proxy server is a great way to keep your personal details safe and browse the internet anonymously. While these two technologies may appear the same from a distance, there are some significant differences in the way they are built and used. In this article, we will compare and contrast the pros and cons of VPNs and proxy servers to help you choose the best solution for your needs.

Before we check out the similarities and differences between the two, it is better to get familiar with what exactly a VPN and proxy server means.

VPN – VPN enables fast and secure internet access to a small network of computers. This is achieved by extending the resources of the private network over public networks such as the internet. The great thing about a VPN is that it allows sharing of data and resources across public or shared networks without compromising on functionality or security.

Proxy Server – A proxy server acts as an intermediary between a client (usually a web browser) and the server handling the request. Due to an extra layer of protection, using a proxy server is a great way to bypass ISP or government restrictions and access blocked content. Proxy servers are also used in corporate environments for faster access to content and audit users’ activities.

VPN vs. Proxy Server

Speed – Virtual private networks are considered a lot faster than proxy servers. That’s because a typical VPN is shared across a small set of users whereas a proxy server may be used by thousands of users at the same time. Moreover a virtual private network is able to extend its resources over internet which makes it possible to use the entire infrastructure available to get very high browsing and download speeds. This makes it possible to download huge files or watch streaming content or movies over VPNs, something that is not always feasible with proxy servers.

Privacy and Security – Here again, virtual private networks hold a distinct advantage over proxy servers. Virtual private networks are considered more secure since they work at network level. Proxy servers, on the other hand, work at application level so any information that passes through them may be accessed by others. VPNs also use point to point connection, encryption and tunneling technology to keep your information safe which makes them ideal for use from public Wi-Fi spots such as hotels, airports and shopping malls.

Installation – Most proxy servers can directly be accessed through a web browser. Virtual private networks, on the other hand, require installation or configuration of some kind. In the early days of VPN technology, a lot of technical know-how was required to use the service but these days installing and using a VPN client can be done even by non tech savvy people.

Cost – Virtual private networks usually cost more but they provide you the best possible infrastructure and security which is usually not available with most proxy servers.

Final Verdict – Virtual private networks clearly offer several advantages over proxy servers. If you are concerned about your online privacy and security; and want to bypass restrictions and access blocked content on a regular basis then using a virtual private network is the best way to go forward.

January 7, 2013

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