What is the difference between a proxy and a VPN service

Today, you can use a Proxy server, or VPN server, to bypass site blocking, ban system administrators, or just stay anonymous on the Web.

But not everyone understands whether to use a proxy or a VPN. The advantages and disadvantages of both options should be considered in detail, and it should be established for which purposes the first option is best used and when the second option is convenient.

Features of proxy and VPN services

Proxy in one of the variants of translation can be designated as “deputy” or “trusted” in Russian language. In our context, a proxy is a server that is used as a bridge between the user and the Network. All traffic, both inbound and outbound, will pass through the Proxy server only. Thus, the user’s ip address will remain anonymous during operation. Current proxy servers will allow you to easily bypass any existing restrictions and blockages. The fact is that working under the proxy, substituting his ip offered by Proxy server, the user can visit those sites that were previously not available (were under a ban for his ip address). In other words, it is possible to visit sites and nodes blocked by the provider or even by the state, to ignore other prohibitions issued by the user’s geodata.

As another plus, which offers an anonymous proxy server, additional data encryption, which greatly increases anonymity.

There is also a Proxy server focused on optimizing the performance of individual applications. For example, Skype. Its configuration under the proxy server will improve the quality of communication, eliminate interference and interruptions, and protect private conversation. It’s easy to set up a proxy server for Skype, but you need to find the best server, otherwise instead of fixing communication problems, you can only multiply them. To configure it, you need to open the menu, go to the “Network” or “Connection” section (depending on the version) and specify the exact values of the selected Proxy server there.

Universal proxy tool and VPN service as a narrowly focused function

If the functionality and capabilities of the proxy servers are huge, then when working with VPN, we get a more narrowly focused tool.

In particular, VPN is relevant in cases where it is necessary to bypass the blocking by geodata or bypass the prohibitions of censorship. Another advantage of this type of application is the increased security and anonymity of the user.

Important: For VPNs, PPTP, L2TP protocols are used to improve security and anonymity.

It also performs high-level encryption of data coming from user to node and vice versa from node to user.

Choose between proxy server or VPN

If there is still no certainty as to which option to give preference to, it is worth a detailed comparison of both proposals. We’re gonna compare it by basic criteria:

  • Proxy encryption may or may not be available. It all depends on the specific service.

Quotation: VPN encryption is performed every time you turn it on.

  • The speed of the VPN and Proxy server is significantly different. If you compare the free options from both, in most cases the proxy wins.
  • The price policy for paid versions, both protected proxies and full-featured VPNs, practically does not differ.
  • Interaction with other programs. Proxy, even a free server, can easily be used with other programs, even optimizing their operation (e.g. Skype), or by using a proxy to remain anonymous (when using a proxy with Outlook). VPN can be used in this way, the absence of the need to configure individual applications for VPN allows this method to gain advantages, but the low speed of connection of free versions makes the use of VPN with programs immediately inexpedient.
  • VPN not only allows you to achieve anonymity (as well as proxy), but also encrypts the data, which increases protection against hacker attacks and attempts to steal data.
  • Wide functionality. The tools, VPN and proxy settings are very different. But if in the case of Proxy you can get everything you need even on the free version, then when working with VPN you will need to buy a paid version, otherwise we will be limited in speed or will not be able to use separate (often the most useful and relevant) functions.

Summary: Better to use a proxy server or VPN

After a comparison, we can draw the following conclusions: based on our specific objectives, we should make a choice. As an example:

  • If we want to achieve maximum anonymity and protect our data, it is better to use a VPN.
  • If speed is critical to us, we prefer Proxy.
  • If it is necessary to optimize the work of programs with the Network or anonymity in their work – it is necessary to prefer the proxy again.
  • Automatic proxy configuration is as easy as configuring, enabling VPN.
  • If you want to save money, more functionality and capabilities can be offered by a proxy.

Thus, once you have defined your primary goal, you can choose between a proxy and a VPN.

Easy setup. How to configure a VPN or proxy for an android

If the question is to make it easy for an inexperienced user to set up, then both of the above options can offer easier ways to install and configure.

Note: The easiest method to achieve anonymity or bypass all kinds of blocking is to install specialized extensions in browsers.

Today, for example, you can find proxy server extensions or VPN extensions in Google Chrome. To start using them, you just need to find the most convenient option by typing in the search box of the store request “Proxy”, “Proxy” or “VPN”, respectively. The selected extension requires an installation to be confirmed. Once it is finished, you can already use the installed application.

The same situation is with setting up a proxy for android. In Google Market, we find the version of Proxy or VPN we need and then we can use the application.

It should be noted that both in case of installation of extensions and in case of installation of applications on a mobile platform there is a probability of advertising or limited by the free version of the application functionality. Quote: To unlock VPN and Proxy extensions, you will have to pay or view ads to activate the program.

Therefore, it makes sense to find Proxy or VPN by yourself, spending a little more time on installation and configuration. In this case, the user can not only get a fully protected proxy server or a full-featured version of the VPN, but also use the maximum possible speed available with such a connection.

To search for such servers it is enough just to enter the search engine of your browser and drive the corresponding request. Depending on the purpose: fast, anonymous, protected, etc. After installation and adjustment, it is essential to check the quality of the connection. To do this, you need to measure the speed before installing and setting up Proxy, and then compare it with the result after setting it up.