VPN vs Proxy Servers | What’s the Difference?

In the age of the internet, security and privacy are key issues to consider when so much of our professional and personal lives depend upon our data. Even browsing the web at your favorite coffee shop could pose a security risk to you and your data. To protect themselves, people utilize two popular options: a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Proxy Servers. In this post, we will take a closer look at a VPN vs Proxy Servers, including how they work and the benefits of using them.

Virtual Private Network VPN vs Proxy Servers
A proxy server will mask your IP address, while a VPN will encrypt your entire connection.

Virtual Private Network

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that allows you to connect to the internet using a server that is run by a provider or third-party. This would be instead of connecting directly to your ISP’s servers. The data that travels to and from devices is securely encrypted, providing privacy and security. A VPN can help evade censorship, allow for geo-spoofing location, and to protect from hackers on a public network. A VPN can also allow for one to utilize peer-to-peer downloading safely.

Proxy Server

A proxy server is a computer on the web that redirects your browsing activity. Your real IP address is revealed when connecting to a website or other destination under normal circumstances.  A proxy server will reroute your actions, revealing the IP address of the proxy rather than your own. Much like a VPN, proxy servers can provide you with anonymity and allow you to bypass certain restrictions.

See Also: Private file storage and sharing with ownCloud and SkySilk VPS

VPN vs Proxy Servers

VPNs and proxy servers may sound similar in terms of functionality, but there are several key differences to note. Proxy servers will only protect your web browser, torrent client, or other programs that support proxies. A VPN will secure all of your internet access and activity. In addition, VPNs are generally more secure and easier to configure. This has led to commercial VPNs surpassing commercial proxy servers in terms of popularity and use. In addition, many companies will check for proxy servers and blacklist users who appear to be using them.

While both VPNs and proxy servers provide privacy and some level of enhanced security, VPNs have an advantage in most respects. While a proxy will hide your IP, a VPN will encrypt your entire connection. Proxy servers may be fine for trivial tasks, but if you are serious about protecting yourself while connecting to the internet, a VPN wins when it comes to a VPN vs Proxy Servers.

For those interested in setting up your own VPN check out the following guide:

How to setup OpenVPN for Private Browsing

 

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