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Differences between a proxy and a VPN

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Main differences between a proxy and a VPN.
When to use a VPN or a proxy.
Last conclusions.
Differences between proxy and VPN and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Browse and access websites.
P2P downloads and streaming content.
Security in corporate networks.
Online games.
Web cache.

We live in an era in which maintaining our privacy is almost paramount for many users. In the network there are plenty of informative articles talking about VPN and proxy servers, but few clarify their differences. To solve this, we propose this article where we will address the differences between a proxy and a VPN, in addition to analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of each .

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It is a good opportunity to thoroughly review these two technologies that, although looking the same, are totally different. The truth is that a friend recently asked me the question that it was better to use a VPN or a proxy . The truth is that we cannot say that a proxy is better than a VPN, or vice versa, but that each one has its use.

Main differences between a proxy and a VPN.

About proxy servers we talked some time ago in several articles. The article in which we explain that it is a proxy socks can serve as an introduction. Even so, we can define a proxy as an intermediary between us and the recipient . This applied to a web browser request, would be like a four-phase operation:

  • We request a website from our computer to the proxy.
  • The proxy makes the web request to the remote server.
  • The remote server sends the one response to the proxy with the web data.
  • The proxy forwards the data sent to you by the remote server.

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If we pay attention to the four phases described above, we see that the proxy is midway between our equipment and the remote server, acting as an intermediary at all times. When we talk about a VPN, we would have the same phases, because the VPN is another intermediary. The fundamental difference is that the VPN encrypts the request data.

Differences between proxy and VPN and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Both a proxy and a VPN have in common that they change our IP , this guarantees us anonymity while we navigate. When, in addition to privacy, we look at security, VPN servers are a better option because they encrypt all data traffic. It doesn't matter if you use a SOKS5 or HTTP proxy, proxies are considered less secure than VPNs.

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Another of the fundamental differences is that while the proxies are configured at the application or operating system level, the VPNs can be configured on the router itself , that is, at the connection level. This also affects the DNS requests, since if we use a VPN these will be encrypted, while if we use a proxy server no.

When we look at the speed of transfers, it is when the proxies come out as clear winners. Proxies by not encrypting the data offer better rates of speed and response times.

Advantages of a VPN:

  • They encrypt the data of our connections, so they improve security.
  • They hide our IP, prevent them from geolocating us, etc.

Advantages of a proxy:

  • They allow us to hide our IP, so they cannot locate us geographically. Not all proxies hide our IP, so-called transparent proxies show it.
  • High rates of speed in data transfers.

When to use a VPN or a proxy.

Browse and access websites.

Browsing the network is the most common use of the domestic internet connection, being the use of a VPN is the most recommended. If the goal is only to skip a regional block, an SOCKS5 proxy is also fully valid.

Even so, SOCKS proxies have the advantage that they are easily configurable in the browser ( FireFox includes native support for SOCKS proxy), so they are very convenient to use. In fact there are extensions that allow us to define which pages to access with proxy and which not.

P2P downloads and streaming content.

To maintain anonymity in P2P download programs, for example when downloading torrents, the use of an SOCKS5 proxy is the most common. This will allow us to hide our IP and maintain decent download speeds thanks to the speed offered by this type of proxy. The best-known torrent clients include support to configure a proxy.

The same applies if we want to watch streaming content, for example when we want to access the American version of NetFlix. In this case using a SOCKS proxy we will get good transfer rates.

Security in corporate networks.

When access to corporate networks is required, the best option is to use a VPN as it guarantees security by encrypting the connection. In this situation there is no doubt, use a VPN yes or yes.

Online games.

To play online it is not recommended to use a VPN or a proxy, since both will increase the connection ping and the gaming experience can be disastrous. If for reasons of geographical restrictions there is no choice but to use a proxy or a VPN, a proxy usually gives better response times.

The disadvantage is that the proxy configuration for use only in the game is usually something impossible, hence a VPN is easier to configure. You will have to weigh whether the ping affects the gaming experience or not. For example, playing Herthstone with a high ping is viable, but it is not when we play League of Legends.

Web cache.

It is one of the applications of the proxy servers, they are able to act as a cache of web pages and thus accelerate navigation or jump geographical restrictions. When we talk about web cache, a proxy server is the best option. One of the most used proxy servers for this purpose is the famous free Squid software.

Last conclusions.

If the idea of "‹"‹using a proxy or a VPN is behind the intention of hiding the IP to perform some fraudulent action, you should know that nothing assures you of total anonymity . Not even the well-known Tor network would serve you.

If you are planning to hire a VPN or proxy service and still do not know which one to choose, it is best that you read the article carefully and analyze what use you will give it. In general, the hiring of a VPN usually has the best value for money due to the great existing competition. You can even find a free VPN , but the speed and availability of the service will always be questionable .

Remember that the majority of articles of this type that you will find on the web are made in order to sponsor a paid service, so do not rely on everything you read and draw your own conclusions. If you are tricky with Linux and you manage well with this operating system, the best option is to hire a cheap VPS server . Then, you can configure your own proxy , VPN, torrent client or whatever you need on the server.


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