VPN and proxies are very beneficial for several online activities. These activities can range from accessing off-limits web content to enhancing your privacy and security while surfing the internet. It can be astounding just how much of your day-to-day information leaks into the World Wide Web through social media and other online portals.
In the past online users have not had to worry about their data because most people do not have the urge for anonymity. Nevertheless, internet users are waking up to the fact that their data is an integral part of their lives, and it needs protection.
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Edward Snowden roused the urge for data protection when he told internet users that someone somewhere was watching and recording what they did when online. This rather unpleasant realization, that what you feed the internet without a second thought could be used to monitor you has driven many internet users and businesses to VPN and proxy use.
Businesses especially require data anonymity to ensure that their data is safe from malicious actors in the dark web that makes a living off unprotected activities. This need for anonymity will lead you to the proxy server vs. VPN quandary. Which one should you use?
Differences between proxies and VPNs
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) were originally designed to connect business entities over the internet securely. Their chief advantage was that a user could access the VPN from any location enabling access business data from homes. Today, VPNs are wildly popular.
The VPN technology can mask your computer’s IP address and hide your location. It will, therefore, make it look as if you are accessing the internet from a different place from where you are. The VPN app can encrypt data, and then send it to a remote server which routes your request to the destination desired.
This process will give you anonymity since data sent will not reflect your IP address but that of the server. Virtual private networks prevent data tracking, and their encryption technology thwarts hackers and surveillance from snooping. The VPN displays encrypted data as random characters, ensuring that your online footsteps are well veiled.
A proxy server vs VPN, on the other hand, is similar and provides a level of online anonymity and data protection. Unlike a VPN, the proxy server does not encrypt data. The proxy is a lightweight method of veiling internet activity and only acts as a gateway between your browser and websites.
A proxy server routes all your internet requests through it, then forwards those requests to the websites. They then access the information that you have queried and routes it back to your computer. The proxy does not have an app. All you need to do is to set it up on your browser settings, and you are good to go.
Proxies, therefore, are less resource-draining for older computers, but they have less high-end security features commonly found in VPNs.
Significant feature differences between proxy servers and VPNs
1. VPNs encrypt your data while proxy servers lack data encryption protection
Data encryption can deter levels of government surveillance, ISP tracking, and hacking attempts. Encrypted data is unreadable, making VPNs critical for businesses that handle highly sensitive data. A proxy server will not encrypt data, meaning that you should not route confidential information such as credit card data on it.
Unlike a VPN, a proxy server also will not hide further identifying information beyond an IP swap. They, consequently, will not veil your web traffic, and they lack the security considerations of a VPN.
2. VPNs provide system-wide protection while proxies are application-specific
The VPN connection is engineered to handle computer wide data ensuring that every bit of it is encrypted as it is routed through the VPN server. The proxy server is configured to a browser, meaning that some data will miss its servers. When using a proxy server, ensure that all your compatible applications are configured to it.
Data encryption is beneficial for protection, but it requires time. A VPN is, therefore, slower than a proxy server is. You can choose a fast VPN by selecting faster encryption methods and server loads. On the plus side, VPNs can speed up your internet speeds by efficiently routing business data and evading the usual bandwidth throttling.
VPNs are paid for while a proxy can be free because the former requires robust hardware, maintenance schedules, and advanced configurations for top-notch data protection services. They, therefore, have subscription fees but are nonetheless worth it.
The virtual private network also consumes more bandwidth and power for its encryption protocols. The proxy server passes data along, and it does not put a strain on the bandwidth. This disparity in demands makes the VPN more reliable in data security than a proxy. The VPN is less susceptible to breakdowns since it is well maintained and stable.
Proxy server vs. VPNs; which one is better for business?
A business that handles very sensitive client data requires the VPN’s robust data protection and encryption facilities for online data safety. A proxy server will not give the same level of protection as a VPN. VPNs, however, are still handy data protection tools for individuals that perform many seed torrents and download, and those that seek to bypass data geoblocks.
Use VPNs also when accessing public Wi-Fi or when browsing, especially in countries that censor their citizens. Proxies are perfect for web scraping activities or bypassing geoblocks and firewalls. You can also use the proxy server to enhance device performance through their data caching features.
The proxy server vs. VPN debate boils down to the levels of data protection required. Premium VPNs win over proxy servers and will ensure 24/7 reliable and robust security over your business’s data.