Proxy servers hide your identity by connecting to a remote computer to access the network. Similarly, a VPN connection uses a remote server for the purpose of hiding your credentials. Both services will make it appear that you are connecting from a different location than where you are actually browsing.
It would seem to be two very similar things but they are not.
In reality, the differences between proxies and VPNs are considerable. Even if the economic aspect might seem the most significant variable, it is instead the degree of protection offered that is the determining factor in the choice between these two options.
When is it recommended to use a proxy server or a VPN connection? Why proxies are considered a poor alternative to VPN services?
Follow us in this post and we will explain how to surf the internet in complete safety.
Why Internet Security Must Have Priority
The security factor on the internet is becoming an increasingly hot topic. When it comes to protecting your data, you can’t rely on chance.
How often do you connect to free Wi-Fi services? You use them when you are in a hotel, in your favorite restaurant, at the mall or when you visit a friend at their home. The “Free Wi-Fi___33 Zone” symbol has an almost irresistible appeal.
Can you tell if these connections are secure? If you don’t have an answer to this question, chances are that by connecting to these networks you are revealing the details of your personal life to the world. Including any sensitive data that could be used to harm you. The same problems also arise when you browse from home or your mobile network.
Many users only discover how serious the topic is when they are faced with cloned credit cards, identity theft, and other thorny problems that could have been easily avoided.
In order not to have any unpleasant surprises, you must decide how important it is to protect your data and then choose the best tools to navigate in complete anonymity.
To help you with this, we have decided to clarify the differences between proxy servers and VPN connections.
How a Proxy Server Works
What are the main differences between proxy and VPN?
And above all, do you really need a VPN service? Can a cheaper proxy server offer you enough protection?
As for proxies, there are different types of services offered. However, they all share the same principle. The proxy server acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet.
Using this type of connection, your real IP will not be shown and will be replaced by the IP of the server you are connected to. You can thus browse from Italy but be connected from a different country.
For example, if from Italy you want to access the infinite Netflix library reserved exclusively for American users, just connect through a proxy located in the USA and you will be connected to the network from the United States. A simple trick to access otherwise blocked content.
However, you must know that when you use a proxy server, only the application on which the proxy is configured (for example the browser you are using) is protected. All other open applications that interact with the network, such as automatic updates, will continue to do so through the unsecured connection.
Otherwise, VPN connections are instead configured on the device used and all traffic is automatically protected.
Proxy servers can handle tens of thousands of users connected at the same time. This is because proxies do not encrypt all traffic that passes through them and thus manage to have high traffic volumes.
This is a very important difference from VPN connections which, as we will see shortly, have a significant impact on security.
Choosing between a proxy server and a VPN connection has a significant impact on your web security
HTTP Proxy Server AND SOCKS: Pros and Cons
To communicate with the internet, proxy servers use the HTTP protocol or the SOCKS protocol.
PROXY HTTP SERVER. These handle internet traffic with an http: // or https: // address. They are therefore useful for browsing web pages and are generally faster than proxy servers with SOCKS protocol or VPN connections.
These types of servers are generally very cheap or even free. Thanks to the hidden IP they are useful for bypassing geo-localized websites but they present a series of problems that you must take into account:
- HTTP traffic is not encrypted.
- Government surveillance systems or your Internet provider itself can see what you are doing on the network at any time.
- Connections via HTTPS cannot be monitored but the IP can still be registered
browser may be able to detect your real IP.
Only useful for browsing websites.
PROXY SOCKS SERVER. They are the most advanced version of HTTP. They can handle any type of traffic including FTP server, POP3 and SMTP for emails and Bit Torrent.
It is evident that SOCKS proxies are much more attractive and versatile than HTTP but even these have disadvantages that you must take into consideration:
- The greater amount of traffic makes them slower than HTTP proxies
- The security issues are exactly the same as highlighted above for HTTP proxies. Navigation is therefore never completely safe from prying eyes.
- Only the application on which the proxy is configured is protected and not the entire device.
Public or private proxy: which one to choose?
The choice of proxy servers is practically endless and choosing which one to use is not easy. On the net you will find both public and private proxies.
We strongly advise against thinking only in economic terms for the following reasons.
Public proxy servers are mostly free but there are downsides that should sound like a wake-up call if you care about your safety.
The major problems encountered with public proxy servers are the following:
- Highly unstable, they can log out at any time without warning
- The browsing speed is very variable
- There is no support service
- Your sensitive data is entrusted to managers whose identity is completely unknown (good luck!)
If you decide to opt for a private proxy server, for a fee you will have a higher quality service that usually includes:
- Greater stability of the connection
- Support service
- Smoother browsing speed
- Reputable and usually reliable managers to whom they can deliver their sensitive data
In any case, even a paid private proxy server does not guarantee total security.
Web Proxy – An Alternative But With Several Limitations
Alternatively there are also services called Web Proxy. The service is offered by several leading companies in the sector such as Fastest VPN. It has the advantage of not having to download, install and configure any software. You can access it directly from your browser and usually the service is free.
A convenient alternative if you access the network for things of little importance but certainly not the service to use daily.
However, whether you decide to use a public, private proxy server or a web proxy, your security is not guaranteed and you will never browse in complete anonymity.
To avoid unpleasant surprises, VPN connections are preferred over proxy servers
VPN connections remain by far the best way to protect your internet browsing and in our opinion an obligatory choice to browse in complete peace of mind.
VPN connections, an obligatory choice for your security
When you use a VPN connection or watch hulu overseas, what is commonly referred to as a “tunnel” from your computer to the VPN server is created when you connect to the internet?
While with proxy servers the stretch from your computer to the server remains visible and unencrypted, the “tunnel” created by the VPN also encrypts this step as well as all subsequent ones.
To protect the data, an encryption system ranging from 128-bit up to a maximum of 2024-bit is used, enormously more secure than any SSL protocol used by some proxy servers.
With a VPN connection, your data cannot be seen by your internet service provider, government surveillance systems or even malicious hackers. The guaranteed protection standard is really high.
To start using a VPN connection, you usually need to download and install software. The operation is usually simple even for inexperienced users. In any case, VPN servers offer great customer support services that can assist you step by step throughout the process.
While the idea of having to set up your VPN connection may be daunting to some, there is a key difference between VPN connections and proxy servers to consider.
Once the VPN connection is installed on your computer, tablet, smartphone or any other device, all your traffic will be protected and not just the application in use. Whenever you go online, the VPN connection will protect all your browsing data.
The only drawback of VPN connections is that in the hours of greatest influx the browsing speed could be a bit slower.