Cybercrime is on the rise, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that your data is protected. With so many options and services out there to choose from, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. VPNs and Proxies are two technologies that you have probably heard of when it comes to securing your devices. While they both help protect your identity online, there are some important differences between the two that are important to understand when deciding which is the best option for you.
What is a Proxy Server?
A proxy acts like a gateway between you and the internet. In other words, it is a type of server that sits between your device and the web. In doing this, a proxy server can hide your IP address, making it look like you are browsing the internet from a totally different location.
Proxy servers are mainly used to bypass geo-restricted content or get around IP-based restrictions. Since you can browse the internet using an IP address different from your own, you can access content that might not otherwise be available to you. Modern proxy service solutions offer other features as well, such as increased internet speed and different supported protocols, such as HTTPS and SOCKS5.
A major downside of proxy servers is that although there are some free options, most of the available services are expensive, with some charging over $50 per GB of data. Proxies are mainly used by businesses for things like web scraping and social media management or to monitor employee internet usage. Compared to other options, the security features of proxies are limited.
There are several different types of proxies to choose from, including datacenter proxies, residential proxies, mobile proxies, shared/dedicated proxies, and static/rotating proxies. Let’s take a look at each one below:
Datacenter proxies are the most common type of proxies. Datacenter proxies allow you to browse the internet from the IP address of a datacenter. Datacenter proxies are the fastest and most affordable type of proxy, but this comes at a cost. More and more websites are blocking traffic from datacenter proxies, meaning that you may not be able to browse the internet without getting blocked.
Residential proxies help solve the issue with blocking that plagues datacenter proxies by using real residential IP addresses instead of datacenter IP addresses. While you might not get blocked using a residential proxy, they have two major downsides: residential proxies are both more expensive and slower than datacenter proxies.
Mobile proxies are a type of residential proxy that uses IP addresses from real mobile devices. Mobile proxies are most often used by businesses in order to manage social media accounts, such as Instagram.
Shared vs. Dedicated Proxies
A shared proxy is a proxy that is shared between multiple users simultaneously, meaning that a number of users share the same IP address. A downside of using shared proxies is that speed may decrease with the number of people using the proxy, and the IP might get flagged by certain websites.
A dedicated proxy, by contrast, is a proxy that is used by a single user (or select group of users). Compared to a shared proxy, a dedicated proxy typically has better performance since you aren’t dividing resources between other users.
Static vs. Rotating Proxies
Astaticproxy is a proxy service that assigns you just one IP address while you are using it. Static proxies are an older technology, but they are a cheaper option. Rotating proxies, on the other hand, are a type of proxy that rotates. In other words, your IP address rotates through different addresses while you use it. Rotating proxies are a newer technology, and while they are more expensive than static proxies, they allow you to avoid being blocked.
- Allows you to bypass almost any geographic and IP-based restrictions with the right configuration
- Can be used for very specific tasks
- Better performance than a VPN, especially with good proxies
- Complete freedom of use and anonymity
- Expensive, with some services charging over $50 per GB of data
- Has limited security features
- Configurations vary with some proxies being programmed for one specific goal
- Proxies that use a cache system will save all your personal data
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network or VPN creates a secure, encrypted tunnel that hides your IP address and keeps your data private and secure. When you are using a VPN, you connect to the internet through this tunnel, making your online activity private from your internet service provider, advertisers, and hackers that may be trying to steal your data.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is a way to conceal information so that it looks random.
In other words, it’s a way to scramble data, making it so that it is unreadable to unauthorized parties. VPNs use encryption technology to protect your online activity and keep your data secure.
How do I know VPNs are safe?
Premium VPN services don’t keep logs, meaning that your data is not being stored, monitored, or misused. In other words, even the VPN service does not see what you are doing online.
What other benefits are there to VPNs?
In addition to encrypting your online activity, VPNs offer a wide range of options when it comes to choosing the geographic location you want to browse the internet. This means that you can browse the internet from anywhere in the world. Premium VPN services also offer additional options for increased security, such as double VPNs, which encrypt your traffic twice, Onion over VPN, which routes your traffic over Tor networks, and more. This flexibility means that you can choose the plan that best suits you.
Another great benefit to VPNs is that because they use datacenters, they are both fast and affordable, making them ideal for regular users. Because VPNs encrypt your traffic, hide your IP address, and are affordable and fast, they are a great choice for individuals looking to protect themselves online.
- Affordable and easy to install and use
- Encrypts all of your web activity and keeps the data safe
- Can be used across all applications and websites
- Ideal for individuals looking to protect themselves online
- Slower speeds and smaller IP pools
- Not great for automatiztion or targeted tasks
Breaking it Down: Proxies vs. VPNs
|Hides your IP address for anonymous browsing||Hides your IP address for anonymous browsing|
|Encrypts your web traffic||Does not encrypt your web traffic|
|VPNs are app-based (all of your online activity is protected)||Proxies are browser-based (only online browser traffic is routed)|
|More affordable||More expensive, often charging by GB or by IP address|
|Premium plans for additional security||Limited security features|
|Ideal for normal users looking to protect their identity online||Ideal for specific use cases, such as big businesses doing web scraping or social media management|
Choosing the Right One For You
Whether you should choose a VPN or a proxy really depends on what you are going to be using it for. Compared to VPNs, proxy servers serve a more specific purpose. They are mainly used by businesses to do web scraping, social media management, or monitor employee internet activity. This is reflected in the cost. Proxy servers are more expensive to run and typically charge by the GB or by the number of IP addresses used. In addition to this, proxy servers have limited security features.
While a proxy server will hide your IP address, your web traffic will not be encrypted, meaning that your data is more vulnerable to being exposed to third-party actors such as advertisers, hackers, or authoritarian governments.
VPNs, on the other hand, are the ideal choice for individuals looking to enhance their security online. Unlike a proxy that only hides your IP address, a VPN will also encrypt your online activity, allowing you to browse the internet anonymously and securely. In addition to this, VPNs are also fast and affordable, making them a great choice for everyday users looking to protect their identity online.
Choosing a VPN provider: Nord VPN
When it comes to your VPN provider, it’s important to choose one that you can trust. Rated excellent on most review websites, NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services in the world, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a reliable, trusted, and user-friendly VPN service.
NordVPN consistently comes out on top as one of the best VPN services on the market. Based out of Panama, which is a privacy-friendly country that does not have any data retention laws, NordVPN consistently upholds its commitment to security with independent audits. Their no logs policy means that no one – not even NordVPN, can see your online activity.
NordVPN has a massive network with over 5200 servers around the globe in over 59 countries. This means that you can connect to a server anywhere in the world, guaranteeing a fast and reliable user experience. With such a huge network of servers to choose from, it’s no wonder NordVPN is considered the top VPN for traveling to countries with strict VPN laws.
NordLynx: Built around WireGuard Protocol
NordLynx protocol is NordVPN’s state-of-the-art technology which is built around the WireGuard VPN protocol. It is an advanced encryption system that encrypts your data as it travels to and from the VPN server. Not only does NordLynx make NordVPN the fastest VPN in the industry, but it also offers superior security protections.
NordVPN Threat Protection
NordVPN’s Threat Protection takes security to the next level to offer protection features beyond that of a typical VPN. NordVPN Threat Protection protects your devices against cyber threats such as trackers and malware by blocking malicious sites and scanning ﬁles before you download them. This adds a whole new layer of protection to ensure you can browse the web safely and securely.
NordVPN Meshnet is a new feature offered by NordVPN that gives users the option to connect to trusted, private devices through encrypted tunnels instead of NordVPN servers. Just like when connecting to the NordVPN server, all of your traffic is encrypted, but instead of using the IP address of the server, you are able to use the IP address of the device you are routing your traffic to.
You can think of Meshnet as a local area network (LAN) that is connected with remote devices, allowing you to connect to the internet through the IP address of another NordVPN user’s device. NordVPN’s Meshnet opens up a lot of possibilities, such as allowing for easier ﬁle sharing, working on joint projects, and gaming with friends.
NordVPN is very affordable, starting at just $3.69 a month. Their Standard base plan comes with secure, high-speed VPN access, as well as malware protection and a tracker and ad blocker. This Plus plan comes at $4.69 a month comes with the addition of a cross-platform password manager and data breach scanner, and their Complete plan comes with all the above features, plus 1TB of encrypted cloud storage.
Get up to 63% off along with three months for free on all plans.
Although proxies are useful in speciﬁc cases, such as for businesses doing data scraping, they are more expensive and don’t offer as many security features as VPNs. VPNs, on the other hand, are the more affordable option. Not only do they hide your IP address, but they also encrypt your online activity and offer additional security features to keep you safe online.
When it comes to choosing a VPN provider, NordVPN is a solid pick. Not only does NordVPN use state-of-the-art encryption technology and have some of the fastest servers around, their additional security features, such as NordVPN’s Threat Protection, means that you have an added layer of protection that goes beyond the traditional offerings of a VPN.
In addition to all this, NordVPN’s Meshnet is a new feature that gives you more ﬂexibility when it comes to how you use your VPN service, allowing you to connect to private devices and create your own remote LAN networks. Starting at just $3.68 a month, NordVPN is a great choice for anyone looking to enhance their security online.
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