Few of us give much serious thought to what we do online. We browse through eCommerce stores without giving them a second thought, stream our favorite movies and TV shows whenever we’re bored, and log into our bank accounts whenever we need to without thinking about it. While it’s all part of the daily routine for most, it’s not necessarily entirely safe.
You’re leaking private, sensitive information with every website you visit and third party it’s partnered with. If you want to keep your data protected, there are only two things you can do – rely on proxies or use VPNs.
Learn what proxies and VPNs are, how they’re different, and which is the better choice for your needs.
Proxies and their advantages
Proxies are servers that sit between your device and the rest of the internet. By connecting to them, you’re routing all your traffic through these servers, having them communicate with the websites you visit on your behalf.
When you’re just browsing the net regularly, your device has to do all the work. You have to send a request for information to a website, and the website has to process the information, collect your data, and then send you a response.
However, you can enjoy almost complete anonymity when browsing the net with a proxy. You’d send the request for information to the proxy, and it would relay the message to the website under a different IP address, take its response, and send it back to you. You won’t be coming in direct contact with the website in question, so you won’t be at risk of leaking sensitive information to it.
Some of the main advantages of using proxies include:
Anonymity – proxies stand between you and the web and hide your IP address, allowing you to browse anonymously;
Better speed – proxies often cache website data, making it available in an instant; you won’t have to wait for slow pages to load and waste time;
Bypassing geo-restrictions – you can choose the location of your IP address assigned by the proxy, so you can easily bypass geo-restricted content; a US proxy can unlock access to content available only in the US, while an Iran proxy can unlock access to content available only in Iran;
Rotating IPs – most proxies will provide you with a new, fake IP address every few minutes, making it impossible for the sites you visit to pinpoint your physical location;
Greater security – as all traffic is first routed through proxies, you can easily filter out malicious pages and avoid them.
Proxies are valuable to individuals and businesses – anyone who wants to prevent data leakage and ensure greater online security and anonymity.
VPNs and their advantages
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In a similar fashion to proxies, VPNs act as middlemen between you and the rest of the web, though their capabilities are different.
They also route your traffic through remote servers, but they encrypt all the data coming through in the process, essentially making an undetectable tunnel between your device and the web.
The encryption prevents outsiders from snooping or keeping an eye on what you’re doing and which sites you visit. Not your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the government, or any other third party would be able to crack the encryption and monitor your activity.
Some of the main benefits of using a VPN include:
- Anonymity – just like proxies, VPNs offer a layer of anonymity, taking things a step further and preventing even your ISP from monitoring your activity;
- Security – The best VPNs use strong encryption that scatters your data and makes it virtually impossible for any third parties to eavesdrop on your connection;
- Access to geo-restricted content – some VPNs offer proxy services that can provide you with access to geo-restricted content, so a VPN with an Iran proxy, for instance, has similar capabilities to a traditional proxy service. Find more info about Iran’s proxies and how they can help you.
- Prevent cyberattacks – creating a secure “tunnel” between your device and the rest of the web, VPNs can help prevent cyberattacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).
VPNs can be a powerful tool for those concerned about online safety, but they’re not ideal. They’re generally much slower due to the encryption process, which can quickly become a nuisance if you’re in a hurry.
Which is the better choice?
Both proxies and VPNs have significant advantages for users. If you’re worried about your online privacy and security or want to gain free access to any type of geo-restricted content, either could prove to be helpful. However, when it comes right down to it, there’s only one clear winner – the proxy.
VPNs have excellent security features, and their encryption is unmatched. But as mentioned, it all comes at a cost. The reduction in browsing speed is a limiting factor that will severely impede your experience.
If you’re not too worried about hiding your activity from your ISP or the government, proxies are a much better choice. They offer reliability, anonymity, and security. They can bypass geo-restrictions and help you avoid internet censorship without impeding your browsing experience and slowing you down.
Proxies and VPNs are powerful tools that can improve your online experience and give you unrestricted access to all available content. Though proxies are generally considered to be a better choice for most users, the best solution for you depends entirely on your needs.