What Distinctions Exist Between a VPN and a Proxy?

November 23, 2022
Challenges Present in Proxy and VPN Use

We are under a near continual onslaught from ransomware and botnets — on work computers, personal gadgets, and even smart home devices like thermostats and baby monitors – which makes the Internet a potentially terrifying place to be.

Putting in place a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a proxy server is something you should consider if you are concerned about maintaining your online privacy.

A Definition of Proxy and VPN

Both virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxies enable you to browse the internet in an anonymous manner by concealing your IP address in a number of different ways, therefore providing a better level of privacy than you would have otherwise. But the manner in which they do this is entirely different.

Proxy servers provide the function of a gateway, making them perfect for performing fundamental tasks such as maintaining content restrictions and conducting anonymous online browsing. Because of their superior IP masking and misdirection capabilities, proxy servers are an excellent choice for accessing information that is geographically restricted. They provide users the ability to circumvent content limitations and monitoring, or they impose website content restrictions, such that you are unable to connect into specific websites while you are at work.

Your local Internet service provider (ISP) routing will be replaced by the secure tunnel that is created by a VPN client that is installed on your computer. Not just the HTTP or SOCKS calls made from your browser like a proxy server, but all of the network traffic that passes via a VPN connection is encrypted and secured.

Using a virtual private network, or VPN, instead of the potentially completely unencrypted local wireless network provides an additional layer of privacy. After all, who knows who might be lurking on that network, just sipping coffee in the corner and waiting to steal your credit card information, if you don’t use a VPN when you need to use the free WiFi at a local coffee shop?

Challenges Present in Proxy and VPN Use

It is possible that you may experience performance difficulties that will prohibit you from watching or downloading the thing that you are attempting to acquire if you are masking your online activity by using proxy servers. When ping times are high and there is a lot of other traffic on the proxy server, web sites may take longer to load. Because of this, some customers pay for access to a private proxy server, which restricts the amount of people who may use it and so increases the speed of your connections.

Proxies are susceptible to security flaws as well; they may be subject to assault, which gives malicious actors the opportunity to access networks or steal confidential information. It is possible for certain proxies to still track (and keep) your surfing activities in addition to collecting usernames and passwords, which renders the guarantee of anonymity meaningless.

When it comes to performance, virtual private networks (VPNs) might be problematic depending on how close you are to the VPN server you’re connected with. Because a local client is used to form the connection to the VPN server in a virtual private network (VPN), any problems with the local CPU or RAM will cause the connections to move more slowly. In comparison to proxy servers, virtual private networks (VPNs) often have higher setup and monthly maintenance costs, in addition to being more difficult to administer.

In the same way that proxy servers can’t ensure anonymity online, virtual private networks (VPNs) can’t either. Neither of these services will always encrypt your traffic all the way to the web server, even if you pay for the premium version. When you visit a new website, a VPN will only ensure that your connection is secure from beginning to end if you navigate there using the HTTPS protocol. Your data will be encrypted on its way to the VPN server, but beyond that point, it may be sent to the web server in an unencrypted state. For some websites, this may not be relevant; for instance, a page that only provides information and does not offer a login or payment option. However, for websites that require a login or allow online payments – or that collect sensitive data – it is imperative that the website be configured to use HTTPS. Keep in mind that the S stands for being just somewhat more secure.

Advantages of Using a Proxy and a VPN

The fact that a virtual private network (VPN) encrypts all of your traffic in its entirety is the most compelling argument in favor of using a VPN rather than a proxy. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers more protection for the same cost as a proxy service. VPN providers are responsible for the maintenance of their own networks, and you connect to the VPN using their IP addresses. The best virtual private network (VPN) service providers tout having a logless policy, which indicates that they do not save any information that may be used to reveal your surfing activities to third parties.

If you are the owner of an IT firm and are responsible for the data and user security, you are aware that there are benefits to both options, and it is probable that you have both options configured for your organization. It is possible to track online traffic, defend the organization from malware or other attacks, and impose a web content policy by routing network traffic through a proxy server. This would apply to users of the network.

Users who are working away from the office will need to utilize a virtual private network (VPN) in order to establish an encrypted connection to the company’s resources (email, internal shares, etc.).

Which Is Better for Me: Proxy or Virtual Private Network?
It does not make a difference whether the data you need to safeguard belong to your organization or to yourself personally: privacy and security are important in today’s world. Ensure that you are allocating the appropriate amount of time and resources to the appropriate technologies in order to achieve your desired level of data protection: proxies and virtual private networks, or VPNs, each offer an extra layer of security and privacy to your data.

Install and manage a virtual private network (VPN) so users can connect to it and access the network remotely so you can provide your employees the ability to work remotely while maintaining their secure access to the company’s resources.

A proxy server is a more effective tool to utilize if the question “what websites are my users hitting” is of greater relevance to you.

Sign up for a virtual private network (VPN) service that has a good reputation in order to receive the greatest value for your money (and to secure your data as a security-conscious citizen). The vast majority of virtual private network (VPN) services give users the ability to access material from restricted regions by connecting to servers located in other countries. If you occasionally need to utilize a free proxy server for that purpose as well, you should be aware of the hazards involved in doing so.

If you are just getting started with the implementation of your data security strategy on an enterprise level, you will need to take into consideration more complicated attack vectors. Your data is just as vulnerable to risk from unencrypted data streams as it is from insider threats, advanced persistent threats (APTs), privileged account escalations, and plain old social engineering.

The use of a proxy or a virtual private network (VPN) will not protect your firm from 100% of the cybersecurity dangers it may face. For example, these tools will not prevent an employee from stealing personal data, a ransomware attack, or a coordinated infiltration operation.