VPN vs. proxy: To-the-point comparison (and which one to use)

Samuel Walker Last updated: October 12, 2022 Read time: 14 minutes Disclosure

Wondering about the advantages and disadvantages that VPN and proxy have over each other? This to-the-point guide will help you know the differences and see which one is best.

Sneak peek at VPN vs. proxy comparison

VPNs and proxies both serve to change online locations and access restricted or foreign content. However, comparing a VPN vs. proxy shows that the two tools are not a substitute for one another. Instead, they are meant to serve different purposes. While proxies focus more on IP spoofing and content unblocking without compromising speeds, VPNs are intended to protect users’ online privacy despite minor speed lags. Therefore, knowing the pros and cons of VPNs and proxies is vital to making the right choice.

The battle of VPN vs. proxy is a long-standing one.

Although both mask your IP address and help access content from other locations. Yet, there has always been a debate about which of the two you should use.

So, what makes one superior over the other?

Why aren’t both the same?

And which one is better than the other?

In this article, you will find the answers to all these questions as I elaborate on VPN and Proxy. 

VPN vs. proxy – Quick comparison

Running short on time to learn about these services in detail? Here is a quick summary of what a VPN and a proxy do.

  • VPN: more secure, ensures data encryption, bypasses geo-restrictions, evades ISP tracking, may slow down the connection speed, often costly.
  • Proxy: less secure, little to no data encryption, may (or may not) bypass geo-restrictions, hides you from ISP, same or faster connection speed, often cheap or free of cost.

Want to know how these two services differ from each other? Feel free to read along.

What is a VPN?

VPN is an abbreviation for the term Virtual Private Network. The purpose of a VPN is to provide you with complete security and anonymity when browsing cyberspace.

When you use a VPN, all your data is encrypted. The service masks your IP (internet protocol) address by channeling all your information via a tunnel within a remote server. For example, you could be surfing in Canada with your IP address showing the USA; hence, your geo-location remains hidden at any time. 

VPN is for anyone who wishes to redirect their internet traffic history and make it untraceable.

Through encryption, you secure your data from being accessed by cybercriminals. Also, you remain undercover from the eyes of the government. So if anyone tries to snoop on you, your data will appear as nothing but a bunch of incoherent random characters. 

How does a VPN Work?

VPN
(123RF)

A VPN can hide your location (IP address), web browsing history, and device.

How this service does this is relatively simple.

VPNs channel your network traffic through a tunnel while subsequently encrypting the data as it passes through. At the end of the tunnel is the exit “gate” opening to a new location. That’s where your data reaches the internet.