What is VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, it establishes a secure and encrypted connection to all of your network traffic, providing a private tunnel for replacing your public network. The encryption takes place in real time.
How does it work?
A VPN hides your IP address by rerouting the network through the configured remote server provided by the VPN host. The VPN server becomes the source of your data, which means the ISP (Internet Service Provider) or third parties cannot see what data you send and receive and the website cannot see your IP address or location. The VPN encryption also protects you from snoopers or hackers who want to access your device.
What is a Proxy?
A proxy server is a computer server that works between the user and their server. Proxy also works on the application level however it only reroutes the traffic received from one app or website that is connected to the proxy and doesn’t encrypt your traffic.
How does it work?
When your computer has a proxy server, it sends all the traffic to your proxy first. The proxy transfers your request to the destination location and downloads the related information, and then passes it to you. There are three types of common proxy servers,
- HTTP Proxy: This proxy is commonly used to access geo-restricted websites. All the traffics are rerouted when you set up your website with the HTTP proxy server.
- Socks Proxy: This proxy works only on the application level and is generally used for online gaming, file sharing, and video streaming kind of things. And this proxy is slower than the HTTP proxy server.
- Transparent Proxy: It is a server that intercepts the connection between an end-user or device and the internet. It is called “transparent” because it does so without modifying requests and responses.
Comparing PROXY Server with VPN
- The main difference between them is VPN encrypts all your data including hiding your IP, web activity, and website visits. But proxy only hides your IP address, they won’t encrypt your activities.
- VPNs work on the operating level and reroute all your traffic through the VPN server. A proxy can only reroute the traffic for a specific application or website because it works only on the application level.
- Proxy servers are mostly paid free and make us share data if needed. In the meantime, VPNs are best in their paid versions because free versions have limitations to using data and do not allow us to share the data.
- A VPN server is more reliable while proxy servers drop frequently. But VPNs are slower than the proxy as they are needed to encrypt your data.
It is not necessary to use both of them in your organization. Both are similar in some ways, but if you care about your data protection, you should go with VPN because it encrypts your data. We also can use both VPN and proxy but it takes some time to configure. If your business location has a proxy server to restrict some websites, you just need a VPN to bypass the restrictions.