Proxies vs VPNs, Which Is Better?

Read this article to know what is better in terms of network security and performance - a proxy or VPN. Check the pros and cons of both the technologies and see which one suits your business or personal requirements.

The internet has become huge and transformed multiple times in just three decades. Today it's impossible to imagine some people aren't using the internet. It's available even in third-world countries.

We use various online services, products, and apps to communicate, work, pay bills, socialize, etc. However, this rapid online world growth has also changed our privacy. Many services and companies track our behavior online and use our information without our knowledge.

That's why privacy has become a significant concern for many internet users. Because of these concerns, people have started using proxy servers and virtual private networks. Both options secure your connection, but how do they work, and which is better?

Defining proxy servers

When you connect to the internet regularly, your device directly connects with a website and downloads pages. However, when using proxy servers, all web traffic goes through the web proxy. The proxy sends the requests to the desired website, gets the information you requested, and sends it to your device.

In other words, proxies are intermediaries between you and the web. During this process, the proxy server hides your IP address and performs actions on the web on your behalf. For example, a server would allow you to access all content in that country even if you're blocked. This may seem like a minor change that complicates things, but it greatly helps security and privacy.

Proxy servers are computers that can give you physical or virtual IPs. Many types of proxies depend on the technology they use and how they work. Some of the most known proxies are transparent proxies, HTTP proxies, SOCKS5 proxies, etc.

Defining virtual private networks

Virtual private networks or VPNs are tools that create encryption for all the web data you use and protect your IP address. When you're connected to the internet, your connection is visible to others, and hackers use various techniques to interrupt your web traffic and see what data you're sending or receiving.

VPNs come in the form of apps or web browser extensions, and they're really easy to use. The tunneled connection created by a VPN is especially good when using public Wi-Fi or unsecured connections. That makes it more difficult for someone to expose your private information.

Main features of proxies and VPNs

Even though both of these technologies are designed to improve security and privacy, they offer different features.


Proxy servers bring all kinds of features since many different options are available. They are designed to perform a variety of tasks, and these features enable them to do this:
  • Detailed reporting
  • Web access authentication
  • Web app control
  • Web filtering
  • DNS filtering
  • SSL inspection
  • Caching
  • Content filtering
  • Firewalls
  • Unlock geo-blocks
  • IP rotation
  • Hidden IP


VPNs have also come a long way, and they keep improving. Here are some of the common features you can expect from a modern VPN:
  • Encryption (L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, OpenVPN…)
  • Unlock geo-blocks
  • Kill switch
  • Tracker blocking
  • Ad blocking
  • Split tunneling
  • Bandwidth caps
  • No-log policies
  • IP shuffle
  • Leak protection

Differences between proxies and VPNs

At a glance, these two might look similar, and they have some overlapping functions. However, when you dig a little deeper, it's clear that they have advanced functions that can be more or less beneficial to a specific use.

Security differences

Proxy servers hide your identity but don't create an encrypted connection. Proxies have less secure overall browsing connections and aren't designed for web browsing. Web proxies are created to repeatedly give you security and privacy with specific sites and services.

Different data handling

Even though both of these options hide user IP, they handle data differently. Proxies are middlemen between the web and users. They hide user IP from the server they visit, but the data sent or received isn't secured.

VPNs encrypt the data to ensure it's not intercepted, but proxies do a better job of preventing anyone from actually seeing what you're doing online.

Level of protection

VPNs hide your IP and encrypt your data, and even though proxies don't offer encryption, they hide your physical location, making it almost impossible for someone to identify users.

If you use a residential proxy, you will be given a genuine IP address that exists somewhere in the world, and anyone who wants to follow you will go to that address. A proxy Korea user can look like they're from the US and the other way around without anyone knowing.

Different uses

VPNs are designed for individuals who want to browse the web and do their everyday tasks without worrying about being tracked or blocked. They are simple to use and have fewer use cases compared to proxies.

Proxies can be used the same way as VPNs but are more suited for organizational use. Companies use them for web scraping, controlling their employees' access, caching large files, balancing internet traffic, and giving internet anonymity.


Which one is better? There's no definitive answer. As we said, it's all about determining your needs and understanding which solutions would work best. Take the time to analyze your needs, and you won't have difficulty choosing. Good luck!


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