Proxies used to be the best way to watch geo-restricted content from any country. Proxies act as a medium between the user’s computer and the webpage they’re trying to access. They hide the original IP address and assign the user another IP address that would be displayed when accessing a website. These are the three most popular types of proxies:
- SOCKS Proxy
- HTTP Proxy
- Transparent Proxy
SOCKS Proxy. SOCKS Proxy is broader than the HTTP proxy. But it still operates on the application level. It means that you can use it when gaming or streaming. Yet this type of proxy is also much slower due to a high volume of users at any given moment.
HTTP Proxy. This particular type of proxy is limited to web traffic only. Most people use it to access geo-restricted content.
Transparent Proxy. Companies, employers, or parents who want to track someone’s online activity usually use this type of proxy. They are called “transparent” because the user in question often isn’t aware that the proxy is operating in the background. One can also use them to block access to certain websites, such as social media or pornography.
But another more comprehensive solution has been taking over the world in recent years. That solution is also known as “Virtual Private Network,” or, more commonly, a VPN.
What is a VPN?
In hindsight, a virtual private network is like proxies. But it does have a couple of critical differences, which you’ll see explained in-depth later in this article.
VPNs act as an additional layer of security between the user and the internet by preserving one’s online anonymity and privacy. It masks the computer’s IP address and hides the location. Moreover, it encrypts all traffic so the Internet Service Provider can’t collect data or track any activity. Encryption also protects the user from government surveillance, targeted ads, and hackers.
VPN vs. Proxy
Even though they sound similar, VPNs and proxies have some essential differences that can make or break the user’s final decision. Those include the following:
- VPNs will encrypt all traffic while proxies don’t have that ability.
- Thanks to encryption, VPNs can protect you from surveillance, tracking, and hacking, while proxies can’t do that.
- You can use VPNs to handle sensitive data.
- You should never use proxies to handle sensitive data.
- VPNs work on the operating system level and reroute all traffic.
- Proxies operate on the application level and reroute specific traffic only.
- VPNs are usually paid.
- Proxies are usually free.
- VPNs may work slower because they encrypt all data.
- Proxies might be faster because they don’t encrypt any data.
- Proxies have a weaker connection that can drop, based on the user volume.
- VPNs are more reliable connection-wise.
- VPNs have many
- Proxies have no extra features.
- Setting up a VPN is straightforward and easy.
- Proxies are a bit more challenging to set up.
Benefits of Using VPNs
Proxies are, well, just proxies. They have one feature, and that’s it. VPNs, meanwhile, are more comprehensive solutions. They come with extra benefits and features, including:
- Watching Geo-Restricted Content. Like with proxies, users can use a VPN to access all sorts of geo-restricted content. But the main difference is that one can use VPNs on pretty much any digital device and platform, while proxies are limited in choice.
- Better Security. Most VPN solutions use advanced encryption protocols that are almost impossible to breach. Moreover, a VPN encrypts all traffic that goes through its servers, so the users don’t need to worry about hackers intercepting their data.
- Cool Features. VPN software comes with extra features such as a killswitch, cybersecurity protection, routing over Tor network, split tunneling, anonymous DNS servers, etc.
- Remote Control. It allows users to establish secure private connections from a remote location.
Although both seem similar at first, some key differences can make or break one’s online anonymity. A VPN is more comprehensive and well-rounded, so it’s a better choice when it comes to preserving your privacy.
Not only does a VPN come with a wide variety of features, but it also encrypts all traffic. That is one of the most significant flaws of using proxies.
Everyone can become a victim of cybercrime only by opening a wrong link or clicking a malicious ad. So it is imperative to introduce some extensive security measures as soon as possible. And VPNs are a perfect place to start.