What is a proxy vs VPN?
A proxy and a VPN (Virtual Private Network) both provide a means to hide your IP address and protect your privacy online, but they differ in several key ways:
- Purpose: A proxy and a VPN are both designed to act as intermediaries between a client and a server and forward network requests between them. However, a VPN works on the operating system level and usually routes all of the network traffic, whereas, a proxy works at the application level and routes only a specific application's traffic.
- Security: A proxy typically provides minimal security and encryption. The traffic going through a proxy is usually not encrypted. Whereas a VPN provides a high level of security and encryption and protects your internet traffic from prying eyes. This means that even though your scummy ISP might be able to surveil your proxy traffic, it won't be able to pry on your VPN traffic due to its encrypted nature.
- Performance: A proxy may be faster than a VPN because it does not need to encrypt and decrypt data. However, with the improvements in the speed and performance of systems and networks, this difference is slowly vanishing.
- Cost: Proxies can be free or low-cost, while VPNs can be a bit more expensive. This makes proxies a better option for tasks like web scraping where you might want to source thousands or millions of different IPs for making automated requests.
As you can see, both a proxy and a VPN can be used to hide the IP address. And while a VPN provides a more secure and private connection, it may be slower and more expensive than a proxy. The best option for you will depend on your specific needs and the level of security required.