If you’re a regular internet user, then surely you would have stumbled upon terms like ‘proxy’ and ‘virtual private network (VPN)’ on the internet. Quite honestly, both these terms are related but there’s a slight difference.
Even if you haven’t come across these terms, let us move on and explain what these tools are all about. Both proxies and VPNs are basically online security tools that let you maintain online privacy on the web. With the help of these security tools, you can browse the internet anonymously without letting anyone keep an eye on your online activity.
Before we move on to explain the slight difference between these two tools, let us tell you in detail about them and how they work to keep your online activity private.
A proxy, also known as unblock proxy, is usually free and work only on a web-browser. Acting as a web filter, an unblock proxy routes internet traffic through a remote server, thus keeping your online activity private. Basically, a proxy acts as an intermediary between your device and the internet connection you’re using. When your browser is connected to a proxy, all of your online activity becomes anonymous because it hides your IP address. When your IP address is hidden, you can easily access the blocked content. Whatever websites you visit on the internet or the apps you use remains hidden with the help of a proxy.
Since it is browser-based, it fails to protect your online privacy outside of the browser. It does not provide any additional benefits when you’re using different desktop clients or apps. Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that unblock proxy is used for less risky online activities that include viewing the blocked content by hiding your IP address.
A VPN works similarly as a proxy but a slight difference lies between the two tools. A VPN acts as a secure tunnel between your electronic device and your internet, allowing the internet traffic to pass securely through this tunnel while getting encrypted at the same time. All the internet traffic that flows through this secure tunnel becomes encrypted, which means that it cannot be intercepted by any entity, be it your internet service provider, government surveillance or any online hacker.
The encrypted data passed through the VPN server can only be seen and tracked by your VPN provider and not anyone else. With its strong encryption power, a VPN not only conceals your identity, location, and IP address from everyone but also does not let anyone track or monitor your online activity. A proxy does have encryption parameters, thus not providing complete privacy to your online data.
VPN is widely used across the globe especially in countries where they have the need to remove geo-restrictions from certain websites. With a VPN at your disposal, you can unblock geo-restricted sites on the web and watch your favorite content without any hassle. This strong encryption tool works best at public Wi-Fi hotspots and keeps you away from online hackers when your device is connected to public Wi-Fi connections. Moreover, a VPN also helpful while safely downloading torrents or using peer-to-peer sites securely.
Because a VPN is equipped with a strong encryption ability, we would definitely recommend it over a proxy for maintaining online privacy and keeping hackers and other spy agencies at bay. The catch here is to select a trustable VPN service that offers robust internet speed without any hindrance and claims not to keep logs of your information or track your web browsing history. We would advise you go through the terms and conditions before opting for a VPN service. There are numerous VPN services out there, both free and paid, but using a free VPN service would be a better choice in the beginning.