When looking to increase their online security, improve their privacy, stay anonymous and bypass geo-restrictions, many internet users often look to proxies and VPN.
These are specially designed to mediate between users and the web and provide the necessary encryptions required to protect internal data.
And these two have been doing a great job of providing the above benefits making them increasingly popular amongst individuals and businesses.
But they are not the same. These may be similar and share specific attributes, but they are essentially two VPN Vs. Proxies: The Advanced different software.
In this advanced guide, we compare proxy vs. VPN to see how they work and how they differ significantly. VPN Vs. Proxies: The Advanced This will help anyone decide which of these tools to use and for which particular purpose.
What Is A VPN?
A virtual private network or VPN is a tool or software that stands between you and the internet and re-routes all your traffic through a secure remote server.
It is often designed and managed by a third-party company and separates from your internet service provider (ISP), making it even more secure.
VPNs are first installed on a device and, when launched, can help to encrypt any data flowing through that device.
This way, neither your ISP nor anyone on the web can read your data or monitor your activities across the internet.
How Does A VPN Work?
The way a VPN work works is straightforward and can be described like this:
- An individual installs a VPN on their device, or a company installs it in their central server
- Every request from that device or server is then remodeled and re-routed via the VPN
- Each time a request is made, the VPN takes it up, encrypts it before forwarding it via a group of private networks
- The request reaches the destination website, information is gathered, and both the information and sensitive data are returned to the user via the secured networks.
- This protects the user all through while keeping their activities private the entire time.
Uses of A VPN
VPNs are used in several ways in today’s highly unsecured internet. Since their primary function is to provide better security, they can be used by individuals and brands alike in the following manner.
- For Individuals
Some individual users tend towards VPNs rather than proxies when what they do on the internet requires better data encryption.
People use VPNs to improve their security online, especially since these tools can be installed and used immediately.
VPNs are also used to bypass restrictions based on physical locations. When internet users stay in a forbidden location, they can simply choose a different location from their VPN and bypass any initial restrictions tied to their original region.
- For Businesses
A primary function of VPNs for brands is also to improve corporate security. Companies usually have valuable data that cybercriminals will be interested in laying hands on. Still, with VPNs always encrypting this data, no one will be able to steal it and breach the company’s internal security.
The company’s management can also easily monitor employees’ traffic and activities using a VPN, as one VPN can be used to re-route and monitor all the traffic coming from the company.
What Is A Proxy?
A proxy can be defined as the technology used to mediate between users and the internet. They stand as middlemen to accept requests from users and deliver them to the destinations and then similarly return results.
For this reason, proxy servers are often called gateways as they are where communications between users and the internet pass in a very secure way.
Think of it as your representative that takes and delivers your errand. Since it works at the application or browser level, you can send a connection via a proxy, and it would be delivered without anyone, including your ISP, knowing the traffic is yours.
How Does A Proxy Work?
Proxies work like VPNs but at a more personal level. For instance, while VPNs operate from the OS level taking every traffic that passes through a device, proxies only work with specific browsers or applications.
- You request a browser.
- The proxy accepts it and remodels it before passing it along to the ISP
- The proxy sends it out using its IP and location so that nothing is tied to you
- The request reaches the final destination, and the result is returned using the proxy’s IP and location once again
- This way, you stay secure, safe, and anonymous every time you are online
How Are Proxies Used In Web Scraping?
In comparing proxy vs. VPN, most people would prefer a proxy if they scrape data more on the internet.
Proxies are an effective tool when it comes to web scraping for several reasons, including the following:
- They Can Help Gather Massive Volumes of Data
Proxies are essential in web scraping due to what happens during this activity – a serious amount of data needs to be gathered, and proxies make it possible without breaking a sweat.
First, they can be automated to make the process both seamless and exceptionally easy. Then, they use caching mechanisms that simply store data from previous sessions and use them when a similar request is made rather than going to the server a second time. This saves time and prevents overworking the servers.
Lastly, they supply a large pool of IPs and locations to prevent using an IP more than once in a roll.
Using the same IP repeatedly can result in partial or permanent bans and blocks.
- They Can Bypass Geo-Restriction
Because proxies are known for supplying different locations, they can also be used to bypass restrictions tied to a place.
Suppose the scraping involves visiting a website that doesn’t allow traffic from your country. In that case, you could easily pick a different location provided by the proxy and get on with collecting data without further restrictions.
Differences between Proxies and VPN
As we said, proxies and VPN may be engineered primarily to keep users safe on the internet, but a comparison of proxy vs (for more info you can read the article here). VPN will still display a world of difference between these two:
- Traffic Encryption: VPNs will encrypt all your data while only a few proxies try to encrypt your data, and they still don’t do a great job when compared with VPNs
- Range: A VPN often covers all traffic from a device as it functions from the level of your OS, whereas a proxy will only take care of requests from specific browsers and applications
- User-Friendliness: VPN is an install-and-use type of tool and is pretty easy to use, while proxies usually require some complex installation process that needs to be done by an expert
- Specificity: VPNs are best used for a global approach and will service individual needs better than they would a brand. Proxies are easier to fine-tune and confer more benefits on a business than an individual.
- Speed: Proxies are faster than VPNs mainly because VPNs have so much encrypting to do while sending and receiving data
- Cost: Using a VPN is relatively more expensive than using a proxy. There are hardly any good free VPNs as the free ones end up stealing your data. However, you can find free or affordable proxies with minimal effort.
In conclusion, both tools are a favorite for different users as their applications can differ. An individual looking for an easy way to stay safe online can opt for a VPN, while companies with their more enormous needs can go for proxies.
Also, if your need is data encryption, then a VPN is the better option. However, if you intend to get involved in activities such as web scraping, you are better off using a proxy.
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