VPN and Proxy

Even though they handle data in slightly different ways, virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxies both help clients and servers connect by masking the client’s IP address.

Both virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers take a big bite out of the modern cyber world’s worries about personal privacy.

Understanding the distinction between a virtual private network (VPN) and a proxy server, as well as the situations in which each is appropriate, is crucial.

Table of Contents

FAQ
What is a Proxy?
What is a VPN?
Proxy vs VPN Security
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Security
Proxy Security
VPN and Proxy Usability
VPNs are best for…        
VPNs are not for..
Proxies are best for…
Proxies are not for…
Conclusion

FAQ

1.Is a VPN a type of proxy?

VPNs and proxy servers work similarly yet are different. Both act as internet middlemen to hide your identity and location. Several major differences distinguish a VPN from a proxy.

A VPN encrypts all internet traffic, improving security and privacy. VPNs encrypt and reroute internet traffic through a VPN server. From browsing to texting, your internet service provider and others cannot see your online actions.

2. How does a proxy work?

Users’ devices connect to the internet using proxy servers. Requests to websites or services via proxies are first routed to the proxy server.

The proxy server uses its IP address to request on your behalf. Thus, the proxy’s IP address appears on the website or service you’re accessing.

This can hide the user and bypass geographical filters. After receiving website data, the proxy server sends it to your device. This method hides your digital footprint, allowing you to access regionally prohibited information and increase privacy.

3.Are VPNs good or bad?

VPNs are useful or detrimental depending on context and use. VPNs improve internet privacy and security, encrypt communication, unlock geo-restricted material, and safeguard users on public Wi-Fi networks.

They are useful for individuals and organizations protecting sensitive data and digital privacy. VPNs also have drawbacks. Malicious VPNs may log user data, exposing personal information.

VPNs might delay internet connections owing to encryption and server distance. VPNs used for unlawful activities or to overcome content restrictions can also generate ethical and legal issues.

Thus, while VPNs can improve security and privacy, their efficacy and suitability depend on the user’s aim and the VPN service’s quality.

What is a Proxy?

A proxy or proxy server is an intermediate node between the client and the internet that takes a request from the Client and passes it to the various servers and provides indirect network services to the client. primary purpose of the proxy is to filter the dangerous internet traffic by applying strict rules to ensure the anonymity of the client.

It enables us to hide the client’s IP and the location of the site he visits. By connecting to one of the proxy servers, the client request is forwarded to the proxy then it processes the client request and the result will be returned to the client.

VPN and Proxy

What is a VPN?

VPN or Virtual Private Network is a technology that was developed to provide secure access over the internet for clients’ requests via encrypted tunnels. VPN redirects the client’s side request via the remote server which is run by VPN service providers. it helps to ensure the sensitive data remains private during the transmission over the internet from one place to another place.

VPN shields the users’ browsing activity and bypasses Internet censorship. VPN software encrypts the user request even before your Internet Service Provider sees it and it is redirected to various VPN nodes and responds to the client.

Proxy vs VPN Security

When it comes to security VPN stands ahead of the proxy servers, VPNs do have an encrypted tunnel to transfer the data securely, but that is not the case with Proxy.

VPN and Proxy

Virtual Private Network (VPN) Security

With the VPN you will get a unique IP address and a secure tunnel established between you and the target that you are to get connected with it.

The VPN encryption tunnel supports the traffic that is routed with all the Internet protocols with sophisticated privacy and security capabilities.

VPNs are well-known for security and reliability, it is easy for anyone to switch off or to on the VPN service.

By having an encrypted tunnel the VPN secures your data from hackers even if you are connected with open WiFi hotspots.

VPN application supports for several platforms PlayStation, SmartTVs, OS/X, iPhone, Windows, Android, also other devices such as  AppleTV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, and its support network devices as well.

With the AES-256 encryption and SSL certificates, there is no chance for an attacker to get into your data and even the government authorities can’t get your data. To construct a tunnel it uses highly secured protocols PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and OpenVPN.

It helps in hiding the real location, and you can reach out to the blocked websites, videos, and other content that is blocked in your location securely.

Proxy Security

Proxy servers bridge the internet connection, it only masks the IP address of your computer and it will not encrypt the contents.

They used to communicate with HTTP or SOCKS protocol so there is encryption with the proxy servers, cybercriminals can sniff out the data that are traveling through a proxy server.

In some cases, even the cybercriminals advertise a proxy server to steal your identity. Also, generally proxy servers are overloaded with visitors and affect the connection speed.

HTTP proxies are more familiar and they have been around being a long time the Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxies are used for connecting with torrent services, FTP, and web servers. When compared to the regular proxy SOCKS5 Improved security.

SOCKS5 proxy is very good if you are to use a torrent or a P2P service, but it lacks privacy. If you do a lot of web surfing and simply want to bypass the websites blocked geographically and through a firewall then proxy servers are ideal for you.

Proxy vs VPN Speed

  • VPN vs Proxy Speed is one of the most important concerns while accessing the internet using Proxy and VPN. When we talk about speed, the Proxy server is always faster than the VPN.

Proxy vs. VPN Cost

  • Multiple Cities and Subnets, minimum downtime, API Accessible Proxy list, and all proxy servers uplink speed.
  • aid Proxies contain many servers that allow users to choose any servers in available countries. In this case, free proxies are limited and they give low bandwidth and slow down the access.
  • plan to spend anywhere from $5 a month for basic plans and the price also depends on the quality of proxies and the providers.

VPN and Proxy Usability

  1. Proxy server Provides an additional layer of security between the endpoint and outside Traffic that is mainly used to improve Corporate and Institutional Security.
  2. VPN encrypts all the traffic flow between the internet and your device to prevent from ISP monitoring your activities and collecting your browsing data.
  3. Proxies play a major role in the anonymity of web traffic and add identity protection for corporate officers, Reporters, and whistleblowers.
  4. VPN also provides high-level anonymity and encrypts the user’s request that passes through a various remote server making it impossible to track back to you.
  5. The organization is running its internal networks on a proxy server to control internet usage and prevent inappropriate site usage on the internal networks.
  6. VPN bypasses internet Censorship and lets you access anything you want to access on the internet and completely away your activities from government and law enforcement agencies.
  7. Proxies servers provide Extreme Protection from hackers while using public Wi-Fi, and break censored websites.
  8. VPNs are slower because of the encryption, while proxy servers are faster since Proxies do not encrypt the traffic between the internet and the user’s device.
  9. VPN allows you to access the corporate network securely from outside internet Connectivity such as hotels, coffee shops, etc.
  10. If you don’t have a corporate VPN then proxies provide alternative access with high security and also it provide very easy to access the client software.
  11. VPN provides a high-security future to access the Secures Apps and Desktop/Laptop Programs but proxies are not very familiar with this case.
  12. Proxies don’t use any tunneling operation but the proxy server is a great way to add a layer between your enterprise and the Internet
  13. VPN Provides tunneled connections when the data is sent privately over the internet packet giving a layer of security that guards the substance against general visibility.

VPNs are best for…        

VPNs secure your data from prying eyes, everyone from hackers to government officials use VPN services to protect their data. It enables users to send and receive data and remain anonymous on the Internet.

Most VPNs offer multiple concurrent connections so that the users can connect all the devices in the household to the VPN.

With the VPN all your traffic passes through a tunneled network, so even the ISP cannot see the traffic that goes with the tunnel network.

If you are an employee you can connect with your office network securely via Smartphone, tablet, and computer through a VPN.

  • VPN is best for protecting valuable information online.
  • It enables you to safely shop online with Credit cards.
  • Enables you to browse safely with public Wi-Fi Hotspots.
  • By having a VPN you can reach out to your favorite movie sites, even though it is blocked in your country.
  • With the VPN users Bypass Web Censorship and Content Surveillance.
  • VPN enables you to establish communication between sites securely.
  • Some of the VPN providers do offer Ad blockers as well.
  • Protects while logged in with the torrent sites.
  • With the VPN in place, you can access the websites that are blocked geographically.
  • VPNs provide integrity, which ensures the packet is not altered when it is in transit.
  • A VPN anonymize would allow Peer-to-peer file-sharing which is blocked in many countries.

Technically VPN is a wide area network that retains the functionality and the security of a private network. These are the main uses of the VPN and the usage varies depending on the user requirements.

VPNs are not for..

VPNs may slow down the Internet Connection

You may experience a drop in speed with your internet connection when routed through a VPN due to its high-quality 256-bit encryption. Sometimes VPN connection may slow down the internet speed if too many users are active on the server.

Generally, the VPN speed depends upon your internet speed, if you are in India and using a VPN server in the USA then your connection tunnels over several endpoints which may slow down the connection. So it is recommended users not use the VPN wisely.

I’m under a VPN, so I can do anything online

If you are under VPN then we can’t say you are 100% anonymous, the VPN provider can see your access logs and they would hold the logs for at least 6 months based on the country location.

All the VPNs are not the same and several factors are to be considered in classifying them based on need, supported platforms, and the number of available servers. 

Also, users should be aware that VPNs would not secure them from Phishing malware, and ransomware attacks.

You can get the Free VPN, but the connection would be terrible and it suffers severely with the limitations on low bandwidth and some providers even sell your private data.

Proxies are best for…

Proxies are widely used to bypass the blocked websites in the ISP or the organization levels.

Proxy servers are used in corporate environments to shield their internal network infrastructure.

The Proxies contains a very good cache mechanism, so it can be used to speed up the browsing process.

It hides your original IP address and shows the spoofing IP address, so the destination website cannot read your original IP.

The proxy makes you remain anonymous online, but it will not encrypt the traffic like the VPN.

With some of the proxies, you can get double protection as they do have a firewall inbuilt that stops the intrusions.

Server administrators can use proxy servers to block websites associated with social networking, gaming, and adult sites for employees in the organization.

There are thousands of free and paid proxies available on the Internet, when choosing a proxy you should carefully consider the downtime.

With the help of proxy servers, one can reach the websites that have been blocked geographically.

Implementation of the proxy is very simple and the proxies are so confined to the browsers. Some of the premium proxies would save companies bandwidth.

Proxies are not for…

The proxy servers are not secure for email communication and file transfer protocols and the proxy servers are good only for web communication.

It is less secure than storing all the user passwords in an active directory, They are not compatible with all the network protocols.

With proxy firewalls, the configuration is very difficult when compared to other modern-day firewalls.

If the proxy server is compromised then there is a chance for identity theft, so you should avoid entering bank login credentials when connected through a proxy server.

The Proxy server administrator can sniff out all the details that are traveling through the server and also they are poor in handling things such as Flash, Java, and  JavaScript scripts.

Proxy servers have some serious security disadvantages if the single port is left open with the proxy server and then attackers can enumerate with it.

If there is an issue in establishing a connection then with the proxy server it is hard to troubleshoot and they are not compatible with all the network protocols.

We already discussed the cache increases the speed, but on the other hand, there are some disadvantages. The cache displays the display of the old contents.

Not all the proxies are good, you should spend a lot of time to find the right proxy. A good proxy chain only provides better performance.

Conclusion

While virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxies both serve the same purpose—to conceal online activity—poor VPNs can leave users vulnerable to malicious attacks.

In addition to significantly slowing down the connection, proxy servers are notoriously difficult to set up and do not encrypt data. Virtual private networks (VPNs) provide the finest encryption with the most common key size in the industry.

A further reason to exercise caution when selecting a proxy server is that malicious actors do use them to eavesdrop on legitimate traffic.

While a proxy can only mask HTTP traffic, a virtual private network (VPN) can obfuscate all protocols.

When deciding between a VPN and a proxy, the best option will rely on your specific needs. Whether you go with a VPN or a proxy server is irrelevant; what matters is that the service you choose can meet your needs.

Divya is a Senior Journalist at Cyber Security news covering Cyber Attacks, Threats, Breaches, Vulnerabilities and other happenings in the cyber world.