Several internet users are found to acknowledge the services offered by VPNs and proxy servers pertinent to online privacy, security and anonymity. The purpose of using both proxy servers and VPNs is to hide the identity of the user, or to bypass a specific geo-restriction (for instance, many on-demand internet televisions are geo-locked and are restricted access from outside their respective countries). There are several VPN providers in the market that also offer some kind of proxy service in addition to their VPN services, and there are also a lot of public proxy servers that can be used for absolutely free of cost. So, the question for most internet users is “how is a VPN better than a proxy server?” or “what is the difference between a proxy server and a VPN?” Well, let us discuss both.
A proxy server, commonly known as a proxy, is simply a computer that acts as an intermediate between your computer and the internet. It basically fulfills the requests of clients on a different computer. For better understanding, you establish a connection with a proxy server with the intent to request for certain services, usually like opening a web page, downloading a file, etc. For instance, if you are restricted access to Facebook from your current location, you can use the proxy websites to bypass this restriction. Any traffic that goes through the proxy server will seem to arrive from its IP address and not from your computer.
Proxy servers use two distinct protocols to communicate with the internet. These include: HTTP and SOCKS.
- HTTP Proxy Servers: This protocol is basically framed to delineate traffic at the HTTP level. This simply means that these proxy servers can handle the traffic of those web pages that begin with a http:// or shttp://. Hence, these proxies are a good option only for the purpose of browsing the web. These are however faster than SOCKS proxy servers and VPN servers.
- Inexpensive, often free of cost.
- Conceals your IP address from basic inspections, and hence can be used for accessing certain geo-restricted websites and for creating accounts.
- Can be used only for web browsing and accessing websites.
- The traffic of HTTP protocols is not encrypted. Hence, all your online activities are visible to your internet service provider (ISP) as well as the government.
- When you use this proxy server, every web browser must be configured individually. However, it supports all web browsers.
- SOCKS Proxy Servers: As SOCKS proxy servers do not delineate network traffic; these are much more flexible than HTTP proxy servers. However, these are usually slower due to more handling of traffic. One major advantage offered by SOCKS proxies is that it supports almost all types of internet traffic, including SMTP and POP3 for IRC chat, emails, and FTP for torrent files.
- Handles all types of internet traffic.
- Slower than HTTP proxies.
- Every software piece must be configured individually.
- Have similar security issues as with HTTP proxy servers.
- Web Proxies: Some of the most popular web proxy services include CyberGhost Proxy and Hide My Ass Proxy. These proxies allow you to browse the internet anonymously from your browser window, by connecting to a HTTP server. You are not required to configure your browser settings or download and install any additional software. Web proxies are also free of cost. However, the IP addresses of most well known web proxies are blocked by certain websites.
- Public Proxy Servers: Anyone can use public proxy servers, as they can usually accept several connections at once. Both HTTP and SOCKS servers can be accessed in public proxy servers. The lists of such public proxy servers can be found on sites such as freeproxylist.org and Hide My Ass. However, public proxy servers are usually highly unstable. The speed offered by these proxies varies hugely and they tend to go online and offline all of a sudden. Also, there is no proper support to ensure your online anonymity and protection of your sensitive information.
- Private Proxy Servers: These proxy servers cannot be accessed by everyone and are usually offered for a fee. Some private proxy servers offer both HTTP and SOCKS services, while others offer only SOCKS5 torrent services. As these proxy services are usually offered by reputed providers, these are usually much more reliable and provide all-inclusive support.
Virtual Private Network
A virtual private network (VPN) allows you to access all those websites that are blocked in complete anonymity. A VPN usually creates an encrypted tunnel amidst your computer and the host server. This way, the ISP and the government will be able to view only the details of the VPN server and not your IP address, location, online activities, etc. Thus, the VPN network is established over a public internet connection by obtaining an encrypted tunnel between the servers of the client and the destination.
In addition to enabling you to bypass geo-based restrictions and access blocked or restricted websites, a VPN connection also ensures several other features such as intrusion free network, high degree of security, appreciable speed and bandwidth, and much more. The various protocols of VPN, such as PPTP, L2TP, SSH, etc. allow you to conceal your online identity from the internet censoring authorities and prevents you from encountering legal hassles.
- High level of encryption (128 to 2048 bit).
- Your internet activities cannot be viewed by governments or ISPs (Complete anonymity).
- Complete online privacy.
Top 5 VPN Providers
In conclusion, VPN is always superior to a proxy server and following are the top five VPN service providers that will definitely ensure your online security, privacy and anonymity.
|5||StrongVPN||$21/ 3 Months||7 Days|