Proxy vs. VPN: Security, Reliability and Flexibility

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These days the internet is a scary place, with users sharing more information than ever before. Not all internet users take the time to consider how this intricate web of information works or how they can be at risk.

Along with the ability to share their latest baby photos, access the latest news, and receive targeted advertising, comes the constant threat of data breaches and identity theft. Tech-savvy internet users make use of additional security to protect from breaches such as VPNs and residential proxies to keep themselves and their data safe. Whether users prefer Mac, Windows or even Linux, using a reliable VPN or residential proxies can prove very beneficial to secure your data and privacy.

The VPN and Proxy Feud


Even cheap residential proxies offer a trustworthy form of privacy and protection from data breaches. Proxies send connection requests without providing any client information. It is always advisable to be cautious when choosing a service provider. Avoid the free options, and stick with companies with a good reputation in the tech community. A quick internet search for reviews should point you in the right direction.

While VPNs are secure in practice, can you trust your service provider? VPN service providers worldwide tout zero-logging as their tagline. They claim that they don’t keep any logs to protect your information. You’d be hard-pressed to find a VPN that doesn’t make this claim in some way or another on their website. But, this claim cannot be independently verified and can only be a half-truth at best. A quick look at any VPN service provider’s privacy policy or FAQs will turn up some interesting statements that contradict these claims.

The question you should ask when looking for a VPN service provider is not “do they log my data?” but rather “how much of my data do they log, what type of data do they log, and how long do they keep these logs?” As with many things, cheaper is not always better; the less you pay, the more information they keep.

What Is a Proxy?


There are many different types of proxies, each offering its own unique set of configurations. For this article, we’ll take a look at anonymous residential or private proxies.

Typically, a residential proxy is a dedicated intermediary server used to connect your computer to the internet anonymously. The proxy acts as a buffer between your computer and the site you are visiting, hiding your IP address in the process. Your browsing history and online activity are stored on this server rather than on your computer. Proxies work on an app-by-app basis; you have complete control over which apps use the proxy and which don’t.

What Is a VPN?


A VPN, or virtual private network, works by creating an encrypted pathway between your computer and the host’s server. It is a private network that connects remote sites and users by extending across a public network. Allowing you to send and receive data to and from public networks as if your device is directly connected to the private network. Think of it as a virtual tunnel for information.

Proxy Vs VPN: Reliability


Proxies

To any website, a residential proxy looks like a standard internet user. This is because every residential IP is an actual device acting as a proxy server. Should your proxy get blocked by a server, you can switch over to a different one from the same server and continue without an issue. Residential proxies are therefore immune to en-masse blocks.

More benefits of residential proxies are:

  • They avoid geo-restrictions giving you greater freedom to access information from anywhere.
  • They avoid bans and firewalls by hiding the true origin of your connection.
  • They increase security and protect privacy by hiding sensitive information and IP addresses.
  • You can use a proxy network to automate your online processes easily.
  • Proxies allow you to avoid connection limits on single IP addresses.

VPNs

Unfortunately, there are a few reasons that your VPN service may be identified and blocked. VPNs commonly use tunnelling protocols such as PPTP or L2TP. These ports can be closed by system administrators so that users with VPNs cannot gain access. These forms of blocking are often seen on certain government sites, or websites containing information that is only relevant to a certain locality. While there are ways of bypassing these blocks, note that this could be illegal in your country. Attempting it could lead to a hefty fine and possible incarceration.

Final Thoughts

While VPNs look like a secure option for anonymous internet use on the surface, that security is only as safe as the level of trustworthiness of your service provider.  Pesky blocks and bans hamper their ability to work from certain geographic locations.  Residential proxies are more flexible and anonymous. They are a reliable way to access the internet securely while keeping your own data safe.

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