What is the Difference between a Proxy and a VPN?

Learn the difference between a Proxy and VPNAnyone looking for some kind of anonymity on the Internet can find a free, open proxy server.

Proxy servers have been around for over a decade, and these servers are great to hide your IP address while surfing the web.

However, proxy servers don’t provide true anonymity or privacy methods. Where these servers fail, a virtual private network (VPN) offers true anonymity on the Internet.

A Proxy versus a VPN

Proxy servers were the underground way to hide your IP a decade ago, and VPN services were expensive solutions only available for big businesses. Proxy servers can be open to Internet users, or you can have a proxy server within your corporate network.

The main difference between a proxy server and a VPN is how the two servers handle data. First, a proxy server allows anyone to connect, but it’s typically only for a web browser. A user can set up a browser to connect to a proxy server. The result is that the browser first connects to the proxy server, and then the proxy server connects to a website and downloads the website’s content. The downloaded content is then rendered in the user’s browser.

A VPN is much more advanced than a proxy server. A proxy server is mainly for web traffic only, but a VPN encrypts and protects all traffic. The main difference is that a VPN server encrypts the data, but a proxy server does not. A VPN also lets you use more than just the Internet. A VPN user can also use applications, and even connect directly to data within the private network. A VPN acts in the same way as a local, private network. The user can work with internal data, run internal applications, and the user can connect to the Internet using the VPN’s IP address and router.

Proxy servers provide you with several benefits

The Advantage of VPN over a Proxy Server

Proxy servers are usually free and available from several different websites. Typically, free proxy servers are the result of a poorly configured server found on the Internet. Once the “hole” is found by the server’s administrator, it’s closed and the proxy server is no longer available.

The proxy server’s disadvantages are not a problem for a VPN service, but VPN service is usually not free. Even though the service is not free, it’s much more valuable to the user who needs anonymity and encryption for Internet communication and data. The first advantage of VPN is the encryption. Proxy servers only let you mask your IP address, but a savvy hacker can still gain access to the data. VPN encrypts the data, so it is useless to a hacker who is able to intercept any communication.

Secondly, a VPN lets you use any application, because it emulates a real, local network connection. This means you can use applications stored on the server, and use any of the services available on the server.

If you need some protection on the Internet, a VPN connection is more advantageous than a proxy server. Find a VPN from our top 10 list that is secure and reliable, and you can protect your data and identity.


Disclaimer: We work hard to offer you valuable and reliable information about all of the products and services we review. In order to provide you with this free service, we use links on our site that provide us with commissions for referring you to the seller's site. We guarantee that this does not influence the material we present, but may influence the positioning on our site, and only supports our efforts to offer you the best and most relevant information possible.

Advertising Disclosure

This site is a free online resource that strives to offer helpful content and comparison features to its visitors. Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented, and in some cases may also impact the rating that is assigned to them. To the extent that ratings appear on this site, such rating is determined by our subjective opinion and based on a methodology that aggregates our analysis of brand market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, compensation paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page DO NOT imply endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our Terms of Use, all representations and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including pricing, which appears on this site is subject to change at any time.