VPN Services and Proxy Services – An Important Distinction
As we work our way through Virtual Private Networks and how they can be utilized to ensure that Internet security is never compromised, it’s important to distinguish the difference between VPNs and Proxy Servers. Once they are defined, our hope is that you have a better understanding of the differences and the various elements that can leave you unsecured with one of them. While both can grant you access to websites even if you are in a nation that censors the internet, only one of them can protect and encrypt the information sent and prevent others from storing or viewing your session.
Virtual Private Networks
VPNs, as they are called in the digital realm, provide a private intranet that individuals that have log-in information can access. When accessing a VPN, all information uploaded, downloaded, or otherwise transmitted is encrypted, ensuring that anyone who views the transmissions is denied the ability to read or use it. Even other users from other segmented intranets on the same VPN provider are not given access to the information, so your browsing or sharing session is completely privatized.
Often confused with VPNs, proxy servers also provide a tunnelled connection to the Internet. However, they provide a completely different avenue of service. Proxy providers give you a way to circumvent specific restrictions and access the Internet through another, international, location. This is important when government restrictions prevent you from viewing specific websites. What they do not do, however, is encrypt your browsing session, which can still leave you vulnerable to cyber-attacks or spyware.
When you are using a VoIP platform, for example, your VPN provider will encrypt everything, guaranteeing that your conversation remains private. If you have the same VoIP conversation via a proxy server, you may avoid specific roadblocks along the way, but ultimately the information is still floating “out in space”.
Speed is another discrepancy involves the speed of Internet access. Virtual private networks will always tend to run a bit faster than proxy servers largely in part because of the technology employed. When you access via a proxy server, the proxy sends a request to the site, which then sends the information back, and directly connects you to the website. VPNs tend to work faster, partly due to the better hardware/network that is typically being used with such a service.
Use a virtual private network to prevent prying eyes from stealing your personal information, maintain a high browsing speed, and ultimately protect yourself from any other cyber-threats that exist.