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Proxy Vs VPN: Which Really Gives You More Privacy?

The need for online privacy solutions is on the rise as more people realize how vulnerable they are on the Internet. Proxies and VPNs are two of the most commonly suggested privacy solutions, but they are often confused with being the same. The reality is that VPNs and proxies have more differences than similarities, and […]

The need for online privacy solutions is on the rise as more people realize how vulnerable they are on the Internet. Proxies and VPNs are two of the most commonly suggested privacy solutions, but they are often confused with being the same. The reality is that VPNs and proxies have more differences than similarities, and this proxy vs. VPN comparison will set things straight.

Proxy vs VPN: How they work

Proxy and VPNs are very similar in how they work, and this is mostly where the confusion comes from. Both technologies make use of servers that act as an intermediary between your computer and a web server. All your connection requests go through a server (a proxy or a VPN server) which in turn will pass your requests on to the destination web server. When the web server responds, the data goes through the proxy or VPN server first before finally reaching your computer.

What the servers do to your requests depend on whether you’re using a proxy server or a VPN server. We’ll discuss the differences in the next section.

Both solutions are similar in the aspect of masking your real IP address. Both VPNs and proxy servers allow users to obtain a different IP address from a different location, effectively allowing users to bypass geographic restrictions.

Users looking to get around censorship or geo-blocking can use either solution in most cases. However, we highly recommend that you use one of these geo-unblocking VPNs for reasons we will cite below.

Proxy vs VPN differences: Encryption

The main characteristic that sets VPNs apart is that it obfuscates the network. When you connect to a VPN server, it does more than mask your IP address; it also encrypts all your data packets. The best VPN providers use heavy encryption standards, such as those used by the military and the government: AES 256-bit encryption.

Essentially, this enables VPN users to evade hackers, spies, and data brokers who can’t see the user’s online activities. If you’re a VPN user, websites detect and log the VPN server’s IP address instead of your real IP address. Because of encryption, sites can’t trace that IP address back to you. Here’s a quick video on how a VPN works.

Proxies do not encrypt data. Because of this, they are better suited for people who are not really after Internet security and are only looking to bypass geographical restrictions. Even then, they don’t work effectively as proxies, especially the free ones, get picked off so easily by websites that want to stop people from bypassing geo-blocks.

People who are serious about online privacy, security, and connection reliability, should use VPNs.

Proxy vs VPN differences: Speed

The side effect of heavy encryption is that it slows down connection speed. Heavier encryption affects connection speed more. It takes time to encrypt network traffic, but other factors come into play as well:

  • ISP speed
  • VPN server location
  • VPN protocol
  • VPN bandwidth

It’s difficult to establish that proxies are indeed faster than VPNs. For one, your connection speed will also depend on the number of users connected to the same proxy server at a given time. Speed is a major issue when using free proxies since there are hundreds (even thousands) of users simultaneously connecting to a single proxy server.

It is safe to say then that speed is a major concern for both VPNs and proxies. With VPNs, any slowdown is justifiable because of their encryption process. This doesn’t mean that all VPNs will slow down your connection. We tested many VPN providers, and we were able to find the fastest VPNs.

Proxy vs VPN differences: Setup

Using a VPN is simple: install the VPN client that’s compatible with your device, then turn on the VPN. There’s usually no more need to change anything on your device, unless you’re installing the VPN directly on the router.

With a proxy, and depending on the proxy type, you need to make some configuration changes on your browser or device. Also, not all devices support proxy configuration natively.

Then there are issues like what is displayed above. Proxies can be very buggy, especially free ones.

Proxy vs VPN differences: Pricing

There are free proxies just as there are free VPNs. However, they aren’t recommended because of speed and security issues.

When it comes to paid plans, VPNs are considered cheaper since you get to access any VPN server in any country for as low as under $3 per month. Take a look at the pricing plan of IPVanish, one of the top VPN providers:

IPVanish price

On the other hand, most proxy providers let you choose only one location and will give you access only to a limited number of proxy servers in their pricing plans. Proxy providers have different pricing strategies, but basic plans with one server location and an average of five proxy servers cost around $60 to $80 per year.

More Privacy with VPN

While your IP address is masked with a different one when you use proxies, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be traced. Remember: proxy servers are only intermediaries between you and another web server.

Your network traffic isn’t encrypted so anyone with the right tools can detect that you’re using a proxy and track you. In fact, proxies are quite easy to catch, which is why websites can easily block users suspected of using proxies. Aside from bypassing geo-blocks, proxies are usually used for SEO activities, like data scraping, competitor research, and link building.

On the other hand, VPNs are more associated with security and privacy because of the encryption that comes with them. People who want to hide their identities while streaming, torrenting, or bypassing geo-blocks prefer to use a VPN. They know that their online activities can’t be traced back to them. Here are the top 3 VPN providers, as ranked by the experts here at BVP:

Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Fastest VPN provider! Large network!
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & Speed
  • 1300+ servers in 60+ countries
  • 10 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging
  • 7-Day Money Back Guarantee
Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin / American Express
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

Apart from the obvious reasons like high-speed performance and impressive customer protection, there are several other elements that have made IPVanish a one-of-a-kind VPN provider:

  • Reliability of connections
  • Speed of connections
  • Dedication to privacy and anonymity
  • Commendable customer support
  • Exceptional Tier 1 network
  • Thorough support categories
  • Competitive prices
Put together, all these factors make IPVanish one hell of a VPN provider. To summarize IPVanish in one sentence: It does everything a VPN provider should, and it does many things better than anyone else. Once you’ve tried out its services, you will understand why we rank IPVanish as the number 1 VPN service provider in our overall review, and in several sub-categories.

Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin / American Express
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin /
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo
Excellent Anonymous & High Performance VPN
  • Unlimited bandwidth and speed
  • 3,670+ servers in 60+ countries
  • 7 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging & Accepts CryptoCurrency
  • 45 Day Refund Policy
Credit Card / PayPal Cheque
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

CyberGhost VPN are definitely a top 5 VPN provider. Reading their privacy policy, and the fact that they do allow p2p and torrenting traffic on nearly all servers, you may rank them as your top choice for a VPN if you do a lot of downloading. Their software has features, like their killswitch, that put them on par with the top of the line VPN clients available. For fun, they also have a cute the animation that makes the experience that much more pleasant. They also benefit from being located in Romania as this country is well known for online privacy rights. What’s holding them back from the top spot is their connections do drop slightly more often than we'd like, otherwise they might be #1. Their VPN Kill Switch does save you from being exposed, but no problems would be better than a solution to a problem. For the price you pay for their VPN service, one of the lowest in the industry, and all the features of their software, you can’t go wrong when you choose CyberGhost as your VPN provider.

Credit Card / PayPal Cheque
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo

Average rating:  
 12 reviews
by Paul on CyberGhost

I have been using it primarily to download stuff online and it works great. It has great speeds and very minimal loss of connection which is usually handled fast enough by their very reliable customer... View More

by Eric on CyberGhost

I love the fact that users data is protected and deleted every 24 hours so my privacy is guaranteed. Their speeds are also remarkably fast and am able to stream my favourite shows without any glitches... View More

by Benjamin on CyberGhost

I do a lot of P2P downloading and have tried quite a number of different VPN services. So far this ranks as the best if your main interest is p2p and torrenting. You will get great speeds as well.

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Credit Card / PayPal
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo
Great VPN
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & No Speed Limits
  • 650+ Servers in 26 countries
  • Up to 12 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging & Accepts CryptoCurrency
  • 30-day Money-back Guarantee
Credit Card / Bitcoin / PayPal Alipay
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

While the company may not have the broadest and most impressive VPN network in the world, it has over 660 servers in some of the most popular countries in the world. StrongVPN’s software is more or less adequate, but at times, switching between servers can be clunky. The pricing can be considered at the industry average, and you receive a reliable VPN service in return. If you’re searching for a long-term VPN plan, the yearly package is affordable and recommended. StrongVPN’s customer support service is above-average and really impressed us. Its on-page content sections feature a lot of useful information, including guides, FAQs, and how-to articles. The support team can be reached via email, phone, or live chat. Our experience with the support team was surprisingly positive; during our live chat, the agents responded promptly and with a friendly, informative attitude. The company has solid customer protection policies, with its “Zero-Logging” policy particularly standing out. All in all, we recommend StrongVPN for anyone who wants to do browsing, torrenting and P2P, video and music streaming (including Netflix), or geo-unblocking.

Credit Card / Bitcoin / PayPal Alipay
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo

Average rating:  
 11 reviews
by Bruce on Best VPN Providers

I got strongvpn during my first ever trip to Africa where was going to work for an year. I had read about geoblocking in most parts of Africa and couldn't think of missing out on netflix and other stuff... View More

by Sarah on Best VPN Providers

Their 7 day money back guarantee is what caught my attention and from then on i have been their customer for the last 8 months. The speeds are very good and i have had very few instances where i have ... View More

by Gilbert on Best VPN Providers

I paid for the service after learning that they offer a 7 day money back guarantee. I didnt want to risk my money in a service that would fail me. Luckily it turned out to be exactly what i had wished... View More

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