We live in the information age, which gives us a lot of new opportunities. However, these opportunities are given not only to us, ordinary users, but also to people who do not mind violating the confidentiality of our data and restricting our freedom to access the sites we want. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself – for example, you can install a mass proxy or use VPN services.
But which of these is better? In what cases would it be more appropriate to use a proxy, and in which cases – VPN? We suggest you find out more about it.
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What is a proxy
A proxy server is an intermediate link between your computer or other device and the Internet. It makes requests to websites, servers, and all kinds of Internet services on your behalf.
For example, if the browser is configured to use a proxy server and you try to visit a site, the request is not sent directly to that resource. Instead, it is sent to the proxy server. After the proxy server receives a browser request, it forwards it to the server that hosts the resource. The site server then sends the response to the proxy server, which in turn passes it on to your browser.
That is, the request is made not from your browser, but through a proxy server, so the requested site does not see your computer or device. Instead, it sees that it is being visited by a proxy server.
Pros and cons of proxies
To begin with, let’s consider the advantages of using proxy servers, of which there are many. Namely:
- you hide your IP address during basic verification;
- you hide your geographic location – the sites and services that you visit only see the location of the proxy server;
- depending on how proxy servers are configured, they can enhance your security by blocking sites that distribute malicious software;
- you can visit sites that are blocked in your country;
- there are many high-quality proxy servers available on the Internet – for example, at soax.com, where you can buy them at a bargain price.
At the same time, it is worth noting the disadvantages:
- when using a proxy server, your Internet traffic passes through it, and if this server is malicious, it can see and control everything that you do on the Internet;
- many free proxy servers are not very reliable, and some of them are even malicious.
Summing up, we can say that the main disadvantages of proxy servers appear if you do not know how to choose them. Of course, people love everything for free, but when it comes to the security of your data, it should be of a secondary importance.
What is a VPN
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure network between your computer and a VPN server on the Internet. All network traffic that passes through this connection is encrypted, so only your computer and the VPN server know what resource you visited and how you used it.
For example, if you use a VPN and try to visit a website, the request is encrypted and sent to the VPN server. After the VPN server accepts your request, it decrypts it, and thus learns what you need. It then sends a download request to the server hosting the site. The site server responds and sends the site homepage to the VPN server. The VPN server then encrypts it and sends it to you.
Pros and cons of a VPN
The popularity of technology such as VPN did not arise out of nothing, because it can offer you a number of advantages:
- all network traffic between you and the VPN server is encrypted, making it almost impossible for a third party to see what sites you visit;
- VPN hides your real IP address;
- VPN hides your geographic location;
- you can also use a VPN to visit sites that are blocked in your country.
However, it is worth noting a number of disadvantages:
- VPN encrypts all traffic that passes through, which negatively affects the speed and performance of the Internet;
- your Internet activity can be tracked by the VPN provider;
- reliable VPN services, as a rule, are more expensive than a good proxy server.
In general, both VPNs and proxies are not without their pros and cons. And each of them is well suited for individual situations.