Alright, so you aren’t completely sure what a proxy or a VPN is, or even which one is better and you have sought out this blog. Let us break it down for you – what proxies and VPNs are, what the pros and cons of both are, and how you could use both of those in conjunction.
What are proxies?
In a layman’s term, a proxy is a curtain between you i.e. your device or your PC and the internet. It’s an intermediary waypoint re-routes the direction of the request sent from you to the website in such a way that your identity is protected.
Example, you are trying to visit a website but you do it via a proxy. In this case, any request you make on the website is not sent directly. First, it goes to the proxy server, which in turn forwards the request to the host server of the website. In this case the host server is acting to send back response to the request to the proxy server, and then to your web browser. Here is a step guide to using a proxy-
- Go to limeproxies.com
- As the proxy server page loads, enter your desired destination URL.
- As your desired web page loads you will see a proxy tool bar on top with relevant functions that will make your experience easier.
Pros and Cons of Proxy
Know your pros:
- Websites that you are visiting do not have access to your real geographical location, which they usually do. Instead, they see the location of the proxy server.
- Along the same line, now you can access websites that are restricted in your geographical location. You just have to find the location that your desired websites are accessible to and turn on your proxy to that country.
- Malicious websites that distribute malware can be blocked as the proxy can check for this malware that is being sent your way.
Know your cons:
- Your location can’t be hidden from advanced detection techniques.
- If a proxy site is malicious it could compromise your privacy, security, and location. Some proxy sites may even monitor and log your internet activities while you’re using them.
- When you’re browsing secured, encrypted websites using a proxy, if the proxy is not configured correctly it could transfer unencrypted data to your computer.
All about VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is not just a curtain; it’s a completely new network. All the network traffic that goes through your connection is completely encrypted so your online activity is only known by the VPN.
When you are trying to access a website, the request is encrypted and sent to the VPN server, which is then decrypted and send a load request to the host server of the website. The server responds by sending the homepage of the website to the VPN server. Finally, this information is sent to your device.
Pro and Cons of VPN
Know your pros:
- The websites that you visit think that your geographical location is that of the VPN that you have selected. This can help you bypass geographical restrictions.
- The network traffic is encrypted and can’t be detected by a third party.
- Your IP address is also hidden.
Know your cons:
- Performance and speed of the internet can be hampered as the information is going through the VPN servers and must be encrypted.
- VPNs can cost more than proxies. Mainly because a VPN server requires powerful hardware to keep up with the demand of encryption and decryption.
- Malicious VPNs can keep log of our online activities which can then be used by third parties which maybe authorized or unauthorized. As the information in encrypted, this is harder. But at the point of decryption, the information can be obtained.
Proxies and VPNs in Conjunction
The common aim of a proxy and a VPN is to hide your IP address i.e. your identity and browse the web anonymously and securely. However, you could say that with a proxy you are more anonymous and with a VPN you are more secure.
But know that you can use both of them in conjunction – quite like switching on and off.
One can enter the private proxy into the browser setting simply by entering a free or paid proxy or into the computer network settings. The use of a proxy can be disabled at anytime. VPNs on the other hand are bundled in a software and need a set up. They require a login procedure and need to be switched “on/off” virtually. One way of operation the VPN is to set up the software and run it simultaneously with the proxy. However VPNs are very likely to slow down the internet connection due to the encryption and decryption. The other way of utilizing both proxy and VPN is to operate them at different times for different functions.
For some select functions like downloading a torrent or running a program like ScrapeBox you can use VPN in select locations in the world. Or you can also set up multiple proxies to re-route the data in your desired fashion. It would still be encrypted when it passes through the VPN. For most users, you don’t need both. However, for added security and anonymity, both can be used as long as a fast connection is not in question – as in that case, VPN should be turned off.