Proxies and VPNs: What Are the Differences and When Should You Use Them?

Mar, 2024 - by CMI

Proxies and VPNs: What Are the Differences and When Should You Use Them?

Privacy is a concern for people using the internet. After all, anything you put online can be read by anyone. Chances are there'll be netizens intercepting the information once you put it out there. To counter this, technological services such as proxies and virtual private networks (VPNs) exist to secure online identity. Both have their distinct functions but can be used interchangeably.

This article will discuss the differences between proxies and VPNs, as well as when they should be used. Continue reading to learn more.

A primer on proxies and VPNs

The technologies that’ll be discussed below play a crucial role in maintaining security on the Internet. But as you consider proxies or VPNs, it’s essential to know that they usually come with fees. However, you can get deals on VPNs and proxies from online platforms to ensure adopting these tools won’t cause a huge dent in your pocket.

Proxy server explained

Web browsing works like a spider web connecting directly to websites and loading them so you can read the pages. A proxy server’s role is to be a gateway wherein online traffic will be administered through the proxy. Think of it as a go-between that asks for permission from a specific site and relays the data back to you.

Proxy servers bypass basic content monitoring by hiding your Internet Protocol (IP) address. The extent to which this is done is based on the service provider and your allocated budget.

Apart from comparing the prices offered by your prospective providers, it’ll also help to check out platforms that promise cost savings. Sites such as Proxy.Coupons offer coupon deals that make availing of proxy services more affordable.

Proxy servers mainly have three types. They are the following:

  • HTTP proxy. This is the most common type of proxy, administering web pages between a server and a client. A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is opened, and a request is sent to the proxy for obtaining data about it.
  • SOCKS proxy. Also known as socket secure, this proxy is more advanced than the HTTP proxy as it can provide more functions. Some of these features include bypassing blocked content and geography-specific content.
  • Transparent proxy. This kind of proxy is transparent such that it intercepts the traffic without any modification being made to the requests. As a result, its security isn’t guaranteed.

When to use a proxy: Proxies are known for their easy setup and straightforward functionality. They’re also faster and lighter than VPNs. With just a few things to configure, you’ll be able to surf the internet while remaining anonymous as they hide your IP address. If what you do online is attend classes, do mundane office work, or monitor employee performance, then the security that proxies offer should be sufficient.

VPN explained

A virtual private network (VPN) also functions like a proxy server, but the main difference is that VPNs are more secure because all data is encrypted. This is complicated to decipher because your online activities aren’t intercepted by your internet service provider (ISP) or potential eavesdroppers and fraudsters.

Another distinct feature of a VPN is that its servers conceal where you’re from since it’s from outside your country. Your exact location won’t be tracked, and your online activities won’t be recorded.

There are also various types of VPN. Here are some of them:

  • Remote access VPN. This type of VPN enables a person to access a private network, along with its data, no matter the location. Usually, this is for those who are working at home or are always on the go.
  • Site-to-site VPN. This VPN is usually used in large organizations or companies. Also known as router-to-router VPN, site-to-site VPN is the best option for networks involving multiple locations.
  • Mobile VPN. This VPN is optimal for those using mobile devices who wish to link to a private network via Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

When to use a VPN: If you want to feel more secure in your online transactions and endeavors, then using a VPN is highly recommended. The encryption that VPN provides is impeccable. This is also the way to go if you’re connected to a public network or want to access a geographically restricted website.


Proxies and VPNs make the online world safer and sounder by protecting valuable information and keeping it away from unrighteous entities. The types mentioned above aren't exhaustive, as there are other technological services being offered in the two options. The bottom line here is choosing a service based on your unique situation.