VPN vs Proxy Server – What to use?

vpn and proxyThere is a pretty significant debate in the technological community about which type of service is more effective at preserving anonymity online, a VPN or a Proxy Server. Without all of the facts, it is hard to decide which type of service to use if you want to remain anonymous online or access blocked services. In the interest of helping you make an informed decision, here are some things you need to know about VPN’s versus Proxy Servers.

What is a Proxy Server?

A proxy is simply a computer that becomes an intermediary between the Internet and your computer. In this regard, a proxy is somewhat effective at concealing your IP address and enabling anonymity online, but beyond that the differences between a proxy server and a VPN become more pronounced.

Specifically, proxy servers use a different type of protocol to manage their traffic. The protocols used by proxy servers are HTTP or SOCKS.

It is likely that you will encounter the HTTP variety of protocol when using a proxy server. This type of protocol is only viable for accessing websites that begin with the https:// or https:// designation. In other words, this protocol can handle traffic to web pages on the Internet. Due to its limited functionality, a proxy server with HTTP protocol has some ability to mask your IP address and provide a level of anonymity online.

The SOCKS protocol is a little more diverse in what it can handle, offering the user an ability to use FTP, IRC chat, and POP3 for email communication.

In both cases, there can be a glaring omission in terms of security. VPN’s use much more sophisticated protocols which encrypt network traffic. Therefore, not only does a VPN account  give you a level of anonymity when browsing the Internet, it also makes your data impossible to read. This is a significant difference and one that many proxy users don’t fully understand. Changing your IP address is fine, but without complex encryption like that which is offered by a VPN a user’s security is still compromised.

The Pros and Cons of Proxy Servers

If you want to get into the advantages and disadvantages of a proxy server, there are really only two that you need to be aware of: cost and speed.

Yes, it is true that many proxy servers can be used for free. In some way, this could be considered an advantage. But is it really? When it comes to proxy servers, you definitely get what you pay for. Always keep in mind that free services depend on some manner of income for their continued existence. This means of revenue can often come in the form of ads containing malware or browsing data being sold to marketing companies. You are basically trusting the owner of a free server with your sensitive data, and in most cases have no idea how that data is being monitored or used. Web-based proxies are the absolute worst offenders in this regard. Not only do they pummel users with a stream of advertisements, many of them cannot support technology like Flash or Java. You will also discover that many Web-based proxy servers have become useless because they are recognized and blocked.

The big disadvantage of a proxy server is that connections can often be very slow. Welcome to the World Wide Wait. The protocols used by proxy servers just aren’t conducive to speed, and this makes a proxy server impractical for streaming media services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. In addition, proxy servers are notorious for dropping connections on a whim. You can be surfing on the proxy one minute and totally exposed the next.

Why VPN’s are better that a Proxy Server

Let’s begin by addressing that issue of speed. When you use a VPN there is little or no difference between the connection speed of the VPN and a regular high-speed connection.  When you consider that many people are using VPN’s or proxy servers to access blocked services that deliver streaming media, the choice is pretty simple. You need to be able to maintain a connection speed that will allow the fast transmission of data between your device and the Web. A VPN does that.

Next, the security issue must be considered. Most VPN’s use a high level of encryption, which can range from 128-bit to 2048-bit. Encryption technology is also improving all the time, and at VPNaccounts we stay on top of the advances in security in order to insure that you are strongly protected. We do not log your web traffic, not do we sell your data to marketing companies. Our revenues come solely from what you pay for VPN service.

Another reason VPN’s are better is that they do not require multiple configurations. Once you set up your VPN client to connect to the VPN server, it only takes a click to create that connection. Proxy servers can be difficult to manage in this regard.

What about support?

If you happen to find yourself in the position of needing support from the provider of a proxy server, good luck. This goes back to the concept of cost we were mentioning earlier. Free proxy services cannot afford to maintain support staff that will help you when you encounter a problem.

VPNaccounts.com has made every effort to keep your cost at a bare minimum. The small amount we charge for a VPN defers the costs of server upgrades, support staff, and improved security. Whenever you need to contact us, we do our best to respond quickly with a complete solution.

The bottom line on proxy servers

There really is no other way to say this, so we’ll be blunt. If you are serious about maintaining your anonymity online and preserving your security you will choose a VPN over a proxy server each and every time. The small cost of a VPN is minimal when you consider the risks inherent in proxy servers and the reduction in overall connection speed make proxy servers a poor choice.

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