A lot of people are tuning in to the reality that using a VPN is a safe way to browse the Internet, unblock applications that are restricted in some areas, and thwart anyone that might be trying to snoop your personal data. Unfortunately, some of these people are making a potentially harmful mistake by recognizing a VPN and a proxy server as the same thing. In fact, some underhanded proxy providers do little to correct this false assumption and lead their users to believe that a proxy functions just like a VPN and that it is just as safe.
Why is a VPN safer and better than a proxy? Let’s take a closer look at VPN’s and proxy servers in order to compare them and distinguish that a VPN is the safer and better option.
A proxy server, or proxy, is a computer that acts as an intermediary between your computer and the Internet. Sounds similar to a VPN, right? Not so much, really. While both a VPN and a proxy do serve the purpose of cloaking your IP address with their own, only a VPN typically encrypts its data. A proxy doesn’t do this because it would demand extra resources of the server that can be devoted to providing more simultaneous connections to more people.
An HTTP proxy server is only configured to handle traffic that begins with https:// or shtpp://. In other words, it can serve routine web pages that are unencrypted. Because of this an HTTP proxy can sometimes be faster than a VPN but not by enough to make a substantial difference. Without getting into a lot of technical jargon here, what you need to understand is that HTTP (unencrypted) traffic is handled by default on Port 80 of a server. HTTPS (encrypted) is handled by default on Port 443. Port scanning is a favorite trick of hackers and data thieves trying to probe systems for information. If you are using a proxy on Port 80, your unencrypted data transfer could be a sitting duck for anyone smart enough to take a peek.
The real reason a VPN is better boils down to overall security, but there is something else to consider. A VPN works with easily with most applications. If you are an expat or a traveler, VPN can be used to unblock applications like Skype or Netflix that are restricted in certain areas. A good provider, like VPNaccounts.com, will also offer you multiple server options. There are also no logs kept on your Internet activity, so all traces of your browsing preferences virtually disappear when you use a VPN.
Let’s be honest. The only reason anyone could justify choosing a proxy over a VPN is price. Yes, VPN service is not free. VPN is affordable, and when you weight the potential cost of repairing your credit or sorting out identity theft after your data has been stolen then a VPN becomes priceless. Why is a VPN safer and better than a proxy? The answer to that may seem complex, but when you analyze each in terms of the level of security they provide there really is no comparison. A proxy doesn’t even come close to the protection afforded by a VPN.
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