Proxy vs VPN: A Simple Guide for Beginners (2024)


In today’s digital world, privacy and internet security are essential. VPNs and proxies are two well-liked tools for keeping your online activities secure. While they both improve privacy, their methods of operation and levels of security differ. This article will help you understand the main differences between Proxy vs VPN, as well as their benefits and drawbacks, and which may be best suited to your needs.

What’s the Difference Between a Proxy vs VPN?

Technologies that act as a middleman between a company’s internal corporate network and the public internet are proxy servers and virtual private networks (VPNs). All network traffic entering and leaving your company may be routed via a VPN, a proxy server, or both. Anonymization of the traffic source is provided by a proxy server. In addition, it might help with traffic distribution or even scan and verify network data packets against preset security rules. A VPN, on the other hand, uses encryption to obscure data and IP addresses, rendering them inaccessible to unauthorized users. Each technology addresses a different use case based on where it is in an organization’s network architecture.

How does a proxy server work?

Data packets are used for all internet-based communication. Data is exchanged between applications and user devices in the form of requests and replies. Any application or web server can be contacted by a client using its IP address, and the server will respond to the request by sending it back to the client using the same IP address.

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The client and the server are aware of each other’s IP addresses when they are connected directly over a network. But between the client and the server, the proxy server adds a new layer. Either your application server (reverse proxy) or the client (forward proxy) can be used as a proxy server. These techniques operate as follows.

How does a VPN work?

A proxy server and encryption are combined by a virtual private network (VPN) to provide a more secure communication path. The underlying technology encrypts client traffic and forwards it to a VPN server, which forwards it to websites belonging to third parties and further anonymizes the IP address. VPN servers can be compared to forward proxy servers that also encrypt data in certain use cases. However, depending on how the encryption is configured, VPN technology can be used for more sophisticated purposes. Businesses can use either a site-to-site or client-based VPN.

Is a VPN better than a proxy?

Yes, a VPN is preferable since it encrypts your data and routes it through a secure VPN server to provide privacy and security. A proxy does not always provide additional security; it just routes your traffic via a mediating server. Furthermore, VPNs secure all of your traffic by working at the operating system level, unlike proxies. VPN is unquestionably the winner in the proxy vs.

Do you need a proxy if you have a VPN?

No. Proxies can accomplish the same tasks as premium VPN services, plus much more. For a fast IP change, you could use a proxy extension, but be aware that not all proxies are secure and some might collect your personal information.

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Can I use a VPN and proxy together?

It is possible to use proxies and VPNs together, but configuring this can be time-consuming. Additionally, we advise against it because there would be no real benefits and the proxy server would just add another middleman, slowing down your internet connection. When using them, it’s preferable to switch to one or the other.


Proxy vs VPN, Although they function differently, proxies and VPNs both improve online privacy and security. VPNs offer strong security by encrypting IP addresses and traffic, while proxies manage data flow and anonymize traffic sources. Knowing these differences makes it easier to select the right tool for a given set of circumstances and security requirements.

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