Why do we compare proxy server and VPN?
Before I talk about it, I'll talk about why I want to compare these two things. Whether it is a proxy server (synonymous with the "proxy" below) or VPN, in fact, people use it for the same purpose, and the final effect is basically the same, that is: Hide IP from the target website or server. When you browse a website, the server on which the website is located can infer your location based on your IP address. Proxy and VPN can replace your IP with their IP, so as to cover up your real IP. As for why someone wants to cover up IP addresses, the specific reasons may be different. However, because the proxy and VPN serve the same purpose, they may fall into a dilemma when choosing, and even lead to disputes about whether the proxy is good or VPN is good. What's more, because the word VPN is more well-known and more secure (we'll talk about this later), many proxy servers mistakenly added VPN and other words in their propaganda. In fact, it can be distinguished.
What is a proxy server
The so-called proxy server is a “middleman” role, passing data between you and the server. A large proportion of proxy servers can exist in the form of websites. You just need to open the website of proxy servers, and then enter the links you want to visit, and then you can operate as usual when browsing web pages. The working principle of proxy is: the proxy server will visit your target website by itself, load its content, and then pass the loaded content to your window. This is equivalent to browsing the target website. So agents are often called “ladders” or “bridges.”. The advantage of using proxy is that you don’t need to link to the target website directly, so the target website can’t get your IP address, instead, it gets the IP address of the proxy server. So you can hide your location information. When you access most proxy services, they usually ask you to select a country where the proxy server is located. You can access the target website through the proxy server of the corresponding country, so the target website will think that you are visiting in the corresponding country. For example, if the website you want to visit blocks your country, then you can replace the IP address of other countries with the proxy server. As long as the location of the proxy server is not within the scope of shielding, you can access through the proxy server.
Benefits of using proxy server
If you just want to get rid of the site’s screen, then proxy server may be the easiest and most convenient solution. Since all the work is done by the remote server, you don’t need to install anything, just visit the website where the proxy server is located and choose a country. If you find that a website is locked and needs to be solved quickly, the proxy is very suitable as a temporary solution. And because many proxy servers provide services in the form of web pages, you can use them in any operating system. There is no need to install software, just find the right server. Of course, installed agents also exist, from mobile apps to browser plug-ins to desktop applications, but this is not necessary technically.
Shortage of proxy server
But the proxy server also has shortcomings. If you want to achieve something other than anonymous browsing, proxy servers may not be able to help you. If you use a proxy server for a long time, you will find that it will be slow and unstable. However, if you want to visit a large number of websites and web applications anonymously instead of just browsing several websites anonymously, the disadvantages of proxy server will be obvious.
What is VPN
On the surface, VPN and proxy server are very close. Under the VPN service, the information you transmit will pass through the VPN server first, and then arrive at the destination. In turn, the receiving process is the same. The main difference between VPN and proxy is that you send data to the server. To use VPN, you must first install VPN software (although windows 10 comes with it, it is also a software). After opening the VPN software, the main responsibility of the software is to encrypt your data and pass it to the VPN server, so that the data you transmit is unreadable to the interceptor. This technology is called “tunnel”, which is a very vivid word. Imagine if you’re driving on the road, people on both sides can see who’s driving, what’s the model, what’s the license plate number And if you drive in a tunnel, people outside the tunnel can’t see it.
Benefits of using VPN
So as you might think, VPN can hide your behavior on the Internet. On the other hand, it’s not hard for a proxy server to do this, at least at this stage when you exchange data with the proxy server. Anyone with the ability (including hackers and your network service provider) can see what you are transmitting. VPN builds a tunnel from your host, and no one, including the network service provider, can “see” what you are transmitting. Concealment means security. Now the whole Internet is advocating all kinds of encrypted communication, which is the reason. Many criminals will steal user information by intercepting the packets sent by users, but you don’t have to worry about this problem through VPN. For interceptors, the encrypted packets you send are almost equal to garbage data.
Deficiency of VPN
Unfortunately, VPNs are usually not cheap. In theory, unless you need to encrypt your network operations, there is no need to buy VPN. By contrast, paying agents are much cheaper. Not only that, because the encryption tunnel is built by your device, all offshore data is encrypted on your device. This may slow down the speed of your device to varying degrees, affecting the entire browsing experience.
How to choose proxy and VPN
If you want to visit a website that is blocked by your region and you don’t need to hide your operations on the Internet, you can choose a proxy server without scruple. Many proxy servers are free of charge, and they are adaptable to a variety of devices. Although the proxy server has no advantage in privacy, you don’t need to mind if it doesn’t involve sensitive operations. For example, if you just want to watch online TV shows offered by other countries, why not?
VPN should be preferred
If you need to use the local IP for long-term access, or if you want to perform sensitive operations, then VPN is more appropriate. It can provide secure and anonymous services. For example, if personal information is sent or property operations are carried out through open Wi Fi, this is usually a high risk. But with VPN, you don’t have to worry about the current network environment. VPN with stable services is often not cheap, but if you really need it, the investment will be worthwhile. Back to our discussion, in a word, the biggest difference between proxy server and VPN is whether the offshore data is encrypted. As a user, we don’t need to worry about the differences in other principles.
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