Proxy servers and VPN: What is the difference?

Finding the right tools to browse the Internet securely and anonymously is one of the primary measures that people love to take when installing a computing system at home or the office or when connecting while on the move.

Proxy servers and VPNs are fantastic tools to let you connect to a remote computer as if you were placed at another location.

However, it is easy to misunderstood and mix the concepts. Despite they both are used to hide your online identity and allow you to change your location, there are some significant differences.

What is a proxy server?

A proxy is a server that works as an intermediary between your computer /computing system and the Internet. That means that the traffic appears as if it was coming from its own IP address, instead of your own computer. With a proxy server, several users (computers) can get connected as it accepts different networks. These servers use two different protocol types: HTTP and SOCKS.


It is great choice for surfing the web and often it is free. It works in a way that it deciphers the traffic that support HTTP:// or HTTPs:// connections.


This protocol does not interpret network traffic. Instead, it supports any kind of traffic.

All in all, a proxy servers considers speed, security and geolocation switching, but only when you are browsing the Net.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network is a technology that works as a tunnel encrypting data between your computer and a host server.

It can be used to make your public Internet connections safe, but also other type of connections.

It basically is used to send and receive users’ data in a secure and anonymous way across public networks as if they were connecting their devices -computer, laptop, iPhones, iPad, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs- through a private network.

Therefore, in addition to Internet security -your data is kept away from intruders, high speed, and the possibility to change your IP address (your location is changed; you can be connected as if you were at another region), VPNs also are very useful tools that allow you to unblock restricted websites in your country, and stream and legally download content very fast and safely.

If you are looking for a VPN service, just have a look at our reviews page to compare the best providers on the market right now, and easily select the one that really suits your needs!

*Photo by Garagestock | ShutterStock.