There are endless comparisons between VPN and proxy services on the internet. The two have a lot of similarities and they are often compared for the advantages that they offer. If you are looking for ways to remain anonymous online or to bypass certain restrictions (i.e. Netflix regions) then you are most likely already considering one or the other.
Comparing VPN against proxies, however, is not something we are going to do; not directly, at least. Instead, we are going to focus more on the reasons why proxies, especially residential proxy services, are often more suitable for home users thanks to the unique features they now offer. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
The first thing that you need to know about using proxies compared to VPNs is the higher performance that they offer. Proxies tend to be faster than VPN for two reasons. First, proxies are usually hosted on multiple servers and incorporate more IP addresses – an IP pool – while VPN services rely on a single server. This means proxies can balance loads better, which results in better performance.
You can even use residential proxies to show that your traffic comes from home users. Smartproxy, a residential proxy provider, has long offered millions of residential proxies that you can use to anonymize your internet traffic. You don’t have to worry about regional restrictions or other limitations at all.
At the same time, proxies also incorporate security measures in a more efficient way than a VPN. Rather than using one-to-one encryption used by VPNs, which forces your computer to encrypt all traffic and the VPN server to decrypt it every time, proxies use TLS/SSL in the same way secure websites use SSL encryption.
TLS/SSL is not the only security measure used by proxies these days. We all know how some VPN services actually log your internet activities. Free VPN and proxies tend to function as a honeypot, collecting information about your online activities rather than making you anonymous. It is best to avoid free and untrustworthy services altogether.
But even premium VPN services have issues with how they handle logging. Those that claim to be log-free VPN services never have their privacy policies verified independently. The no-logging policy is also difficult to verify. Larger service providers still hint that they will share data with law enforcement if requested, which suggests that some degree of logging still happens.
Reliable proxies are far more secure. The presence of millions of IP addresses alone makes it more difficult to pinpoint requests to a single user. There is no logging in place too, so you can rest assured knowing that your internet activities are protected from prying eyes. Of course, you have to stick to reliable and trustworthy providers to stay protected.
When looking at reports of data leaks and breaches, proxies are less likely to be compromised than VPN services. 6 out of the last 10 data breach cases involve VPN service providers, free and premium, while the remaining 4 are tied to mishandling of user information. This looks like a good record for proxy service providers.
There is a good reason behind these statistics. Proxies are used on the application level, while a VPN must be run on an operating system level. The latter means all of your traffic goes through the VPN server, including requests that may be sensitive, such as your mobile banking app sending information about your personal details.
Proxies are used on browsers and other applications that support them. You can have two browser instances open and use a proxy service only on one of them. This means you can separate sensitive traffic from just browsing the web, giving you complete control over how you want to stay anonymous online.
Better Use Cases
That brings us to the use cases of proxies and VPN services. As mentioned before, a VPN handles all traffic once you activate it, regardless of the application you use. This means you can still be profiled by the device you use if you are not careful or if the VPN service does not rotate IP addresses frequently enough.
With proxies, device fingerprinting is rendered impossible. You can use proxies for more things too. If you are a business owner trying to do competitor research, for instance, you can use proxies to run a web scraping operation and gather conversations about your competitors. The same is true if you are a student trying to do research on social media.
Proxies are even suitable for watching content or playing games thanks to their higher performance. You can connect to a foreign game server and play without any lag with a capable proxy. Content that is usually restricted to certain regions is also available as long as you connect to the streaming service using an IP address from a specific location.
There are still a lot of other reasons why proxies are better, but these are the ones that should help you make an informed decision on which one works best between the two options. Yes, a VPN is the better option when you need a 1-to-1 connection to a secure server. Many businesses and business solutions use VPNs for internal communications.
For watching US TV series, browsing social media sites without being tracked, getting the best deals on flights and hotels for your next trip, or doing price comparisons before your next big purchases, proxies are certainly the better option.