When you need to hide your real identity or protect yourself while online, you’ll definitely end up choosing between a VPN and a proxy. Though there are some functions they both fulfill, VPNs and proxies aren’t interchangeable. To make the right choice, you have to understand your use case and know more about VPNs and proxies. In this article, we’ll dive into what proxies and VPNs are, how they can benefit your business, and what is reasonable to use depending on your needs.
What is a VPN?
A VPN stands for “virtual private network”. When you type a request and press “Enter”, a VPN server creates an encrypted tunnel. Encryption means that the data you send is ciphered. Your data goes through that tunnel to a VPN server. The server then sends it to the target server. The target server sees the IP and location of a VPN server. Basically, a VPN creates a private network inside a global network so you don’t contact the global web directly.
The main benefit a VPN offers you is encryption which results in improved security and privacy.
Even if you exchange information only between trusted parties, bad actors may intercept your data while transferring it. It’s called a man-in-the-middle attack. Yet if the data is encrypted by a VPN, it’s useless to steal it. In the process of encryption, two special keys are created. They are used to decipher encrypted data. You may think of them as passwords. It’s impossible to figure out those keys or guess them. If intercepted but not deciphered, the data looks like strings of random symbols that make no sense. That’s why a VPN offers you a huge security advantage as you’re protected from hackers. As your data travels inside an encrypted tunnel, nobody, including your internet service provider, can see what sources you visit or what you do there. Your security and privacy are taken care of.
Besides, you may choose whether to tunnel all traffic through a VPN or only traffic from certain apps.
Browsers and servers communicate with each other on several levels. To describe it, the Open Systems Interconnection model exists. It consists of seven layers. Depending on the layer a VPN works on, you can route traffic only from a particular app or from everywhere. It’s very convenient since you usually use a VPN only for particular tasks. Routing all the traffic will unnecessarily increase your bills and slow down the connection.
VPN: use cases
VPNs are used by businesses to control who has access to sensitive internal data. Due to encryption, VPNs are also used to secure sensitive operations that involve sending documents, dealing with employees’ data, or entering payment details. A lot of parties or competitors may be after companies. Hackers may want to get your data to steal your money. Your competitors may try to track down your online activity to learn more about your company’s internal affairs. Your internet service provider may collect and sell your information to third parties.
Sometimes you or your workers have to use public networks like Wi-Fi at the airport or in a cafe, which is dangerous. VPNs can help with all those issues. It not only shields your online activity but also protects your data. So you can safely send important information or use Wi-Fi in public places, even for business needs.
What are proxies?
A proxy is a middleman between you and the global web. Usually, when you google something, your browser sends requests directly to the Internet. With proxies, your requests come to the proxy server. The server then forwards your requests to the target server. Not your real IP, but a proxy’s IP and location are visible to the target server. Your connection may be encrypted or not. It depends on the protocol a proxy works on. For example, the SOCKS protocol doesn’t encrypt your data, while the HTTPS protocol does. You can choose what protocol to use depending on your needs.
There are several types of proxies: datacentre, residential, and mobile. Datacentre proxies are a little similar to VPNs since their IPs are also generated by servers. Residential and mobile proxies are the IPs of real people’s devices. People install special apps on their gadgets and opt to sell a part of their traffic to proxy providers. When you buy proxies from a provider, you use that traffic. So, with proxies, it’s like you’re using somebody’s device. Practically, the global web sees you as another person and has no clue that you’re not an ordinary user.
The biggest advantage of proxies is that you can have the IPs of real human devices and not artificial, server-generated addresses. When you use server-generated IPs, your real identity and location remain hidden. Yet, it’s quite easy to detect that requests come from a VPN or a proxy. So, the net knows that something is going on and that you are hiding your real self. It may seem suspicious to some sites. As a result, they may block you. That’s why it’s often necessary to use proxies because they can provide you with a real IP. Authentic IPs can help you access practically any website and stay out of the anti-bot system’s radar. Moreover, proxy providers can provide you with many more IPs than VPN providers. When you have a lot of authentic IPs, it becomes significantly easier to trick sites into thinking that you’re an ordinary customer.
One more plus is that proxies give you more freedom since you can adjust them according to your needs. For example, choose between different protocols. With different protocols, you can have different benefits. For instance, the HTTPS protocol will encrypt your traffic and ensure that your data reaches its final destination. However, there are situations when you aren’t dealing with sensitive information and don’t need encryption but crave speed, e.g., while streaming. Then the SOCKS protocol will be the best choice, as it will help you bypass geo-based restrictions, hide your real IP, and at the same time provide you with a fast connection.
Proxies: use cases
Ad verification, SERP tracking, price comparison, and all the tasks that require web scraping require proxies. With proxies, you can have your IP rotated, or, in other words, changed with every request. It will help you bypass anti-bot systems that sites often implement to protect themselves from scraping. Web scraping is practically impossible to implement with the majority of VPNs since you’ll have to manually change your IP. It’s long and not effective. A few progressive VPN providers offer IP rotation. Still, it’s not the same as proxy rotation. IPs provided by VPN providers are server-generated. It increases your chances of getting detected and banned.
Similarities between proxies and VPNs
There are similarities in how VPNs and proxies work and so they have some common advantages. Functions that proxies, as well as VPNs, can fulfil include:
- enhancing your privacy by hiding your real location and IP;
- providing access to geo-restricted content;
- help you avoid bandwidth throttling.
Regardless of what you decide to use, you have to be careful when choosing a provider. Both proxies and VPN providers may spy on your online activity or collect your personal data and sell it to third parties. Also, you may experience slow connections with low-quality VPNs and proxies. So, being careful while deciding on a provider is always necessary.
What can you get at DataImpulse?
DataImpulse is an ethical provider of residential proxies. We legally obtain our pool of IPs. Our team developed an app that people install on their devices and choose to sell a part of their traffic. We pay them for their GBs. With us, you can concentrate on your business and not worry about legitimate issues or whether our proxies are safe to use.
Time is money. If you lose time on limited bandwidth, you lose money as well. We have our own proxy pool and don’t resell the IPs of other providers. Thus, we can balance the load on our servers and ensure you have a high-speed connection suitable for traffic-consuming activities such as live streaming or web scraping. If there is a need, we can provide you with a personal server. That way, you can make a limitless number of requests without losing speed.
- 5+ million IPs from 194 locations
A vast pool of IPs from diverse areas is at your service. With us, you can reach almost every country in the world. If there is a need, you can have a country plan. You choose the necessary country, and we provide you with the best IPs in that area.
- Safe proxies at a reasonable price
We can offer you proxies for only $1 per 1GB. This price is possible because we don’t resell IPs from other providers; that’s why we can regulate charges. We don’t sell your data to anyone. Moreover, we work on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. It means that you pay only for the traffic you actually use. If you buy traffic, there is no time frame for you to use it.
- User-friendly interface and 24/7 human support
With our intuitive dashboard, it’s easy to switch between different protocols or select the necessary countries. There are numerous tutorials available about how to start using proxies with different apps and browsers. If you have questions or issues, you can contact us anytime, including late nights, weekends, and holidays, and we will help you. Typically, we answer in several minutes.
To sum up
There is no silver bullet if you’re trying to choose between proxies and a VPN. To make the right choice, you need to understand your use case. If security is your main priority, a VPN is a good choice. On the other hand, proxies are often more handy for certain business tasks like SERP tracking or ad verification. With proxies, you can use authentic IPs, while the IPs of a VPN are server-generated. A VPN cannot replace proxies in those cases. With DataImpulse, you can have safe residential proxies at a modest price of $1 per 1GB. There are 5+ million IPs available, so you can easily scrape the web, get over geo-based limitations, and protect your privacy without risking being banned anywhere. Start now by contacting us at [email protected] or clicking on the “Try now” button in the top-right corner.