VPN and proxy server are useful tools for those who want to browse the internet through a more secure portal. It is important to note that there are differences between a VPN and proxy but both serve the same basic purpose and that is to provide an easier access to restricted information and preserve user anonymity when online.
Advantages of VPN and Proxy
VPNs and proxies allow users to access websites and other areas in the internet that are otherwise hard to access using their original IP addresses. Both allow for faster access, since they cache pages or sites which then take faster to reload when these are accessed the second time around. A proxy server acts as a middleman between the user and the site the user wants to access. This affords security and anonymity because the IP address registered outside of the user’s network is the IP address of the server. There are free proxy servers and these are easier to use and set up compared to VPNs. Proxy servers can be accessed by simply typing in the URL of the server. Because of how they operate, proxy servers are suited for accessing sites which are otherwise hard to access due to geographical restrictions.
A VPN offers more advantages, such as faster speeds and higher security. A VPN or Virtual Private Network is essentially a secure network protected by a high level of encryption, which allows users to securely browse the web. VPNs offer faster speeds than proxy servers, they are more secure, allows users to choose their own server location and flexible enough to be used on both mobile and computers. More and more VPN providers also now offer subscriptions that feature a one-touch set-up, which means that even first-time users will have no problem setting up their own VPN connections in a matter of minutes. A VPN is also useful for those accessing the internet through public wireless or hotspot connections. Because the network is secure, anyone using a public network is insulated from any threat that non-VPN users are vulnerable to. This is a very important characteristic of VPNs that appeal to those who want to protect their online activities from data mining companies, the government and even their own ISP providers.
Disadvantages of VPN and Proxy
There are certain disadvantages to using either a proxy or a VPN. For one, information being passed using a proxy server can be intercepted by a third party, especially if you are using a free proxy because these connections are not encrypted. You will have more security if you use a VPN but a subscription can set you back a few dollars a month, which could accumulate to a considerable amount for an entire year. Proxy servers are also prone to spammy advertisements and may even expose users to malware. While VPNs are more secure, they also require a certain level of technical know-how, which can be pretty intimidating for many people. The use of VPNs or proxies could also lead to security problems especially for websites that implement strict user behavior protocols. For example, someone using a VPN to access PayPal may find that the website has flagged his or her activity as suspicious since it appeared that he was accessing site from a completely different country. This could create unnecessary problems that will require the user to contact website support.
The use of a VPN also encourages prohibited activity. Because users can access restricted sites, downloading restricted information and files, such as movies and music, becomes easier to do because the user is anonymous. This is the reason why many sites are now implementing stricter security measures targeted towards VPN users.
There are some distinct advantages to using a VPN and proxy server. Both allow access to websites that are subject to restriction and they facilitate faster browsing as well. However, less-than-ideal security offered by a proxy, the cost of a VPN, and potential set-up problems are a few reasons why many people also prefer to use their regular connections. However, for those who need unrestricted access to the internet wherever they are in the world, a VPN and proxy can provide them with the solutions they need.
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