We Recently wrote an article about: What does your Internet Service Provider know/see about you?
Proxy mainly acts as a web filter. The Proxy settings are applied to your browser no matter which browser you use.
So when you browse the web through a proxy, security, speed are improved. You can also change your geographic location. Even the best proxy service will only secure traffic via an internet browser using the proxy server settings, it cannot be used for other applications or softwares/programs. The concept of a proxy server is completely browser-based. There are many times compatibility issues that use non-browser technology. It will not protect you when using apps or desktop/laptop clients.
A proxy acts as a middle man while you surf the web i.e. when you surf, all the traffic goes through it. It can change your geographical location and show a bizarre IP address when someone tries to reverse-search you. You can watch youtube videos which are not allowed or restricted in your country.
Proxy servers do not encrypt your traffic, they are used to only hide your real IP address. So a person with access to your traffic can snoop and look at your traffic. They are not full-proof from hackers, ISP’s, Governments etc.
Again, Proxy will only keep a single application anonymous (Usually a browser), not your computer.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) works with all Internet-based services. A VPN encrypts your traffic, replacing your ISP and routing all traffic through the server, also the applications you might be using on your devices.
Everything your surf and browse is routed through that server so your traffic/surfing data and devices on the network are 100% protected from eavesdroppers. They provide a better Protection than proxies from hackers while using public Wi-Fi and also provide a virtual firewall for your devices.
Similar to proxies, VPN’s make your traffic appear as if it comes from a remote IP address. VPNs are configured at the OS level, and the connection encrypts the complete network connection of the device it is configured on. VPNs will capture all the traffic of every application on your computer, from your browser, games, skype calls etc.
This procedure of encrypting, hiding, and securing a device’s traffic is carried out by passing through an encrypted tunnel between your device and the remote network. This makes a VPN connection an ideal solution for any sort of high-stakes network use where privacy or security is a concern. Neither your ISP, Governments, Hackers can access the relaying traffic between your computer and the VPN server.
Proxies will never encrypt your traffic, they will mask/hide your real location and that is it. VPN servers, on the other hand, take up both processing power and bandwidth on account of the overhead introduced by the encryption protocols to not only mask/hide your entire traffic but also encrypt all your traffic from hackers or eavesdroppers.
So what is better?