In the world of modern technology, security and privacy play an important role in our daily lives, especially in the online environment. Two common tools that provide a secure internet connection are virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers. Although both tools are designed to protect your privacy and anonymity online, they have their own characteristics and applications that make them unique. In this article, VPS-UP specialists have considered what are the main differences between a VPN and a proxy server, as well as which one is best suited for specific purposes.

A proxy server acts as a conduit between your device and the Internet

Proxies: main types and applications

smartphone) and the website you are visiting. This intermediate link is a remote computer connected to a host server through which all your requests go. This approach allows you to hide your real IP address by replacing it with the address of a proxy server. Sometimes the IP addresses of other proxy users are used for this purpose

Proxy servers have different types and functions:

  • HTTP proxies: process only web pages. When you configure your browser, you route all browser traffic through it.
  • SOCKS proxies: work at the application level and are not limited to web traffic. They are capable of handling all types of web traffic, but are often slower than HTTP proxies due to their popularity and high load.
  • Transparent proxies: operate in such a way that users are often unaware that their traffic is passing through an intermediate server. These proxies can be set up by employers to monitor the online activity of employees, as well as by parents to monitor their children’s online activity and restrict access to certain resources. Hotels and cafes also use transparent proxies to authenticate users on public Wi-Fi networks. In addition, both businesses and home users can configure these proxy servers to optimize network bandwidth usage.

Some providers offer private proxies, but the level of privacy does not reach that of a VPN. Private proxies provide a unique IP address that can only be used by one user. This does not guarantee complete anonymity, but it has its advantages: since the IP address belongs only to you, there is no risk of blocking due to the actions of other users. Private proxy servers provide an increased level of anonymity and control, but you have to pay for this service.

Setting up a proxy in the operating system: simple instructions

There are several ways to set up a proxy server on Windows 10 or another OS:

  • Automatic – the system automatically detects proxy server parameters.
  • Script settings: define the location of the proxy server script.
  • Manual: specify the proxy name, its IP address, and port (if necessary). If there is no information, contact your system administrator.

Instructions for automatic configuration:

  • Go to the menu and select Networks and Internet.
  • The settings block opens, select “Proxy server”.
  • Activate “Use a setup script” in the “Automatic connection” section.
  • Enter the address of the script provided by your proxy provider.
  • Save the settings.

Instructions for manual configuration:

  • Open the menu and select Networks and Internet.
  • In the settings section, select “Proxy server”.
  • Select “Manual settings” and activate “Use proxy server”.
  • Enter the IP and port in the appropriate fields.
  • Save the settings.
VPN - sends requests through a remote server, hides IP address and location

Read also: Choose drives on the server – HDD or SSD, NVMe or SATA

VPN: how it works and its benefits

A VPN redirects requests through a remote server, hiding your IP address and location. This happens at the operating system level, including all Internet traffic, including background programs.

A VPN also encrypts traffic between the Internet and your device, ensuring privacy from your ISP and other observers. This improves online security by protecting data from surveillance and interception.

It is important to choose reliable VPN providers because some may log users’ personal data. This can pose a threat to privacy. It is better to research providers before choosing one to ensure online security and privacy.

VPN and Proxy: what’s the difference

Let’s analyze the main differences between a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and a proxy server.

VPN (Virtual Private Network):

  1. A VPN uses strong encryption to protect your internet traffic.
  2. One of the main benefits of a VPN is that it protects you from intrusive tracking by ISPs, government agencies, and hackers.
  3. Working at the operating system level, a VPN redirects all your Internet traffic through its server.
  4. VPN connection speeds can be a bit slower due to the need for data encryption, but there are ways to optimize for faster speeds.
  5. Most VPNs require a paid subscription to ensure a reliable and secure connection.


  1. A proxy does not use encryption, so your web traffic remains unprotected.
  2. It is not recommended to use a proxy to process confidential information, as it does not provide an adequate level of security.
  3. A proxy only redirects requests from a single program or browser, working only at the program level.
  4. The speed of working with a proxy does not depend much on the load, because each user is assigned his or her own private proxy, but this applies exclusively to private services.
  5. Many proxy servers are offered for free, but there are also paid ones that provide additional features.
  6. Often, the connection to a proxy server is less reliable and can be interrupted more often, especially when using free services.

Now you have a broader understanding of the differences between a VPN and a proxy server, which will help you choose the most appropriate tool for your secure and anonymous internet connection needs.

Free proxies and VPNs: What are the risks and opportunities

Using free proxy servers and VPN services can jeopardize your security and privacy. The developers of these services want to make money, which may result in tracking your personal data, introducing adware, or limiting the amount of data you can access.

Unlike their free counterparts, premium VPNs invest in a strong infrastructure and provide a high level of encryption. They have a large network of servers, fast protocols, round-the-clock support, and continuous improvement of service quality. It is recommended to avoid free providers, as not saving enough can lead to serious problems in the future.

Is it possible to use both services at the same time? Yes, it is possible, but it will require more complex configuration. However, experts recommend choosing one of them to use rather than switching between them.

VPN vs. Proxy – what to choose

Taking into account all the information provided, we can clearly conclude that a VPN is the best choice. This is because a VPN guarantees privacy and security by routing traffic through a secure VPN server and encrypting requests. Unlike a proxy, which redirects requests through an intermediate server, a VPN provides an additional layer of protection. Moreover, a VPN works at the operating system level, protecting all web traffic. However, the final choice depends on your specific needs and objectives.

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