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The differences between a proxy server and a VPN

Rinus Reuvekamp

The use of VPN services and proxy servers has become commonplace among modern users. With their help, people retain anonymity when visiting sites and using programs, work with multi-accounts, and also bypass regional restrictions on access to sites. This is due to the substitution of IP addresses and network information about users that occur when connecting to a proxy or VPN. Users are constantly faced with the question: ?What is the difference between a proxy server and a VPN?" Although their purpose is similar, the principle of operation is different.

Comparison Chart

Comparison Basis

Proxy Server


No security
Authentication & Encryption
Works on
Protocols used
IPsec, L2TP, PTTP, etc.
Tunnel creation
No Tunnel Formation
Creation of secure link between the end-users

VPN Connection Features

VPN is a virtual private network running on top of your Internet connection, or another network. When using VPN, you connect to the network, and it provides an encrypted connection to the server you need directly. Therefore, no one, not even the provider, will receive information about the sites you have visited, and it will also be impossible to identify you by IP address and location since you will use the IP address of the VPN.

However, when connecting to a VPN, all users use a single IP address. For this reason, it is easy to establish that you are using a VPN connection, making it suitable for surfing the Internet and maintaining anonymity, but useless for working with multi-accounts and some programs, since all accounts running from one VPN will be detected and blocked.

As a rule, a connection to a VPN is made using browser extensions or individual applications, which simplifies the connection and allows you to quickly change the country through which you want to access the sites.

The downside is that a high-quality VPN service costs money. Moreover, it is much more expensive than a proxy server. Also, the use of VPN in the browser creates a strong load on your Internet, slowing down the connection speed, and, accordingly, the speed of loading pages.

Proxy Server Features

A proxy is an additional server that serves as an intermediary between your device and the site server to which you are connecting. Unlike VPN, you do not connect to the network, but skip your Internet connection through a proxy server. In this case, the IP address and location is replaced by the proxy server data. However, unlike VPN, the user uses the individual IP address of the proxy, and not the IP address of the whole network. Therefore, proxies are used both to preserve anonymity and bypass website blocking, as well as to work with multi-accounts and programs. Since each proxy has its own individual IP, it will protect your accounts from banning.

A proxy server does not require the use of specialized programs and applications since the connection through the proxy is provided for in the OS itself, the program or browser. Access requires only the IP address of the proxy, the port, as well as the username and password if authentication is used. Likewise, the degree of anonymity of the proxy server directly depends on the type of your connection to the proxy.

In addition, connecting through a proxy server is faster and more stable than connecting via a VPN because proxies are intended for individual use. Proxy servers are cheaper than VPNs, and when purchasing, a choice of the necessary type of connection is available to adapt the proxy to the individual needs of each user.

Compared to VPN, a proxy server also has disadvantages. For example, the connection speed depends on the remoteness of the proxy server, so it is important to choose the right geo proxy. Setting up a proxy is slightly more difficult, and you can quickly change the country.


A VPN is a connection through a virtual network, and a proxy is a connection through a third-party server. This is the main difference between a VPN and a proxy. Although they are designed for similar purposes, proxies solve more problems, are cheaper, work faster and more stable. Therefore, we recommend that you use the proxy server, although the final decision is still yours.