No, Proxy servers and VPNs are not exactly the same but in most cases, people use them as a common thing i.e. for hiding their IP and accessing blocked content. But, VPNs are different than IP proxies.
Where Proxy servers act as a gateway between the internet and the end user, VPNs make it possible to pass all the traffic from the end user to the internet through an encrypted tunnel.
If you’re cautious about your online security – and you should be – you may have considered setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a residential IP proxy because, without the use of such technology, it becomes difficult to stay safe online.
VPNs and proxies both provide greater privacy than you may otherwise have, allowing you to access the internet anonymously by concealing your IP address in various ways. But they do it in very different ways.
Proxies and VPNs Defined
When you browse online, your computer usually connects to a website and starts downloading pages for you to read. However, When you utilize a proxy server, your computer routes all web traffic through the proxy first. The proxy sends your request to the target website, downloads the data, and returns it to you.
Proxy servers enable users to circumvent content restrictions and surveillance by concealing IP addresses in this manner. Users can, for example, access geographically restricted content by connecting to a proxy server in their intended location, such as a US-based Netflix subscriber connecting to a UK proxy server to access UK Netflix content.
In particular, a residential IP proxy is predominately used to obscure the IP address of your device and also choose a specific location to appear as though you are connected to the internet in that area. But, you must be very careful while using Proxy servers. Always go with the professional ones if you are using some confidential data or the use of your credentials is a must. Free proxies are there on the internet but using them for the works where you have to enter your passwords is not what I would recommend because the proxy server owners may have the details you enter as the traffic goes through that server. So, use them wisely.
A VPN encrypts your data, secures your online identity by masking your IP address, and allows you to safely access public Wi-Fi networks.
VPNs function at the operating system level. This implies that they reroute all of your traffic, regardless of whether it is coming from your browser or an app. They also encrypt internet communication between your device and the internet. As a result, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will not be able to see what you’re doing online, only that you’re connected to a VPN server. This encryption also shields you from website monitoring and government surveillance. Now that remote working is more common, it’s also important to be wary of hackers who may attempt to snoop on your device.
I would highly recommend using VPN over proxies because these are more secure, and the connection is encrypted which means not even a VPN server owner would know whatever you enter while browsing.
What Are the Benefits of Using Proxy Servers?
Users can benefit from proxy servers in a variety of ways. It is important to note that these advantages are depending on the type and configuration of the proxy. Before employing a proxy, users should always research its capabilities.
- Anonymous browsing: Anonymous proxies enable users to surf the internet anonymously by masking their IP addresses.
- Enhanced security: Certain proxy server types (for example, HTTPS proxies) can be configured to provide secure connections via encryption. Malicious emails, like phishing assaults, can be prevented from reaching employee inboxes using SMTP proxies.
- Better speed: By caching popular websites, proxy servers can improve data transfer and save bandwidth. When a user requests data from a server through a proxy, the proxy will first check its database to see if a cached copy is available. Cached data minimizes the amount of web requests from the proxy server, allowing the user to retrieve data considerably faster.
Uses of Residential IPs
Residential IPs are very trustworthy, as they are linked to real devices and locations. In particular, they can help you get around many problems and are great for business use. Let’s look at their most common uses:
- Web scraping and internet marketing: To achieve a competitive edge, your marketing approach must extend beyond advertisements and social media posts. You must scrape and evaluate information from your competitors’ websites, or simply put, start web scraping. To do so, you can employ residential proxies that regularly change IP addresses, allowing you to scrape even enormous sites on a large scale.
- SEO content compliance: Relevant content that is categorized effectively and SEO compliant receives a better ranking in search engines. To improve your indexing, SEO, and traffic, you must generate accurate links for your website and monitor them using crawling and audit tools that operate with residential proxies.
- Brand protection and AD verification: Your competitors may use sneaky methods, such as harmful adverts, to harm your brand’s reputation. With proper verification of the adverts displayed on your web pages, you may identify and block the dubious ones.
- Social media management: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are all wary of operating several social accounts from the same system. Fortunately, residential proxies with enhanced rotation make it easier to overcome this stumbling block. They enable you to handle several accounts simultaneously and expand your following or web marketing without limitations.
- Online safety: Residential proxies effectively ensure you near-complete anonymity in all of your online activity. This will actively help to prevent your data from being stolen by unscrupulous hackers and help protect you from other threats such as malicious websites.
Both residential proxies and VPNs are useful tools when navigating the digital world. They are similar in essence but work in different ways to mask your online activity and keep your data safe while browsing. Businesses can utilize residential proxies to collect and analyze data, compare prices and products online, and increase their market reach without being discovered or prohibited by sites.