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Proxy VS. VPN: Similarities, Differences & Which One to Use

Proxy VS. VPN - this article answers all your questions to the comparison between a proxy server and a VPN including similarities, differences, and which to choose.

Both proxies and VPNs are efficient solutions when people need to access global content by changing the IP address and add security to internet traffic. You may be wondering what their similarities and differences are and which one you should use

Proxy VS VPN

In this article, we will compare proxies and VPNs to help you understand their advantages and disadvantages. Then you can make a decision which one you should use especially for torrenting and accessing Hulu

The article also answers all your questions regarding proxy vs. VPN at the end. 

 A proxy server is typically a remote public server that stands between the website you are visiting and your device through a web app or desktop program. All your traffic goes to the proxy server, which hides your original IP and access web pages on your behalf. 

As a result, the website sees the IP of the proxy server instead of your real IP assigned by your ISP. 

What Is a Proxy

Three types of proxy servers are seen most commonly:

SOCKS5 - These proxies are not limited to web traffic but can be set up for games, streaming, torrenting, etc. 

HTTP - These proxies are set up only for website browsing and are useful for accessing geo-restricted websites. 

Transparent - These proxies are used to control and monitor web traffic, and the person who sets them up can block certain websites to save bandwidth or restrict access. Schools, offices, homes, and public Wi-Fi use transparent proxies a lot. 

A virtual private network, or VPN, is software that connects your device to a private server. It hides your real IP either by assigning your device a dedicated IP or dynamic IPs provided by a VPN service. It encrypts any data sent to or received from the internet, preventing your online activities from being monitored, tracked, collected, hacked, or intercepted. 

A VPN can be an app or a browser extension. The features and servers available all depend on the VPN provider. 

What Is a VPN

You should have a better understanding of what a proxy or a VPN is and how they work to help you bypass the restriction of your ISP. According to your needs, you might want to use a proxy server or a VPN. Read below to know their similarities.

  • Reroute your internet traffic. Both a proxy and a VPN will reroute your data to a remote server so that your data won't go through the ISP directly. 

  • Access geo-blocked content. Both a proxy and a VPN help you access restricted or censored websites, video streaming platforms, games, and social media. You can get an anonymous proxy or VPN for Hulu. 

  • Hide IP address. Your original IP address is either masked or encrypted by a proxy server or a VPN server.

  • Slow down connection speed. Both proxies and VPNs will slow down the network speed.

With the definitions and similarities aforementioned, it may still be challenging for average users like you to tell which one you should use. 

Compare a proxy server and a VPN, the main differences between a proxy and a VPN sit in:

  • Security. VPNs encrypt your traffic while proxy servers don't. Most public proxy servers just hide your identity from the website but don't encrypt your connection. 

  • Privacy. Plenty of proxies will log user data and sell it to governments, advertisers, or even hackers, while quality VPN providers have a strict no-log policy to prevent your privacy to be breached. 

  • Coverage. VPNs work on the operating system level and reroute any traffic between your device and the internet including the active and background windows, while proxies work on the application level and only reroute one web page you are visiting at a time. 

  • Speed. Using a VPN can have a slower speed than a proxy because of the data encryption, but in some cases, using a VPN can speed up your network speed. 

  • Cost. VPNs with full features usually are paid (there are VPN free as well with limited features and data) while most proxy servers are free of charge.

  • Configuration. VPNs are very straightforward to use while proxies need manual setup with some degree of expertise. 

In summary, using a VPN is more convenient and secure than a proxy.

Torrenting is the act of downloading and uploading files through a torrenting client like BitTorrent or uTorrent instead of a central server. It is usually associated with piracy because the torrents often contain copyright-protected or government-restricted files, including music, movies, games, and software. 

Proxy VS VPN Torrenting

Therefore, if you download or upload the mentioned material with torrenting software, security and privacy should be the priorities you consider if you don't want to be caught.

VPNs are superior in this situation. VPNs can hide your IP and encrypt all your data, leaving your identity anonymous and activities vague. 

You May Like: 8 Top VPNs for Windows/PC Free Trial

If you just want to change your IP quickly to access some geo-restricted websites, a free proxy server is a good choice. It passes your traffic through a remote server without any protection to your traffic. 

However, if you care about the security, privacy, and fast connection speed for your internet activities, such as banking, streaming, torrenting, and gaming, using a VPN is the best idea because all your data is not only routed through a secure VPN server but also is encrypted.

iTop VPN is one of the best-in-class VPN services that provide privacy and security to your traffic with the kill switch, ad blocker, and browser privacy. It has over 1800 server locations around the world to help you unblock all web resources. iTop VPN allows you to connect 5 devices at a time simultaneously with dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and free vpn macOS. Free download it and try its free plan today.


1. Do I need both proxy and VPN?

No. If you want to have a quick IP change, using one of them is enough. But a premium VPN provides better privacy and security to your web surfing activities. 

2. Can I use a VPN and proxy together?

VPNs and proxies can be used together but this takes extra configurations. It is not recommended to do so because using both will slow down the internet connection a lot and you need to switch to one or the other whenever you using them. 

3. Is proxy and VPN the same?

No. A proxy server acts as a middle-man which reroutes your data to help you have an anonymous web browsing experience. A VPN connects your device to a VPN server and encrypts all your network traffic.

3. Is a proxy server safe?

Probably not. Free proxy servers simply reroute your internet data but do not add encryption or any protection to it, so hackers and cybercriminals are easy to intercept. On top of that, some proxies themselves might collect user data.

4. Is a VPN safe?

Yes, a reliable VPN provider is safe. It encrypts your traffic and seldom drops the connection. It has multiple security features that add more layers of protection to your identity, whereabouts, and movements on the internet.

Both proxies and VPNs can give you a quick IP change to access unavailable content, but VPNs help you stay anonymous, private, and secure. iTop VPN ranks as one of the most secure and user-friendly VPNs, try this best free VPN for Windows and it won't let you down. 

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