Proxy vs VPN: How to better protect your business [Main differences]

Alin Lazar
by Alin Lazar
Editor
Alin Lazar is a young, free spirit, and open-minded person with a burning passion for technology and writing. Always eager to help, he devoted himself to assisting others with their computer-related problems. He received... Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Proxies and VPNs are recommended in order to stop cyberattacks from breaching your data.
  • There are many differences when using these two security and privacy services, on both business and home-user levels.
  • To protect your brand, find a suitable proxy with various customization options.
proxy vs vpn difference

Security is the top priority when it comes to companies and businesses. Protecting data is not an option, it is mandatory.

Cyberattacks have become more frequent lately, and simply using the basic Windows safety measures doesn’t cut it anymore, since hackers and evildoers are slowly developing ways to bypass them.

As a business owner, you have to think about other ways to secure your data. Virtual Private Networks and Proxies are great ways to do just that.

VPNs will re-route the Internet traffic to a designated network, thus hiding the original IP address and identity of a user.

A proxy server acts as an intermediary between a client requesting a certain resource and the server which provides it.

Instead of connecting directly to the server, the client will redirect the request to the proxy server, analyzing and performing the tasks or transactions in the request.

Proxies are a method to simplify or control requests, provide load balancing, privacy, or act as an extra layer of protection.

What is a Proxy?

A proxy server is an intermediary or a gateway between end-user clients and the websites they browse, and they translate network or protocol traffic.

They provide different levels of security, privacy, and overall functionality, depending on your company’s needs and policy.

For example, sending a request to a certain address will flow through a proxy server before reaching the website. Afterward, the request will return through the same proxy server, which will forward it back to you.

Proxy servers aren’t limited only to forwarding requests. They will act as firewalls, web filters, and provide shared network connections or cache data.

Additionally, they can also be used for gathering data en masse and provide a high level of privacy, sheltering businesses from the malicious software that lurks around the corners of the Internet.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a service that will redirect Internet traffic to another starting location by establishing secure and encrypted connections. This way, it protects the privacy of its users and keeps their identities private.

Since they make your actions and personal data virtually untraceable by using secure and encrypted connections, VPNs ensure safe browsing even on public Wi-Fi.

The way they work is by creating a data tunnel between a local network and an exit node situated in a different location. This makes the users seem like they were in the other location, confining their actual whereabouts.

Besides security, VPNs are also used to bypass regional restrictions which would otherwise restrict the access of certain countries or parts of the world.

How do VPNs differ from proxies?

Although both VPNs and proxies add extra layers of security to businesses and allow them to access the Internet anonymously by hiding their IP addresses, they operate differently.

There is a big difference between VPNs and proxies. A VPN will only encrypt a private connection to safely browse the Internet. It essentially replaces your ISP routing, securing traffic on your network.

Accessing the Internet through a VPN completely removes the risks of using an unencrypted connection from a local Wi-Fi that will leave you exposed to cyberattacks.

On the other hand, proxies provide thousands of different IPs, which allow users to make just as many requests. In short, they are mandatory to harvest massive amounts of data.

If you want to ensure that the employees work remotely from a safe environment, accessing resources and the company’s sensitive data, setting up a VPN would be a perfect choice.

On the other hand, if you are more concerned about the sites visited by your clients or users, setting up a proxy service is the way to go.

Additionally, VPNs and proxies are used in different situations, the former being more appropriate for B2C (business to customer) and individual use cases.

Meanwhile, the latter is better for collecting data, protecting businesses and brands against copyright infringements, improving corporate security and privacy, preventing theft of sensitive information, monitoring brand reputation and mentions, or balancing traffic (by relieving server load) to save bandwidth.

Therefore, a proxy server will improve the speed of a corporate network considerably, even reducing the bandwidth required to browse the Internet. VPNs on the other hand, cannot do that.

More so, a residential proxy creates multiple connections to different locations, which is ideal for brand monitoring and data scraping.

Main benefits and disadvantages of a proxy

Proxies help control and monitor Internet usage in companies by allowing or blocking access to certain websites.

They also improve bandwidth usage and the overall network performance by saving local copies of the websites and (CACHE) which helps when there are multiple requests for the same website.

As we said before, proxies also provide privacy and security by hiding the identity of the original request from the server. This also allows users to access blocked resources.

Main benefits and disadvantages of a VPN

VPNs will make your browsing history untrackable by the service provider or even the websites that you visit (yes, some websites can also keep a history of all the times you’ve visited them).

Additionally, just as we already established, they can hide the IP and location, which allows you to bypass regional and restricted content.

Streamers can cover their location while broadcasting to prevent doxing. A VPN will also protect the data you send and that is being sent to your devices, so hackers won’t be able to access it.

Unfortunately, VPNs can also have performance and latency issues, depending on the distance between you and the nearest available server.

Since they use a local client to connect to the server, local memory and CPU problems might slow down the connection.

Web scraping with proxies: The key to competitive business

Proxies are, essentially, gateways. They help automate business tasks (gathering or mining data) and can unlock enormous data sources like Google, enabling you to overcome restrictions such as IP blocks, CAPTCHAS, etc.

As a business, you can use them in many cases like SEO research, analysis, price aggregation, gathering data, brand protection, or verifying ads.

Additionally, they offer means to research competitors, scraping potential employee profiles from public sources, and much more.

International businesses can surpass national boundaries, allowing them to check and scrape localized data that is normally geo-protected.

Agencies of digital marketing utilize proxy networks for managing their clients’ social media accounts daily.

Major e-commerce platforms such as Skyscanner or Amazon also use proxies to hoard data and set competitive prices in real-time.

How to protect your brand using a proxy?

To protect your business, you must find a suitable service provider. Smartproxy offers a lot of customization and the prices are affordable. Here are the different ways of setting up proxy servers through them:

1. Set up a proxy on Chrome browser

  1. Go to Smartproxy’s official website.
  2. Press Start Now.
  3. Register by telling the developers what you’re going to use the proxies for.
  4. Enter your credentials and select Create account.
  5. Next, verify your email address to activate the account.
  6. Press Buy Proxies.

  7. Choose between Residential proxiesDatacenter proxies or Search Engine proxies.
  8. If you chose the Residential proxies, select whether you want the RegularEnterprise, or Reseller.
  9. Now, select Buy subscription.

  10. Follow the steps for the payment and finish setting up the subscription.

2. Use the Smartproxy browser extension

  1. Open Google Chrome and type in Smartproxy extension.
  2. Select Add extension.
  3. Open the Smartproxy Extension.
  4. Accept the license agreement.
  5. Choose your Location, the Type, enter your Credentials, and turn it On.
  6.  Wait for the extension to turn on.
  7. If you want to change the location of your proxy, simply turn the extension off and change it from the interface, then toggle it back on.

Smartproxy gives users the option to live chat with their customer support team. The service is also available 24/7.

What types of proxies are there?

Proxies only affect certain parts of a connection and can be configured using a variety of hardware and software, creating different proxy types:

  • Residential – Have IP addresses of real, physical devices, are considered the best type of proxy for users.
  • Datacenter – Non-physical IP addresses created by datacenters.
  • Anonymous – Help clients browse the Internet anonymously.
  • Private/Dedicated – Used by only one client at a time.
  • Shared – Works with multiple users at a time.
  • Public – Are used to steal data. They are the most unsafe type of proxies.
  • SSL – Transfer data securely and privately through the SSL protocol.
  • HTTP – Are generally used in niche situations, and do not rely on the SSL protocol.
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How can residential proxies protect your brand?

Services such as Smartproxy will cater to different business needs. For example, they improve the security, privacy, and anonymity of your corporation.

They can also be used to fight copyright infringements and will help prevent outside agents from stealing the company’s sensitive data. You can even use them to monitor the brand’s reputation and its mentions.

A proxy server will considerably improve the speed and power of a corporate network by reducing the amount of bandwidth required to browse the Internet, something that a VPN won’t be able to do.

Residential proxies can also create multiple connections in different locations, which is vital for data scraping and monitoring.

Smartproxy offers a great suite of free tools that help its clients access data from any location in the world.

The company’s free proxy management solutions include an on-site dashboard, public API, browser extensions, address generators, X Browser and Smart Scraper.

You can access an IP pool of over 40 million addresses every month, in over 195 locations worldwide, and the products are compatible and easy to use with any other software, automation script, or web scraper.

Therefore, proxies are a must-have in every company. Choose Smartproxy and your business will benefit from a multitude of services, plans, protection, and data management.

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