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Proxy vs VPN: Which Is Right for You?

Jul 11, 2024   |   8 mins
Proxy vs VPN: Which Is Right for You?

Proxy and VPN are two common tools for protecting online privacy and accessing restricted content. On the surface, they seem similar as they both hide your IP address. However, there are some key differences between them.

This article will explore the definitions, workings, and main differences between Proxy vs VPN, helping you decide which one is better for you!

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Table of contents

Proxy vs VPN: What Are They?

A VPN or a proxy server is always used for the same purpose: to hide your IP address from the site or server you want to visit.

When you go to a site, the server can use your IP to figure out where you are. Proxies and VPNs can replace your IP with theirs, hiding your real IP. Well, what are proxy and VPN, and how are they different?

A proxy acts as a "middleman," passing data between you and the target site. Many proxies are available as websites where you can enter the link you want to access, similar to browsing a regular website. However, proxies usually only change the IP for specific apps or sites.

Proxy vs VPN: What Are They?

A VPN is a service that creates a secure connection using encryption. Unlike proxies, a VPN can change the IP address for your entire device, not just specific apps. Also, a VPN can encrypt your data traffic, protecting your online activities from theft and tracking. Whether you want to access geo-restricted content or browse securely on public Wi-Fi, a VPN will help.

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Proxy vs VPN: How Do They Work?

The proxy just receives your request and forwards it to the target server.

1. Request initiation: When you use a proxy to access a website, your browser sends the request to the proxy server instead of the website's server.

2. Proxy server receives requests: Your request is routed through the proxy server. It then handles your request on your behalf.

3. Forward the request: The proxy server forwards your requests to the target website on the Internet.

Proxy vs VPN, with a proxy, without a proxy

4. Get the response: When the website responds to the request, the proxy server receives the response on your behalf.

5. Send the response: Finally, the proxy server sends the response back to your web browser, which shows the content as if it came straight from the website.

Additionally, the proxy can handle requests and responses between the user and the website, such as modifying or filtering to make access faster.

A VPN works by an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote server, changing your IP address and protecting your online privacy.

1. Establish a connection: When you activate the VPN, your device makes a secure, encrypted connection to the VPN server.

2. Change your IP address: Now, your device's IP address appears to be the location of the VPN server, not your real location.

3. Data encryption: Everything sent from your device to the VPN server is encrypted. This means no one can read your data if they try to intercept it.

with a vpn, without a vpn

4. Route through the VPN server: After encryption, your data and online activities go through a secure "tunnel" to the VPN server, which keeps your data safe from interception or changes.

5. Access to the Internet: Your VPN server decrypts and sends your data to the Internet. Websites will see your request as coming from the VPN server, not where you actually are.

6. Receive data: Websites send encrypted data back to the VPN server, which then forwards it to your device through a secure tunnel.

Through this process, your IP address and data traffic are channeled through the VPN server, effectively hiding your true identity and location.

Proxy vs VPN: 8 Main Differences

Proxies and VPNs seem to do exactly the same thing - change IP and ensure anonymity. However, there are actually many differences between them, especially in the following aspects:

1. Encryption & Security

  • Proxy: While proxies can hide your IP address, they typically don't encrypt the transmitted data.
  • VPN: VPNs hide your IP address and encrypt all data between your device and the website, preventing others from monitoring your online activities.

💡Compared to proxies, VPNs offer a higher level of anonymity and privacy.

2. Unblocking

  • Proxy: Only give you access to some content in a specific region, not all. Besides, proxy servers are always banned by websites. This is because proxies don't encrypt traffic, and their IP addresses can be misused, making them seem malicious.
  • VPN: More powerful unlocking capabilities. A VPN can unlock global content by connecting to servers in different regions. Moreover, good VPNs have advanced unlocking technologies like obfuscation to avoid website blocks.

💡VPNs have stronger unlocking capabilities.

3. Speed

  • Proxy: Typically, proxies provide faster speeds because they only handle specific requests from the browser or apps, not all network traffic on the device.
  • VPN: Because VPNs encrypt all traffic, this may lead to slightly delayed response times. However, this varies by provider. For example, top VPNs like X-VPN have Split Tunneling. This feature allows you to choose which data goes through the encrypted VPN channel and which goes through your local network. It ensures security without sacrificing speed.

💡Proxies usually offer faster speeds.

4. Coverage

  • Proxy: Proxies can only be set up for specific apps or browsers. Not all apps support proxy settings.
  • VPN: VPNs offer comprehensive protection for all online activities, including all web browsing and apps.

💡VPNs provide more comprehensive coverage.

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5. Features & Applications

  • Proxy: Mainly used for accessing specific geo-restricted content. They can also speed up network access through caching and filtering or blocking specific types of content.
  • VPN: Besides hiding your real IP address and bypassing geo-restrictions, VPNs provide extra security and privacy features like a kill switch and obfuscation. They can also help reduce game ping and latency.

💡VPNs have more features and uses.

6. Ease of Use

  • Proxy: No need to install. You can set up the proxy server directly in your browser.
  • VPN: Most require an installation. However, once installed, it works for the whole device or network, so you don't have to set it up separately for each app.

💡Proxies are easier and quicker to use.

7. Customer Support

  • Proxy: Usually doesn't provide any customer support.
  • VPN: Typically offers live chat, email support, and more.

💡VPNs offer timely and helpful customer support.

8. Price

  • Proxy: Mostly free to use.
  • VPN: Most high-quality VPNs require a subscription. However, now, more and more quality VPN providers like X-VPN are starting to offer free versions.

completely free VPN, X-VPN

VPN vs Proxy: A Quick Comparison
Data EncryptionUnencryptedEncrypted
SpeedFastSome Speed Loss
CoverageSpecific TrafficAll Traffic
Features & ApplicationsLimitedMore
Installation RequiredNOYES
Customer Support
PriceMost freeMost paid

VPN vs Proxy: Which Should You Choose?

Based on the comparison above, you can see that both proxies and VPNs have their own pros and cons. So, should you choose a proxy or a VPN? There's no single answer because it depends on your specific needs. Next, we will help you make a decision based on some common use cases.

Choose a proxy if you:

1. Temporary access to a website: If you just need temporary access to sites that are restricted by location and don't need extra security, it is more convenient to use a proxy.

2. Hide your IP address only: If you just want to hide your IP address for certain browsing sessions, a proxy can do that.

3. Increase page load speed: To speed up webpage loading and reduce bandwidth usage, a proxy can help by caching commonly used resources.

VPN vs Proxy: Which Should You Choose

Choose a VPN if you:

1. Need for high security: If you need comprehensive privacy and security protection, including browsing, downloading, gaming, and connecting to public Wi-Fi, then a VPN is what you need.

2. Global access: A good VPN has servers worldwide, making accessing the whole world easier. For example, once you want to change locations on X-VPN, there's a list of all options, and just in one click, you can join the country of your liking. Proxies, on the other hand, have a way longer process of jumping the locations.

3. Apply to all activities: A VPN is better if you need to bypass geographic restrictions for all apps and services, not just web browsers or individual applications.

4. Need for a more stable network: VPNs usually provide a more stable connection. This is because they use more complex encryption protocols, while proxy servers may not perform well. For example, X-VPN has developed the Everest Protocol for optimized speed, ensuring seamless browsing.

Overall, VPNs are suitable for regular users like us. Whether you're trying to protect your online identity, bypass geo-restrictions for streaming and gaming, or just ensure security on public Wi-Fi, a VPN is easier and more helpful. But the choice is yours, so choose what suits you best.

Please use proxies or VPNs responsibly and for legal purposes.

The Best VPN for Beginners in 2024

While proxies have their benefits, VPN is safer and more versatile. If you're new to VPNs, X-VPN is the perfect choice! It's user-friendly, secure, fast, and has strong unblocking capabilities—totally all you need.

The Best VPN for Beginners in 2024, X-VPN

  • Free to Use: X-VPN offers both free and premium plans. You can start with the free version or a 30-day free trial.
  • Easy to Use: The interface is simple and easy to connect with just one click—perfect for beginners.
  • Security & Privacy: Military-grade AES-256 protection, strict no-logs policy, and advanced features like kill switch and obfuscation.
  • Unblocking: With 8000+ servers across 64 countries, it effortlessly unlocks almost anything you want. It also provides dedicated streaming and gaming servers.
  • Compatibility: Works on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and routers.
  • Speed: One of the fastest VPN service providers.
  • Customer Support: 24/7 live chat.

If you want to find the best VPN for your specific needs, check out the following article:


Now, you should have a clear idea of the difference between VPNs and proxies. In comparison, a VPN is more secure and better overall. If you feel hesitant, try X-VPN for free first and see!

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1. Do you need both a VPN and a proxy?

No. While both VPN and proxy can hide your IP address, VPN offers stronger features. In most cases, using a VPN is enough to meet your needs.

2. Are proxy servers faster than VPNs?

Generally, proxy servers are faster than VPNs because they have fewer features and don't provide encryption. However, the speed of the VPN and proxy you use largely depends on the service provider.

3. Is Tor a proxy server or a VPN?

Tor is neither a proxy server nor a VPN. It is a network that makes internet traffic anonymous by passing it through volunteer-operated servers.