VPN Browsers Vs. Web Proxies

article by Cheyenne M author
In today’s technological age, internet security and privacy is vital to protecting your personal information. Everyone should take steps to maintain their privacy over the internet, especially in public when using a free Wi-Fi connection.

It is also becoming more necessary to add extra protection to your private network at home. Doing research first is important. Picking the wrong type of security can put your family’s personal information in danger. VPN browsers and web proxies provide similar types of security. The differences between the two are small, but unique enough to make proxies and VPN browsers serve completely different needs.

Proxy Vs. VPN Browser – What’s The Difference?

A web proxy uses a remote computer to hide your location, making your connection appear to be coming from somewhere else. For example, someone in New York can connect to a proxy in London, and thus make U.K. specific content suddenly accessible across the ocean. Web proxies are useful for low stakes activities, like viewing any region specific content on YouTube from the comfort of your home. We do not recommend using a web proxy over a public Wi-Fi network because it is possible for anyone to view and steal your personal information over this type of connection. Certain proxies allow you to manually change settings and encrypt data, but the level of security provided is low.

Unlike a full VPN, a VPN browser does not anonymously encrypt your entire operating system. Some services claim to automatically anonymously encrypt your whole internet connection through a remote computer. This includes your IP address and location, web browser information, and applications. Other services only encrypt your browser activity, leaving your applications at risk. The overall method is similar to a web proxy. Encryption provides your connection with an extra, indispensable level of security.

When to Use a Proxy (and Which Type to Use)

As mentioned, a web proxy is a good option for occasional, low-stakes activity, like tricking a video game into believing you are using a different IP address. If you need a higher level of protection for occasional risky situations, certain types of web proxies do offer slightly increased protection.

There are two common proxy server protocols, HTTP and SOCKS. An HTTP proxy can only handle web-based traffic. A SOCKS proxy is indifferent to the type of traffic it receives, this includes FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and activity from a BitTorrent Client. BTGuard is a recommended SOCKS proxy for Bit Torrent traffic. In general, SOCKS proxies are slower than HTTP proxies, and no proxy will secure your entire connection.

If you choose a web proxy, make sure you pay to ensure security. Free proxies exist, but should be used at your own risk.

When to Use A VPN Browser (and Which Type to Use)

A VPN browser provides encrypted security to your internet connection, including applications, without manual configuration needed. It does not protect your whole system. Some VPN browsers like ZenMate cost money, but do not protect applications other than your browser.

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We recommend a service like that over anything that calls itself a “free VPN” if you’re looking for moderate, trustworthy security. Windscribe also offers a web browser and ad block client.