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Proxy Servers vs. Virtual Private Networks

Using a proxy server and a virtual private network, or VPN, are two popular methods for accessing the internet anonymously. These methods may seem a little complicated but can be extremely helpful in protecting your privacy online. Not only do they help you remain anonymous over the web, but also provide access to blocked international sites by masking your IP. You can also overcome geographical restrictions that a few sites have. But before you choose between proxy servers and VPNs, it is essential that  you learn about their pros and cons.

Proxy Servers

As the name says, proxy servers are used to conceal your original IP address and replace it with another to allow easy access to restricted sites. So if you cannot watch videos or play music on a particular site, because of your geographical location, then you can use the proxy server as an intermediary to access them. What makes this option suitable for many is that it is easy to use.

To begin with, you need to find a proxy server, and then enter the URL of the website you wish to access. The IP address that the website sees is one that belongs to the proxy, and not yours. So if you want to access a site that is restricted to a specific country, then you need to find a proxy server in that location and use it to gain access.

Pros and cons of a proxy server

One of the major benefits of using a proxy server is that it is usually free, and even if there is a charge, it costs you less than a VPN. Another is the ease of use. To access a site using a proxy, all you need is enter the URL. More importantly, proxy server enables anonymous browsing and lets you access restricted sites.

On the flip side, a proxy is merely an intermediary and the content you send through it can be intercepted in between, as the data is not encrypted. Also, the servers are used by many and can be very slow, eating up your bandwidth. Moreover, these proxies may not be genuine and could infect your computer with viruses.

Virtual Private Networks

A VPN is a private network that is built within a public network, to protect data and enable anonymous browsing. A VPN is a secure network that is protected with sophisticated encryption algorithms. In fact, the level of security and privacy you can get with a VPN is not offered by a proxy server. VPNs offer more benefits than proxy servers, but they have their share of flaws too.

Pros and cons of VPN

In terms of speed and accessibility of sites, VPNs are much better than proxy servers. So if you want uninterrupted and Unrestricted TV online, then a VPN can be the right choice. Also, you can be assured of safe and anonymous browsing within a VPN. You can choose the location of the server, to access blocked sites of different regions. More than anything, VPNs can be used not just on your computer but mobile device too,

The drawbacks of a virtual private network are not many, but should be considered to know if it is ideal for you. For one, VPN can be highly expensive, especially if you are particular about quality of subscription. Second is that installing and using a VPN software may not be that easy, unless you are tech savvy.

If you just want to access blocked sites and hide your IP, then a proxy would be easy. But if you want to access and share sensitive information online, then a VPN could be better, even if it costs you a little.

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