The concepts of VPN and Proxy are often confused, and the creators of these programs are to great credit for this: there are also services called "VPN Proxy" or "VPN Proxy Master", and some services attribute these words to the name of the VPN client. Meanwhile, these services are quite different both in terms of functionality, that is, user access to the necessary content, and in terms of security. We tell in detail what is the difference between VPN and Proxy, how they differ, we help to understand what is best for you.
The main difference between a proxy and a VPN: which is better for China?
Let's look very briefly:
- A VPN (virtual private network) is a technology originally created to encrypt traffic(rather than access sites). Even when China censors everything, a VPN will go through a tunnel and give you access to sites like YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, and even Instagram. in China. Blocks are intensifying, VPN providers are moving to new levels of masking and confusing traffic, but they are definitely not going to turn off.
- A proxy is similar to a VPN, except that it doesn't encrypt data.A proxy server allows you to make a request to access YouTube from another IP outside of China. The plus is that you can usually search for free proxies on the Internet. The downside is that "free" usually means that they will track your Internet activity. And they often sell your personal data to others or try to download tracking software to the device. In addition, with some settings you will have to tinker, this is not a program that runs in a couple of clicks.
" Important: there are questions whether it will be possible to watch Youtube from China via SmartDNS. No, this technology works for content with a geographical restriction, such as Netflix, Pandora or Hulu in China. But with YouTube being actively blocked in China, SmartDNS won't help."
How do Proxies and VPN work in China now?
With free Proxy, everything is very complicated. They appear, work for a short time, and then they close. Free proxies don't have the money or resources to play firewall games like paid proxies.
Paid VPNs seem to be left alone unless some state-scale event occurs, like annual party conventions or any other political event. Then almost nothing works, and even the top services have problems.
The difference between VPN and Proxy: comparing the characteristics
To understand what is better, VPN or Proxy, let's look at the main parameters that are important for China and in general:
Proxies are encrypted (HTTPS) and unencrypted (HTTP). Proxies mask your IP address, but it can still be viewed by the proxy provider. And most of the time the provider will keep a log of your activity. Can only be used for web traffic, for torrents and games it will definitely not work.
A VPN routes and encrypts all traffic regardless of whether you're visiting an encrypted or unencrypted site. The best VPNs available use military-grade encryption and don't keep logs, but some do, sometimes it's discovered after the fact, and the site claims 100% anonymity. Free VPN for Android often collects traffic, and at least a third of them are infected with viruses, so it is important to choose paid ones.
The best VPNs are usually faster than even top proxies, but it all depends on the region you're connecting from, the hardware and software, and the specific VPN or proxy. A proxy can run faster when browsing the web when there's no encryption, but if you need torrenting or gaming, you need a VPN.
Easy to use
The easiest way to explain the difference between a Proxy and a VPN in this case is as follows: all paid proxy servers and VPN services try to make user interaction as simple as possible. Unlike a proxy, a VPN does not need to be configured separately for each application.
- A proxy can be configured for a specific server, meaning you can't easily switch between watching Netflix US and German Youtube.
- VPN has hundreds of servers in different countries, and connecting and reconnecting between them takes a few seconds and a couple of clicks.