VPN vs Proxy: Which Is Better?

If you’ve ever tried to find a way to access content that’s blocked in your region, you’ve probably come across the terms “proxy” and “VPN.” Since both can help you get around geo-restrictions, the terms are often used interchangeably. But are they the same thing, and is there such a thing as a VPN proxy?

Actually, no. VPNs are virtual private networks, and they’re quite different from proxy servers. While both use remote servers as a middleman between you and the internet, they work differently and have different pros and cons. 

It might sound confusing but don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about both proxies and VPNs. Hopefully, this will help you decide which is best for your needs. Let’s jump in. 

Looking for an easy, safe way to access blocked sites? CyberGhost VPN changes your IP address while simultaneously encrypting your data, helping you access blocked sites and bypass network restrictions. 

What Is a Proxy Server?

A proxy is a server that acts as an intermediary or gateway between your device and the internet. Proxy servers can be local or remote. 

Local proxies are configured on a router to impose content-based restrictions on a network. Schools and workplaces often use them to ensure you’re not watching videos or going on social media while you should be studying or working. This can be a nuisance if you have a free period or a long work break and want to kill time online. 

Remote proxies, on the other hand, are run by third-party providers and can help you overcome just these sorts of restrictions. 

The only trouble is that proxies work on the application level, so they reroute traffic from a particular app, not your whole device. This means whatever you want to do has to work on a single application like your browser if you want to use it through a proxy. 

A proxy masks your IP address. The websites you visit will see the proxy’s IP address, not your real one. Proxies reroute your web traffic through proxy servers before redirecting it to the target website. This way, you can bypass network-imposed restrictions and access blocked content. 

While proxies do help you access content freely, they don’t encrypt your data to enhance your online security in the same way VPNs do.

Types of Proxy Servers

It might help to understand the three common types of proxy servers. Here’s a quick overview. 

    • HTTP proxies. These only handle web-based traffic but are useful if you want to access geo-restricted content like games, videos, or websites.
    • SOCKS5 proxies. These can handle all types of traffic so they’re more popular than HTTP proxies. Since more people use them, however, they tend to have slower connection speeds.
    • Transparent proxies. Transparent proxies work in the background without users even knowing it. Network admins use them to monitor usage and save bandwidth. Organizations use them to monitor staff, enforce content restrictions, and cut costs. Parents also use these proxies to prevent their children from accessing unsuitable content and games.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN is a service that lets you create a secure and private connection to the internet. It reroutes it through a remote server owned by a VPN provider. 

This masks your IP address and protects you from cybercriminals and digital surveillance. A VPN works at the operating system level and secures the traffic from your entire device, not just a single app. You can use a VPN to access geo-restricted content or bypass censorship imposed by your organization or country. 

A VPN also encrypts your traffic, which fortifies your private data even further against intrusion. It wraps your data in layers of ciphered code, making it virtually impossible to read. This means no-one – including your ISP, work or school network, cybercriminals, or government agencies – can see what you’re up to.

CyberGhost VPN uses military-grade encryption to protect your privacy against snoops and anyone else who might be spying on you. 

What Are the Main Differences Between a Proxy and a VPN? 

VPNs differ from proxies mostly in terms of privacy, coverage, and performance. We’ve outlined the 6 main differences and provided an at-a-glance comparison table below. 

1. VPNs Encrypt Traffic

VPN encryption scrambles your plaintext data to make it unreadable to unauthorized parties. 

Only your device and the VPN server can decrypt it, keeping it safe from anyone trying to snoop on you. If threat actors managed to get hold of your web traffic, it would just look like gibberish.

Proxy servers don’t do this. While they do mask your IP address and help you access content, they don’t protect you against cybercriminals or snoops on your Wi-Fi network. 

2. Proxies Are Usually Slower

Most proxy servers are free, and seeing as you tend to get what you pay for, they also tend to be slower than VPNs. Their popularity means proxies tend to be overcrowded, which is why they become slow. Using free proxy servers can mean spending lots of time waiting for buffering to end or for web pages to load.

On the other hand, VPN technology has evolved to a point where any speed reduction is now negligible. If you use a trusted VPN with high-speed servers, you can comfortably stream movies, play games, and join online meetings without lag. 

CyberGhost VPN is designed for streaming, gaming, and accessing content safely. We have a global network of ultra-fast 10-Gbps servers, so speed will never be an issue.

3. VPNs Cover All Device Traffic

When you use a VPN, it encrypts and hides all the traffic flowing to and from your device. Proxies only work on the browser or application they’re installed on. 

4. VPNs Protect You from Cybercriminals

If cybercriminals connect to your Wi-Fi network, they can easily hack into your device or launch malware attacks. Luckily, when you use a VPN, it encrypts all your data — making it extremely tough for cyber thugs to infiltrate your connection. A VPN is a protective shield against network-based attacks. By contrast, proxy servers offer no real protection at all. 

5. VPNs Prevent ISP Snooping

Did you know your internet service provider can see everything you do online? That includes the websites you visit, what you download, and how much data you use. 

Proxy servers don’t prevent your ISP from spying on you. Since they don’t encrypt your traffic, your ISP will continue to see everything you do online.

Using a VPN prevents your ISP from spying on you. Your ISP may still know you’ve connected to a VPN, but they won’t see where you go from there or what you’re doing while connected.

6. Most VPNs Won’t Log Your Activity Data

Any VPN provider with a strong stance on digital privacy should have a No Logs policy. This ensures they won’t log or store your data or information about what you do while you’re connected to their servers. 

Proxies have no such policy. Since most of them are free, they often log your data to sell to third-party advertisers to make money.

It’s sad to think your data may be being exploited by a service that purports to take care of your privacy. 

Helps you accesses geo-blocked content
Masks your IP address
Encrypts your internet traffic
Prevents ISP snooping
Protects against hacking
Maintains high speeds
Provides device-wide coverage

CyberGhost VPN adheres to a strict No Logs policy. We never log or share data about your online activity with anyone — but don’t take our word for it.

Our No Logs policy was independently audited by Deloitte. Browse in private – try CyberGhost VPN with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Should I Use Free VPNs or Proxies?

Neither, if you care about your privacy and security. All services need to make a profit somehow, and if they don’t generate income from subscription fees, how do they do it? 

Some log your data to sell to third-party advertisers or are mere trojans for spyware. In the end, the service you expected to enhance your privacy ends up violating it. Isn’t that ironic?

Free VPNs also have a limited number of servers and they’re often overloaded. This results in seriously slow speeds even during basic browsing tasks. 

CyberGhost VPN has high-speed servers in multiple locations across more than 100 countries. We also have servers optimized for smooth browsing, streaming, and heavy-duty gaming. 

Who Wins the VPN Proxy Standoff?

People often confuse VPNs with proxy servers, and vice versa — but they’re two different things. While both mask your IP address and let you access restricted content, proxy servers don’t provide the same privacy and security benefits VPNs do. 

Now that we’ve covered the differences between proxies and VPNs, it should be clear a VPN is a better choice when it comes to speed, privacy, and security.


What is a VPN proxy?

Despite common misconceptions, VPNs and proxies are not the same thing. A VPN is a service that encrypts and reroutes your internet traffic through secure remote servers. It allows you to create a secure connection between your device and the internet and masks your IP address. 
While a proxy also acts as an intermediary between your device and the internet, it can only reroute traffic from a particular app or browser. Unlike VPNs, proxies don’t encrypt your traffic or enhance your online security.

How do I unblock a VPN proxy?

Some websites detect and block VPNs to prevent you from violating their terms of service. Your VPN is more likely to be blocked if you use a free one. That’s because it’s likely to have overcrowded servers and mostly blocklisted IP addresses. 
Opting for a high-quality VPN provider that regularly checks its IP addresses is a good way to bypass content blocks. You can also get a Dedicated IP address, which is an IP address only you can use. If nobody else uses your IP address, it’s less likely to be detected and blocked. 

Is there a 100% free VPN for Chrome?

Completely free VPNs probably won’t provide the security and performance you’re hoping for. The good news is most high-quality VPNs offer a free trial period. You can try CyberGhost VPN risk-free for 45 days with a money-back guarantee. CyberGhost VPN encrypts all your device traffic, not just your Google Chrome traffic. You can also connect up to 7 devices at any time. 

Are proxies legal?

Using a proxy is legal in most countries. Heavy internet censorship means proxies are banned in countries like China, Iran, and North Korea. Even in countries where proxies are legal, you can still get into trouble if you use them for illegal activity. 

Are free proxy VPNs safe?

No, when it comes down to it, free VPNs are not safe. They often lack the resources to provide a secure, state-of-the-art infrastructure and some may collect and sell your data. This can result in your privacy being compromised and your device being bombarded with ads.

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CyberGhost became disabled again? and lost password, I have set the password so many times now I have forgotten what it is ? When I click on my account it signs me out?


Hi Barbara,
We’re really sorry to hear you’ve been having issues.
Please get in contact with our customer support team. They should be able to help with any technical issues you’re having.
Have a lovely day!

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