Proxy servers vs VPNs: which option is better?

What is the difference between a proxy and a VPN
What is the difference between a proxy and a VPN

The concerns over internet privacy have fueled intense debates for the last decade. As social media providers and other tech companies continue doubling down on the invasion of our privacy and sensitive information, web users keep searching for external tools that will help bring back anonymity to online browsing.

While most mobile devices are doomed cases, both computers and portable devices have clever solutions that help remain private on the internet under a disguise of a different identity. As we observe niche solutions for different cases, the debate narrows down to changing your network identity, the main piece of data, and your IP address. Every device has an IP that connects the device to the local area network (LAN). However, before reaching other devices on the internet, also known as the wide area network (WAN), we receive a new, public IP address that is assigned by the internet service provider (ISP) and used to communicate with other devices on the web.

However, exposing your real IP address can be dangerous. If cybercriminals get their hands on this information, all it takes is a simple DDoS attack that does not require any advanced programming skills to keep disrupting your internet connection. Also, the parties receiving data packets will know your IP address and approximate geolocation disclosed by the internet service provider.

The information about your location has benefits because it is mostly used to provide the localized version of a visited website, where everything gets adjusted to better suit the needs of a visitor from a particular region. However, being constrained to one IP address also means no access to pages unavailable in your country.

With constant privacy concerns and valid points from both sides, wouldn’t it be great to have the option to change your IP address at will? This way, the parties involved in tracking do not force you into constraints and let you travel the world and choose IPs from new locations.

Thankfully, we have two powerful options to change your IP address. In this article, we observe the showdown of VPNs vs proxy servers. Here you will learn which option is better, and once you choose a specific location, we will see which option is better – a VPN server in the UK or a UK proxy. Our goal is to give an unbiased review without overblowing the benefits of VPNs and show where UK proxies have the upper hand. For more information on the technical details and ways to get a UK proxy, check out Smartproxy, one of the best providers in the industry with millions of IPs and informative guides about the offered service.

VPN no-logs policies

The most popular VPN providers claim to follow audited no-logs policies, but the provided statements are often vague and only half-true. If we take a deeper look at the privacy policies of presented providers, they are often filled with various exceptions about crash reports and other cases where the information about connections is still being documented.

On top of that, we have providers with base locations in the 14 Eyes Intelligence Sharing Alliance, where the promises of fully private connections mean nothing if government agencies come knocking to start monitoring VPN connections in real-time.

Overdependence on a VPN provider

VPN providers let us enable the service through connection methods presented in a graphical user interface (GUI) of their app. However, for providers that do not include a split tunneling feature, there is no way to separate slow VPN traffic from the rest of your internet connection.

If VPN connections fail or the provider experiences a data breach, there is no way of knowing what will happen to your data when its fate is only in the hands of the provider. A suitable alternative would be safe, private proxies dedicated to one user without intervention from other parties.

Proxy servers are faster

Because proxy server connections only encrypt the data packets themselves, proxy server connections are considerably faster. This also makes them a better alternative to VPNs for streaming, where additional protection is not necessary.

Proxies are better for web scraping

Proxy servers are better than VPNs for web scraping, where a way larger fleet of servers and fast connections make a significant difference. Also, many retailers and social media platforms recognize VPN traffic, and without an obfuscation feature, captcha popups can stop web scraping bots in their tracks.

With proxy servers, mainly residential proxies, we have millions of residential addresses ready to protect web scrapers. If one address gets banned, there are tons of other options to take its place. Paired with an innovative option for proxy rotation, you can use multiple proxy servers at the same time for simultaneous web scraping tasks and keep changing addresses at predetermined intervals.


While VPNs have use cases where the extra layer of protection makes them a better option, we believe proxy servers are a better and simpler option that gives you flexibility both for casual browsing and for business-oriented tasks.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.