Everyone today seeks to secure their connections. There are many reasons to use anonymizers when working online. For example, using them, you can safely download torrents or visit Netflix from the country where access to this streaming service is limited. Also, as you may know, public Wi-Fi offers no encryption security to its users and it’s very easy for even an inexperienced hacker to intercept your unencrypted Wi-Fi signal. Anonymizers help to minimize such risk. They can be used to prevent identity theft and also to protect search history and all of your computer’s identifying information from public disclosure.
In this article, Laura from Hostens security team is going to review two types of anonymizers that can help to protect your privacy and online anonymity: proxy and VPN. At the first sight it may seem that both services perform the same function: hide your IP with another one, but let’s look deeper to understand in what way these anonymizers are different.
As the name implies, a proxy (“proxy” – representative, deputy) is a server that functions as a bridge between the user and the internet. All traffic sent through a proxy server goes out under its IP address, instead of yours. In fact, the bridge generated through the proxy server directs your request through its path and further in accordance with the request.
The simplest form of proxy service is a web proxy. Its maximum capability is to redirect user’s web traffic (HTTP and HTTPS) from the client (your browser) to the host (the server hosting the site you want to reach), thus hiding your IP address. But there are a lot of minuses:
- Traffic is not encrypted at all.
- Such service works only with web traffic.
- When you see a free proxy, it’s a good idea to remember the old saying: “There’s always free cheese in a mousetrap.”
SOCKS proxies are a bit more advanced, but they are much less common than web proxies. The difference is that such proxies can work with different type of traffic, not only with web traffic. They support SMTP and FTP traffic as well as torrents. However, they have the same security issues as web proxies and are also slower than HTTP proxies.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a much subtler tool than a proxy. A VPN doesn’t only help you to bypass geo-blocking and censorship problems, but also takes care of your security and anonymity. VPN can be used through various protocols: PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, SSTP, SoftEther, etc. It creates a secure tunnel between the user’s computer and the page they visit. VPNs are set up at the operating system level, and the VPN connection captures the entire network connection of the device it is configured on. VPN also uses high-level encryption which encrypts all traffic passing through its servers. With the VPN application installed on user’s device and connected to the VPN server, all user’s traffic is encrypted.
If you are looking for a reliable way to protect yourself when working on the network in general, VPN service is the best option for you.
Free VPN versus paid VPN
Taking into account the information provided above, we can draw a conclusion that VPN is a more sophisticated and safer way to protect your privacy and anonymity. But why do you need to pay for a VPN if you can get it for free? Read these reasons stated below and there will be no doubts left about why it is recommended to choose a reliable service.
As it happens with all free services, eventually you still have to pay for them in some way. Malware, pop-ups, and advertising are the things that slow down your device and block your view of the web browser. If you choose a paid VPN, you will be free from these annoying experiences.
Free VPNs do affect your internet speed because of encryption. So, if you like online streaming or secure torrent use, you should definitely avoid free VPNs as they have limited number of servers available. Paid VPN providers guarantee speed.
Free VPN services provide only one kind of VPN connection: the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which is supported by most computers but is no longer considered secure. Paid users usually have more options, such as OpenVPN (an open-source protocol that uses SSL encryption) or the Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol (L2TP) and IPsec combination.
Some free VPN companies collect data logs on your browsing, application usage, things you buy online, pages you visit, etc. and use it for their own benefit or sell it to companies which later exploit it for advertising purposes. In the meantime, paid VPN providers do not save browsing history logs.
If you value your privacy, you may want to set up Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Check our new VPN service to be sure that your connection is safe and secure.