What’s the CRUCIAL Difference Between a Proxy & VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) is an intermediary server for a secured remote network connection. Many businesses and various institutions use them to provide access to their materials to internal users. Any traffic within it is encrypted so that none of it can be exposed to anyone outside the network.

In terms of security and anonymity that a VPN provides, an alternative called proxy has been rising in business use since its emergence.

Proxy servers are similar to VPNs. Different types of them can provide everything that a VPN does, and even more. It doesn’t mean that a proxy must replace a VPN for a secured connection in all cases.

Nonetheless, their main difference might be decisive for your choice. What is it, and what’s so essential about it?

Anonymity and its enemies

One of the more notable uses of a VPN is its anonymity which is granted by hiding your IP address.

When you connect to the internet, you access it through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) network. To identify you and communicate with your device, it assigns an IP address to your device.

VPN server works instead of your ISP network. All your traffic is routed through it. Your original IP address is hidden because VPN uses a different IP address that covers all the IPs of their users.

It allows you to:

  • Access geo-restricted content,
  • Unblock the access to sites that blocked your IP address,
  • Hide your location info,
  • Encrypt HTTP requests.

In short, it adds an essential layer of security and anonymity to your internet use.

However, suppose you are planning on engaging in web scraping, social marketing, sneaker copping, or any other field that requires excessive internet use and sending lots of requests. In that case, you might need a different solution. 

Many websites have anti-scraping systems and are keen to block scraping activities. This is usually because websites want to protect themselves against malicious bots, and your activities might be mistakenly considered as such. As a result, the website might try to block you, and you cannot avoid that with the help of a VPN.

The number of IPs makes the difference

Although proxies also hide your IP address and let you surf the internet with a new IP address, the crucial difference comes in the way this new IP is used.

Proxies are known for providing millions of new IP addresses that can indicate different locations worldwide and have all sorts of ways to mask your real data. You can use either shared or dedicated IP addresses; you can have them static or rotate whenever you want.

When you have only one IP address, like in the case of using a VPN, once it’s blocked, you can’t go any further and use the IP. On the other hand, when you have enormous numbers of IPs to choose from, you can rotate them and use one after another without having to be bothered about any restrictions.

More IPs mean better opportunities

When you have a big pool of IP addresses that can indicate almost every location in the world, geo-restrictions become irrelevant as far as you are concerned. When a VPN provides you with a new IP address, it allows accessing only the available content in the country indicated by that IP.

Suppose you live in Germany, where some content is inaccessible (be it by government decision or part of content owner’s policy) but allowed in many other countries, and some specific content is available only in Denmark, to access all this content. In that case, you need an IP indicating Denmark’s location. With an IP of any other country, you will bypass the limits that are set for Germany specifically, but you will not access what’s available only in Denmark.

If your VPN has an IP in Denmark, then you can have all this content. If it indicates a different country, then you will only bypass your country’s restrictions. The same issue can occur in any country, knowing that geo-blocking is used all over the world.

With proxies, this issue is non-existent. Since you have multiple IPs and can rotate them, you will be able to access everything publicly available in any country in the world. It’s like a ticket to any country where you can travel virtually any time you want.

Scraping the web

Probably the main use of proxies can be seen in web scraping. This kind of activity is not possible with VPNs or without using intermediary servers at all.

If you are scraping the web, you will most surely exceed the number of requests that are allowed for a user. And that is a red flag for someone who tries to keep scrapers and bots outside of their site’s traffic.

Automation tools will be blocked, and you will not be able to retrieve their use under the same IP address, whether it’s yours or VPN’s. You will lose your access to the site too.

With multiple IPs provided by proxies, you can continue scraping because you can’t be tracked anymore. Your scrapers will work with different IPs, and all requests sent either by them or by you will be seen as coming from different users with different IPs.

That will minimize chances of noticing your continuous scraping and, by extension, it will eliminate the possibility of a block.


The crucial difference between a proxy and a VPN lies in the way they change your IP address. Proxies can provide you with millions of alternatives to use, whereas VPN will only give you one new IP that is only a one-time solution.


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