VPN, Smart DNS, Proxies: The Good, The Not-so-Good and The Ugly
Those who are looking for some kind of security solution that would
allow private and anonymous internet browsing activities, there are
usually two tools that you would come across with: a VPN and a Proxy.
There is also a third option which is called a Smart DNS proxy but it’s
basically a reduced version of a VPN with the missing feature of
In terms of popularity though, VPN is the leading security solution
service/ product today. Proxy is already past its prime. There was a
certain point in time when users only had proxy servers to use in order
to unblock geo-restrictions.
VPN services have somewhat catapulted into the scene and has
saturated the market with better security and IP masking service
offerings. While both VPN and proxies offer the same functions and
purpose, they offer advantages against one another. To understand what
each tool offers, let’s take a look at their definitions and their most
Here are the respective definitions of both a Proxy and a VPN technology.
“In computer networks, a proxy server is a server (a computer system or
an application) that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients
seeking resources from other servers. A client connects to the proxy
server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page,
or other resource available from a different server and the proxy server
evaluates the request as a way to simplify and control its
complexity.”– a definition from Wikipedia.
“A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a
public network, such as the Internet. It enables a computer or
network-enabled device to send and receive data across shared or public
networks as if it were directly connected to the private network, while
benefiting from the functionality, security and management policies of
the private network. A VPN is created by establishing a virtual
point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections,
virtual tunneling protocols, or traffic encryption.” – a definition from Wikipedia.
To summarize the broad definitions, a VPN is fundamentally the more
sophisticated tool between the two technologies. A VPN facilitates both
security and anonymity in any network connections. A proxy server on the
other hand only offer IP masking features with no encryptions
whatsoever, thus they are more prone to connection interferences.
Since proxies don’t make use of data encryption, they are therefore
more vulnerable to cyber threats such as hacking, spying, data sniffing
and identity theft. There is really no competition in security features
between a VPN and a proxy service; VPN easily wins by a landslide.
VPN services make use of army-graded encryption systems up to 256-bit
which offers high-level of security. Whenever you use a VPN, you are
basically safeguarding all your communications and data from the open
A VPN does not only hide you from the cyber space, but it also gives
you freedom to access all the contents and websites you desire. Never
will your privacy be intruded again, not even your Internet service
provider can monitor your browsing activities. That’s how bigger and
better VPN is compared to a proxy.
Most proxies were and are still being offered for free which is why
many people are lured into using the said services. The problem with
‘free’ proxy services is that most of them are actually scams, data
resellers and phishing sites. Once users fall into these ‘free proxy’
traps, their information could be compromised anytime.
There are also VPN services that are being offered for free but most
of the reliable VPNs are subscription-based services. In order to get
the most out of a VPN service, you must be willing to pay for the premium VPN packages. The average price of a monthly VPN plan ranges from $9.00 t0 $11.00.
accesses are generally limited in terms of speed and bandwidth usage.
Free accesses are also exempted from other features like server
switches, live chat support and multiple or simultaneous VPN connections
on other devices.
Browsing and Download Speeds
When it comes to connection speeds, VPN is still the better platform.
Since most proxy services are free to use, they generally offer slower
speeds due to overloaded servers.
VPNs on the other hand don’t compromise connection speeds. Although
there are minor speed slowdowns due to high-level encryptions, these
slowdowns are basically unnoticeable and irrelevant.
You can use a VPN service on the most popular machines and devices
today. VPNs generally support Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, gaming
consoles, set top-boxes and wireless routers. Most VPN service providers
also offer a dedicated VPN client to facilitate easy and convenient VPN
Meanwhile, proxy servers are only compatible on certain internet
browsers. You’ll need to configure your computers / browsers to have a
certain HTTP proxy server. You may also simply use the given proxy
service in your browser to ask a request from the servers to connect you
to certain websites. Remember that you’ll have to do this step for
every website you’d want to access which makes it plain inconvenient.
VPN service providers take away the hassle of getting your IP addressed
cloaked with a single click.
Here you to – if you just want to browse websites and access
information which is blocked by your government or company – these free
Proxies are good enough for a quick fix:
Stability and Reliability
With regards to the reliability and stability of a proxy, we can say
that connections are often unbearable and frustrating. Connections
usually crash and certain websites are just not accessible (i.e.
So with a VPN, you are provided with fast, stable and highly-secured
connections. No disconnection issues, no slowdowns, no bandwidth
limitations and no pop-ads – that is if you’re using premium VPN
services. You will most likely be bombarded with various limitations and
advertisements if you use free VPN services.
VPN Vs Proxy Vs Smart DNS Proxy
Ideally, you would want to make use of a VPN service. Just skip
regular proxy services because you really don’t need them anyway. If
you’re on a tight budget and you need an anonymizer tool or IP cloaker,
you can simply use a free VPN service.
Now, if you’re subscribed to a premium VPN service and yet, you still
can’t access certain streaming websites such as Netflix and the likes,
we recommend you use a Smart DNS Proxy.
The leading VPN service providers usually offer a free Smart DNS
service together with a VPN plan purchase. You may want to check with
your VPN provider if they are offering a Smart DNS proxy service.
Smart DNS services are designed to unblock websites and streaming
media. A Smart DNS proxy will come in handy when you’re trying to watch
your favourite US TV shows on Hulu.
VPNs used to be able to grant access to streaming media.
Unfortunately, streaming websites have started blocking VPN traffics due
to copyright issues. VPN services are wise though. They have developed
their own Smart DNS services so they can still provide a solution to streaming media, which is basically a way of monetizing on current subscribers.
The Bottom Line: Which Tool is Better?
If you want the most reliable, most useful and most secured tool,
choose VPN over proxies and even Smart DNS. A VPN has all the features
you need in order to completely anonymize your online activities. If you
still haven’t subscribed to a VPN service yet, please go ahead and
check out our VPN Comparison.
On this site you can compare the biggest players on the VPN market –
where they have their server locations, in which jurisdiction their
company is in, what protocols and encryption types they support – and of
course you can also compare the prices for the subscription. If you are
on a really small budget, you can also get a VPN Coupon
to enjoy a free VPN service for a few months. If you just use one VPN
Coupon after another, its easily possible to get a whole year of free
VPN service at no cost at all. Enjoy!!