VPNs VS Proxy Servers
Virtual Private Networks encrypt a User's web activity, packets sent by background services, and IP address. The most common forms of VPN are either apps or browser extensions. For instance, Opera comes with a built-in VPN. Yet, Opera’s VPN is not like others, it encrypts only data going through the browser and testing shows that it increases latency by 288.9 percent, something that may be a big drawback for that surfing on slow networks.
On the other hand, Proxy Servers are computers that stand between Users and online services. On the downside, they only mask the User's IP address, not all web activity and they don't offer encryption like a VPN. For example, Squid, a popular FOSS Proxy Server, hides a User’s IP address while using HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP services. But, it can be a little challenging to set up.
VPNs send all of the User’s internet traffic through a remote server so that they may access geo-restricted content and browse the web anonymously. This is done on the operating system level - all traffic, whether it is coming from the User’s browser or background service, is sent on a detour through a remote server, except while using Opera’s homespun VPN. This detour prevents the User’s tracks from being traced by their ISP, government, and dirty hackers attempting to intercept their device. There are some pitfalls when using a VPN, VPN providers may collect logs or sell your data, although many claim not to do such mischievous things.
A proxy server serves two main functions. Firstly, users can get around geo-restrictions. Secondly, proxies allow anonymous web browsing because they hide the user’s IP address. This can be done because the user’s internet traffic is stored on the proxy rather than their computer. On the downside, users must install a proxy server.
Despite the downfall of having to set up a dedicated router, Proxy Servers can do some cool stuff. Proxy Chaining is neat indeed. It involves forwarding traffic from one proxy server to another. Ethical hackers do this to become untraceable and this can be set up, by editing .conf files, in Kali Linux. But, using multiple proxies adds latency to your network. Here are some tricks these servers readily perform:
1) SOCKS5 Deploy this for file sharing, video streaming, and online gaming.
2) HTTP: Deploy this proxy server to access geo-restricted websites.
3) Transparent: Deploy this to block websites like Facebook, something that will permanently put an end to dread-scrolling.
Eggheads may want to install pfSense or IP Fire on an old PC and connect it to a network switch so they can hide their LAN network behind a dummy IP. If I were doing this task, I would tinker with LinuxMint because I find Debian/Ubuntu-based distros easier to use than those dedicated servers with a web GUI. Admittedly, fooling around with IPtables and all the various other services related to setting up a firewall/router might be a little hard for most Users, but it’s the most straightforward way of running an entire network behind a Proxy Server like Squid.
Sharing files online has never been easier. Unlike Proxy Servers, FileAgo automatically encrypts data as it is sent across the Internet, ensuring your sensitive information remains private and secure at all times. And unlike some VPNs, logs of User activity are only viewable by those Users who have been granted permission to view or edit files, not even the staff at FileAgo HQ have access to your file-sharing records. This ain’t sophistry, it’s the power of our patented waterfall permissions.