What is VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) actually a service which provides a private secure network to share or receive resources through the public network. Those who directly connected to the VPN private network can send and receive data more securely.
An organization which has geographically separated offices may use VPN network to connect those offices with a single secure private network. Banks use their own VPN networks to provide more secure transactions with their clients.
In the above picture, we see that a VPN private networks that connect users and regional offices with its Head office via the public network(internet).
Basically, VPN is mostly used to bypass geo-restrictions (a service that is not available in a certain region).VPN network can also be used to connect to proxy servers for the purpose of protecting personal identity and location.
When government or any other organization restricts a certain service (Such as google, facebook, yahoo etc) in a certain geographical place. In that place, people can use VPN service to get rid of this types of restriction.
In VPN networks, When you connected to a VPN server if you requested a webpage to VPN server then the server will respond to your request and send your request to your desire webpage’s server and wait for its response. When the desired webpage’s server response then VPN server send to you it’s (desired webpage) response. In the Whole process, VPN server acts as a middleman. In this process, destination server doesn’t know Who you are it only knows about your VPN Server.
In above picture, We see that VPN servers are placed all over the world.
Think that Some reason your country restricts to access on Facebook.But you can access another country’s VPN server to access facebook.com.
What is Proxy Server?
A proxy server is a special kind of server which acts as an intermediate handler for the clients who is seeking resources from the internet. Actually, proxy servers handle clients request (to access certain web services or websites) and send their request in terms of theirs to their destination.
In the whole process, Destinations (where information goes) only have the information about proxy servers but they have no idea whom proxy servers are connected to.So, proxy server lies in the middle of a network and provide anonymity (unknown) and may be used to bypass IP address blocking (where certain IP address are blocked by authority).
In the above picture, we see that client send a request (to access certain web service) to the proxy server and proxy server resends the same request to the destination (the web service client is requested to).When destination server response the request to the proxy server and proxy server then sends the response to the client.
Differentiate between VPN and Proxy Server?
VPN and Proxy server both help us to browse internet securely and protect our identity from being exposed.But they have some basic difference.
Proxy Server works as our gateway to the internet who are connected.Proxy Server does not provide more security because they lack traffic encryption.One can easily track client’s IP address if they have access to the Proxy Server. Because Proxy Servers are directly connected to the internet they have high possibility to be hacked. Some anonymizing proxy servers may forward data packets with header lines such as HTTP_VIA, HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR, or HTTP_FORWARDED, which may reveal the IP address of the client.
On the other hand, VPN is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of Dedicated Servers, virtual tunneling protocols(an underlying network service which can’t be accessed directly ), or traffic encryption. Which makes VPN more secure than the Proxy server.
In the above picture, we see that Proxy server doesn’t encrypt its information.Sometimes this causes great problem because unencrypted data can easily be found
Thanks for reading.I hope you find this article helpful. For any Information and suggestion feel free to comment.Thanks.