As the era of cable satellite TV and DVDs nears an end, people worldwide are moving towards online streaming mediums, such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. This move has been facilitated to a great extent by better internet connections.
However, it has also caused many privacy issues because search results and other information are sent to video hosting servers.
People’s activities online can easily be spied on, threatening their security. A VPN and proxy server are both used to conceal the identity of the user or to spoof the user’s region. But out of them, a VPN offers several benefits over a proxy server.
It encrypts all of your internet traffic. On the other hand, a proxy only encrypts a single website’s or app’s IP address. In this article, we’ll look at both and find out which one is ideal for streaming.
VPN for Streaming
A VPN (virtual private network) keeps the online activity of the user completely private. It also modifies your internet protocol (IP) address, so you appear to be in another country than the actual one.
A VPN for Fire TV Stick, for instance, tunnels your online activities via an anonymous server. It also helps you surpass ISP throttling, a phenomenon wherein your internet service provider curtails your network connection speed when you stream videos on the web.
When you use a VPN, your ISP cannot know if you are streaming or downloading something. As a result, you can enjoy streaming at buffer-free speeds. A good VPN also lets you bypass censorship of internet content so you can freely stream.
Proxy for Streaming
A proxy server serves as an intermediary between the internet and your device. It forwards your requests from your device to the internet. A proxy hides your IP address, replacing it with its own IP address.
Proxies always help you overcome geo-restrictions. So, with a proxy server, you can access streaming services available only in specific countries.
However, a proxy server tends to be slower, so you experience problems like poor video quality and buffering. Moreover, some streaming services have advanced ways to identify proxy usage.
So, it does not fully guarantee you seamless streaming of services that are available only in particular countries.
The Main Differences Between VPN and Proxy
Both VPN and proxy are online services that disguise your IP address. They reroute your internet traffic via a remote server. However, a VPN secures or encrypts all the internet traffic, while a proxy functions only with a particular app or a service.
The chief difference between both services lies in the security factor. A VPN redirects the network data through an encrypted tunnel. In turn, it maintains the privacy of your online activity. A proxy does not provide the level of security that a VPN does. It is appropriate just for internet browsing.
To make this difference clear, check out this table.
|Protection||Protects every part of data that’s going to or from a specific device.||Protects only your web browser or a particular application.|
|Encryption||Disguises your IP address.||No encryption|
|Connection||Offers a seamless connection.||The connection is unstable.|
|Purpose||Designed for single clients or personal usage.||Designed for large-scale data collection for businesses.|
|Connection reliability||Connection is more reliable.||Connection is unreliable.|
|Good for streaming||Yes||Only if it can overcome proxy blocks.|
VPN and Proxy – When to Use Each
VPN’s are better than proxies in various aspects. They provide better security and anonymity to the user as they encrypt all of your activity. The only downside is that they are a bit expensive than proxies.
On the other hand, a proxy is suitable for those who want to remain anonymous from an internet service or website that only performs basic checks. If you are serious about keeping your data secure online while streaming, a VPN will be the right choice.
Also, if you are using a public wireless connection, it is best to use a VPN, as the chances of data leakage are high. Having said that, proxies are still suitable for streaming geo-restricted content, provided they remain undetected. A good use case of proxies is on an obsolete operating system.
However, if you reside in an area with stringent online surveillance, using a VPN will be best.
Is It Possible to Use a VPN and Proxy Together?
Yes, VPN and proxy are usable at the same time. If they both work together, there will be no conflict in the performance of either tool. You will only find that your online privacy improves more when you use both. However, it isn’t necessary to use both at the same time.
The need to use these tools together is only there if you desire a backup for your connection. When using a proxy, your actual IP address will be disguised.
A VPN, on top of that, will hide not only the proxy’s IP but also encrypt your traffic. So, even if any one connection fails, it will still be very hard for anyone to find out about your online activity.
Still, if you have a good VPN with robust security features, you needn’t use a proxy at all.
A feature-rich VPN lets you stream any content irrespective of your location. It is much more reliable than a proxy as it protects your privacy and security on the web.
You can choose a suitable VPN considering factors like strong encryption, fast speeds, and advanced security features.