If you are looking for a VPN service, then you have probably come across various proxy servers. Proxy servers work similarly with VPN services, but there are also differences in which their effectiveness depends. Both VPN and proxies “change” the place of connection to the Internet. However, they do it in completely different ways, and also provide different levels of confidentiality, data encryption and user anonymity.

The proxy server acts as an intermediary between your computer (smartphone, tablet, etc.) and the Internet. Like a VPN, a proxy service changes your IP address. Say, for example, you are traveling abroad on vacation and want to watch a live broadcast on your favourite Russian channel, which restricts access to the video by geo-sign. You can use a proxy server to simulate a Russian IP address and gain access to this content. In this situation, you take almost no risk, you do not need any encryption.

Another example: you visited a website through the server of the zone where the airfare is lower (yes, airlines do sell tickets to someone cheaper than you do). It is also important to know that proxy services are installed for each application separately, and not on all computer software at the same time. This means that you need to configure the torrent client and the web browser separately to connect to the proxy server. While VPN encrypts all applications that work with the Internet during the installation process, that is, it works with all the software on the computer.

Proxies DO NOT encrypt your internet connection. 

Such a service may mask your real IP address, but all the information you send/receive through such a connection is not anonymized, i.e. such a server does not have built-in user privacy protection. Therefore, a proxy server is not the best solution, for example, for those who are trying to protect their personal information and are connected to the WiFi network. Also, when a user encounters Flash or Java scripts, their real IP address is easy to recognize. Do not forget that many of the IP addresses of proxies that are used everywhere are already “compromised” on many websites and are blocked.

There are two different types of protocols for proxies: HTTP and SOCKS.

HTTP proxies

The oldest of the two types of proxies (HTTP) only work with network traffic. To use an HTTP proxy, you need to specify it in the settings of the web browser (or find the extension for the browser if it does not support proxy servers initially), and then all your network traffic will go through the remote proxy server. If you use a proxy server when working with confidential information (finances or emails), you need to do this through an SSL-enabled browser and connect to sites that support SSL encryption. As stated above, proxies do not encrypt data, which is why you need to do all this.

SOCKS proxies

These are an extension of the HTTP proxy system that can handle any type of traffic that passes through it, so it is useful not only when working with web resources, but also for applications such as torrents. SOCKS protocol, unfortunately, is slower than HTTP, and this is especially noticeable if you download torrent files.

The last thing to note is that not all proxy servers are equally efficient, as are VPN services. There are quite a few free proxy services that can benefit you, but our experience shows that when it comes to protecting your personal information, you have to pay extra . Free proxies (like VPNs) are free for a reason: they usually have a short period of effective work, they are clogged with advertising and do not protect well from intruders. Sometimes they are controlled by hackers who want to steal your data (for example, if you enter your bank card details and they are right there).

So, which proxies could we recommend?

These VPN services also provide proxy services. Whether this is included in the VPN service package or is it a separate tariff plan, below you will find the best proxies

NordVPN

The Nord service does not offer a separate subscription for access to proxy servers. Subscribing to this VPN service already includes access to 3,000 private HTTP and SOCKS5 proxy servers located around the world. The service’s website has a search function, with which you can find the necessary proxy server and set the settings for each application that you can have (Chrome, Firefox, Torrent, etc.). Also, if you encounter any difficulties, you can contact the support service, which is open all year round 24/7. It is also important to note that if you decide to buy a subscription to Nord, then you can use this VPN service anywhere because it provides first-class protection while using only a proxy server allows attackers to steal your data.

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IPVanish

As in the case of Nord, working with IPVanish, you will get access to their private proxy servers by paying for a subscription to all the services of the service. However, unlike the Nord service, they only work with SOCKS5 proxy servers, so you can work with Bittorent clients such as Deluge and Utorrent, but not with web browsers. This is a great option for those who work with Torrent clients since you can use proxy servers to work with them and at the same time use the IPVanish VPN service to work with other applications. This is a plus since proxy servers are faster than VPN networks (because they do not encrypt data in the process; while working with torrent files through a proxy is relatively safe).

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ExpressVPN

Unlike the NordVPN and IPVanish services, the TorGuard service has a separate proxy service subscription, which can be obtained in addition to the VPN service subscription. You can even buy both subscriptions for a slightly higher fee (it will cost a little more than just a subscription to a VPN service). Torguard has many proxies, 2,000 IP addresses in more than 50 countries, SOCKS5 servers in 8 countries, and you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time.

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Private Internet Access

We like the PIA service because it offers very good services at a very attractive price. Like the first two services from our list, access to their servers is included in the subscription to the PIA VPN service. Like IPVanish, only SOCKS5 proxies are available here, so you can only work with torrent clients, but not with web browsers. Now, unfortunately, the PIA service does not have user support in the form of the chat (and this is a drawback), but they have a good level of customer support, and they respond quickly enough if you encounter any problems.

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Surfshark VPN

Overplay is a service where you can take advantage of VPN and SmartDNS technologies. The SmartDNS proxy server is needed primarily so that users can access content blocked in certain countries. However, it can also be used to easily browse websites. A VPN service can also give you this access, but it’s better to use SmartDNS because the connection here is faster due to the lack of encryption. We are not happy that the data is not encrypted, but the Overplay service provides access to secure DNS servers through which the connection is made. If you need access to proxies to view content that is only available in certain areas (e.g. Netflix, Kodi, Hulu, etc.), we recommend that you try to Overplay.