Proxy or VPN – What's the Better Choice to Keep Internet Activities Hidden?

both proxies and VPNs have the purpose of keeping a user's identity hidden or to spoof a specific location.

But what are the differences between the two?

A HTTP Proxy can unlock geo-locked internet services such as TV streaming websites.

This means you can watch online movies, games, and sports outside the country of origin.

A BitTorrent Proxy improves your chances of not getting caught when downloading files with a P2P software client.

It's oftentimes not suited for browsing because browsers do not support the specific protocols.

With a VPN, you can circumvent country restrictions and download files at the same time.

The computer's IP address is hidden, internet traffic encrypted.

Thanks to the encryption, attempts of your ISP to throttle your internet connection will most likely fail.

Sometimes web surfing or video streaming gets even faster with a proxy or VPN than without.[1]

My recommendations

If you share files, I recommend using a proxy. It's oftentimes faster and cheaper than a VPN.

If privacy for one of the following tasks is important, I recommend using a virtual private network:

Protected surfing; accessing websites otherwise blocked;TV streaming (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu).

Make sure that the provider allows the use on a mobile device with the same account.

What if you only need access to geo-locked websites?

Then a cheap service like Hide My IP where you can select IP addresses in different countries may be enough.


Proxy or VPN? In my opinion, the best choice in 2016 is a VPN with servers in multiple countries, a comfortable way to switch between them, no traffic limits, and terms of service that you can understand without lawyer.


High-end VPN with innovative features and good infrastructure.
Overall 4 of 5 stars


BTGuard BitTorrent Proxy

Well established and fast SOCKS proxy solution for torrenting.
Overall 4 of 5 stars



My reasons for using a VPN

I definitely want to:

  • Safely upload and download files in peer-to-peer networks
  • Have unrestricted access to streaming content from outside the country of origin
  • Use public or hotel Wi-Fi in confidence
  • Break out of restrictive networks at work or school
  • Use search engines without having searches logged
  • Watch home-specific broadcasts while traveling
  • Avoid traceback and reprisals due to my online research
  • Do VoIP phone calls and be sure that they can't be eavesdropped
  • Bypass any country's content surveillance and web censorship

What downloaders should be aware of

If you want to make sure that a provider is a good fit for your demands, read its privacy policy.

Questions a VPN providers's privacy statement should answer:

  • How do they respond to civil investigations?
  • Will they release information to identify you?
  • What data is stored and for how long?

If they don't answer all-important questions or if you don't understand what they're saying, move away.

Beware of claims that "you are anomymous" with a certain solution or provider because you aren't.

Anonymity on the internet is a myth.[2]

If I'm on public Wi-Fi, I don't sign into anything unless I'm connected to my VPN service of choice

Last updated:

Woman wearing sunglasses
When choose a proxy? When use a VPN?

Proxy or VPN by Harald Schendera, 2016. – What's the difference between a VPN and a proxy more technically?