You may have heard many times that someone’s private data, IP address, financial information, or ID were stolen via malware programs and cookies. It is a big problem for private companies, governmental websites, banks, social networks, car-sharing, and tourist companies. Therefore, they are constantly thinking about the most efficient methods of protection, and using VPNs is strongly recommended alongside proxy servers and incognito modes available on browsers.

Protecting private information may also be a big concern for those who want to hide their identity on the Internet, for example, while opening websites prohibited in their countries, writing something important that may be censored, or just downloading movies from torrents or watching TV shows via the channels that do not work in particular geolocation.

Anyway, the question of using a VPN or proxy so often arises on the Net that we have decided to check and explain whether VPN is the best method to hide your identity.

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Therefore, you can try different methods of protecting your data on the Internet. They involve:

  • incognito mode in the browser;
  • regular cookies cleaning;
  • registering another email for e-commerce activity;
  • avoiding the provision of phone numbers and emails while registering on the websites;
  • the two-factor authentication;
  • not sharing web pages and posts from social media with unfamiliar users;
  • not storing files with passwords in cloud services;
  • only messengers with end-to-end encryption;
  • complicated passwords that are regularly changed;
  • reading the terms on websites before accepting them to avoid data disclosure;
  • using a VPN.
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The last option is the list that cybersecurity experts regularly recommend. Now, let’s see if it is as effective as it is considered and what its alternatives are.

Is a VPN the Best Option?

The answer is positive. Let’s explain why. A VPN is a virtual private network. It changes the traffic router from the IP server to other servers. So, it is impossible to detect where the information comes from. As a result, a user usually gets another IP address in the region close to their location. VPN providers can offer their services for free or for a certain fee.

You can also decide whether you want all your traffic to go through the VPN or just a part of it. In addition, all your traffic and personal data are encrypted, so no one will see who you are and what websites you have visited. You can also securely use your device from public wi-fi networks.

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Paid VPNs are usually more reliable and effective than free ones. They do not have any functional limitations or restrictions. Paid VPN providers never sell the data to third parties because they care about their perfect reputation. All in all, you can quit the service anytime you have suspected them of unfair information treatment.

Choose the VPN according to your purposes and plans. Then, you can install the application or extension for the chosen VPN meant for your browser.

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Consider Alternatives to VPN

Why not look for alternatives to using a VPN? Maybe, you will be able to find more security and protection with some other methods.

The first thing to think about is a proxy server. It serves as an intermediary between a user and a website. It can change your IP address and geolocation as well. You do not need to download any additional computer software, which is a plus.

You can apply a proxy to many specific sites, but it does not encrypt data. Its goal is to overcome restrictions imposed by specific locations.

Proxy servers can provide a few levels of anonymity. Some of them can hide only IP addresses or cookies. In this event, the website can detect that you are using a proxy and ban your account. Others can hide the fact of using it. Those on top and payable can control the Internet traffic via SOCKS5. In addition, an owner of a proxy server can see and register all your activities online, which is a bit insecure. However, it reduces the number of viral ads and is another benefit.

Hence, you can see that a VPN can provide higher levels of functionality than proxy servers because they can change an IP address and geolocation, and all the data is encrypted. Therefore, using proxies may be more beneficial when you want to connect quickly. However, you need a specific type of proxy for every connection. For example, you should opt for an FTP proxy for an FTP connection, etc.

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Another alternative to VPN is TOR. It can enhance anonymity because it is a so-called onion router with several protection layers. They are three intermediate servers that serve as onion covers – incoming, intermediate, and outgoing ones. These layers hide IP addresses, encrypt all the information, and cut it into pieces to store on different servers. The TOR browser is based on Firefox, though websites can easily detect such a browser. That is why you will need a VPN anyway.

The essential drawback of TOR is that all these intermediate servers use the other user’s PC, so the user located on the outgoing server can be affected by malware. Moreover, the long chain of connections slows down the speed, and the server owners can also track you.

Final Thoughts

You can see now that VPNs are possibly the best method of ensuring privacy, security, and data protection. However, even if TOR provides the highest level of safety, it has a lot of disadvantages, and websites and malware can easily track proxy servers.

However, if your option is using a VPN, it should be trustworthy and reliable. That is why it is better to use a paid VPN because it is more functional and can provide a higher level of protection.