At their very base level, proxies and VPNs do the same thing: Connect your Internet-capable device to the Internet by routing its traffic through a remote server. But thinking the two are equal beyond that rough definition is erroneous, and can lead to unexpected consequences.

Proxy vs. VPN

A proxy acts as a middleman for your traffic to and from the Internet. They can be used to watch geographically restricted content for sites like YouTube by connecting to a proxy in the country whose version of YouTube you are trying to watch. However, that’s as complex as a proxy gets. While it does hide your IP address, it doesn’t encrypt any data that you send to the proxy. Any hacker worth his salt could easily trace your identity back from the proxy connection. Another problem is the proxies themselves. They are just turnaround machines, they have no security attachments and some of them are happy to sell your information up the river as it comes through the proxy. If you start using a proxy and then begin receiving lots of spam emails, advertisements, and random offers, it’s a good bet that the proxy you are using is taking your data and putting it up for bid. In terms of security, VPNs are everything that proxies are not. They focus on speed, security, and user experience. They encrypt your data as you send it through a ‘tunnel’ to the remote server, which decrypts it before sending it on to the Internet. Most VPNs charge a monthly or annual fee because they do not treat your data frivolously as many proxies do. Most VPNs never access your data nor store it once your session is done. They also do not sell your data to third parties. All of these levels of protection are in place to keep your identity anonymous and guard your privacy, particularly in countries where government censorship is rampant and violating it is a punishable crime.

VPNs in Russia

One country that is heavy on censorship is Russia. Its Bridge TV is one of the more popular networks in the world’s largest country by area, but if you live outside of Russia there is no way to view it because of the government’s power.

This is not only a bad situation for Russians working or living outside their home nation but also for those who have visited the country, enjoyed its programming, and would like to keep viewing it from abroad. VPNs make this a possibility by connecting users outside of Russia to servers inside the country’s borders. A VPN connection will link the two and encrypt a user’s data, such as requests to visit Bridge TV’s website and stream some of its programs.

Best VPNs for privacy

When using VPNs and torrents in Russia, privacy is a big concern. These three VPNs go above and beyond to ensure your connection is safe at all times.


PrivateVPN lives up to its name with 2048-bit encryption, a no-logs policy, an automatic kill switch, and built-in leak protection. It is perfect for those who are passionate about torrenting as it has port forwarding and P2P functionality. It also lets users open as many as six connections off a single license. The interface is simple to understand regardless of your country of origin and it comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee. Start Watching Now


SaferVPN is inexpensive and user friendly, two qualities that make any VPN worth a look. It stores neither logs nor IP addresses and has a kill switch to protect against accidental exposure. It totals more than 760 servers spread across more than 35 countries, suggesting there’s a lot of high-speed access out there, and enough programming “umphh” that it can successfully unlock the US version of Netflix. Start Watching Now

3IPVanish VPN

It has 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and IP and DNS leak protection. Its server variety is strong, with more than 1,000 available across more than 60 countries, and unlimited server switching in place. It also offers the chance to connect to up to five devices at the same time on one license. Start Watching Now