Anti-detect browsers vs. VPN: Which is right for your business?
SEPTEMBER 15, 2023
In a landscape where data breaches and identity theft are more than just buzzwords, businesses are faced with a critical decision: should they opt for anti-detect browsers or VPNs? Both technologies promise to safeguard your digital presence, but they do so in fundamentally different ways.
This article delves into the unique features, security protocols, and cost implications, helping you make an informed choice for your business needs.
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a security tool that allows you or your employees to connect to a Wi-Fi network without revealing your data or location.
When you connect to a VPN server, your data passes through an encrypted tunnel, typically using protocols like OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, or IKEv2/IPsec. This encryption hides your information from third parties, such as hackers or your internet service provider (ISP). VPNs are a popular method for individuals and organizations to achieve anonymity online. Some VPN service providers even offer a free trial to test their services and additional security features like two-factor authentication (2FA) through their website.
What is an Anti-detect Browser?
On the other hand, an anti-detect browser is a specialized tool that can alter your digital fingerprint, making it more challenging for websites to track you. However, it's important to note that while these browsers can obscure your online activities from websites, they do not encrypt your traffic.
This means that your ISP can still see the sites you visit unless you also use a VPN or another method to encrypt your internet traffic.
Companies often use anti-detect browsers to create and manage multiple accounts on platforms like Amazon, Google, and social media, allowing businesses to reach a wider audience.
Key differences Between Anti-detect Browsers and VPNs
Considering their capabilities and benefits is essential when comparing anti-detect browsers vs. VPNs. There are four critical differences between them:
A VPN masks your IP address and encrypts your internet connection, letting you send and receive data privately. This is particularly useful if you employ remote workers who can connect securely to your systems without revealing company information. VPNs often bypass geo-restrictions and access content from different countries through a proxy server.
For example, many companies now use cloud-based attendance management software to track hours worked, manage leave, and improve employee productivity and the well-being of remote workers. But this may also expose sensitive employee data if workers access this software from outside your offices. A VPN solves this problem by keeping your data confidential.
Alternatively, an anti-detect browser is a tool based on popular web browsers like Firefox and Chrome (Google Chrome). These browsers let you create your digital fingerprint with your choice of browser headers, language settings, and more. Anti-detect browsers are often used for running multiple social media accounts and other online platforms.
Companies often use anti-detect browsers to create and manage multiple accounts on social media, Amazon, Google, etc. Doing so allows you to reach a wider audience, which makes this an attractive tool for boosting brand awareness and sales.
When you use a VPN, your data goes to a VPN server (often in a different country) via an encrypted tunnel; you don’t connect directly to a website. Plus, even if someone manages to hijack your data, it will be meaningless without the correct decryption key. Some VPN service providers also offer two-factor authentication (2FA) as an extra layer of security. However, it's worth noting that this feature is generally part of the service provider's website and not the VPN protocol itself.
You can use a VPN on your company network (and employee devices) to keep all your data safe. For instance, depending on your VPN provider and router settings, you can set up your virtual private network directly on your router. This way, it will protect all the devices in your network without you having to load it onto each machine.
On the other hand, anti-detect browsers let you create multiple desktop and mobile browser profiles that you and your employees can access. Each employee could have their own profile (although there are usually limits on how many profiles you can create). They can then browse the internet and manage your accounts without giving away their data.
VPNs and anti-detect browsers vary widely in price, but anti-detect browsers are generally more expensive. Some VPNs are free, although they may have usage limits (such as how long you can connect or how many devices).
Monthly prices are often around $10-$15, while annual or long-term subscriptions tend to cost less (although you have to pay upfront). Enterprise pricing may be more.
Anti-detect browser prices start at around $30 per month, but the best ones will likely be closer to $100 monthly. For example, Multilogin pricing plans begin at €99 (or just under $110). You get a lot for your money, though, such as:
Browser profile syncing across devices
Access to Stealthfox and Mimic
Digital fingerprint control features
When to choose anti-detect browsers over VPNs?
Other times, you’ll find that comparing the advantages and disadvantages between anti-detect browsers vs. VPNs, favoring anti-detect browsers. This is because they offer features such as:
Using an anti-detect anti-detection browser helps you avoid browser fingerprinting. This would otherwise let your ISP and other parties track you (even across browsing sessions). It’s also much more challenging for criminals to build accurate profiles of your employees, reducing the chances of fraud and security breaches.
Anti-fingerprinting means you can manage multiple company accounts without fearing being banned. Ergo, you can run more ads to reach potential clients and rapidly scale your marketing and sales funnels, helping you grow your business faster.
Browsers use various tracking technologies, such as IP address tracking and cookies, to gather data on your location, browsing behavior, preferences, etc. They use this to target you with personalized ads and plan their digital marketing.
Anti-detect browsers block these tracking technologies and remove advertising code from your browser. This protects you and your employees’ privacy and helps shield you from intrusive, distracting ads.
Since more and more people worry about their online privacy, this could make you a more attractive company to work for.
Anti-detect browsers offer advanced cookie management features that give you more control over how websites track you. You can quickly isolate or delete cookies, reducing the risk of targeted ads and enhancing privacy.
Anti-detect browsers offer a higher level of customization compared to traditional browsers. You can tailor the settings to suit your needs, making it a more flexible tool for various business applications.
Anti-detect browsers are generally lighter on system resources compared to running a VPN. This can be crucial for businesses with limited computational power or bandwidth.
Some advanced anti-detect browsers come with a 'stealth mode,' which makes it even more challenging for websites to detect that you're using an anti-detect browser. This is particularly useful for tasks that require a high level of anonymity.
A user agent (or string) connects a website to a browser, crawler, or other application. They contain much information, including your browser type and device’s operating system (OS).
Anti-detect browsers can use user-agent switching to change your browser settings. This includes your location, timezone, language, browser version, and even the device you’re using. Doing so enhances your privacy and also lets remote employees bypass geo-restrictions.
As we’ve seen, while VPNs and anti-detect browsers protect your privacy and secure your important data, they do it differently. There are some instances when it’s preferable to use a VPN and others where an anti-detect browser is better for the job. But the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
To achieve the highest levels of security and anonymity while working, it’s best to use a VPN with an anti-detect browser. For example, you can use Multilogin with OpenVPN for an extra layer of protection.
Multilogin will also release a new version soon, Multilogin X, to give users even greater flexibility, functionality, and stability.
What are the primary security benefits of anti-detect browsers?
How does a VPN ensure online anonymity?
When you connect to the internet through a VPN, it swaps out your actual IP address and helps you to masquerade with another IP address using the VPN's server.
This offers a strong layer of online anonymity. VPNs encrypt your data so that any potential threats can’t view it, and your data stays hidden.
How often should businesses update their VPN or browser settings?
As with any software, tool, or application, businesses should check for and apply updates to their VPN software and browser settings at least every quarter. This ensures they are protected against the latest vulnerabilities or security flaws.
On top of this, businesses should also look out for any security advisories and conduct regular audits of their security protocols and settings to ensure they remove any potential weak points.