Routing your traffic through a proxy can make you anonymous, but it doesn’t guarantee security. Unlike a VPN, a proxy doesn’t encrypt your traffic. Find out what the SOCKS5 proxy is, what benefits it offers, and how you can use it with a VPN for ultimate privacy and security.
SOCKS is an internet protocol that routes packets between a server and a client using a proxy server. Your traffic is routed through a proxy server that generates an arbitrary IP address before you reach your destination. Technically speaking, SOCKS5 (the latest version) uses proxy servers to form User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connections through arbitrary IP addresses.
If your IP is 220.127.116.11 and your traffic is routed through a SOCKS Proxy with the IP 18.104.22.168, the destination server (the website) will think that the request came from the latter. The website cannot see your original IP address. This provides some anonymity, but it doesn’t mean that your traffic is secure. Contrary to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), proxies do not encrypt your traffic – it’s still out in the open and anyone can snoop on what you are doing.
SOCKS5 is the latest and most up-to-date SOCKS protocol. It has enhanced security and offers three types of authentication methods:
There are many reasons why people use SOCKS proxies:
Since proxy servers act as relays between your device and the internet, they can easily help you bypass internet blocks. For example, if your IP was blacklisted by a certain website (or you use a VPN and its servers IPs were blacklisted) you can route your traffic through a SOCKS5 proxy and so bypass this block. However, it won’t help you to circumvent national firewalls as most of them use deep packet inspection (DPI). This means that your traffic is blocked by your ISP and before it reaches the website.
Unlike HTTP proxies, which can only interpret and work with HTTP and HTTPS webpages, SOCKS5 proxies can work with any traffic.
HTTP proxies are high-level proxies usually designed for a specific protocol. While this means you get better connection speeds, they’re not nearly as flexible and secure as SOCKS proxies. SOCKS proxies are low-level proxies that can handle any program or protocol and any traffic.
Unlike its predecessors, which only used TCP protocol, SOCKS5 proxy servers can use UDP protocol, ensuring a reliable connection and efficient performance.
The TCP internet protocol forms a connection between a client and a server, making sure that all the packets arrive from one side to the other. It requires fitting the content into a fixed format so that it can be transferred easily. UDP, on the other hand, doesn’t focus on whether all packets from the client or server reach the other side and whether they are transferred in the same order. UDP doesn’t waste time converting data packets into a stream of fixed packets. Therefore, with these UDP at hand, SOCKS5 can offer faster speeds and a reliable connection.
Many other proxies rewrite data packet headers. Because of this, there’s a high chance of misrouting or mislabelling that data. SOCKS5 proxy servers do not rewrite data packet headers, so there is a lower chance for errors. Since there are far fewer errors, the performance automatically improves. However, this comes at a cost of your privacy and security as packet headers contain your personal information and can be easily identified.
SOCKS5 is faster than other proxies because it transfers smaller data packets. Therefore, it offers faster download speeds, which is why many users use it to connect to P2P sharing websites and platforms.
The main difference between proxies and VPNs is that VPNs encrypt your traffic and proxies don’t. VPNs provide more stable connections while proxy connections drop more often.
There are few reasons to use both together, so your best bet is to choose the right tool for the job. Fortunately, NordVPN’s servers also support SOCKS5 connections. For full instructions on how to use SOCKS5 proxy on different platforms, visit our tutorial page.
Because of their low overhead, proxy services aren’t expensive to run, but they still come with costs. Therefore, free proxies, like free VPNs, should be avoided. Here’s why:
Your best bet is a premium proxy service, which will offer the best speeds, support, and security. Fortunately, when you buy NordVPN, you can also use some of our servers as SOCKS5 proxies. With all of our other features, you can easily switch between maximum security, maximum speed, or the best of both worlds.
Our secure and flexible service offers tons of options, including SOCKS5. Try it with our risk-free money-back guarantee for 30 days!