What Is SOCKS Proxy And How To Use It?

What Is SOCKS Proxy And How To Use It?

What Is SOCKS Proxy And How To Use It?

 Proxy servers work by intercepting the connection between sender and receiver. All incoming data comes in through one port and is forwarded to the rest of the network through another port. In addition to forwarding traffic, proxy servers provide security by hiding the real IP address from the server. Proxy servers can encrypt your data so that it cannot be read in transit and block access to certain web pages based on the IP address. Actually proxies also have certain types such as SOCKS which is short for "SOCKET". Let's describe about this SOCKS Proxy and why it is often used.

What is SOCKS/SOCKS5 Proxy?

SOCKS Proxy is usually used by installing it as a browser extension or configuring a torrent client to use the VPN provider's proxy server. SOCKS Proxy works by tunneling your traffic through a proxy server, which then forwards that information to its intended destination. The SOCKS protocol achieves this by first establishing a TCP connection with the proxy server. Then, your computer can send the data to the proxy server, which then forwards the data to its destination.

For example, let's say you want to visit a website hosted in another country. The website blocks anyone connecting from abroad. To get around this, you can use a SOCKS proxy located within the host country.

When you connect to a website through your proxy, the website sees the proxy server's IP address not yours. Since the server is located within the host country, the website sends the data to the proxy server, which then sends the data to you.

How Is It Different From A Regular Proxy Server?

You may have seen them on the internet, websites that offer free proxy servers to circumvent geoblocks or hide your identity. These are called “HTTP proxies” because they use the HTTP protocol. So, what's the difference between an HTTP proxy and a SOCKS proxy?

SOCKS Proxy Works With More Protocols

For one, HTTP proxy servers only work with the HTTP protocol. Unlike the case with SOCKS. It can operate with many protocols, which incidentally also includes HTTP. In computer science terms, many call this a “low-level” SOCKS proxy and a “high-level” HTTP proxy. This level refers to how specialized the software is. The higher the level, the more specialized the software. As an example, let's take the languages of the world. If we look at the "levels" that make up the French language, we can categorize them like this:

Planet Earth Languages > Asian Languages > Indonesian

In this case, the “high-level domain” is Indonesian. This is a special category for every language on Planet Earth. A person specializing in Indonesian can only speak Indonesian, similarly an HTTP proxy can only interact with the HTTP protocol.

“Low-end”, on the other hand, has a wider range of applications. The SOCKS protocol is like someone who understands all Asian languages. Has no specialization and can handle a wider range of protocols, including HTTP. This is similar to someone who knows every language in Asia, including Indonesia. Consequently, SOCKS is best for handling other protocols such as POP for email.

SOCKS Proxy Skirt Around Firewalls

Because SOCKS uses TCP to connect to the server, it doesn't have to go the same route as HTTP traffic. Thus, if there is a firewall monitoring the HTTP port, SOCKS can handle it even if it's using HTTP. This is great for browsing restricted content without a firewall blocking the website.

HTTP Proxies Handle HTTP Requests Better

However, the special nature of HTTP proxies isn't all bad. HTTP proxies can process incoming HTTP data better than SOCKS proxies. This is because HTTP proxies specialize in one protocol, so they are armed with more tools for HTTP processing than SOCKS proxies.

For example, if you want to scrape the internet for a specific page, a SOCKS proxy is not an idea. It doesn't have any special tools to manage pages as they go down the line, which means you'll end up with a pile of irrelevant web pages. HTTP proxies, however, do have tools for web scraping. You can tell it to search for specific web pages and it will only provide those that match the requirements.

What is SOCKS5?

If you do a cursory search for SOCKS servers, you will see the term “SOCKS5” pop up. The 5 at the end is just the version number for the SOCKS protocol, just like we have Windows 7, 8, and 10. At the time of writing, SOCKS5 is the latest version of the SOCKS protocol. It improves on SOCKS4 by supporting UDP as well as TCP and offers more authentication methods. It's also faster than SOCKS4. SOCKS5 may one day be replaced with technologies like Shadowsocks.

How to Use SOCKS5 Proxies

Socks Proxy Settings

If all of this sounds like something you'd like to try, setting up a SOCKS5 proxy isn't too difficult. To get started, you need a server to act as your proxy. You can set up your own, or you can find free SOCKS5 proxies to use. If you can't use the server, why not try the Spys One SOCKS5 proxy list for some ideas?

Once you have a paid or free SOCKS proxy, you have to enter details into the program to use it. These days, most modern browsers allow you to enter the details of the proxy server to use. Also, operating systems like Windows 10 accept proxy addresses and redirect all data sent to them.

After setting up the server, try running it by loading a web page. Not all proxy servers will work, so if your server fails to connect, try a different server or check the proxy settings again. If the web page loads, open WhatIsMyIPAddress and see if the IP and country match the proxy server you are connecting to. If yes, you guys are surfing on SOCKS5!

Free SOCKS5 Proxy: FoxyProxy Add-On

A good place to start with a free SOCKS proxy is using the FoxyProxy Add-on for Firefox Browser. FoxyProxy is 100% free. Apart from that, you can also configure a SOCKS5 proxy if you sign up for a VPN service that includes a proxy as part of a free trial subscription.

Download: FoxyProxy Firefox Add-On (Free)

Free SOCKS5 VPN Provider

Some other way is to use a VPN service that offers proxies as an option. To get a proxy for free, simply sign up for a free trial subscription. For example, CactusVPN and Windscribe VPN both offer no-cost trial versions of their VPN services.

Download: Windscribe Extension Chrome (Free)


HTTP proxies are the most commonly used proxy servers, but SOCKS5 does have its advantages. They can handle more protocols and get around firewalls, making them a valuable tool for someone who wants privacy without a lot of work. A practical application of proxy technology that is completely free and does not require installation is search engine proxies. Proxy search engines run all search queries through a proxy which can keep your personal information out of the hands of crooks and snoopers.

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Resa Risyan

Just an ordinary person who wants to share a little knowledge, hopefully the knowledge I provide can be useful for all of us. Keep in mind! Useful knowledge is an investment in the afterlife.

Also, read the article about What Is Spyware And How Does It Work?. And see you in another article. Bye
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