Not every online task requires the robust protection of a full VPN. Sometimes you want to keep yourself anonymous while still getting blazing fast speeds. That's what our SOCKS5 proxy is for.
Most commonly used in P2P clients, a SOCKS5 proxy is a simple server all of the data coming to and going from a particular application is routed through. It doesn't encrypt your data, but it does change your IP address so that any activity done through that server isn't directly traceable back to you.
A SOCKS5 proxy is a computer that stands between your computer and the rest of the Internet. That's important because, for all intents and purposes, it hides your identity while you're surfing the web, streaming a show, downloading a file, or playing a game.
Instead of your computer reaching out directly to Internet servers to get the information you want, it will connect to the SOCKS5 proxy. From that point forward, your computer tells the SOCKS5 what information it wants, and the proxy actually makes the request. This has two major benefits:
SOCKS5 proxies are important security tools and a great compliment to a VPN.
Without the need to encrypt all of the data being transferred through a particular program, you can send and receive a lot quicker through a SOCKS5 proxy.
You don't need to remember to turn on or use a SOCKS5 proxy. You can set most P2P clients (and several other applications) to automatically route all of your traffic through the proxy server.
Many users will use a SOCKS5 proxy in conjunction with their virtual private network to get the best of both worlds, customizing how they balance speed and security per task.
Just like how you can choose a VPN server from anywhere in the world and appear to be from there, the same can be said for SOCKS5 proxies. This is not just a security feature, but also good for accessing geographically censored content from anywhere on Earth.
Normal HTML connections use the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to share information. This is designed to send files one piece at a time and in a certain order. But a SOCKS5 Proxy can send your files through proxy servers in any order that makes sense. This improves connection security and integrity.
SOCKS5 proxies don't rewrite packet headers like many other proxies do. As a result, misrouting due to data integrity issues are reduced significantly with SOCKS5.
Your IP address is a necessary part of how online devices communicate with the Internet. It contains several details about your connection including your ISP, operating system, and even your location. This is necessary to connect to a data server.
Like with a VPN, the SOCKS5 proxy starts by connecting to another, secure server. This server protects your privacy by standing between your device and the rest of the Internet. It's like a mask for your IP address, telling every other server it sends data to that you are really a different person.
A proxy doesn't encrypt traffic like a VPN, though. Part of why they are so fast is that they hide your IP address, but don't take the time necessary for encrypted communications. As a result, they aren't as secure as a VPN. However, in some cases, like P2P file transfers, the added speed can make a huge difference while still guarding your privacy.
Yes, you absolutely should. Both a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy guard your privacy in different ways. SOCKS proxies, while useful for hiding your IP and keeping your identity safe, don't provide the security of a VPN, which also encrypts your Internet activity. However, because it doesn't spend time on encryption, a SOCKS5 proxy can provide faster connections than a VPN.
Ideally, you should set certain types of software, like your P2P client, to make use of SOCKS5 proxies when you have the opportunities, but maintain the security of the rest of your Internet data with a high quality VPN.
"SOCKS" stands for "Sockets Secure" and is a network protocol that facilitates communication between servers on the Internet. Think of SOCKS5 proxies like personal assistants: their job is to do tasks on your behalf. Proxies stand between you and the rest of the Internet to better maintain your privacy and security.
Part of how they do this is by changing your IP address. Instead of everything you do on the Internet looking like it's coming from you, it looks like it's coming from the proxy instead. To go back to our metaphor, it's like if you had your assistant buy things for you on a credit card in their name rather than using any of your accounts. SOCKS proxies keep your identifying information private by being the "face" of your Internet activity.
A VPN is a whole Internet security solution. It guards your data by both hiding your IP and encrypting everything you do online. This ensures your privacy. But it can also slow down your connection.
Not every online task requires advanced encryption. Sometimes, your privacy can be secured by simply hiding your identity. That's where SOCKS5 proxies come into play. Some of your data can be routed through the proxy instead of the full VPN. When you do that, you lose the encryption benefits of a VPN, but your connection will also speed up. And while you are connected to the proxy, other people won't be able to see your real IP.
This is going to depend largely on what P2P client you're using, but in broad strokes:
And that's it. Once you finish setting that up and accept any changes, your P2P client will know to send information through the SOCKS5 proxy rather than your regular VPN or an insecure connection.
For detailed instructions on setting up your SOCKS5 proxy with specific applications, go to our SOCKS5 Setup Guides page.
Proxies are not super expensive to run, but they do incur some costs. So you have to ask yourself: if you're not covering those costs, who is?
Free proxies, like free VPNs with no premium options, should be looked on with suspicion. First of all, they could be making their money by using your data. When you connect to their proxy, all of your Internet activity is filtering through a server controlled by this company. They could be logging what you're doing to sell that information to advertisers. Or they could use that connection to serve you ads that benefit them, rather than your favorite websites. A free proxy might even put ads on pages or in apps that weren't there before.
You also can't be sure of the performance of a free SOCKS5 proxy. Proxies need a certain amount of processing power in order to operate effectively. They also need support staff to keep them optimized (again, like a VPN) and solid infrastructure to keep traffic flowing at a good speed. Free SOCKS5 proxies simply can't rationally supply these things to their users, unless they're getting their funding from elsewhere.
If security is your goal, then free SOCKS5 proxies are a step backward.
There are so many Internet security options it can be tough to tell which will best protect your privacy. Whether it's a VPN or a SOCKS5 proxy, knowing how and when to use particular security tools can be the difference between safe communication and a major cyberattack.
A VPN is the gold standard for online security. It not only hides your IP address, a VPN also encrypts all of your Internet traffic. This results in greater privacy and more secure data transfers.
However, the issue is that a VPN might slow down your connection. Based on what server you're connected to, your traffic will be at least marginally slower because of the data encryption.
An HTML proxy is a server that your web browser routes all of your website traffic through. Unlike a VPN, it doesn't encrypt your data, nor does it work on traffic that isn't through a connected web browser.
However, what HTML proxies can do is hide your IP address when you have to connect to a DNS server or web server, further defending your privacy. This can be paired with SSL encryption for more security.
SOCKS (which is short for "Sockets Secure") proxies are like HTML proxies, but they are more flexible. They aren't restricted to hiding HTML traffic. In fact, a SOCKS5 proxy can be configured to hide the IP address of any type of data or traffic.
That being said, they also lack the data encryption capabilities of a VPN. In fact, it's usually a good idea to use a VPN to secure most of your Internet traffic, but use a SOCKS5 proxy in your torrent client.