это нужно. Translation: SOCKS5: what is it and why is it needed.

  • Feb 10, 2024, 3:47 PM
  • 7 minutes

The SOCKS5 proxy server can route your traffic, which can increase anonymity and speed. However, it does not provide security as it operates without data encryption. In this article, we will explain what a SOCKS5 proxy server is, its advantages, and its areas of application.

What is a SOCKS5 proxy

Socks proxy is a proxy that transfers data using the Socket Secure protocol. It helps ensure secure communication at an invisible level for the user. These proxies redirect traffic through the firewall and facilitate communication with the server. The proxy does not make any changes to the data, so the traffic is redirected in its original form. As a result, websites do not see the client's real IP address or the fact that they are using a proxy.

With SOCKS proxies:

  • They work well with all types of protocols and data, not just browsers, but also for all programs that do not directly use a proxy (ports 1080 and 1081).
  • They do not encrypt traffic, so be careful when transmitting confidential data. But this issue can be resolved, as explained below.
  • They offer different authentication methods.
  • They are good for bypassing restrictions, providing a stable and fast connection, which is useful for streaming multimedia, P2P, and online games.

And be careful when working with free SOCKS servers. They have a higher risk of data leakage and increased advertising. We have already compared them to paid servers in our article "Paid vs Free Proxies."

Types of authentication

Authentication is the method of connecting to a proxy. With authentication, your data is protected slightly better, and the chances of being banned during parsing are reduced. In other words, SOCKS5 proxy servers provide safer connections than HTTP. You can connect to SOCKS5 using a one-time password, SMS code, authentication code, etc.

SOCKS5 offers three types of authentication:

  • Null - No authentication is required to connect to the proxy server.
  • Username and password authentication - You need to enter your login credentials to access the system and connect to the proxy server. Logins and passwords help limit the number of proxy users.
  • GSS-API authentication - Both you and the server use operating system-level authentication methods to verify identity.

What is Socks5

There are two generations of SOCKS proxies:

  • Socks4 - Does not support IPv6, authentication, and remote DNS queries, only supports TCP connections.
  • Socks5 - Supports both IPv4 and IPv6, multiple authentication methods (e.g., login and password), remote DNS queries, TCP and UDP connections, and SSH tunneling methodology for traffic relay.

SOCKS5 is often referred to as SOCKS because it is the more popular version of the proxy. Therefore, the number "5" is usually omitted. Both terms can be used interchangeably.

SOCKS proxies can be used for the same purposes as HTTP proxies. For example, to increase loading speed on websites by caching, bypassing restrictions, and maintaining confidentiality while working online.

Unlike HTTP, SOCKS5 is suitable for working outside the browser. The protocol operates at the session layer, which is the 5th layer in the OSI model. This means that the protocol allows the transfer of any data without encapsulation.

The OSI model is a model for the interaction of protocols and the coordination of the operation of different devices. It shows the stages of data transmission from the program to the cable.

It looks like this:

Host levels in the OSI model

Data Type
7. Application
Access to network services
HTTP, FTP, POP3, SMTP, WebSocket
6. Presentation
Data representation and encryption
5. Session
Session management
4. Transport
Segments and datagrams
Direct connection between endpoints and reliability
3. Network
Route determination and logical addressing
IPv4, IPv6, IPsec, AppleTalk, ICMP
2. Data Link
Bits and frames
Physical addressing
PPP, IEEE 802.22, Ethernet, DSL, ARP, network card
1. Physical
Working with transmission media, signals, and binary data
USB, RJ (twisted pair, coaxial, fiber optic), radio channel

However, data encryption in SOCKS5 is not mandatory. Therefore, any participant in the data transmission can see your data. But this has a plus - the data transfer speed is the highest among all proxy protocols and even faster than VPN.

Can security be enhanced?

Dedicated (non-shared) SOCKS5 proxy servers can be configured for enhanced protection, similar to VPN servers. For example, through a private server with an encrypted SSH tunnel (Secure Shell Protocol). The traffic will then go through the remote server. Do not confuse this with SSL encryption. In essence, you can create your own local proxy using the PuTTy utility.

Thanks to SSH, all traffic, including SOCKS5 traffic, can be routed from the client through a private encrypted SSH tunnel to a remote SSH server. This can help hide traffic and bypass more advanced (L7-DPI) firewalls. However, advanced configuration skills will be required for this.

The connection will look like this:


Previously, different types of SOCKS only worked with the TCP protocol, while SOCKS5 proxies handle UDP traffic as well. Therefore, we recommend using SOCKS5 as it is more versatile.

  • TCP is a protocol for ensuring message delivery between the client and the server. It is needed for reliable connections. TCP is best suited for precise data delivery, such as media content and messaging.
  • UDP, on the other hand, does not guarantee delivery, and this protocol is packet-oriented, which helps transmit traffic faster without spending time on retransmissions. UDP is best suited for P2P traffic, voice transmission, and streaming video.

These protocols complement each other well.

If the client exchanges TCP data, SOCKS forwards the data through an established connection. If the client exchanges UDP data, it may be necessary to use a TCP connection to establish initial contact, as UDP can only send data. After that, TCP is only needed for successful responses from the SOCKS5 proxy server and instructions for sending UDP packets. For more details about protocol differences, refer to the article on Spiceworks.

Advantages of SOCKS5 Proxies

With SOCKS5 proxies, you can configure them at any level. SOCKS5 proxies can be applied at the application level, meaning you can choose which programs will route their traffic through this proxy. This is important if you only need to enable the proxy server for a single application. SOCKS proxies are typically used in browsers or file-sharing P2P clients, such as BitTorrent.

For regular downloading, uploading, and content transfer, SOCKS proxies are the best choice, as they stand out for:

  • Bypassing restrictions. SOCKS5 is one of the best ways to bypass website blocking. This is useful if your IP address is SOCKS5 or has been blacklisted.
  • Connection speed and stability. Previous versions of SOCKS only used TCP for uninterrupted and reliable data transmission. SOCKS5 works with the UDP protocol, which increases speed.
  • Performance. Unlike other types of proxies, SOCKS does not interfere with data packets. Less errors occur during the transmission process.
  • Download speed. Data packets are much smaller, which speeds up downloads, especially when using P2P platforms.

Why Use SOCKS5 Proxies

They are suitable for typical tasks that other proxy options can handle. However, they will be more effective in the following scenarios:

  • Scraping and SEO - these tasks with high traffic are suitable. For example, a dynamic IPv6 proxy server can help stay in the shadow using scraping protection technology and provide efficient and fast results. Of course, you can collect data using HTTP proxies, but SOCKS5 allows you to parse data from any connection - TCP or UDP - and from different sources of video streams, VoIP calls, etc.
  • Anonymous connection, if you need to mask the real IP address.
  • Online gaming, video and voice chats.
  • P2P and torrents. Here, a high-speed protocol between nodes and masking the real IP address will be needed.
  • Access to MySQL databases, LDAP service.

The main problem with SOCKS5 is the lack of data encryption. This can lead to:

  • Hacking. We do not recommend working with confidential data when using SOCKS5. When moving through a third-party server, hackers can quickly steal personal information.
  • Intrusive advertising and viruses. Proxy servers often make money by sending advertisements to connected users. These ads and pop-ups not only annoy, but can also pose a threat in the form of malware that sends data to hackers.
  • Insecurity in the network. When connecting to a SOCKS proxy server, you are sharing your personal data, such as your hostname, with strangers. Your identifier can be used for malicious purposes or sold on the darknet.
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