SOCKS5 vs HTTPS: the difference between proxies, pros and cons, where to use them.

  • Mar 6, 2024, 11:46 PM
  • 6 minutes

There are different types of proxies - HTTP/HTTPS, Socks4, and Socks5. These proxies solve similar tasks, but there are differences. They differ in the way data is transmitted, the protocols used, the level of anonymity, and other characteristics. Let's take a closer look at each and compare them.

What are proxies used for?

Both proxy protocols are used for similar scenarios. Therefore, their tasks overlap, and sometimes there is no difference in which proxy to use, for example, for collecting large volumes of data. But there are cases where there is a difference between HTTP and Socks proxies, and one of them will be more efficient.

What HTTP proxies can help with:

  • Collecting large volumes of data using parsing.
  • Ad verification: more and more companies use proxies to detect fraud, increase advertising efficiency, and anonymously check landing pages.
  • Monitoring websites or e-commerce platforms.
  • Working with automated tools.
  • In-depth market research.

When HTTPS proxy servers are suitable:

  • Bypassing blocks.
  • Anywhere where HTTP proxies work.
  • Protecting privacy. Proxies provide secure and anonymous browsing of pages.
  • Completing banking operations or credit card transactions.
  • When it is necessary to avoid website tracking.
  • Managing social media accounts.
  • Improving performance speed. The best choice is transparent HTTP proxies. They cache data, which speeds up page loading. Traffic masking is not needed here. As an alternative, you can use Socks - they also have high performance speed, despite passing all requests through the server.

Scenarios where a Socks proxy server will be more efficient:

  • Anonymity. Both Socks and elite HTTP proxies are suitable here - they mask the user's real IP address and do not disclose the use of proxies.
  • SMM and SEO tasks
  • Online games: UDP is great for such purposes, as well as video and voice chat and other real-time applications.
  • P2P and torrents. Socks have an advantage in speed when transmitting and downloading data to the network. For example, they transmit data between BitTorrent nodes. They can also hide the real IP address from peers.
  • Access to MySQL database
  • Access to LDAP service
  • File transfer via secure FTP

What is important

HTTP/S proxies use familiar methods of data processing and transmission - tunneling and caching. Anonymity when using them will depend on the specific type of proxies used. Socks proxies provide anonymity by default. They process all traffic without sending it to the user and do not transmit data to external networks, so the IP address cannot be detected. HTTP/S proxies work with web traffic, while Socks proxies are more versatile and compatible with different protocols.

For "simple" tasks like speeding up page loading or bypassing blocks, it is better to use HTTP/S. If anonymity is needed or parsing is required for SMM, SEO, and other tasks, it is better to prefer a Socks proxy server.

About HTTP/HTTPS proxies

HTTP proxies help organize the work of browsers and programs using the TCP protocol (ports 80, 8080, 3128). They allow you to collect data for parsing, check advertisements, monitor websites, and research the market. HTTPS proxies can also be useful for transmitting confidential information, anonymous browsing, banking operations, and managing social media accounts.

In our previous article about HTTP proxies on our blog, we provided more detailed information about them.

About SOCKS proxies

SOCKS proxies are proxies used for data transmission via the Socket Secure protocol. The proxy does not make any changes to the process, and the traffic flows in its original form, without encryption. Websites do not record the real IP address or the fact that the client is using a proxy. SOCKS proxies are excellent for programs that do not directly use proxies (ports 1080 and 1081) and when a fast and stable connection is needed.

We have covered all the intricacies of SOCKS proxies in detail in our article about SOCKS proxies.

HTTP Proxy vs. SOCKS

HTTP proxies work differently compared to SOCKS5 proxies, which simply pass any traffic. HTTP proxies still act as intermediaries, but they interpret the transmitted traffic through the server. HTTP headers play a significant role here - they are textual information about the parameters of your session. Headers help the server inform the browser about the settings for that address and website. This applies to both the current session and future sessions.

These headers help with information protection, caching, and other tasks. Therefore, some data can be cached and delivered faster, but the drawback is that they can only handle HTTP traffic.

SOCKS5 supports all types of protocols and data, while an HTTP proxy server only supports HTTP. There is also a difference: SOCKS5 allows for authentication-free operation, while an HTTP proxy server requires it.

Unlike HTTP, SOCKS5 proxy servers are suitable for working outside the browser. The proxy operates at the session level, the 5th level of the OSI model. This is between the presentation layer (SSL) and the transport layer (TCP and UDP).

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 control
4. Transport
Segments and datagrams
Direct communication 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 medium, signals, and binary data
USB, RJ (twisted pair, coaxial, fiber optic), radio channel

Which proxies are better - HTTP or SOCKS? Both types of proxies can hide your real IP address. The basic differences between proxies are shown in the table:

Transmission of headers
Depends on the type of proxy. Some transmit data about the real IP address of the user, others - about the use of the proxy
The server does not transmit or modify any data
Traffic it works with
From the browser
From the browser and programs
Works with ports 80 and 443
Works with any ports
Depends on the type of proxy. Some do not hide the real IP address, others hide the IP but inform about the use of the proxy, and others hide both. Such proxies can detect and block suspicious data packets or spyware.
Completely anonymous
Only available for HTTPS, uses SSL encryption
No tunnel encryption by default
Speed of operation
Depends on the type of proxy
Also depends on the type, but higher than HTTP
Protocol support
Can handle HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMPT, FTP and other requests

HTTP/HTTPS proxies:

  • Transmit hypertext traffic, such as web pages
  • Can communicate with HTTP torrent trackers
  • Cannot transmit "pieces" of a BitTorrent file between torrent peers

SOCKS proxies:

  • Can transmit almost any traffic
  • Can connect to HTTP or DHT trackers
  • Can transmit data between BitTorrent nodes

In general, the functionality of both types of proxies is the same. Let's highlight some features:

  • HTTPS proxies can be combined with HTTP, while SOCKS proxies are on a dedicated port.
  • HTTPS proxies allow bypassing NAT and firewall restrictions if administrators have blocked SOCKS proxies and only allowed HTTP/S connections.
  • SOCKS proxies are more versatile due to support for different protocols. Therefore, they are suitable for various purposes, such as email forwarding, P2P exchange, file sending, and so on. Just make sure that all necessary ports are open for your proxy service, otherwise the proxy will not differ from HTTP.
  • Both protocols allow connecting to all tools that transmit data. However, HTTP proxies are only ready to work through the HTTP protocol. For other non-HTTP protocols, including UDP and POP3, use a SOCKS proxy server.
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