What Is SOCKS Proxy And Why Do You Need It?

If you’ve started your research on proxies, you’ve probably learned about some of the benefits they offer. The chances are that you also know about different types of proxies such as HTTP and SOCKS5 proxy. If you want to learn more about SOCKS proxies, you’ve come to the right place.

Below you will find everything you should know about proxies including what they are, what are different types, and exactly what benefits it has to offer to individuals and businesses.

Web proxies introductions

A proxy is a web server that stands between you and the rest of the Internet. Let’s say you fire up your browser and hit your favorite website. Your browser will make a direct request from the target server, and the server will respond directly to your browser.

However, if you use a web proxy, the entire incoming and outgoing traffic is routed through it. In other words, a proxy acts as a gateway. Your apps communicate with a proxy server; it communicates with the rest of the internet and sends back the responses to you.

Web proxies have found many use cases – they can help you access geo-restricted content, provide an additional level of security, prevent sites from blocking scraping bots, and improve speed and bandwidth.

Main types of web proxies

Not all web proxies are the same. There are several main types of proxies. We categorize proxies into types depending on which protocols and technologies they use and how we configure them. Here are the main types of web proxies:

  • Residential proxies – residential proxies are unique because they use residential IP addresses. Instead of using a generic IP address, these proxies provide their users with a real one, thus enabling them to bypass even the most sophisticated defences such as anti-scraping ones;
  • Private proxies – private or dedicated proxies are reserved for one user only. They are perfect for users that don’t want to risk inheriting a lousy rep due to using an already red-flagged IP address;
  • HTTP proxies – HTTP proxy acts as a tunnel as it routes the HTTP requests. They became quite popular as they enable web scrapers to use organic user agents to avoid detection on target websites;
  • Rotating proxies – rotating proxies got their name after their capability to assign (rotate) a different IP address for every request. They are instrumental in web scraping operations;
  • SOCKS5 proxies – SOCKS5 proxy is a specifically configured server operating on the SOCKS5 protocol. It has many use cases and supports high-speed connections.

Defining SOCKS5 proxies

SOCKS5 proxies got their name after the protocol they use to establish connections. More precisely, they use SOCKS5 which is the latest and improved version of the SOCKS protocol. Using the SOCKS protocol, these proxies can route packets between your client and the target server.

Once the proxy assigns you an IP address, the SOCKS5 protocol kicks in to create a Transmission Control Protocol or User Datagram Protocol connection.

How are they different?

Thanks to the SOCKS5 protocol SOCKS5 proxy is different from any other proxy type. Let’s see how they are different.

First, SOCKS sits at layer 5. Let us remind you that you have SSL at layer 7 and TCP/UDP at layer 4. Being on layer 5 enables SOCKS5 proxies to handle most of the request types. You can use it to establish HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, FTP, and POP3 connections. In other words, you can use SOCKS5 for virtually everything.

The other difference comes in the form of enhanced security. With SOCKS5 proxy, you can use authentication and establish a full TCP connection. On top of that, SOCKS5 uses the Secure Shell (SSH) to route traffic. It is an encrypted tunneling method that delivers an additional layer of security.

Benefits of SOCKS5

The benefits of SOCKS5 come from its unique characteristics. Basically, we’ve already covered two of them – the ability to use them for a wide range of requests and better security.

However, SOCKS5 proxies offer a few more important benefits:

  • Ability to access content behind a firewall – SOCKS5 proxies can create a connection behind a firewall, thus completely bypassing restrictions imposed by it;
  • Extremely easy to use – setting up SOCKS5 is very easy even if you have a limited technical background;
  • Reliable and fast connection – SOCKS5 protocol doesn’t meddle with data packets. It simply routes them from point A to point B, thus improving performance and generating fewer errors;
  • Streamlined application requests – SOCKS5 uses SSH tunneling to route TCP and UDP traffic which means that you don’t need to use an additional proxy for layer 7.

Conclusion

SOCKS proxies are different from any other proxy type. It delivers the standard proxy experience with few additional perks – faster speed, better security, fewer errors, and support for various connection types. If this is something you need, you should definitely consider using the SOCKS5 proxy. Click here to learn more.

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