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What are the Benefits of SOCKS5 Proxy?

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In computer networks, a proxy server is a computer that resides between the user and the server. It acts as a gateway or a middleman between the local network and a large-scale network such as the internet. 

What is SOCKS?
SOCKS stands for Socket Secure; it is an Internet protocol that enables communication with servers through a firewall by exchanging network packets between a client and a server via a proxy server. SOCKS has been designed to forward any traffic generated by any program or protocol.

SOCKS is a layer 5 (Session Layer) protocol of the OSI model that means it can’t be used to tunnel protocols operating below layer 5. Since it is used at layer 5, it can handle various types of requests from layer 5 and above, such as HTTP, FTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, etc. Therefore, SOCKS can be used for web browsing, emails, file transfers, and more.

SOCKS proxy server creates a TCP connection on behalf of the client to another server which is behind the firewall, then it exchanges the networks packets between the client and the actual server. A SOCKS server accepts all the incoming client connections on TCP port 1080.  

Types of SOCKS proxy: 

  1. SOCKS4 and,
  2. SOCKS5

SOCKS5 is the latest version of SOCKS. The main difference between SOCKS5 and SOCKS4 is that SOCKS5 supports UPD proxies while SOCKS4 doesn’t.

What is SOCKS5?
SOCKS5 is the improved and latest version of the SOCKS protocol, SOCKS5 proxy is more secure than SOCKS4 because it establishes a full TCP connection and it also uses SSH encrypted tunneling method to relay the traffic i.e. a user can set up an SSH tunnel to send their unencrypted data over a network through an encrypted channel. 

SSH tunneling

Working of SOCKS5 :
SOCKS5 works by routing internet traffic via a proxy server that generates a random IP address before reaching the destination. It uses proxy servers to form TCP or UDP connections through random IP addresses.

For ExampleSuppose that a user’s IP address is and their traffic is routed via a SOCKS5 proxy that has the IP address, then the destination server will believe that the request came from the SOCKS5 proxy server. The destination server will not be able to see the user’s original IP address. So, that’s how it helps in hiding the location.

Benefits of SOCKS5 proxy :

  1. Bypass Geo restriction –
    Sometimes content providers restrict some of their content and services based on the geographical location of the user. For example, there are various shows you can find on different streaming platforms that might be available in the USA but not in India. It allows websites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime to restrict their content based on geolocation. So to overcome that, the SOCKS5 proxy can be used, The proxy will change the IP address with the IP address of the country where that content is available.
  2. Evade Internet Blocks –
    Websites keep logs of users who visit their sites and sometimes they even blacklist (Block a user’s IP) any user who they think is a potential risk to their security. Such as sending many requests within a short period can get a user blacklisted. SOCKS5 proxy can help the user to evade these internet blocks. So, even if the IP address was blacklisted by the website, the user can simply bypass the block by routing the internet traffic through a SOCKS5 proxy which will change the user’s IP address.
  3. Faster and Reliable Connection –
    In older versions of SOCKS proxies, TCP protocol was used, which requires a secure connection between client and server making sure all data packets reach the destination without any loss and in the same order on the other side or destination. SOCKS5 uses a UDP protocol that broadcasts packets and doesn’t focus on packets reaching in the same order. As a result, in SOCKS5 the connection is more reliable and the transfer is faster.
  4. No Traffic, Program, or Protocol Constraints –
    Unlike HTTP proxies that can only work with HTTP and HTTPS, there are no such limitations or constraints with SOCKS5 proxies. Since SOCKS5 is a layer 5 Protocol it is not that specific and high level as compared to HTTP proxy which is a layer 7 protocol. Thus, SOCKS5 proxy can handle various programs or protocols such as FTP, HTTPS, SMTP, etc.
  5. SOCKS5 is Faster than VPN –
    SOCKS proxies are often mistaken for VPNs. Though there are many similarities between a VPN and SOCKS proxies, one thing that sets them apart is encryption. SOCKS5 proxy changes the user’s IP address but it doesn’t encrypt the data as a VPN does. Encryption slows down the speed because of this the SOCKS5 proxy is faster than VPNs.

Conclusion :
Browsing the internet is not completely safe or secure and now people are being more aware about protecting their online privacy and safety. There are chances that some malicious user, government, or the ISP is watching or monitoring the activity of the users. Therefore, protecting online activity from these types of threats becomes even more important for safe and secure browsing. So, proxies like SOCKS5 play an important role in protecting the user from these threats.

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Last Updated : 25 Oct, 2021
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