Computing Magazine

What is SOCKS5 and Why Should You Use It ?

Posted on the 07 January 2022 by Rahulthepcl

While bro wsing the internet, you may be looking for anonymity or security. For a seamless connection that does not require you to make unnecessary tradeoffs on vital aspects such as speed, you may want to connect your internet traffic using a socket secure (SOCKS) proxy and, specifically, the latest iteration, SOCKS5 proxies . You may even want to connect to an external server from a firewall-protected network.

What is SOCKS5 and Why Should You Use It ?

First, though, let's explore what SOCKS5 is. As a class of proxy servers, the SOCKS5 proxies route all the traffic from your browser (web client) through itself before directing it to a server. Simply, it intercepts communication between your computer and the target website and assigns it a new IP address, in effect hiding the actual IP address. However, unlike other proxies, SOCKS5 proxies go beyond, as we will detail later.

Before detailing what SOCKS5 is, let's explore socket secure (SOCKS) and its history.

What is SOCKS5 and Why Should You Use It ?

Although the SOCKS proxy intercepts all internet traffic between your computer and the target websites, it does not interpret it. Instead, it simply facilitates the connection, especially when there is a firewall that would otherwise block TCP connections to external servers without the presence of a SOCKS proxy. In this regard, SOCKS proxies provide access to external servers from firewall-protected networks by relaying user sessions through the firewall.

Limitations of SOCKS

Initial versions of the SOCKS protocol were less secure and clunky. For instance, it offered little authentication, if any. As a result, a web client would easily access SOCKS services using a username only. No password was needed. At the same time, a user would have to know the IP addresses of the servers they wanted to connect to. This, unfortunately, meant that they had to convert domain names to IP addresses - also known as domain name resolution - which would take up unnecessary time.

These limitations called for improvements, which resulted in the development of SOCKS5.

Released in 1996, SOCKS5 (Socket Secure version 5) is the most up-to-date version of the original socket secure (SOCKS) protocol. Besides routing internet traffic through SOCKS5 proxies, providing access to external servers from firewall-protected networks, the SOCKS5 brokers offer enhanced security and seamless connectivity.

For instance, where the earlier SOCKS versions lagged in authentication, the SOCKS5 thrives. It currently has three authentication methods as standard, namely:

  • Username/password authentication, proposed in a March 1996
  • The Generic Security Standard Application Programming Interface ( ) authentication
  • Null authentication where no authentication is required

Why You Should Use SOCKS5 and SOCKS5 Proxies

The SOCKS5 protocol and SOCKS5 proxies offer the following benefits, demonstrating why you should adopt them.

What is SOCKS5 and Why Should You Use It ?
  • Access servers from a firewall-protected network
  • The protocol is easy to set up
  • Better speed and performance
  • The proxy servers have an array of other applications
  • Enhanced security

Access to Servers from Firewall-Protected Networks

SOCKS5 proxies are ideal for situations where the client is behind a firewall, that is, when a firewall restricts access to external websites and servers. Such firewall-protected networks work in such a way that clients are only permitted to establish TCP connections to external servers if they use a SOCKS5 server; otherwise, the connection fails.

SOCKS5 Protocol is Easy to Set Up

You can easily configure most web-based applications - browsers, torrent applications, cryptocurrency wallets, video streaming software - to communicate with web servers through SOCKS5 proxies.

Better Speed and Performance

SOCKS5 Proxies Can be Used for Other Uses

Importantly, SOCKS5 proxies are general-purpose proxy servers.

What is SOCKS5 and Why Should You Use It ?

They are not a particular type of proxy server. This means that their function is not limited to routing internet traffic under the SOCKS5 protocol. Instead, they can execute other applications.

SOCKS5 proxies assign the internet traffic from your computer a new IP address. In this regard, they provide you with a new online identity. At the same time, thanks to the advanced authentication methods and the SSH encrypted tunneling method, SOCKS5 features enhanced security.

Conclusion

The Socket Secure (SOCKS) protocol has undergone several improvements since its first launch in 1992. As a result, its latest and most up-to-date version boasts enhanced security and performance. At its core, SOCKS5 establishes and maintains connections by routing traffic through SOCKS5 proxies. This offers multiple benefits, including access to external servers from firewall-protected networks and more.


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