Proxy servers can use HTTP and HTTPS as well as the SOCKS protocol (abbreviation for SOCKetS). SOCKS is a network protocol that facilitates communication with servers through a firewall by forwarding network traffic on behalf of a user to the actual server.
SOCKS is designed to direct any type of traffic generated by a protocol or program. SOCKS proxies can not only access websites, but can also be used for e-mail, chats, and torrents.
An advantage of SOCKS proxies is the anonymity associated with them (unlike HTTP, SOCKS does not analyze the data that passes through it). The proxy server running on the SOCKS protocol is located at a lower level than HTTP (according to the OSI Classification at a higher level, i.e. “transport layer”). It follows that such servers cannot modify HTTP headers and are therefore anonymous by default.
The target site is not able to determine the actual IP address of the user, nor the fact that a proxy is actually being used. It can only determine the IP address of the SOCKS proxy.
What are the different types of SOCKS proxies?
- SOCKS 4. Supports TCP connections only
- SOCKS 5. Supports TCP, UDP, login, and password authorization and the possibility of remote DNS queries.
What is the advantage of DNS transfer with SOCKS5 proxies?
Only by using SOCKS5, it is possible to avoid the so-called “DNS-Leak”, i.e. the target page will see the following
Proxy IP address + own DNS (IP and DNS match = everything OK.)
In case the user uses a different proxy (HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS4, or SOCKS4a), the target page would see the following
Proxy IP address + actual DNS of the user (IP and DNS do not match, suspicious = high probability that the user will be blocked)
What is the practical benefit of supporting TCP and UDP protocols?
Support of TCP and UDP protocols allows more efficient use of SOCKS5 for BitTorrent link, video streaming, live calls, and more.
On which ports do SOCKS proxies work?
The most commonly used ports are 1080, 1081, 1085.
What are SOCKS proxies suitable for?
SOCKS proxy can be used for various purposes: torrents, games, bots, messengers; generally all programs that support the SOCKS protocol.
Even if a program does not naturally support the SOCKS protocol, it can be forced to do so, e.g. by using Proxifier. Such a program that establishes a SOCKS connection can handle all traffic.
How secure is a SOCKS proxy connection?
A SOCKS connection, unlike an HTTPS connection, is not encrypted. But an encrypted HTTPS connection can be established over any SOCKS connection (within the connection), which is completely inaccessible from the outside:
Browser <- > SOCKS (HTTPS ) SOCKS <-> Target Web Page
This may look complicated, but in reality, it is very simple, and such a connection is automatically created when the user first establishes a SOCKS connection (e.g. with Proxifier or the browser add-on Foxyproxy) and then goes to a web page that uses an SSL certificate (“lock” to the left of the address bar).
This means that this connection is completely secure, and no one, not even the proxy provider, can find out exactly what the user is doing on the website, what he is printing, what pictures or videos he is viewing or uploading. For more information about the security of HTTPS encryption, we recommend our article “What are HTTP and HTTPS proxies? “