Proxies come in all shapes and sizes. They can be categorized by IP type, rotation, functions they perform, and a host of other features. Another way to divide them is by the network protocol they use.

One such internet protocol used for proxying is SOCKS5. This article will look at the SOCKS5 protocol, SOCKS5 proxy buy options, benefits, and other good-to-know points when considering proxy services. Learning about SOCKS5 proxy advantages and disadvantages will help you decide whether this is the solution you currently need.

Proxies & The SOCKS Protocol

A proxy server is the intermediary between a client device and the end server. Thus, when a proxy is involved, for example, the request from your computer to view a webpage would go to this intermediary server before reaching the end server. There are many reasons to use this arrangement instead of accessing the end server directly, but we will get to that later.

SOCKS stands for Socket Secure and is a network protocol that transfers data packets through a proxy server. There are many network protocols and each has its own rules of how data is transferred within the network. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is perhaps the best known as it is the foundation of the Internet. That is why you can see the letters HTTP or HTTPS at the beginning of website names in your browser’s toolbar.

SOCKS protocol is developed specifically for sharing data when using a proxy. SOCKS5 is the latest version of this protocol that comes with certain improvements as compared to previous versions. SOCKS5 proxy is a proxy solution that uses this particular protocol to exchange data.

The Pros & Cons Of SOCKS5 Proxies

A lot depends on what protocol the proxy server uses. As with any other, the SOCKS5 protocol has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the main pros and cons of SOCKS5 proxies.


  1. They are more secure than SOCKS4 proxies. The previous version of the protocol only uses IP-based authentication. SOCKS5 proxies offer multiple authentication methods, for example, credentials-based and GSS-API authentication.
  2. SOCKS5 proxies are fast. They are faster than VPNs as their security is not based on traffic encryption. Thus, SOCKS5 proxies are often the best solution for streaming.
  3. They are more versatile than their alternative. Unlike SOCKS4, which only supports Transmission Layer Protocol (TCP), SOCKS5 proxies also support User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Additionally, HTTP proxies can only process HTTP and HTTPS requests while SOCKS5 proxies can process any type of traffic.
  4. SOCKS5 proxies are fast. They can quickly and reliably process various kinds of transferred data through the proxy connection.
  5. The performance of SOCKS5 proxies is great. They make fewer errors when transferring data as they do not need to modify the headers of data packets.


  1. No encryption and leaving packet headers as they are can also be seen as security risks. If packets are intercepted, the data is more exposed than it would be if an encryption protocol was used.
  2. SOCKS5 proxies tend to be more expensive. Naturally, they are more expensive than proxies based on the older versions of the SOCKS protocol. Due to its flexibility, a SOCKS5 proxy will often also cost more than other alternatives.
  3. They are not as good at handling internet traffic as HTTP proxies. Since the internet is pretty much built on this protocol, HTTP proxies are better at interpreting web data.

Alternatives To A SOCKS5 proxy

The benefits and drawbacks of the SOCKS5 proxy, as you may have noticed, should be weighed against its main alternatives. In the proxy world, there are two main solutions that you could choose instead of SOCKS5 proxies.

First, there are SOCKS4 proxies. Their main advantage is price, so they could be an option when working on a budget. Other than that, it is always better to go for the more secure and versatile newer version when you can afford it.

The second and main alternative is an HTTP proxy. This one has more to show against the SOCKS5 proxy. HTTP proxies are fast and accurate when handling web data. Thus, they might be the preferable option for web scraping, which is a large-scale automated data extraction from the internet.

SOCKS5 proxies, however, are compatible with almost any website or app, whether they are based on HTTP or not. Thus, there are many potential applications and use cases for this type of proxy.

What Are SOCKS5 Proxies Used For?

All the proxies you would use to browse the web have one thing in common. They will hide your IP address from the end server behind a proxy IP they assign you. As mentioned, this simple feature has many applications.

Main proxy use cases for which SOCKS5 proxies are perfect include:

  • Bypassing geographic restrictions. Some websites and service providers will only show content for users from certain locations. Thus, you need an IP address of a device in that location to access this content. This is what the SOCKS5 proxy can provide you with.
  • App testing. As SOCKS5 proxies are compatible with virtually any protocol and programming language, they are perfect for testing how software applications work in different conditions.
  • Streaming and gaming. Once again, the flexibility of a SOCKS5 proxy makes it a safe choice for gaming online or streaming content. They will most likely be compatible with the platforms you use.
  • General online security. If anonymity and security are what you are after in your everyday browsing, SOCKS5 proxies can protect you while keeping the connection speed high.

These use cases make the SOCKS5 proxy a great choice for both businesses and private individuals looking to stay private online.

Summing Up

At the end of the day, both SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies share the pedestal of the proxy market when it comes to protocol. Choosing which one suits you depends on your preferences and current conditions. One way to find out is by using a provider who can offer both and trying out for yourself to make the comparison.