SOCKs5 Proxy Explained – How it Differs from a VPN
By Nick Anderson 4 minutes
Censorship and geo-restriction are commonplace on the internet. It means that some content may be blocked in your region by the government, or it’s intended to be available for a particular region. The quickest way to get around this roadblock is by using a proxy.
A proxy is a server that acts as an intermediary between you and the destination server. It tricks the destination server into thinking the request is coming from it – not you.
Proxy servers are located remotely. It masks your IP address, thereby letting you spoof your location. So, you could be sitting anywhere in the world and connect to a proxy server in the United States to access content from the region.
SOCKS is one of the leading proxy protocols. Continue reading as we explain how SOCKS works and how proxies differ from VPN.
What is SOCKS
SOCKS is a protocol for communication over the internet; it stands for Socket Secure. SOCKs5 is the latest iteration that replaced SOCKS4.
In a previous blog, we explained what a proxy server is and how it helps you gain unrestricted access. Proxies intercept your request, deliver the data packets to its destination, then return the requested action to you, such as opening a webpage. SOCKS stands alongside HTTP and HTTPS proxies, but it’s a little flexible than the latter two.
HTTP (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol) is a protocol for web communication. The webpage you currently view is an example of HTTP communication. HTTPS – on the other hand – is a secure version of HTTP. It encrypts communications and relies on authentication for a secure connection. What makes SOCKS flexible is its inherent ability to work with not just webpages but other protocols such as POP3, which is used for e-mails.
It works on Layer 5 (Session Layer) on the OSI Model. The OSI Model conceptualizes different levels of network communication, from the application right down to the hardware. SOCKS can bypass firewall which HTTP cannot.
When it comes to the latest iteration “SOCKs5” it implements few changes from the predecessor. SOCKs5 can authenticate with Secure Shell Host (SSH) on either a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Diagram Protocol (UDP) connection. The addition of UDP allows for faster performance. You can learn about TCP and UDP in our blog here.
How Proxy Server Differs from VPN
A proxy server and VPN – both – route your internet traffic through its server and then to the destination address. The difference comes down to core functionalities. A proxy server does not provide the kind of encryption you expect from FastestVPN, which uses AES 256-bit encryption for end-to-end communication.
It’s an encryption standard that’s trusted by security experts around the world. What it means for you is impenetrable security that’s not susceptible to external threats.
Proxy servers don’t also come with a myriad of features that you can expect from a VPN like FastestVPN. Features such as Kill Switch, Anti-Malware Protection, Ad-Blocker, multi-logins, and the ability to choose from a sizeable global network of VPN servers are standard across all FastestVPN packages.
When compared to a paid VPN service, a proxy server does not provide the kind of speed that can give you the best streaming experience. Moreover, proxy services are not guaranteed to work on streaming services such as Netflix.
Many proxy servers are free, which makes them highlypopular. But it comes with a massive drawback in terms of privacy. Proxy servers handle your traffic, and it means they can see what websites you visit. Your internet activities can potentially get logged and sold to advertisers for marketing purposes.
Running a server 24/7 requires money, and if proxy services are not charging you to use the server, you can bet they are selling your data.
Unless you trust the proxy service, we highly recommend that you use a VPN to bypass restrictions and for anonymity. FastestVPN follows a strict no-logs policy, so your browsing history will remain to your knowledge
Proxy servers do get the job done of allowing you to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions but a privacy tool must do more. It should have the ability to keep you cloaked when the connection to the server drops by suspending your internet connection, for example.
You can also learn about the various phishing scams that have emerged during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on our blog here, and how VPN protects you online.