What is SOCKS5 & 5 Best SOCKS5 VPNs in 2023

What is SOCKS5 & 5 Best SOCKS5 VPNs in 2023

May 15, 2023 privacy 0

A SOCKS5 proxy is an effective way to bypass internet blocks – like a VPN! Some VPN providers even include a SOCKS5 proxy in their service, seeing as it can spoof your location more quickly. It’s important to note that a SOCKS5 proxy doesn’t offer the same privacy benefits you get with a full VPN connection, however. But depending on your needs, a SOCKS5 proxy can still be an incredibly useful extra feature.

In this guide, we’ve hand-picked five of the best VPNs that offer a SOCKS5 proxy. In addition to the proxy, the services will also provide you with a full, premium VPN that can be used anytime, on any device, and anywhere.

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What is SOCKS5?

SOCKS stands for Socket Secure and it is an internet protocol commonly used to create a proxy. SOCKS proxies are often used by consumers sitting behind a firewall who need to be able to bypass it to establish a TCP connection with an outside server. You can find more information on this later in the guide.

A SOCKS5 proxy is massively useful when it comes to accessing restricted, censored, or geo-blocked content. That is why we have listed the best VPNs with a free SOCKS5 proxy bolted onto the service. More details can be found below, but if you’re in a hurry, here is a quick look at our best SOCKS5 VPN providers:

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Our main consideration when compiling this list was to find reliable VPNs that include a SOCKS5 proxy with their service. That said, we also made sure only to recommend well-rounded services that also offer: 

The best VPNs for SOCKS5 – In-depth Analysis

Below we have listed the best VPN services that offer SOCKS5 proxies too. 

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What is a SOCKS5 proxy?

A SOCKS proxy is a bolt-on feature that some VPNs provide to their users to allow them to engage in location spoofing. Like other proxies, a SOCKS5 proxy works by allowing you to conceal your IP address from online services. This lets you pretend to be in a different location and allows you to bypass localized blocks and restrictions. 

By using a SOCKS proxy, anybody can bypass IP blocks when their IP has been blacklisted from an online service. It can also be a useful workaround when a VPN’s IP addresses have been blocked by an online service, by offering a secondary method for accessing that service.

SOCKS5 is the latest version of the SOCKS protocol. It can send data via UDP (in addition to TCP). This means it can provide a highly reliable and efficient connection. It can also proxy data from a large cross-section of request types, including HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, and FTP. This flexibility is what makes SOCKS5 useful, because it can easily be used for email, web browsing, peer-to-peer file sharing, file transfers, VoIP, and more.

A SOCKS5 proxy using UDP is highly desirable because it can provide extremely fast speeds. This makes it valuable for people who want high-speed IP spoofing.

On the other hand, a SOCKS5 proxy provides no encryption. This means your traffic can still be monitored by your ISP or the government. As a result, it is important to remember that you do not get the privacy you get with a full VPN connection when you use a SOCKS5 proxy.

SOCKS5 vs VPN – what’s the difference?

VPNs and SOCKS5 both function as a proxy that can be used to conceal your real IP address from online services. However, this is where the similarity largely ends – because a SOCKS5 proxy does not provide other advantages that you get with a VPN.

A VPN creates a securely encrypted tunnel between the VPN client (application) and the proxy (VPN) server. As such, you’ll get to enjoy heightened online privacy and data security, in addition to the location spoofing functionality a SOCKS5 proxy gives you.

Another major benefit of a VPN is that you can conceal your browsing habits from any nosy third parties, including your ISP, the government, and local network administrators in workplaces, schools, and public Wi-Fi networks. The encryption provided by the VPN stops anybody from accessing your data and tracking your online whereabouts. However, using a VPN does slow your internet speeds by a fraction, which is why some people prefer to use a SOCKS5 proxy.

If you require IP spoofing without the need for internet privacy (to connect to a gaming server in another country, for example) – you may be happy using a SOCKS5 proxy. However, if keeping a low digital profile is your main priority, you will need to stick to using a VPN with its added encryption.

What are the pros and cons of SOCKS5 proxies?

SOCKS5 proxy services are incredibly useful, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t drawbacks to using them. In this guide, we’ll cover both the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision.

Pros of SOCKS5 proxies

SOCKS5 proxies have three major benefits over other proxies you can find out there:

  1. The greatest advantage of a SOCKS5 proxy is its ability to process an almost unlimited number of request types. This allows it to be used for VoIP, HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, and FTP.
  2. Unlike other proxies, SOCKS5 does not rewrite data packet headers. This improves efficiency by making it less likely that there will be misrouting or mislabeling issues.
  3. Finally, SOCKS5 proxies can be set up with one of the following authentication methods:

Cons of SOCKS5 proxies

As with anything, however, there are also several disadvantages to consider before you invest in a SOCKS5 proxy:

  1. SOCKS5 proxies are not encrypted. The performance benefits you receive with a SOCKS5 proxy (and the added security you get when password/username authentication is implemented, as is the case with most SOCKS5 proxies provided by VPNs) are counterbalanced by a loss of privacy and security.
  2. Similarly, SOCKS5 packet headers contain metadata that can identify you. As a result, anyone who needs strong online privacy is advised to invest in a full VPN connection, and not a SOCKS5 proxy.
  3. A proxy will conceal your original IP address, but that address will still be visible to your proxy provider – which is why it’s important to ensure you’re using a reliable service that won’t collect and sell your sensitive data or expose you to cyberattacks.

Should I use a SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting?

Some people use a SOCKS5 proxy to gain added security when downloading peer-to-peer using a torrent client. The great thing about torrenting with a SOCKS5 proxy is that it is extremely easy to set up from within your torrent client itself.

A SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting improves your security by concealing your original IP address from the swarm (all the peers seeding or leeching the torrent). This provides security against exposure to a malevolent peer who may attempt to scan your IP address for open ports; which could potentially allow you to be victimized.

Although the security benefit (IP concealment) provided by a SOCKS5 proxy is useful, it is important to remember that it is not as effective as a VPN tunnel. Like a SOCKS5 proxy, a VPN conceals your real IP address from the peers you connect to.

However, a VPN also encrypts your data so that all your downloads are private and cannot be detected by your ISP. This ensures that your ISP and the government are never able to identify the torrent services you use or the seeds you leech from.

If you intend to torrent online and you want to do it securely, a SOCKS5 proxy will provide better security than nothing at all – plus, a SOCKS5 proxy will usually provide more bandwidth and better speeds.

How to connect to a SOCKS5 proxy

Unlike a VPN, which ensures that all your internet traffic is always tunneled via the VPN server, a SOCKS5 proxy must be set up inside your browser or torrent client. This means that the SOCKS5 proxy will only ever ‘spoof’ your location inside that software; rather than for your entire computer or mobile device.

If you want to connect to your VPN’s SOCKS5 proxy, it will be necessary to set up that connection manually either in your torrent client or browser. The best way to achieve this is by contacting your VPN provider for a setup guide, which will walk you through the process of establishing your SOCKS5 authentication.

If you are a Firefox user, the easiest way to set up a SOCKS5 proxy is by using the third-party extension FoxyProxy:

  1. Download and install the FoxyProxy Standard add-on from the FireFox Add-ons page.
  2. Click on the FoxyProxy icon that appears in the toolbar in the top right of your Firefox browser.
  3. Choose Options from the drop-down menu. You will now be redirected to a webpage.
  4. Select Use proxy Default for all URLs from the drop-down menu in the middle of the screen.
  5. Next, click the Add button on the top left of the screen.
  6. Now, click Edit and add the details for your VPN SOCKS5 proxy. (You will need to get the server address, port number, username, and password from your VPN’s website.)
  7. Finally, turn on the slider next to Send DNS through SOCKS5 proxy and click Save.
  8. Now check your IP address by clicking What’s My IP in the left-hand menu. Your IP address should appear in the location of your VPN’s SOCKS5 proxy server.

Can I use a free SOCKS5 Proxy?

In 2023, it has become more difficult than ever to find a reliable and reputable SOCKS5 proxy that you can use for free. Thus, if you do want to make use of a SOCKS5 proxy, we strongly recommend that you purchase a VPN subscription. 

Your VPN subscription will grant you access to the complete VPN tunnel as well as the SOCKS5 proxy, giving you the flexibility you need to boost your privacy (both at home and when using public Wi-Fi hotspots) and spoof your location whenever you need to.

With a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy in your toolkit, you’ll have unmitigated access to the world wide web. Bypassing restrictions will become a breeze, and you’ll also benefit from unprecedented levels of online privacy – and this is exactly why we think that investing in a VPN subscription is by far the best way to get your hands on a SOCKS5 proxy.

Admittedly, there are lists of free proxy addresses that you can find online. These lists provide you with all the information you need to connect, including the proxy type (SOCKS4, SOCKS5, HTTP, HTTPS, etc) the IP address, the port, where it’s located, and the type of server it is.

So, you could theoretically use any of these proxy addresses without paying a penny. Just remember that it’s impossible to know who’s running these free services, and that your data could be at risk as a result.

In fact, the reality is that the lists of free proxy IPs found online are extremely dangerous to use. Unfortunately, these proxies are almost always hacked machines or honeypots designed to spy on you. They’re primarily leveraged to engage in Man-in-the-Middle attacks and to engage in cyberattacks on their users by doing things like SSL stripping or injecting code into your session to hijack your browser.

For this reason, it is vital that you stick to using a SOCKS5 proxy provided by a legitimate, trustworthy VPN provider with a no-logs VPN policy. There are also some trustworthy free VPN services around. Using one of these services will allow you to spoof your location and unblock online services without fear of cyberattacks or data theft. 

What are the benefits of SOCKS5?

A SOCKS5 proxy has numerous benefits. Firstly, it is built to be fast, which makes it great for streaming, torrenting, videoconferencing, and other data-intensive tasks. 

It also supports many types of traffic, which makes it extremely versatile. For example, it supports HTTP, FTP, SMTP, and POP3 traffic. This means you can use a SOCKS5 proxy when using a wide range of applications, including web browsing, online gaming, and torrenting.

A SOCKS5 proxy also provides encryption for your data, which makes it a secure proxy to use in countries with widespread restrictions, where it is a popular method for bypassing online censorship.

SOCKS5 employs TCP with strong authentication and SSH tunneling for data in transit, which is reliable. As a result, you can do almost any online task securely via the proxy on any system thanks to the ease with which the proxy can be set up.

Should I use a SOCKS5 proxy for gaming?

If you are specifically looking for a proxy for gaming, we would tend to recommend a VPN rather than a SOCKS5 proxy. While a SOCKS5 proxy is fast, it is generally not as reliable as a VPN and is more likely to introduce lag during games.

That said, a SOCKS5 proxy may be faster than a slow VPN, so this will largely revolve around which provider you choose. 

The fastest VPNs provide a lag-free experience and protection against DDoS attacks, and while a SOCKS5 proxy may be better than an inferior VPN, the very best VPNs should perform better than a SOCKS5 proxy for gaming.

It is also worth noting that some games may have policies against the use of proxies. A SOCKS5 proxy is potentially easier to detect, which could get your game account suspended. For this reason, we recommend sticking to a fast and secure VPN that has a wide choice of servers for you to use.

Is it possible to set up SOCKS5 with or without encryption?

Yes, a SOCKS5 proxy can be set up with or without encryption. SOCKS5 proxies can be configured to use SSH tunneling to secure the connection between the client and the proxy server. However, some SOCKS5 proxies may not offer encryption. You must check that the SOCKS5 proxy you are using employs encryption if you require data privacy and security, otherwise, your data may be vulnerable to interception. 

How we pick VPNs for SOCKS5 VPN testing methodology

Picking a VPN can be a headache, particularly if you have never used one before and are not sure what to look for. At ProPrivacy we understand that VPNs can seem complicated to the uninitiated. We also know that cowboy services make deceptive claims about being “the fastest” or “most secure”.

To help you out, we have created a rigorous VPN testing methodology. Our review process allows us to directly compare the world’s leading VPNs. This is how we can confidently make lists of the best VPNs for different use purposes.

As part of our testing method, we check the VPN apps have the security and privacy features you need to prevent online tracking. We test for DNS and IP leaks that would betray your privacy. And we check that the VPN has fast servers capable of accessing the online services you are interested in while abroad, or in a country with overreaching censorship.

Below, we have included the specific features we look for when recommending VPNs with a SOCKS5 proxy:


A SOCKS5 proxy is a highly desirable tool, and can come in particularly handy if you regularly torrent. In order to have access to both a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy, however, you’ll need to subscribe to a VPN service that includes a SOCKS5 proxy.

Whilst it is possible to find free proxies online, we wouldn’t recommend running that risk, and instead suggest that you stick to using SOCKS5 proxies provided by reputable VPNs – which have been designed with your privacy in mind. Luckily, several industry-leading services already do so. Anyone using these proxies will know that their connection is secure, stable, and being routed to god knows where.

Still, it’s important to remember that a SOCKS5 proxy does not provide encryption like a traditional VPN service. If you’re a privacy-minded person who needs strong levels of online security, you’re better off sticking to a VPN. But, if you’re confident that a SOCKS5 proxy is just what you need, then our VPN recommendations have you covered!

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[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Is a SOCKS5 proxy better than a SOCKS4 proxy?” answer=”In most aspects, yes. Although SOCKS5 and SOCKS4 are different versions of the same SOCKet Secure (SOCKS) proxy, SOCKS5 brings a few improvements compared to its predecessor. The improvements are mainly in the areas of speeds, TCP and UDP protocol compatibility, and stability for the proxy.

For a start, SOCKS5 uses smaller data packets and doesn’t rewrite data packet headers. The result is fewer errors and better speeds compared to most other proxies on the market – including SOCKS4.

SOCKS5 also supports username/password authentications, making this version more secure and easy to use. GSS-API authentication is also available for user identification with SOCKS5, which was not previously available with SOCKS4.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I use a SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting?” answer=”Yes, thanks to the improved speeds of a SOCKS5 proxy (compared to most its competitors), many people choose this proxy for torrenting. SOCKS5 proxy users also get improved security because this service connects to the proxy from within the client itself, hiding their actual IP address.

Still, it’s worth mentioning that the security and speeds, although better than with most other proxy services, are still not as great as the ones you’d expect from a top-tier VPN service. That’s because a VPN not only hides your IP address, but also handles your <a href=’/guides/dns-services’>DNS requests</a> in privacy, and encrypts your data – keeping your online activities protected from various third-party spies. Besides, thanks to advanced features and specially optimized servers, VPNs tend to be faster than a SOCKS5 proxy and ensure an overall better torrenting experience.

The above-mentioned VPNs combine the best features of both – an industry-leading VPN service and an improved SOCKS5 proxy – which is why we have recommended them.” /]]

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