It is now easier to hide your IP address and bypass website blocks with the many types of Internet protocols that are available.
SOCKS5, which is an Internet protocol that supports authentication, is one such option. SOCKS5 is an easy to use and economical option for anonymity online. It hides your IP address so you can torrent or browse unencumbered.
Virtually all of the major VPN providers offer SOCKS5 proxy server. Consider purchasing SOCKS5 from the same VPN provider if you are already using it. You will usually be eligible for complimentary SOCKS5 servers. If you’re looking for greater options and reliability, here’s a guide to the top VPNs that use SOCKS5 proxy servers.
Are you short on time?
These are the top VPNs that use SOCKS5:
- Surfshark– Supports Shadowsocks, and is very easy to use
- Private Internet Access with many SOCKS5 Proxies
- IPVanish – Great for torrenting and P2P
- TorGuard is suitable for advanced users
- NordVPN – The best VPN with SOCKS5 servers
What is SOCKS5?
SOCKS Protocol Version 5 (or SOCKS5) is the most recent version of SOCKS’ internet protocol. It uses a proxy server for communication over the Internet. This remote proxy server redirects your traffic and hides you IP address. It was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force.
The data is transferred from one device (your smartphone), to another (i.e., the destination URL (a website), and the proxy server covers your IP address with its own address. This will show you a different IP address from the website you are visiting.
So, the SOCKS5 proxy does exactly two things.
- You can hide your IP address to make yourself anonymous
- By changing your location, you can unblock regional restrictions
SOCKS5 proxy’s greatest feature is its ability to be configured for specific applications, such as BitTorrent clients, Telegram, or your favorite web browser. This makes sure that the SOCKS5 proxy only allows that application to communicate with you. All other communication will be done via your original network. Imagine your torrent client connecting to SOCKS5 through your original network.
SOCKS5 proxy is a trusted option for netizens, even though it has been around since the late 1990s. It is easy to use, affordable, quick setup, and reliable offerings by different providers such as Surfshark and IPVanish.
Best VPNs with SOCKS5
This brings us to our main purpose: Help you choose the best VPN using SOCKS5 protocol.
Before we can pick the best options, it is important to know that there is not a SOCKS5 VPN. VPN and SOCKS5 are two distinct things. One is an Internet protocol that allows proxying, and the other allows encryption and private communications.
It is possible that confusion may arise from similarity between their applications. To torrenting safety, you can use both SOCKS5 proxy or VPN. For general users, the similarities end there.
Surfshark recommends Shadowsocks servers to bypass China’s Great Firewall, but it can also be used for torrenting and general unblocking. It’s also widely used in countries like Iran and other parts of the globe. Shadowsocks is a combination of SOCKS5 with open-source encryption infrastructure. This gives you greater anonymity, reliability, affordability, and security.
Because Shadowsocks is extremely simple to set up and use, we recommend it from Surfshark. This is easy to do without any technical knowledge. Simply open Surfshark VPN client and choose Shadowsocks proxy protocol. You can also choose to have it choose the best server location for faster speed and better connectivity.
Verdict Surfshark is great for Android and Windows phones. It’s easy to set-up and offers the fastest connectivity of all providers on this list.
- More than 3200+ global servers located in 60+ countries
- CleanWeb Ad-Blocking feature
- OpenVPN offers strong encryption and security
- Whitelister, Multihop VPN and Kill Switch
- No-logs policy
- Uses Netflix for streaming
- Amazing speeds
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access
PIA SOCKS5 currently ranks second. The SOCKS5 feature, like most of the other providers on this list is included with the PIA VPN purchase.
The best thing about PIA SOCKS5? It allows you to create a proxy from within the client/application. You can connect to PIA’s VPN servers using a SOCKS5 proxy. This setup has the advantage that your entire traffic can be routed via the SOCKS5 proxy server, rather than an application-bound configuration.
We like the fact that PIA offers Shadowsocks as an alternative to using a VPN. It’s used widely to bypass Chinese censorship, as we mentioned in the Surfshark review.
The only problem with PIA SOCKS5 will be that you will have to generate additional credentials for your proxy connection. Although this can be a hassle for some users, it is not an issue.
Verdict: If you’re looking for the fastest SOCKS5 proxy servers that require minimal setup, then choose Private Internet Access.
- WireGuard supports all platforms
- WG currently is in beta testing phase
- No Request or Traffic logs
- You can use it with up to 10 devices simultaneously
- Unlimited Bandwidth at good speeds
- 3200+ Servers in 29 countries
- 30-day money-back guarantee
IPVanish’s SOCKS5 servers are designed for torrenting. It integrates seamlessly with BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent or Deluge.
IPVanish’s SOCKS5 server allows you to choose from multiple locations and not worry about your privacy. IPVanish also clearly states that using its SOCKS5 servers will result in a loss of speed and encryption. This honesty is rare these day.
Verdict We found that IPVanish’s SOCKS5 servers were the fastest while surfing and torrenting. IPVanish is the best SOCKS server if anonymity and speed are important to you.
- Apps for all platforms and OS
- More than 1600 servers in 75 cities across the globe
- SugarSync Storage Access
- Zero traffic logs
- Connecting to unmetered devices
- Support for torrenting and P2P
- 30-day money-back guarantee
TorGuard’s proxy servers are called Stealth and Stunnel by TorGuard; we’ll be discussing the former. TorGuard’s VPN client allows you to connect directly to Shadowsocks proxy, much like PIA’s in-VPN feature. There are over 50 servers available. You don’t need to set up additional applications.
TorGuard is a better choice than other providers because you can use your primary credentials to access its SOCKS5 servers. There is no extra setup or cost.
Note You can follow TorGuard’s official tutorial to get going.
Verdict — If you’re looking for an easy, no-nonsense setup of SOCKS5, TorGuard is the best choice.
- More than 3000+ servers in 50+ countries
- WireGuard supports modern protocol support
- Blocks malware
- Double AES/SHA encryption
- No-logs policy
- The best VPN for you
- Wide range of dedicated IP locations available
- 7-day money-back guarantee
NordVPN SOCKS5 servers were our first choice for a while, due to their powerful infrastructure. We have lowered its rating after it updated some of its global SOCKS servers for 2020.
In its prime NordVPN premium SOCKS server was the fact that they didn’t need to be purchased separately. You could choose any SOCKS5 server from your desired country and install it on your NordVPN account if you had a NordVPN licence. There were three types of SOCKS5 servers available: hybrid, maximum speed, and maximum security. The first allowed seamless downloads and uploads to torrent clients and web browsers.
NordVPN’s SOCKS5 was the fastest, particularly when compared with its competitors, considering that SOCKS has a low speed limit. You can now torrent using its P2P servers as of April 2021. They are optimized for torrenting traffic and equally reliable.
Note #1 In July 2020 NordVPN started updating its SOCKS5 server. This has resulted in the unavailability SOCKS5 proxy server servers in some locations. For more information, visit the NordVPN Server Selection Page.
Note #2 – NordVPN offers a handy tutorial on how to set up SOCKS5 proxy for uTorrent.
These are quick reviews on six of the most popular VPN providers.
- 5200+ Global Servers in 59+ Countries
- CyberSec malware protection and ad blocking
- Next-generation encryption using double VPN servers
- VPN traffic is obscured by obfuscation technology
- Strict no-logs policy
- Uses Netflix for streaming
- Lightning fast with P2P Support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Windscribe, another excellent VPN provider, is revolutionizing how we surf the internet. The VPN client it offers is among the most user-friendly and charming software we’ve seen. The same goes for its SOCKS5 offering.
You can easily create SOCKS5 servers through its website. Simply choose the server location you prefer. You don’t need additional credentials and can set it all up from the Windscribe app. It was tested on a Windows desktop. Although the setup was easy and free of errors, we found that our Internet speed was slowed down by its US servers (from India). This is roughly a 20% decrease in speed. It may not always be optimal. Our IP was kept secret at all times.
Verdict If you’re already a Windscribe Pro customer, you can use the SOCKS5 offer for free. It’s easy to set it up.
What does Socks5 do in VPN?
A SOCKS5 configuration within a VPN client allows you to select from many proxy servers to unblock sites that interest you. This option is available for most providers, including Surfshark and TorGuard. This makes the process much easier and quicker. The hybrid SOCKS5/VPN connection offers additional protection in the event that one of your servers fails to work properly.
For hygiene reasons, however, we recommend connecting any BitTorrent client or browser to a SOCKS5 proxy server. Combining VPN and proxy servers can cause your connection to be unstable as they will compete with one another. To make your connection safer, you should avoid this scenario.
A SOCKS5 proxy server is not encrypted, while a VPN does. Your communication can still be intercepted.
This also means your internet service provider (ISP), will be able to see that you are engaged in certain activities, such as torrenting or accessing blocked websites. This can be dangerous in countries like Iran and China that have strict censorship laws. It is a good idea to use a VPN for stronger anonymity in these cases.
Examples of SOCKS5 Applications
These activities can be done with SOCKS5:
- You can bypass sites such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.
- Hide your IP address when torrenting (peer to peer sharing)
- File sharing between protocols such as HTTP and FTP is possible
Here’s an example.
Let’s say Clara, a Londoner, wants to anonymize her torrent connections. She uses uTorrent to communicate with others, and she also downloads music and movies. Her IP address is 126.96.36.199. What can SOCKS5 do for her?
A SOCKS5 proxy will allow her to mask her IP address. All her torrent traffic will be routed through the proxy server once she has completed the SOCKS5 setup. All her P2P connections will display the random SOCKS5 IP, say 188.8.131.52 as her main IP address.
Clara can now hide her IP address so she can torrent without fear of being subpoenaed. Clara can use the same procedure to unblock Netflix US in her London apartment. SOCKS5 can be used to unblock Netflix and allow her to access content that is only available to North American subscribers.
How do you set up SOCKS5
It takes just a few minutes to set up SOCKS5 proxy for any application. We have provided instructions on how to set it up on uTorrent.
- Open uTorrent to access the Preferences
- Go to Proxy Server, and select SOCKS5 for the type.
- Enter the proxy URL (e.g. : proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com) and port number (e.g. 1080
- Select Authentication, and enter your credentials. This is provided by your VPN provider.
- Click on Apply
Figure 1 – Screenshot of uTorrent Preferences
After you have set it up, check to see if it is working. Follow the instructions on ipleak.net to verify that your proxy is working. The test process has been described in a previous guide.
This setup can be avoided by choosing SOCKS5 from PIA and TorGuard providers. These VPN clients have SOCKS5 proxy support built in.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), about SOCKS5
These are the answers to many of your most frequent questions about SOCKS5.
Will SOCKS5 give you 100% anonymity?
No. None of the proxy servers or software can guarantee anonymity. All have loopholes. SOCKS5 can hide your IP address, but it does not offer full anonymity because of the absence of encryption.
What are SOCKS5’s advantages?
SOCKS5 allows for easy unblocking, unlimited traffic and fast connections. It also offers better P2P integration support.
Why is SOCKS5 more powerful than the previous SOCKS versions?
SOCKS5 employs two-way authentication (GSS-API), to increase security. This is not possible in earlier versions of SOCKS4.
Is SOCKS5 an expensive feature?
Yes. To use SOCKS5 proxy servers, you must purchase them. Most providers provide it free of charge with their main VPN service.
Is SOCKS5 and VPN possible?
You can use SOCKS5 with VPN. We don’t recommend this as it could cause a disruption to your connection and compromise privacy. It is better to use either.
How do you use SOCKS5 with VPN.
To use SOCKS5 with VPN, you can choose from Surfshark, Private Internet Access and TorGuard VPN providers.
Which is better, SOCKS5 OR VPN?
It all depends on what application you are using. SOCKS5 is best if you want to hide your IP address in order to unblock websites. VPNs on the other side offer more security and speed without sacrificing on speed. VPNs can be used to torrent, share private data, and other Internet activities.
Can I use free proxy services?