Staying on the internet is both essential and entertaining, but it is not without its many challenges. Some of the challenges that many people often face while online include security threats to individuals and data, exposure of sensitive information, and restrictions based on a user’s physical location.
To counter these challenges, the use of tools such as proxies becomes highly pertinent. Proxies generally help to cancel these limitations.
Some proxies function selectively, choosing which traffic to transfer and which to struggle with, while others, such as a SOCKS5 proxy, can enable internet communications generated by any protocol or program.
This is what differentiates the types of proxies and makes some more coveted than others. This article will explain what a proxy is, more specifically, what a SOCKS5 proxy is and its significance to businesses.
What Is a Proxy?
A proxy is a piece of technology designed to stand as an intermediary between an internet user and the internet.
It has several internet protocols, addresses, and locations that it uses to transfer connections and receive results on behalf of clients.
As proxies use their details instead of the user’s, they are great for granting high anonymity, privacy, and security.
They also help clients evade geo-restriction measures since they offer diverse IPs and locations for users to pick from.
How Does a Proxy Work?
Proxies work in a technically complicated manner, but the process can be simplified as given below:
- Users browse the internet using their IPs, allowing the target server to identify the user easily so that results can be sent appropriately
- However, an IP can easily become the object of targeting and online harassment
- When users use proxies, they can send out their requests as usual, and the proxy will take it from there
- The proxy receives the request and encrypts it before transferring it to the target website
- The transfer is made using any of the proxy’s IPs and locations
- The target server extracts the requested results and sends them back via the same route
- The proxy, again, receives the results and forwards them to the end-user encrypted
- The user then views the results as readable web pages
- This back-and-forth process is done more quickly as proxies are also known for reducing bandwidth sizes and using caching mechanisms to make the task faster.
SOCKS Protocol and How It Relates to Proxies
SOCKS or Socket Secure is a popular internet protocol used for transferring communications between internet users and the internet.
SOCKS protocol works with layers 5 and above and does not support protocols that operate below layer 5. However, they are built to handle and transfer requests from any program, protocol, or operating system.
Hence, they can conveniently work with HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SMTP, POP3, and other types of internet protocols.
They are best known for web browsing, file transferring, and emailing services. Proxies’ SOCKS protocols do not interpret traffic but work to transfer it from clients to the internet and back again.
SOCKS proxy protocols differ from other protocols by transferring both TCP connections and UDP sessions over the internet firewalls.
How SOCKS5 Differ From SOCKS4
The most apparent difference between the 4th and 5th versions of the SOCKS protocols is their security functions.
SOCKS4 protocol does not support system authentication, while SOCKS5 supports a wide array of authentication methods.
Secondly, the SOCKS4 proxy only allows TCP connections while SOCKS proxies support TCP and UDP connections, making communications more secure.
Lastly, in SOCKS5, proxies traffic is transferred using the Secure Shell (SSH) encryption tunnelling methods that are absent in the 4th version.
Benefits of SOCKS5 Proxies
The following are some of the benefits businesses can derive from using a SOCKS5 proxy:
- Evading Geo-Restrictions
The best way to think of geo-restriction is to think of a time when you were unable to stream tv shows because they were unavailable in your region.
Certain websites and servers use each user’s physical location to decide whether to grant them access to their content or not.
This way geo-restriction is used to limit some users’ access because of where they stay. SOCKS5 proxies are used to overcome this problem as they can easily change the user’s IP and location to appear from a different country.
- Faster and More Reliable Connections
As the SOCKS5 protocol combines both the TCP and UDP sessions, it is considered to be faster than other proxy types.
The UDP session transfers traffic in any order without sending them out in the same order they were sent. This makes the connection faster and more reliable.
- No Limitations
Not many protocols can perform as many diversified functions as SOCKS5 proxies, as this supports just about any program or protocol.
Most protocols such as HTTP proxies are built on layer 7 and only support specific traffic.
Unlike these, SOCKS5 is built on layer 5 and can handle and support any traffic given to it.
There are several things that make being on the internet more confusing than it used to be. From cybercriminals to hackers and even the government, everyone seems to be watching you and out to get you.