Tips for Using SOCKS Proxies

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SOCKS is one of the main Internet protocols governing the exchange of data packets between client and server via proxy server. The SOCKS proxy server masks your IP address, sending a new, “substitute” IP address to the server. SOCKS proxies provide greater security and anonymity, particularly for software clients such as email and instant messaging. Here are some tips for using SOCKS proxies.

What is a SOCKS proxy connection?

A SOCKS proxy connection is a general-purpose connection that creates a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection with another server on behalf of the client. TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and accurately exchange streams of data. This connection then carries traffic between clients and servers.

Generally, this type of connection is used from behind a firewall, since the only way to establish TCP connections outside of the firewall is through a SOCKS server. If there is no traffic in either direction, TCP connections generally stay open about two hours.

Because SOCKS protocol does not penetrate the data, it is compatible with any type of connection, and can also run on networks that use HTTP, POP3, and other protocols.

Where to find SOCKS proxies

You can find a good source for a SOCKS proxy server by surfing the internet. But the best option is to sign up with a reliable private paid proxy service that offers guaranteed quality of service.         

How it works

SOCKS operates as a client/server. So, your device should have a SOCKS client installed either in the application or in the TCP/IP stack. From there, the client software can redirect packets of data into a SOCKS tunnel. Using the protocol, the SOCKS client establishes a connection to a SOCKS server. This enables authentication as well as logging of the connection requests. Because the SOCKS server acts as the IP client, the external server is only aware of the proxy, perceiving it, rather than your real IP address, as the client.

Port selection

Different protocols typically will use different ports. The choice of port is critical because the port number assigned to a proxy will determine what information is accessible to that proxy, and whether or not you can access the Internet. The default port for SOCKS is 1080, which will usually allow online access. If not, please get in touch with your proxy service provider for configuration details. 

Bottom line

Compared to HTTP — the most common protocol — SOCKS tends to be more versatile because it operates on a low level. It can proxy TCP connections to random IP addresses, enabling it to handle request types such as HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, FTP, and SMTP. With the many advantages of a SOCKS proxy, your security and anonymity are assured. 

Core Topic: The Main Types of Proxy Server Protocols