With more and more privacy and safety issues, the search for anonymous online surfing is growing at an exponential rate. Although most software promises some sort of protection, security can never be tight enough. One of latest safety technologies is SOCKS5, a proxy server service that is often incorrectly interpreted and confused with a VPN, since it delivers pretty similar results. However, these two differ in more aspects than you think, so it makes sense to use them in conjunction. In addition, some VPN providers complement their service with SOCKS5, particularly when torrenting is on the table.
What is SOCKS5?
SOCKS5 is a proxy server that, in short, generates a random IP address for you. This allows circumventing geo-blocks and firewalls but the main goal of SOCKS5 is increasing performance for torrents and P2P. SOCKS5 offers faster download speeds and stable performance due to its ability of transferring smaller bits of data packets. Another feature that elevates it above the competition is the added ability to provide authentication by allowing only authorized users to have access to the server. Besides, if the SOCKS5 proxy is interrupted, your P2P process will also stop saving your IP address, which can be considered as a kill switch function. SOCKS5 has an upper hand above HTTP proxies since the latter only works for webpages (http://…) while the former works with any kind of traffic. Not to mention the ability to handle any program and protocol – both TCP and UDP ones – while its predecessor (SOCKS4) is only capable of using TCP. In short, SOCKS5 is the best alternative for torrenting and P2P purposes.
Best VPN Services of 2020
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SOCKS5 vs VPN
Comparing SOCKS5 to VPNs is unavoidable and a common tread nowadays. In fact, they share the trait of overcoming internet barriers such as country restrictions and firewall protection, but the two differ in one major aspect. In short, VPNs protect and encrypt all your traffic with its protocols and encryptions, while proxy servers simply… don’t. Also, proxy servers must be manually and separately configured for each application and some of them may not support SOCKS5. VPNs prevent tracking software and organizations from monitoring your internet activity, which means you’re hidden even for your own ISP, since all they can see is that you are using a VPN. Nevertheless, the stronger the encryption, the slower your connection will be, which makes proxy servers considerably faster than VPNs since they use no encryption at all.
The trick here is combining the use of both. Many VPN providers grant the option of using a proxy server – SOCKS5 included – for free. With a VPN and proxy combined, your traffic will be encrypted and you’ll stay protected while torrenting at will, and using the proxy server for faster and more stable downloads.
Recommended VPNs with SOCKS5
NordVPN is one of those VPN providers that we proudly recommend due to its complete set of features. NordVPN allows you the joy of torrenting with the highest level of protection. The company offers top-notch security featuring the shiny exclusive 2048-bit SSL double encryption. In addition, subscribing to the service also brings you a dedicated secure proxy and a nifty Tor over VPN solution that sends encrypted traffic over the Tor network. However, the double encryption can have a slowdown effect on your general connection speed.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access – PIA, for its friends – is a highly prized VPN provider by both general VPN users and torrent enthusiasts thanks to its affordable prices and features. In fact, PIA can be considered as a company that offers the best of both worlds without making you spend extra money on getting a VPN subscription and a proxy server from a different source. In addition to a fairly high grade of encryption, a subscription of PIA includes SOCKS5, for free. Last but not least, Private Internet Access doesn't restrict torrenting on specific servers or locations. PIA even doubles protection of a VPN and proxy server, thus your IP address is altered twice, which will assure that your torrent IP address will be different than the one for your web browsing.
TorGuard is a VPN provider whose name kind of gives away its gig. In fact, this is a service that has torrenting in its blood as it allows you to safely run BitTorrent or uTorrent. The thing with such torrent clients is that you need an anonymous solution to protect your IP or you risk being detected by third parties. Just like the previous contender, TorGuard assures you this extra protection using an anonymous proxy service. Through this, it grants complete IP disguising on all torrent and P2P activity, yielding full online anonymity with unlimited access to SOCKS5, HTTP and SSL proxy servers.