As you probably already know, there are different types of proxies. Each one of them features different technologies to empower users with unique features and capabilities. Blogs are flooded with comparison articles such as socks vs HTTP proxy, which are great if you want to discover how proxy types differ from one another.
However, if you want to discover the best use cases for a proxy, you need to dive a little deeper. That’s why we decided to thoroughly research SOCKS proxies. Below you will find what they are, what makes them unique, and how companies use them.
What are SOCKS proxies?
SOCKS stands for Socket Secure. It is one of many internet protocols. However, SOCKS has been designed ground-up to be used in traffic-intensive projects. One of the best examples is P2P sharing, where SOCKS outperforms other protocols.
SOCKS proxies are proxies designed to use SOCKS protocols when establishing connections with other servers or sending requests to other servers in your stead. SOCKS proxies establish a connection through Transmission Control Protocol or TCP connection. You can often encounter a number after SOCKS, such as SOCKS5. It indicates the versions of the SOCKS protocol a proxy in question uses.
What makes them different?
So what makes SOCKS proxies different? SOCKS vs HTTP proxy difference comes from SOCKS characteristics that set these proxies from the majority of other proxy types – SOCKS proxies cannot interpret or understand network traffic. They just relay the traffic between devices. Read this SOCKS vs proxy article to learn the fundamental differences between SOCKS proxies and HTTP proxies.
On the other hand, they are not bound to a specific network protocol. It simply means that you can use them with whatever protocol. It’s why many refer to SOCKS proxies as the most versatile and flexible proxy type.
Since they were built to work with TCP and UDP connections, SOCKS proxies deliver outstanding performance and can support high download and upload bandwidth.
SOCKs proxies also offer somewhat better security than some other proxy types. For instance, if you decide to use SOCKS proxies, you will be able to use three authentication methods: GSS-API, username/password, and null authentication.
How companies can use them?
Companies use SOCKS proxies to achieve better performance and reduce the number of errors. SOCKS proxies don’t rewrite data packages. When there is no rewriting involved, there is no risk of errors that often occur during rewriting. That’s exactly why SOCKS proxies support unparalleled speeds.
1. Keep back-end service secure
Companies also use SOCKS proxies to enable administrators and developers to access back-end services locked behind industry-grade firewalls. Back-end services are often protected with a firewall, whether in a cluster or virtual private cloud. Accessing these services from a public network would expose the ports and make them more vulnerable to attacks.
However, with SOCKS proxies, administrators and developers can easily access these back-end services thanks to the dynamic port forwarding capabilities of SOCKS and the SSH support.
2. Simplify tech stack
Some companies use SOCKS proxies to simplify their tech stacks. Routing application requests through services often requires a layer 7 proxy related to the specific application. However, since SOCKS proxies don’t care about the traffic, they can route both UDP and TCP traffic through SSH tunneling. It means that the company doesn’t have to use a layer 7 proxy for every app and service.
3. Power web scraping initiatives
Traffic-intensive web scraping is next on the list. If a company needs to launch a large-scale traffic-intensive web scraping operation, SOCKS proxies are the go-to solution. They are extremely fast and can help organizations run scraping operations that result in high bandwidth and lots of data.
Lastly, companies use SOCKS for live calls and streaming. SOCKS are the best for transferring data through UDP sessions, and most of the live calls and streaming services use the UDP protocol to send data.
Benefits of SOCKS proxies
The benefits of using SOCKS proxies have a lot to do with how companies use them. Here are the most noteworthy benefits of SOCKS proxies:
- Bypass internet blocks with ease – SOCKS proxies are still proxies meaning that they will act as a gateway between you and the rest of the internet. You can use them to bypass geo- and IP-related blocks with ease;
- Fast and reliable connection – SOCKS proxies are not restricted to using only TCP protocol. They can also efficiently establish connections through UDP, which results in reliability and fast speeds;
- Error-free – SOCKS proxies don’t rewrite data packet headers which results in considerably fewer errors and improves output;
- Extremely fast download speeds – SOCKS protocol is optimized to work with small data packets. That’s exactly why SOCKS proxies outperform all other proxies when it comes to downloading data from P2P platforms and websites.
Hopefully, we helped you better understand SOCKS proxies. If you are familiar with HTTP proxies, you now know socks vs HTTP proxy differences. SOCKS proxies are very popular due to their capability to work with TCP and UDP protocols, relay data packets without retwisting them, and do so at high speeds.