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What is SOCKS5 & 5 Best SOCKS5 VPNs in 2024

A SOCKS5 proxy is an effective way to bypass internet blocks – like a VPN! Some VPN providers even include a SOCKS5 proxy in their service, seeing as it can spoof your location more quickly. It's important to note that a SOCKS5 proxy doesn't offer the same privacy benefits you get with a full VPN connection, however. But depending on your needs, a SOCKS5 proxy can still be an incredibly useful extra feature.

In this guide, we've hand-picked five of the best VPNs that offer a SOCKS5 proxy. In addition to the proxy, the services will also provide you with a full, premium VPN that can be used anytime, on any device, and anywhere.


What is SOCKS5?

SOCKS stands for Socket Secure and it is an internet protocol commonly used to create a proxy. SOCKS proxies are often used by consumers sitting behind a firewall who need to be able to bypass it to establish a TCP connection with an outside server. You can find more information on this later in the guide.

A SOCKS5 proxy is massively useful when it comes to accessing restricted, censored, or geo-blocked content. That is why we have listed the best VPNs with a free SOCKS5 proxy bolted onto the service. More details can be found below, but if you're in a hurry, here is a quick look at our best SOCKS5 VPN providers:

  1. NordVPN - The best VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. Packed with features at a modest price, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. TIP

    In testing we found that the 'Standard' NordVPN plan (the cheapest) works perfectly for Netflix.

  3. Private Internet Access - The most secure service with a SOCKS5 proxy. Granular control over security and a strict zero-logs policy.
  4. IPVanish - A low-cost service with a SOCKS5 proxy. Its apps are quick to install and easy to use, and users get a raft of security features.
  5. - The best feature-rich VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. Users get real value-for-money, tough security, and access to streaming sites.
  6. Windscribe - The most user-friendly VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. With simple apps and 24/7 protection, as well as a superb free plan.

Our main consideration when compiling this list was to find reliable VPNs that include a SOCKS5 proxy with their service. That said, we also made sure only to recommend well-rounded services that also offer: 

The best VPNs for SOCKS5 - In-depth Analysis

Below we have listed the best VPN services that offer SOCKS5 proxies too. 

1. NordVPN
Editor's Choice | July 2024

NordVPN is the best VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. A well-known option ideal for torrenting, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $3.69/mth
      70% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • SOCKS5 proxy included in subscription
    • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
    • Unblocks a wealth of streaming services
    • Inexpensive subscription prices
    • Servers in 70 countries
  • Cons

    • No port forwarding
    • UI is slightly cluttered
    • PayPal payments only accepted via Paddle
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Nord Demo

Nord Demo Nord Demo

NordVPN has practically become a household name over the years – and for good reason! It's a reliable service with a well-earned reputation for quality and security, and packs sleek apps for pretty much every device you can imagine. These apps download in a blink, are easy to use, and don't require you to be a VPN veteran. Plus, NordVPN customers benefit from a watertight zero-logs policy, a full suite of security features, and a SOCKS5 proxy included in the price of a subscription.

I'm constantly recommending NordVPN to folks who need access to in-demand streaming services, too. The provider has no trouble unblocking the likes of Netflix US and BBC iPlayer. And, as an additional bonus, all of NordVPN's plans are modestly priced – meaning you won't have to break the bank in order to put its features to the test.

Battle-tested security

NordVPN makes its home in Panama, and that's great news for user privacy seeing as Panama lies beyond the reach of invasive jurisdictions (like the EU and US). NordVPN also offers some pretty rare features that you'll struggle to find elsewhere. Double-hop encryption routes your traffic through two VPN servers for additional privacy, and NordVPN is even compatible with the Tor browser. With that being said, NordVPN still packs all the essentials you'd expect from a big-name service! Superb OpenVPN encryption keeps your browsing sessions secure from snoopers, and an automatic kill-switch comes in handy in the event of a VPN dropout. NordVPN even has its very own protocol available – NordLynx, which is based off of the increasingly-popular WireGuard protocol.

Another huge win for NordVPN is the fact that the service is one of only a handful to actually invite a team of auditors to comb through its zero-logs policy. This kind of transparency is just what I like to see from industry-leading VPNs – and I hope more providers continue to follow suit. I'd also recommend that all NordVPN users make good use of the multi-factor authentication feature. Opt-in, and your account will be that much more secure.

A free world wide web

There are NordVPN servers dotted all over the globe in over 111 countries , and they're all lightning-fast! You'll be able to stream in HD and download torrents or files in a blink. However, for those who want to spoof their IP with the fastest possible speeds available – a SOCKS5 proxy is also included within the subscription.

The list of streaming services that NordVPN can unblock goes on and on. Whether you're a Netflix fiend or a fan of UK TV on BBC iPlayer, you'll have a world of content to browse through. Plus, NordVPN comes with its very own SmartDNS feature if you prefer to stream via your smart TV! Just remember that this service does not offer any encryption itself.

Affordable quality

Because of its stellar reputation and popularity, you might think that NordVPN is a pricey provider that only a handful can afford. Subscription prices are very modest, however, especially when you consider how many features you're getting access to. NordVPN will even banish ads and trackers from your browsing sessions so you can surf securely!

NordVPN is also compatible with all platforms; Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux included. Up to 10 simultaneous connections are permitted at any one time, and a customer service team is available 24/7, via live chat or email support.

Private Internet Access is the most secure SOCKS5 service. Customizable features, tough encryption, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.19/mth
      82% OFF
    • 6 months: $7.5/mth
      38% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Lots of encryption options (including OpenVPN, our recommended protocol)
    • Servers all over the world
    • 10 simultaneous connections
    • Excellent customer service
  • Cons

    • Detailed security options may frazzle beginners
    • Based in US
    • No free trial
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

PIA Demo

PIA Demo PIA Demo

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based provider that's a long-standing favorite of Reddit users. The VPN is also a solid all-rounder that has all the features you'll need to stay secure online and keep your details private, and it has even proven its zero-logs policy in court on numerous occasions. As with most premium providers, you can try PIA before you buy, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

An ever-growing network

With PIA, you'll have access to super-fast servers in 84 countries , which is more than enough to geo-hop across the globe and check out content that'd otherwise be restricted. Plus, PIA can unblock sought after services like Netflix US and Hulu. As you might've guessed, PIA does have a "domestic focus" in the US, so if you're outside the States and want to keep up with sports, shows, and news from the U.S of A, then PIA is perfectly positioned.

Streaming is a dream with PIA, too. When tested, I didn't have any trouble with buffering streams or low-quality images. The service is seriously fast, and can also handle online gaming and any VoIP calls you need to make. ISP throttling will also become a thing of the past with PIA, a service that also doesn't impose its own bandwidth or data restrictions.

Cross-platform compatibility

PIA is compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS devices, and users get up to Unlimited simultaneous connections to play with – which is pretty generous. These clients look fresh and come fully featured with all broad spread of tools. PIA will even remove those annoying ads from your browsing sessions, as well as any trackers trying to snoop on you.

If at any point you need help setting up or troubleshooting an issue, you can field your questions to the PIA customer service team. They're available 24/7 via live chat and boast a full 10 years of industry experience, so you're bound to find a solution.

Stay covered

I'm glad to say that OpenVPN encryption is available throughout, and users also get a high level of granular control over the strength of that protection – though this might be too techy for casual users. You'll also benefit from a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, obfuscation (stealth), port forwarding, split tunneling, and a SOCKS5 proxy. This makes PIA one of the better stocked services on the market, and a great pick for anyone really looking to put their privacy first.

One less-than-great point to consider is that PIA is based in the US. This isn't ideal, as the United States is infamous for its use of gag orders and warrants, which could force a VPN to hand over user info and data logs. Fortunately, PIA's no-logs claim means that there'd be no information to hand over even if it was served a warrant.

IPVanish is the best budget-friendly VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. Inexpensive and compatible with all platforms, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $3.33/mth
      75% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Unblocks Netflix US
    • Kill-switch and DNS leak protection
    • Servers in more than 75 locations
  • Cons

    • Based in the US
    • UI is slightly dated
    • Does not unblock BBC iPlayer
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

IPVanish Demo

IPVanish Demo IPVanish Demo

IPVanish easily claims a spot in our top five, as it's a well-known and well-trusted VPN service ideal for gaining online privacy and hopping geo-restrictions. Best of all, IPVanish has a reliable SOCKS5 proxy that you can access and control in the member's area of its website. Anyone with an IPVanish subscription can use this SOCKS5 proxy without paying an extra penny, too!

I also like that IPVanish provides excellent setup guides for accessing and using the SOCKS proxy, either inside of torrent clients or browsers.


As you'd expect from a VPN of its caliber, IPVanish abides by a strong no-logs policy – though the fact that the service is based in the United States might make some prospective users wary. In brighter news, OpenVPN encryption ensures that your browsing sessions are kept secure, whether you're using the VPN at home or whether you're on the go and relying on public Wi-Fi hotspots.

I'm also pleased to see that IPVanish offers WireGuard, which hasn't been around for as long as OpenVPN, and therefore hasn't been tested as extensively, but it's a protocol that's lightweight, quick, and super secure, and very much the way of the future. Additionally, it's great to see that IPVanish also comes with DNS leak protection and a kill-switch, which is vitally important for anyone who'll be torrenting.

Unblock the world

With servers in over 75 locations, IPVanish is an excellent choice for anyone looking to unblock restricted, censored, or geo-blocked content. Users should have no trouble unblocking in-demand American streaming services, as well as Netflix US. However, because IPVanish does not officially support other Netflix libraries, we can't say for certain that you'll be able to access them. IPVanish likewise cannot access BBC iPlayer.

When I was testing IPVanish, I found that the service was surprisingly fast and more than capable of handling HD streaming. In addition, video calling is a breeze and torrenting is permitted on specified, dedicated servers. The SOCKS5 proxy also makes it possible to torrent safely and with even better speeds, as well as access any stubborn services that the VPN can't reach without it.

Real value for money

With IPVanish, users get a robust VPN service that is available for all platforms – you can even install it on your router. And, if you need help at any point, you can get in touch with the IPVanish customer service via live chat and phone, 24/7.

Thus, this is a superb all-rounder VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy for those who need it. Finally, the cost of a subscription is extremely competitive, which makes it well worth testing using its 30-day money-back guarantee. I'd like to see IPVanish accept cryptocurrency payments one day in the future, but all in all, I'd recommend giving the service a test drive. is the most feature-rich SOCKS5 service. With split tunneling, multihop, stealth, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.69/mth
      73% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.58/mth
      54% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.95/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Multihop double VPN
    • Cyrptocurrency accepted
    • Servers in 75 locations
  • Cons

    • Struggles with streaming services
    • Renewing plans can be expensive
    • Not the speediest
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website Demo Demo Demo comes packed with advanced VPN apps for all platforms and a wide spread of features. It's also one of the best VPNs in the world that also provides a SOCKS5 proxy. puts a focus on quality and privacy, which is why it snags a place in our top five – plus, consumers always have good things to say about the service!

For privacy advocates

Right away, I was reassured by the fact that is based in Malaysia, a country beyond the reach of invasive jurisdictions (like the UK and US), and with no mandatory data retention laws that'd force the VPN to keep logs. This is a win for user privacy!'s no-logs policy has also been audited by an independent analyst, so you can rest assured that nobody is keeping tabs on what you do online. To further bulk up its privacy offering, protects users from IPv6 leaks and runs its very own DNS on each server.

Users also get their pick of a number of solid protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard, which are two of our favorites. A kill-switch also keeps your sensitive information from leaking if your VPN connection drops, and I was glad to see that this kill-switch is enabled from the moment you download the software until (or unless) you switch it off yourself. A multi-hop double VPN feature is a nice addition, too, as it encrypts your traffic twice, for maximum privacy.

Server selection has a broad network of VPN servers in more than 75 worldwide locations. All of these servers are managed by the team, so there's no risk of outsiders getting involved where they shouldn't.

Unfortunately, struggles to unblock some of the most in-demand streaming services – though sites like Netflix do work incredibly hard to keep VPNs at bay, so it's a constantly evolving game of cat and mouse, anyway. That being said, we were unable to access Netflix US, and other users have reported similar difficulties when trying to browse Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer. If you're an avid streamer who needs reliable access to these services, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Pay your way is widely available for any platform you can imagine, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Browser extensions are also available for Chrome and Firefox users, and you can install the VPN on your router if you have the compatible firmware. offers 10 simultaneous connections, which is just what I like to see, and will be enough to cover all of your important devices.

You'll also be spoiled for choice when it actually comes to paying for your subscription, too. The service allows credit card and PayPal payments and even accepts cryptocurrency. This is a more secure way of paying, though bear in mind that it's not totally anonymous, as will always know your original IP address.

5. Windscribe

Windscribe is the best easy-to-use SOCKS5 service. Users get reliable speed and security, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months: $4.08/mth
    • 1 month: $9/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Free VPN option
    • Accepts Bitcoin payments
    • OpenVPN and Wireguard supported
  • Cons

    • Live chat support, but can be slow
    • Based in Canada
    • Not lightning-fast
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix

Windscribe Demo

Windscribe Demo Windscribe Demo

Plenty of people are familiar with Windscribe thanks to its limited free subscription plan that anyone can test without forking over any cash. This is great, and well worth checking out, but if you need a SOCKS5 proxy, you'll also need a premium subscription.

Fortunately, a Windscribe subscription is well worth investing in. The VPN abides by a no-logs policy and provides strong OpenVPN encryption, a kill-switch, and DNS leak protection. That means you can trust it to give you digital privacy both at home and on public Wi-Fi. This VPN is also great for unblocking international content or for bypassing local censorship.

Feature rich

Windscribe also has some of the most intuitive and useful VPN tools on the market, all designed to enhance your digital security – like R.O.B.E.R.T. This tool can be used to block ads and trackers, malicious domains, and IPs, to make your browsing experience more secure. You can select from a variety of block lists or create custom lists of your own. I also liked seeing a split tunneling feature, which gives you the ability to decide which applications route to the internet through the VPN and which don't.

In terms of security, Windscribe puts together a very solid package. AES 256-bit encryption is used alongside various secure protocols, like OpenVPN and WireGuard. Instead of a kill-switch, Windscribe utilizes a firewall, which prevents leaks by blocking all connectivity outside the VPN tunnel.

Browse global content

The Windscribe server network is dotted across the globe in a few odd locations, but coverage in SinglePropertyError:: There is no value for this property! and 110 cities is nothing to be sniffed at. Users should have no trouble bypassing geo-restrictions or spoofing their location. When I tested the service and tried to access Netflix, I found that it was particularly good at getting into the US library, although my success levels did vary here and there. If accessing content like this is your main concern, you might want to check out a more reliable option.

Also, Windscribe just isn't the fastest VPN on the market – though it certainly isn't slow, seeing as it's still in the top 20 fastest VPNs. So, you should still be able to stream and HD and torrent without issue.

Cover your bases

Windscribe prides itself on having clean, minimalist clients that are easy to use and intuitive even for beginners. You can install the VPN on any Windows, Mac, iOS, Android or Linux device, and even check out Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. These extensions even come with some exclusive features of their own, like Double Hop (which encrypts your traffic twice) and ad blocking (which prevents trackers from keeping tabs on your activity).

Overall, it's an excellent VPN that is great for gaining privacy and accessing content. You can test it thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee and even pay for a subscription with Bitcoin!

What is a SOCKS5 proxy?

A SOCKS proxy is a bolt-on feature that some VPNs provide to their users to allow them to engage in location spoofing. Like other proxies, a SOCKS5 proxy works by allowing you to conceal your IP address from online services. This lets you pretend to be in a different location and allows you to bypass localized blocks and restrictions. 

By using a SOCKS proxy, anybody can bypass IP blocks when their IP has been blacklisted from an online service. It can also be a useful workaround when a VPN’s IP addresses have been blocked by an online service, by offering a secondary method for accessing that service.

SOCKS5 is the latest version of the SOCKS protocol. It can send data via UDP (in addition to TCP). This means it can provide a highly reliable and efficient connection. It can also proxy data from a large cross-section of request types, including HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, and FTP. This flexibility is what makes SOCKS5 useful, because it can easily be used for email, web browsing, peer-to-peer file sharing, file transfers, VoIP, and more.

A SOCKS5 proxy using UDP is highly desirable because it can provide extremely fast speeds. This makes it valuable for people who want high-speed IP spoofing.

On the other hand, a SOCKS5 proxy provides no encryption. This means your traffic can still be monitored by your ISP or the government. As a result, it is important to remember that you do not get the privacy you get with a full VPN connection when you use a SOCKS5 proxy.

SOCKS5 vs VPN - what’s the difference?

VPNs and SOCKS5 both function as a proxy that can be used to conceal your real IP address from online services. However, this is where the similarity largely ends – because a SOCKS5 proxy does not provide other advantages that you get with a VPN.

A VPN creates a securely encrypted tunnel between the VPN client (application) and the proxy (VPN) server. As such, you'll get to enjoy heightened online privacy and data security, in addition to the location spoofing functionality a SOCKS5 proxy gives you.

Another major benefit of a VPN is that you can conceal your browsing habits from any nosy third parties, including your ISP, the government, and local network administrators in workplaces, schools, and public Wi-Fi networks. The encryption provided by the VPN stops anybody from accessing your data and tracking your online whereabouts. However, using a VPN does slow your internet speeds by a fraction, which is why some people prefer to use a SOCKS5 proxy.

If you require IP spoofing without the need for internet privacy (to connect to a gaming server in another country, for example) - you may be happy using a SOCKS5 proxy. However, if keeping a low digital profile is your main priority, you will need to stick to using a VPN with its added encryption.

What are the pros and cons of SOCKS5 proxies?

SOCKS5 proxy services are incredibly useful, but that doesn't mean that there aren't drawbacks to using them. In this guide, we'll cover both the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision.

Pros of SOCKS5 proxies

SOCKS5 proxies have three major benefits over other proxies you can find out there:

  1. The greatest advantage of a SOCKS5 proxy is its ability to process an almost unlimited number of request types. This allows it to be used for VoIP, HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, and FTP.
  2. Unlike other proxies, SOCKS5 does not rewrite data packet headers. This improves efficiency by making it less likely that there will be misrouting or mislabeling issues.
  3. Finally, SOCKS5 proxies can be set up with one of the following authentication methods:

Cons of SOCKS5 proxies

As with anything, however, there are also several disadvantages to consider before you invest in a SOCKS5 proxy:

  1. SOCKS5 proxies are not encrypted. The performance benefits you receive with a SOCKS5 proxy (and the added security you get when password/username authentication is implemented, as is the case with most SOCKS5 proxies provided by VPNs) are counterbalanced by a loss of privacy and security.
  2. Similarly, SOCKS5 packet headers contain metadata that can identify you. As a result, anyone who needs strong online privacy is advised to invest in a full VPN connection, and not a SOCKS5 proxy.
  3. A proxy will conceal your original IP address, but that address will still be visible to your proxy provider – which is why it's important to ensure you're using a reliable service that won't collect and sell your sensitive data or expose you to cyberattacks.

Should I use a SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting?

Some people use a SOCKS5 proxy to gain added security when downloading peer-to-peer using a torrent client. The great thing about torrenting with a SOCKS5 proxy is that it is extremely easy to set up from within your torrent client itself.

A SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting improves your security by concealing your original IP address from the swarm (all the peers seeding or leeching the torrent). This provides security against exposure to a malevolent peer who may attempt to scan your IP address for open ports; which could potentially allow you to be victimized.

Although the security benefit (IP concealment) provided by a SOCKS5 proxy is useful, it is important to remember that it is not as effective as a VPN tunnel. Like a SOCKS5 proxy, a VPN conceals your real IP address from the peers you connect to.

However, a VPN also encrypts your data so that all your downloads are private and cannot be detected by your ISP. This ensures that your ISP and the government are never able to identify the torrent services you use or the seeds you leech from.

If you intend to torrent online and you want to do it securely, a SOCKS5 proxy will provide better security than nothing at all – plus, a SOCKS5 proxy will usually provide more bandwidth and better speeds.

How to connect to a SOCKS5 proxy

Unlike a VPN, which ensures that all your internet traffic is always tunneled via the VPN server, a SOCKS5 proxy must be set up inside your browser or torrent client. This means that the SOCKS5 proxy will only ever ‘spoof’ your location inside that software; rather than for your entire computer or mobile device.

If you want to connect to your VPN’s SOCKS5 proxy, it will be necessary to set up that connection manually either in your torrent client or browser. The best way to achieve this is by contacting your VPN provider for a setup guide, which will walk you through the process of establishing your SOCKS5 authentication.

If you are a Firefox user, the easiest way to set up a SOCKS5 proxy is by using the third-party extension FoxyProxy:

  1. Download and install the FoxyProxy Standard add-on from the FireFox Add-ons page.
  2. Click on the FoxyProxy icon that appears in the toolbar in the top right of your Firefox browser.
  3. Choose Options from the drop-down menu. You will now be redirected to a webpage.
  4. Select Use proxy Default for all URLs from the drop-down menu in the middle of the screen.
  5. Next, click the Add button on the top left of the screen.
  6. Now, click Edit and add the details for your VPN SOCKS5 proxy. (You will need to get the server address, port number, username, and password from your VPN’s website.)
  7. Finally, turn on the slider next to Send DNS through SOCKS5 proxy and click Save.
  8. Now check your IP address by clicking What's My IP in the left-hand menu. Your IP address should appear in the location of your VPN’s SOCKS5 proxy server.

Can I use a free SOCKS5 Proxy?

In 2024, it has become more difficult than ever to find a reliable and reputable SOCKS5 proxy that you can use for free. Thus, if you do want to make use of a SOCKS5 proxy, we strongly recommend that you purchase a VPN subscription. 

Your VPN subscription will grant you access to the complete VPN tunnel as well as the SOCKS5 proxy, giving you the flexibility you need to boost your privacy (both at home and when using public Wi-Fi hotspots) and spoof your location whenever you need to.

With a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy in your toolkit, you'll have unmitigated access to the world wide web. Bypassing restrictions will become a breeze, and you'll also benefit from unprecedented levels of online privacy – and this is exactly why we think that investing in a VPN subscription is by far the best way to get your hands on a SOCKS5 proxy.

Admittedly, there are lists of free proxy addresses that you can find online. These lists provide you with all the information you need to connect, including the proxy type (SOCKS4, SOCKS5, HTTP, HTTPS, etc) the IP address, the port, where it’s located, and the type of server it is.

So, you could theoretically use any of these proxy addresses without paying a penny. Just remember that it's impossible to know who's running these free services, and that your data could be at risk as a result.

In fact, the reality is that the lists of free proxy IPs found online are extremely dangerous to use. Unfortunately, these proxies are almost always hacked machines or honeypots designed to spy on you. They're primarily leveraged to engage in Man-in-the-Middle attacks and to engage in cyberattacks on their users by doing things like SSL stripping or injecting code into your session to hijack your browser.

For this reason, it is vital that you stick to using a SOCKS5 proxy provided by a legitimate, trustworthy VPN provider with a no-logs VPN policy. There are also some trustworthy free VPN services around. Using one of these services will allow you to spoof your location and unblock online services without fear of cyberattacks or data theft. 

What are the benefits of SOCKS5?

A SOCKS5 proxy has numerous benefits. Firstly, it is built to be fast, which makes it great for streaming, torrenting, videoconferencing, and other data-intensive tasks. 

It also supports many types of traffic, which makes it extremely versatile. For example, it supports HTTP, FTP, SMTP, and POP3 traffic. This means you can use a SOCKS5 proxy when using a wide range of applications, including web browsing, online gaming, and torrenting.

A SOCKS5 proxy also provides encryption for your data, which makes it a secure proxy to use in countries with widespread restrictions, where it is a popular method for bypassing online censorship.

SOCKS5 employs TCP with strong authentication and SSH tunneling for data in transit, which is reliable. As a result, you can do almost any online task securely via the proxy on any system thanks to the ease with which the proxy can be set up.

Should I use a SOCKS5 proxy for gaming?

If you are specifically looking for a proxy for gaming, we would tend to recommend a VPN rather than a SOCKS5 proxy. While a SOCKS5 proxy is fast, it is generally not as reliable as a VPN and is more likely to introduce lag during games.

That said, a SOCKS5 proxy may be faster than a slow VPN, so this will largely revolve around which provider you choose. 

The fastest VPNs provide a lag-free experience and protection against DDoS attacks, and while a SOCKS5 proxy may be better than an inferior VPN, the very best VPNs should perform better than a SOCKS5 proxy for gaming.

It is also worth noting that some games may have policies against the use of proxies. A SOCKS5 proxy is potentially easier to detect, which could get your game account suspended. For this reason, we recommend sticking to a fast and secure VPN that has a wide choice of servers for you to use.

Is it possible to set up SOCKS5 with or without encryption?

Yes, a SOCKS5 proxy can be set up with or without encryption. SOCKS5 proxies can be configured to use SSH tunneling to secure the connection between the client and the proxy server. However, some SOCKS5 proxies may not offer encryption. You must check that the SOCKS5 proxy you are using employs encryption if you require data privacy and security, otherwise, your data may be vulnerable to interception. 

How we pick VPNs for SOCKS5 - VPN testing methodology

Picking a VPN can be a headache, particularly if you have never used one before and are not sure what to look for. At ProPrivacy we understand that VPNs can seem complicated to the uninitiated. We also know that cowboy services make deceptive claims about being "the fastest” or "most secure”.

To help you out, we have created a rigorous VPN testing methodology. Our review process allows us to directly compare the world’s leading VPNs. This is how we can confidently make lists of the best VPNs for different use purposes.

As part of our testing method, we check the VPN apps have the security and privacy features you need to prevent online tracking. We test for DNS and IP leaks that would betray your privacy. And we check that the VPN has fast servers capable of accessing the online services you are interested in while abroad, or in a country with overreaching censorship.

Below, we have included the specific features we look for when recommending VPNs with a SOCKS5 proxy:


A SOCKS5 proxy is a highly desirable tool, and can come in particularly handy if you regularly torrent. In order to have access to both a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy, however, you'll need to subscribe to a VPN service that includes a SOCKS5 proxy.

Whilst it is possible to find free proxies online, we wouldn't recommend running that risk, and instead suggest that you stick to using SOCKS5 proxies provided by reputable VPNs – which have been designed with your privacy in mind. Luckily, several industry-leading services already do so. Anyone using these proxies will know that their connection is secure, stable, and being routed to god knows where.

Still, it's important to remember that a SOCKS5 proxy does not provide encryption like a traditional VPN service. If you're a privacy-minded person who needs strong levels of online security, you're better off sticking to a VPN. But, if you're confident that a SOCKS5 proxy is just what you need, then our VPN recommendations have you covered!

  1. NordVPN - The best VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. Packed with features at a modest price, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. TIP

    In testing we found that the 'Standard' NordVPN plan (the cheapest) works perfectly for Netflix.

  3. Private Internet Access - The most secure service with a SOCKS5 proxy. Granular control over security and a strict zero-logs policy.
  4. IPVanish - A low-cost service with a SOCKS5 proxy. Its apps are quick to install and easy to use, and users get a raft of security features.
  5. - The best feature-rich VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. Users get real value-for-money, tough security, and access to streaming sites.
  6. Windscribe - The most user-friendly VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. With simple apps and 24/7 protection, as well as a superb free plan.


Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 


Your Name
on January 16, 2022
Your comment that socks5 provides no encryption may be entirely accurate, but it does not take into account the require encryption settings available within bit torrent clients themselves. Further, as multiple clients, be they http (browser) or socks5 (torrent), can be run upon a single computer at one time to provide multiple distinct endpoints simultaneously, proxies brings benefits that a single computer wide vpn endpoint connection provides. While providing the latter as an addition. It would be useful if your article examined these point within its descriptions.
Sam Dawson replied to Your Name
on February 22, 2022
Where possible, SOCKS5 should be used as is appropriate for your needs. If you need to set up multiple browsing sessions simultaneously over different IPs, this is easier to set up with SOCKS5 than routing applications individually through separate VPN tunnels. As for BitTorrent, the encryption protocols used by torrent clients are vulnerable to traffic analysis and shaping. They may offer some obfuscation, but this is ultimately a very weak form of encryption which should not be relied upon.
Wannab techguy
on January 14, 2022
What if I connect to a Proton VPN & then to a free proxy? Is it possible?
Sam Dawson replied to Wannab techguy
on February 22, 2022
While this is possible, the only real benefit is hiding your VPN IP. In return, you're running all your traffic through an extra network node which will increase your latency, reduce your bandwidth, and potentially expose any unencrypted traffic to sniffing and MITM attacks. It is technically possible, but we would not recommend it!

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