What is SOCKS5 & 5 Best SOCKS5 VPNs in 2021

Like a VPN, a SOCKS5 proxy is an effective way to bypass internet blocks. Some VPN providers include a SOCKS5 proxy in their service because it can provide location spoofing with faster speeds than a VPN. A SOCKS5 proxy does not provide the added privacy benefits you get with a full VPN connection. However, depending on your needs, a SOCKS5 proxy can be a useful extra feature.

In this article, we have pinpointed the best VPNs with a SOCKS5 proxy. These SOCKS5 VPN services will provide you with a full premium VPN in addition to a SOCKS5 proxy you can use any time you want.

 

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 on to 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. IPVanish - is a fantastic VPN service that offers a SOCKS5 proxy free with their VPN. They have lots of SOCKS5 servers based in over 70 countries.
  2. NordVPN - is a VPN provider with a good reputation. They have great SOCKS5 Proxy which can easily be used with a torrent client of your choice.
  3. Private Internet Access - is a very secure VPN service with a SOCKS5 proxy. It's easy to set up to SOCKS5 proxy via their client control panel.
  4. Hide.me - has outstanding privacy features. They integrate their SOCKS5 proxy with their VPN to improve you security.
  5. Windscribe - offer a free VPN service, however their SOCKS5 proxy is only available on their premium plans. It's easy to use and set up.

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

Here are the best VPNs with SOCKS5. If you need more information on these or any other services, check out our detailed VPN reviews.

IPVanish is a US-based VPN with an excellent SOCKS5 Proxy. They have an extension proxy server list including servers in the UK, USA, UAE and many more countries.

  • Pricing

    From $2.62 - $9.99
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

IPVanish is a highly trusted and reliable VPN that many people use to gain privacy and location spoofing services online. Best of all, this VPN has a reliable SOCKS5 proxy that you can access and control in the member's area of its website. Anybody with an IPVanish subscription gets access to its SOCKS5 proxy for free. And IPVanish provides excellent setup guides for accessing and using that SOCKS proxy either inside of torrent clients or browsers.


With IPVanish, users get a robust VPN service that is available for all platforms. The VPN has a trustworthy no logs policy, and robust military-grade OpenVPN encryption to ensure your online habits always remain private. During my tests, I found IPVanish to be fast, which makes it great for streaming in HD, video calling, and torrenting. And, thanks to the SOCKS5 proxy you can torrent safely and with even better speeds if you want to. Plus, the SOCKS5 proxy can help you access any stubborn services that the VPN can't reach without it. 


IPVanish also has servers in over 70 countries, which makes it useful for unblocking restricted, censored, or geo-blocked content. And it has what you need to stay secure when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. 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. 

NordVPN is a reliable VPN that provides security, privacy. They have really useful guides on how to combine your torrent client with their SOCKS5 Proxy service.

  • Pricing

    From $3.30 - $11.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

NordVPN is a service that has been around for many years, and it is a reliable VPN that has excellent apps for all platforms. NordVPN is easy to use, it has great customer care, and it has a watertight zero-logs policy. The VPN is also based in Panama, which is great in terms of privacy. We enjoy this VPN because it has rarer VPN features like double-hop encryption and VPN through Tor. It also has all the essentials such as a kill switch and obfuscation.


With Nord you get access to servers in over 70 countries, and the VPN provides ample speeds for streaming in HD or downloading. However, for those who want to spoof their IP with the fastest possible speeds available – a SOCKS5 proxy is also included within the subscription.


We think NordVPN is extremely easy to use, and we know that it works with services like Netflix US and BBC iPlayer. It's yet another outstanding VPN that you can test risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. An impressive VPN that has a great reputation. 

Private Internet Accessis a trusted VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy. PIA offer a SOCKS5 proxy that is really easy to set up and is secure using a separate username and password to your VPN client.

  • Pricing

    From $2.08 - $9.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based provider that is often praised by Reddit users. It is a VPN that has been around for many years, and which has proven its zero-logs policy in court on numerous occasions.


The VPN has apps for all popular platforms, and those clients come fully featured with all the most important privacy and security features. OpenVPN encryption is available throughout, and users get high levels of granular control over the strength of that protection. In addition, users get a kill switch, DNS leak protection, obfuscation, port forwarding, split tunneling, and a SOCKS5 proxy. This makes PIA one of the most well-rounded VPNs on the market and a superb option for anybody who wants to engage in torrenting.


With PIA you get super-fast servers in 72 countries, which will allow you to bypass international geo-restrictions and censorship. And this VPN can access sought after services like Netflix US and Hulu. It's an excellent all-rounder that has everything you need to get more privacy and freedom online. You can test it risk-free using its money-back guarantee. 

hide.me integrate their secure VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy which helps you to maintain your internet speeds whilst gaining privacy online.

  • Pricing

    From $2.43 - $12.95
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

hide.me is a VPN from Malaysia that is always considered extremely good for people who want watertight privacy levels. Being in Malaysia puts it well out of reach of invasive governments in places like the UK and the USA, and because it has a no-logs policy, you never have to worry about this VPN having any records of what you did online.


hide.me is a VPN that has advanced VPN apps for all platforms that come fully featured. And, it is one of the best VPNs in the world that also provides a SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting or getting around firewalls. We love this VPN because it is primarily aimed at providing high-quality privacy features. The apps are jam-packed with the best features on the market and this VPN is always praised by consumers.


It is also worth mentioning that hide.me has now made the effort to begin unblocking Netflix US and other popular streaming services - which makes this VPN a true all rounder. It's well worth considering, and can be tested using its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Windscribe provide a SOCKS5 proxy on their premium plan. It's easy to set up using the SOCKS5 Profile generator on their website.

  • Pricing

    From $4.08 - $9.00
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix

Windscribe is a VPN that can be tested for nothing thanks to its limited free subscription plan. However, anybody looking for a SOCKS5 proxy will need a premium subscription.


Windscribe is a zero logs VPN that 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 WiFi. This VPN is also great for unblocking international content or for bypassing local censorship.


Admittedly, Windscribe isn’t quite as fast as some of the other VPNs we have recommended. However, it is still in the top 20 fastest VPNs - which means it is suitable for streaming in HD or downloading. 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. 

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 benefits that you get with a VPN.

A VPN creates a securely encrypted tunnel between the VPN client (application) and the proxy (VPN) server. This gives you online privacy and data security - in addition to the location spoofing functionality you get with a SOCKS5 proxy.

The benefit of a VPN is that you can conceal your online browsing habits from 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 habits. However, it also causes some slowing of internet speeds, 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 you intend to access restricted torrent sites to download movies (or to engage in other online activities that you would prefer to do in private); you will need to stick to using a VPN with its added encryption.

What are the benefits of a SOCKS5 proxy over other proxies?

SOCKS5 offers three main benefits over other proxies out there:

  1. The greatest benefit 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 mis-routing or mislabeling issues.
  3. Finally, SOCKS5 proxies can be set up with one of the following authentication methods:

However, please remember that the performance benefits you get 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) is counterbalanced by a loss of privacy and security: SOCKS5 packet headers contain metadata that can identify you, which is why anybody who requires online privacy is strongly advised to use a full VPN connection rather than a SOCKS5 proxy.

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 real 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, the seeds you leech from, and the content you download.

If you intend to torrent online and you want to do it securely, a SOCKS5 proxy will provide better security than nothing at all. And a SOCKS5 proxy will usually provide more bandwidth and better speeds. However, unless you live in a country where copyright piracy is tolerated, it is generally recommended that you use a VPN rather than a SOCKS5 proxy.

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 to contact your VPN for a setup guide, which will include how to set up your SOCKS5 authentication on its website.

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 2021 it has become almost impossible to find a reliable and trustworthy 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. 

By paying for a VPN, you will gain access to both the full VPN tunnel and the SOCKS5 proxy. This gives you the flexibility to gain privacy (both at home and on public Wi-Fi) and to perform IP spoofing whenever you need to.

With a VPN and SOCKS5 proxy in your quiver, you will be able to bypass restrictions and gain unprecedented levels of privacy online. This is why a VPN subscription is by far the best way to use a secure SOCKS5 proxy.

Admittedly, you can find lists of free proxy addresses online. Those 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.

It's true that you could use one of these free proxy addresses. However, remember that it's impossible to know who's running those free proxies, and your data could be at risk.

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. This will allow you to spoof your location and unblock online services without fear of cyberattacks or data theft. 

Conclusion

A SOCKS5 proxy is a useful tool that many internet users want, and it can be a superb additional tool if you like to torrent. If you want to have access to both a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy, the best option is to subscribe to a respected VPN service that also includes a SOCKS5 proxy. 

A number of leading VPNs now provide a SOCKS5 proxy for their users at no additional cost. Best of all, anybody who uses this SOCKS5 proxy will know that their connection is secure, and is being routed to god knows where!

It is important to remember that a SOCKS5 proxy does not provide encryption, so if you want to gain strong levels of online privacy and security you should always stick to using a VPN. But, if you are confident that a SOCKS5 proxy is what you need, then the VPNs recommended in this guide will have what you need!

  1. IPVanish - is a fantastic VPN service that offers a SOCKS5 proxy free with their VPN. They have lots of SOCKS5 servers based in over 70 countries.
  2. NordVPN - is a VPN provider with a good reputation. They have great SOCKS5 Proxy which can easily be used with a torrent client of your choice.
  3. Private Internet Access - is a very secure VPN service with a SOCKS5 proxy. It's easy to set up to SOCKS5 proxy via their client control panel.
  4. Hide.me - has outstanding privacy features. They integrate their SOCKS5 proxy with their VPN to improve you security.
  5. Windscribe - offer a free VPN service, however their SOCKS5 proxy is only available on their premium plans. It's easy to use and set up.

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. 

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