Do you REALLY need to hide your identity online? Then a VPN is not enough.
You may be thinking, what? Isn’t that what VPNs are for? If you want to bypass the geo-fence of Netflix and other streaming services, then yes, a VPN is all you need.
But if you need to ensure there is no way to know who you are, then what you are looking for is a state-of-the-art SOCKS5 proxy like DEMSOCKS.
Intrigued? Read on to find out why you need a SOCKS proxy.
WHAT DOES A PROXY DO?
Basically, a proxy server is a bridge between your local machine and the Internet. Put another way, you can think of proxy servers as “intermediaries” thaDEMSOCKS.NETt communicate with the website you want to visit on your behalf.
Confused? Don’t worry, it’s normal. To clarify the concept of what proxies are, you first need to understand how the Internet works. Under normal circumstances (without a proxy), your device connects directly to the internet, right? Well, that is not entirely true. Actually, all traffic from your machine goes through your internet service provider (ISP).
YOUR DEVICE –→ ISP (Internet Service Provider) –→ WEBSITE
This is unavoidable; you pay your ISP to connect you to the Internet after all. However, one thing you can do is to prevent your ISP from knowing your browsing history.
YOUR DEVICE –→ ISP (Internet Service Provider) –→ PROXY –→ WEBSITE
When you use a proxy server, you are accomplishing two things. On the one hand, you prevent your ISP from knowing what pages you visit since the “trail” ends at the proxy. Before you ask, yes, your ISP can detect that you are connecting to a proxy, but there is little it can do about it (except block your access to the proxy, but we’ll talk about that later).
The second thing you achieve by using a proxy is to hide your IP address since the websites you visit only “see” the proxy address.
If you are already an experienced user, you may be thinking, isn’t that what VPNs do? The answer is yes and no. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, create two encrypted tunnels, one between your device and the VPN server and another between the VPN server and the destination. Technically speaking, a VPN server is a type of proxy whose sole purpose is to hide your IP address. However, as you will learn shortly, SOCKS5 proxies allow you to do that and much more.
TYPES OF PROXIES
Now that you understand what a proxy is, we can go a little further and talk about the different types of proxies. Formally, there are forward proxies and reverse proxies. However, for the purposes of this article, we are only interested in “forward proxies,” which are the ones that act on our behalf when surfing the Internet.
According to the protocol they handle, there are three types of proxies.
- HTTP proxies. This proxy server can only handle HTTP and HTTPS protocols, hence its name. These are the protocols that your browser uses to surf the internet, so with this type of proxy, you can access any web page. Since these proxies only handle HTTP/HTTPS traffic, they are usually inexpensive (even free) and much faster than VPNs and other types of proxy servers. However, from a privacy point of view, they are generally not the best at hiding your IP address.
- Web proxies. This type of proxy server is usually free and has the advantage of allowing you to connect to HTTP proxies without using any application to do so; all you need is your browser. Disadvantages? They tend to have a lot of advertising, their security is not the best, and their privacy level leaves much to be desired. Most (if not all) web proxies are publicly listed, so ISPs will have no problem knowing that you use one of them.
- SOCKS5 proxies. SOCKS proxies can handle any type of traffic, not just HTTP/HTTPS. That makes them the most versatile kind of proxy of all. With a SOCKS proxy, you can handle POP3, IMAP, and SMTP protocols (used to send and receive emails); you can also use IRC protocol (chats), FTP protocol (to upload and download files or torrents), and more. As for its disadvantages, the most relevant is that they do not encrypt (by default) the traffic. In the next section, we will go deeper into this.
Another classification relevant to our use case has to do with the service level of the proxies. There are public proxy servers and private proxy servers.
As the name implies, public proxies are available to everyone, generally free of charge. While this is great, they are often not very secure, and the service’s stability can be very poor.
Private proxy servers, on the other hand, are paid. In many cases, this guarantees a better service, more features (SOCKS proxies), and a higher level of privacy and security.
Regarding the latter, it is worth reviewing security in more detail, as this is what you should be more interested in.
ARE SOCKS5 PROXIES SAFE?
This is perhaps the most critical point for you. Are SOCKS proxies secure? The short answer is no; SOCKS proxies are not safe by default.
You see, the whole point of SOCKS proxies is to forward all traffic from your device to the Internet. As we have already mentioned, their main difference with VPNs is that they don’t encrypt such traffic. Why? Simple, because it slows down the connection and requires additional server resources, not to mention other technical aspects that must be implemented to achieve an adequate level of encryption.
That said, nothing prevents a private provider from adding encryption to a SOCKS proxy server. Moreover, providers such as DEMSOCKS also offer encryption of the disks used by the servers and other features that guarantee anonymity.
In short, to make this point clear, SOCKS proxies may or may not encrypt traffic. However, when they do, they are a sort of combination of a SOCKS proxy and a VPN. What benefits does this bring over a traditional VPN? That is the point we will discuss below.
BENEFITS OF SOCKS5 PROXIES
At this point, you should have a better idea of the differences between a vanilla SOCKS proxy and a VPN. However, since we mentioned that some proxies encrypt traffic, you may be wondering how they differ. For this reason, we will now analyze the benefits of SOCKS5 proxies over VPNs.
Just as some top SOCKS proxy providers offer encryption, some VPN vendors offer SOCKS5 services. In fact, VPNs such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN (two of the most widely used providers) allow you to download torrents anonymously by using their SOCKS5 proxy servers. Some VPNs even offer to route your device traffic through one of their dedicated SOCKS5 proxies before passing through the VPN server (for an extra cost).
However, something that no VPN provider can do is offer you complete flexibility. Since the core business of VPNs revolves around unblocking video streaming content and downloading torrents anonymously, the amount of SOCKS proxies they can offer you is limited. Furthermore, such servers are usually listed by ISPs and governments, making them vulnerable to being banned or audited.
On the other hand, the business of private SOCKS5 proxy providers is very different. Providers like DEMSOCKS put hundreds of servers distributed around the world at your fingertips. These servers are intended for professional use, so they are not preconfigured for a specific activity (such as downloading torrents). This makes them ideal for any use case. In other words, the flexibility that SOCKS proxies give you is unmatched.
If you do a little research on the Internet, you will find many articles saying that there is nothing like the privacy offered by a VPN. You will even find articles telling you that VPNs are far superior to SOCKS5 proxies in terms of privacy. You should not forget that almost all of these articles contain affiliate or promotional links. In other words, those articles are not interested in telling you, as we have done here, about services such as DEMSOCKS, which offers SOCKS5 proxies with high-level encryption.
Moreover, regardless of how true the “no logs” policies of the main VPN providers are, the truth is that their servers are fully identified. On the other hand, vendors such as DEMSOCKS constantly update their IP addresses. As soon as one of their servers enters a blacklist, others replace it. If you are a fan of Marvel movies, you can compare the enormous resilience of SOCKS proxies with Hydra, “if a head is cut off, two more shall take its place.”
If you hire a VPN service, be sure to read the fine print. You will be amazed at how many restrictions you will have. Take, for example, NordVPN, one of the best services in its class. In section 7 of their Terms of Service, you will find:
“You agree that you shall not: use, assist, encourage, or enable others to use the Services for any unlawful, illicit, illegal, criminal, or fraudulent activities, including but not limited to port scanning, sending spam, sending opt-in email, scanning for open relays or open proxies, sending unsolicited email or any version or type of email sent in vast quantities even if the email is routed through third-party servers, any pop-up launching, use of stolen credit cards, credit card fraud, financial fraud, cryptocurrency fraud, cloaking, extortion, blackmail, kidnapping, rape, murder, sale of stolen credit cards, sale of stolen goods, offer or sale of prohibited and dual-use goods, offer or sale of controlled substances, identity theft, hacking, pharming, phishing, scraping in any form or scale, digital piracy and other similar activities.”
The above paragraph is just a tiny portion of all the limitations NordVPN imposes on you. In fact, this “Prohibited and restricted uses” section is the most extensive of all.
On the other hand, providers such as DEMSOCKS are more open in this regard. They simply let you know that they are not responsible for what you do with the proxy servers.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOCKS PROXIES
While SOCKS proxies offer many benefits, they are not without their disadvantages. Setting up VPN applications on your PC, Mac, or mobile device is straightforward; however, installing and configuring SOCKS5 clients requires more knowledge.
You should remember that this kind of service is not intended for everyone. It is assumed that you know what you are doing and that you have the experience and skills to configure your SOCKS5 client.
That said, while installation and configuration can be a challenge for some, it can also be an advantage. You are not limited to using a proprietary client; you can choose the client of your choice and configure it to your convenience. This can be useful if you need to send emails to many users automatically.
Another disadvantage that is more difficult to overcome has to do with fraudulent providers. As with other services offered over the Internet, you are exposed to falling victim to providers who are only looking to take advantage of you. All the more reason to prefer solid and reliable providers like DEMSOCKS.
PRO TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST PROXY
Now that you know what SOCKS proxies are all about, it’s time to figure out how to get the most out of them. Here are a series of pro tips that will help you in this regard.
Location. DEMSOCKS gives you hundreds of servers to choose from. Since web pages will only log the IP address of the proxy, it is advisable to select a server in the location that is most convenient for you. For example, you can choose a SOCKS proxy in any state in the United States, even in almost any county.
ISP provider. With DEMSOCKS, you will also be able to choose the proxy’s ISP. For instance, if you want a SOCKS5 proxy in Miami, you can decide which of the ISPs in the area is most convenient for you. Depending on the use case, this can be crucial, as each ISP has different privacy policies that will make it difficult (or easy) to detect that you are using a SOCKS proxy.
Blacklist. As mentioned, ISPs are constantly updating their blacklists. The more scrupulous providers tend to block proxies that they consider “dangerous” regularly. When choosing your server, confirm on the DEMSOCKS screen that the proxy is not blocked.
Time online. Remember we said that DEMSOCKS adds new SOCKS proxies all the time? Our suggestion is to favor servers with little time online as this is an additional guarantee that they have not been blacklisted.
The time has come to review what you have learned in this article. On the one hand, we have discussed what a proxy is, particularly a SOCKS5 proxy. On the other hand, we have discussed the advantages of a SOCKS proxy over a commercial VPN.
If you must remember just one thing from all this, it is that only a provider like DEMSOCKS can give you the freedom you need to surf the web with absolute anonymity. This type of service does not aim to be the fastest, as it is not intended for video streaming or torrent downloading. This is a service designed for people who want to ensure maximum flexibility and security. Put another way, DEMSOCKS allows you to make both ISPs and websites believe that you are connecting from the “X” location, thus obfuscating your true online identity.