You want to surf the internet anonymously, and you’ve been exploring your options. After doing some research, you’ve narrowed it down to SOCKS proxies or a VPN. The two are so similar that it’s hard to know which one is better. Take a minute to learn how the two are the same and how they’re different to know which one is right for you.
A Basic Overview
First, let’s look at a basic overview of SOCKS proxies and VPNs. SOCKS stands for Socket Secure. Unlike HTTP proxies that are built for the HTTP protocol, SOCKS is built on a protocol that supports various networking technologies, including IPv6 and UDP.
SOCKS proxies mask the user’s IP address while transferring and receiving data. You can use a SOCKS proxy to hide your location and IP address so you can get past firewalls and geolocation restrictions. You can also just use the proxy to hide your identity when you’re online.
A VPN is a virtual private network. The VPN encrypts the data that goes from one location to the next, and it provides you with a new IP address, so you can’t be traced or tracked. Just like a SOCKS proxy, you can use a VPN to get past firewalls and geolocation restrictions.
Now that you know what the two protocols are, it’s time to look at how they are similar and different. This will make it easier for you to decide which option is right for you.
Both SOCKS proxies and VPNs allow you to access the internet anonymously. Both act as middlemen, hiding your real IP address and location so you can’t be tracked or traced. That means you don’t use your IP address to connect to servers online. Instead, the VPN or SOCKS proxy uses a different IP address for you. That IP address will be located somewhere else, allowing you to get past geolocation restrictions, if necessary.
SOCKS proxies and VPNs connect through a process called tunneling. Tunneling is the most secure way to connect to the internet. In fact, it is much more secure than standard HTTP proxies. HTTP proxies connect with an open port. These proxies don’t use tunnels to form connections, so the connections can be penetrated. That’s not the case when it comes to SOCKS proxies and VPNs.
When it comes to security, you’ll be in good shape whether you use a VPN or a SOCKS proxy. VPN networks are built with the SOCKS protocol in mind, so both offer the same levels of security. That’s why so many people like using SOCKS proxies. They get the same level of security without having to use an entire network.
VPNs are generally as safe and secure as SOCKS proxies are, but that is not always the case. Some VPN services engage in logging. This is the process of logging everything you browse and download. Your records could even be subpoenaed if you’re suspected of doing something illegal. Then, lawyers could use the records to build a case against you.
While many people think logging only happens with free VPN services, it can also happen with paid ones. That is why you should always read the fine print. You don’t want to use a service that will log all your moves. You’re using a VPN for privacy. It doesn’t make sense to relinquish your privacy just to use the VPN.
While it’s not as common, some proxy companies also log data. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem by using a premium SOCKS proxy provider. That will keep your information safe and secure, so you can browse freely without any worries.
You also have to consider the privacy of your own network. Some free VPN services actually sell your bandwidth. They put it right in the service contract, stating they have the right to use your bandwidth however they want. You could end up unwittingly engaging in a DDoS attack when someone uses your bandwidth. That is anything but secure.
You can run into a similar problem if you use free proxies. You could end up granting the proxy provider access to your system when you connect to the network. Plus, you could end up getting hacked, all because you wanted to save a few bucks.
Avoid these problems by paying for proxies or VPNs. That will help you avoid some serious issues.
Speed is a big deal when browsing the internet. You want something that will make it easy for you to go from one site to the next. If you experience too much lag, you’ll have a serious issue.
It’s important to understand that you will experience a drop in speed with both options. That’s the tradeoff for using a middleman. It takes some time to go through the middleman, so it’s impossible to have the exact same speed you would get without a proxy or VPN.
However, SOCKS proxies only have a slight drop in speed, as long as you get them from a premium provider. Premium proxy companies are able to provide users with ample bandwidth for surfing the web. They use the latest technology to ensure that the proxies are fast enough to meet the demands of their customers.
The same isn’t usually true for VPNs. When you use a VPN, you have to access a giant hub. Lots of people are plugged into the same hub, and that can cause a lag. Because of that, you might notice that the speeds are much faster early in the morning or late at night, when fewer people are accessing the VPN. If you don’t mind scheduling around peak times, a VPN is fine. However, if you want to have the same speed at all times, day or night, it makes sense to go with a SOCKS proxy.
It also makes sense to go with a SOCKS proxy if you want fast torrent download speeds. This is where SOCKS proxies really shine. In fact, SOCKS proxies are faster than standard proxies when it comes to torrent download speeds. HTTP proxies cannot keep up with SOCKS proxies in this regard.
Number of IPs
When you buy SOCKS proxies, you probably won’t just get a single IP address. You’ll get a bundle of IP addresses. You might get as few as five addresses, or you could end up with hundreds of them. It depends on what you need them for. If you get a bunch, it will be easy for you to rotate your proxies to avoid detection. That makes these proxies perfect for scraping data with a tool like ScrapeBox.
VPNs typically just give users a single IP address. If you want to change the IP address, you will need to contact the service. Some services will then switch it out for another IP address. You’ll still just have the one, though, so it will be difficult to scrape data or create multiple social media accounts. There is a good chance that your IP address will get blocked and you will have to start all over again.
Accessing Proxies and VPNs
You will notice a big difference when it comes to how you access proxies and VPNs. Proxy providers will give you some basic info for your SOCKS proxies. The, you will head over to your browser settings or computer network settings and enter the information into the system. If you’re using third-party software, you can also enter the proxy information right into the software. Once you enter the information into the system, you will connect to the proxy and browse anonymously. Then, you can go into the system and disable the proxy at any time.
A VPN is a little bit more complex. You don’t just get a few numbers to enter into your browser’s settings. Instead, you have to download software. Once downloaded, you’ll enter your login information. After you’re logged in, you can start using the VPN. You can also turn the VPN on and off from the software.
Since you’re downloading software, it is critical that you choose wisely when selecting a VPN. You could easily end up with a virus on your computer if you aren’t smart about your choice. You could also end up with subpar software that makes it difficult to browse the internet.
Both SOCKS proxies and VPNs are available for free, but you shouldn’t go with free services. In both cases, free services are much slower than paid ones are. They are also much more dangerous and don’t offer the same level of security you’ll get with a paid service. Don’t even consider free proxies or VPNs. It’s not worth it.
Both are low in cost. VPNs are sometimes more affordable on the surface, but proxies offer more value for the money you spend.
Can You Use Them Both?
For some people, it’s not a matter of which one to use. It’s a matter of which one they should use for which situation. SOCKS proxies are most commonly used when people want to scrape the web or use social media tools. These proxies are also used for downloading torrents in bulk.
VPNs are most commonly used by people who want privacy and want to hide their locations for basic web surfing. These are popular with people who aren’t tech-savvy. That doesn’t mean you need to be tech savvy with a proxy, but you do have some tech options if you want to use them.
Some people choose to have SOCKS proxies and VPNs set up on their computers, and they turn one off and other on, depending on what they do. Still others use both simultaneously for the extra layer of security, but that is not necessary. Both SOCKS proxies and VPNs are secure on their own. There is no reason to add that extra layer of security.
Which One Is Right for You?
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to make a decision. For most people, a SOCKS proxy is the right choice. It offers the same security as a VPN, without the software. Plus, the extra IP addresses are a huge bonus since most internet marketing techniques require multiple IP addresses. Most people get everything they need out of SOCKS proxies.