A SOCKS proxy is usually located between a local network and the Internet channel. SOCKS proxy servers have a few decided advantages over other types of proxies:
- SOCKS uses low-level protocols (TCP, UDP) to transfer data, so it does not depend on HTTP or FTP, which are high-level protocols. A local software can make a SOCKS server act as a client-side server, so it enables the application to accept external connections, though a real IP address is not available;
- application of SOCKS 5 technology enables to work via a proxy server for software that cannot do this initially.
Differences between SOCKS 4 and SOCKS 5 protocols:
- SOCKS 5 can operate in networks without a local DNS. SOCKS 4 cannot do this;
- SOCKS 5 transfers data via TCP and UDP, which enables not to use some protocols;
- SOCKS 5 can perform authentication of a server and client;
- one of SOCKS 5 basic features is its capability to process network addresses by IPv6. But there are some limitations, e.g., SOCKS has no data filtering mechanism. So, a proxy server built on SOCKS technology cannot see which type of data it transfers. Besides, a SOCKS proxy cannot be configured as a local server to be used as a web server, because there is no opened port for external connections.
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