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The Best SOCKS5 Proxies of 2021

SOCKS5 is the newest proxy protocol. Versatile, fast, and anonymous, SOCKS5 proxies enable many tasks that wouldn’t be possible with HTTP(S) IPs. You can use them for gaming, video streaming, torrents, web scraping… Just about anything. They can be both residential addresses and come from data centers.

But finding a good proxy service isn’t easy – and getting reliable SOCKS proxies is even harder. This article will help you choose the best SOCKS5 proxy provider for your needs.

The Best SOCKS5 Proxies – Quick Summary:

  1. Oxylabs – the best premium SOCKS5 proxy provider for business.
  2. Bright Data – datacenter, residential & mobile SOCKS5 proxies with the most features.
  3. LimeProxies – premium datacenter SOCKS5 IPs with a long free trial.
  4. Blazing SEO – affordable datacenter proxies with free replacement. 
  5. Shifter – residential SOCKS5 proxies without bandwidth limits.
  6. RSocks – datacenter, residential & mobile SOCKS5 IPs for all uses. 

What Is a SOCKS5 Proxy?

SOCKS stands for “socket secure”. It’s an internet protocol that allows one device to send data to another via a third device. In this case, the third device would be called a SOCKS server, or simply a SOCKS proxy. SOCKS proxies were created to be an all-purpose proxy solution: they can handle almost any protocol, program, or type of traffic, whether it’s webpages, email, torrents, video streaming, or games.

Comparing SOCKS4 and SOCKS5 Proxies

SOCKS5 is a newer version of the protocol. It introduced several important features, such as more authentication options, support for IPv6 IP addresses, remote DNS queries, and compatibility with the UDP protocol, not only TCP.

Are these features relevant for you? The UDP protocol is used in many video streaming services and video games – where you need to transfer data in real-time. So if that’s what you’re going to be doing, choose SOCKS5 proxies. They also allow the regular user:pass authentication, making the setup process much simpler.

SOCKS Proxies vs HTTP Proxies

HTTP proxies work with the HTTP(S) protocol – in other words, websites. They often have only ports 80 and 443 open, which rules out different kinds of traffic. 

SOCKS proxies are much more versatile – you can use them to unblock content and work with all kinds of data. Just make sure that your provider actually has the ports you need open. Some close off everything that’s not 80 or 443, making their SOCKS proxies effectively the same as HTTP IPs.

Main Uses of SOCKS5 Proxies

  • Hide your IP address – the classic use case. SOCKS5 proxies are actually very good at it because of the way they work.
  • Chat and make video calls – for example, you can use these proxies with Skype, Telegram, or similar apps.
  • Use streaming websites – the first example that comes to mind is Twitch, but it applies to any streaming site.
  • Download torrents – they are compatible with qBitorrent, uTorrent, and similar peer-to-peer communication software.
  • Play games – we haven’t tried it personally, but we’ve often heard about using it with popular online games.
  • Access forbidden content – a common use case is going around firewalls or entering places where TCP connection is prohibited. Or simply avoiding geographical restrictions.
  • Perform illegal activities – people also use SOCKS5 proxies for carding, to hide their IP address and emulate the card holder’s location. Note that this activity is highly illegal, and we do not condone it.

Advantages and Drawbacks of SOCKS5 Proxies

AdvantagesDrawbacks
  • You can use SOCKS5 proxies with all kinds of data, not only webpages.
  • They ensure a high level of anonymity. When you route information through such a proxy server, it assigns a new IP for you. Instead of accessing the website on your behalf, the server connects to it directly. This way, you disclose no information about your original IP address.
  • They work great for traffic-intensive tasks.
  • Data goes through them unencrypted. So, you shouldn’t use them for online payments or anything involving personal information.
  • They are not supported by some applications.
  • They are usually more expensive compared to HTTP(S) IPs.

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Free SOCKS5 Proxy List

The idea of free SOCKS5 proxies sounds tempting – especially if your needs are small or you just want to try the proxies out. It’s a better option than free HTTP proxies (I’d never use those due to all the security risks), but still not something I’d ever recommend.

You’ll always have to share free SOCKS5 proxies with dozens of other people. This will make the proxies slow and unreliable. Also, the provider likely won’t be interested in maintaining the service, so on top of that, you can expect a lot of downtime and general instability. Not ideal, is it?

Instead, why not have a look at one of the proxy providers in our list? I’m sure you’ll be able to find both premium and cheap SOCKS5 proxies there. Many of the services offer a free trial or money-back guarantee to give you a taste of what using good proxies feels like. Believe me: it’ll cost you nothing and will be a much better experience than struggling with IP addresses that barely work.

The Best SOCKS5 Proxy Providers

1. Oxylabs

oxylabs socks5 proxies landing page

Oxylabs is the best choice if you’re looking for premium SOCKS5 proxies. Its network of dedicated datacenter IPs is the largest in the market: with over 2 million IPs, you won’t have any issues scaling your project. You can choose from thousands of subnets in over 80 locations around the world. The proxy pool is well maintained by an experienced team that can offer you advice and 24/7 enterprise-grade support. It doesn’t rotate by default, but you can set up rotation using Oxylabs’ proprietary tool. 

That said, Oxylabs targets business customers. Its plans might be too pricey if you’re only looking for a few IPs. Also, there’s no self-service for the datacenter IPs. 

Features:

  • 2 million dedicated datacenter IPs
  • 82 locations
  • 99.9% uptime
  • Unlimited bandwidth, concurrent connections, and domains
  • User:pass & whitelisted IPs
  • Sub-users
  • API
  • Extensive documentation
  • Dedicated account manager

Pricing:

Starts from $180 for 100 IPs in the US ($1.8/IP) or 60 IPs everywhere else ($3/IP). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Oxylabs Coupon

Use the code Proxyway15 to get a 15% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Oxylabs review for more information and performance tests.

2. Bright Data

bright data home page

Bright Data is another premium SOCKS5 proxy provider. It can offer you all three types of SOCKS IPs: datacenter, residential, and mobile. Bright Data is known for its variety of features, customization options, and proxy management tools, such as the open source Proxy Manager. If you need something that other proxy sellers lack, you’ll most likely find it here. 

Bright Data’s pricing is no less flexible: you can commit to monthly plans or pay as you go, and min-max the package. In any case, you’ll be charged above the market rate for the privilege, and the monthly plans start pretty high. There’s also a strict KYC procedure you should be aware of. 

Features:

  • Datacenter, residential (static & rotating) & mobile IPs
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN and carrier targeting
  • IP rotation, sticky sessions available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API, browser extension & proxy manager
  • Extensive documentation
  • 24/7 customer service

Pricing:

Flexible, depending on your requirements. Dedicated datacenter proxies start from $70/month for 50 IPs that can access all domains ($1.4/IP). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Visit Bright Data

Read the Bright Data review for more information and performance tests.


3. Blazing SEO

blazing seo proxies landing page

Blazing SEO sells SOCKS5 datacenter IPs in 14 countries. They come with unlimited bandwidth, threads, and diverse subnets. A big plus: the provider has all the hardware in-house, with full control over it. The pricing is affordable, and you can buy from as few as 5 IPs through self service.

On the negative side, the choice of locations is pretty limited, so Blazing SEO might not always have IPs in countries you want.

Features:

  • Dedicated and shared IPs
  • Unlimited bandwidth & concurrent connections
  • 14 locations
  • Whitelisted IP, user:pass authentication
  • 24/7 customer service

Pricing:

Dedicated datacenter proxy plans start from $7 for 5 US IPs ($1.4/IP). The price varies by location (non-us countries are more expensive) and length of commitment. There’s a 2-day free trial available.

Visit Blazing SEO

Read the Blazing SEO review for more information and performance tests.


4. LimeProxies

limeproxies website home page

LimeProxies sells dedicated datacenter SOCKS5 proxies in over 50 locations (23 countries). They’re hosted on fast servers and advertised as virgin IPs – we don’t really buy it, but take that as you will. Unlike the first two providers, LimeProxies can sell you as few as 10 SOCKS5 proxies, which is good if you have small requirements. You can refresh the IPs monthly.

On the downside, LimeProxies’ services are very expensive, especially the smaller plans. Though advertised as unlimited, they actually have a 50 connection limit, which you can increase on request. Finally, only whitelisted IP authentication is available. 

Features:

  • Dedicated datacenter IPs
  • 99.9% uptime
  • 50 locations
  • Session control
  • Unlimited concurrent requests (on request)
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • 24/7 customer service

Pricing:

Premium proxy plans start from $50/10 IPs ($5/IP). 14-day free trial available.

Visit LimeProxies

Read the LimeProxies review for more information and performance tests.


5. Shifter

shifter home page

Shifter’s SOCKS5 proxies are residential and backconnect. You can get them in any country, with an option to specify cities. The IPs have no bandwidth limits, which is pretty unusual for residential proxies. Instead, they’re rationed by ports (IP addresses you can access at the same time). 

For the drawbacks, Shifter’s plans lean toward the high end of the price spectrum. This stands especially if you need geo-targeting – for that, you’ll have to get a premium plan at a double rate. Some websites are blacklisted by default, most notably Amazon. 

Features:

  • 31 million residential IPs
  • All countries, many cities
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Rotation every 5 minutes
  • Automatic ordering
  • Whitelisted IP, user:pass authentication
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $249.98 for 25 backconnect ports. 3-day money-back guarantee available.

Visit Shifter

Read the Shifter review for more information and performance tests.


6. RSocks

rsocks website home page

RSocks has a wide variety of SOCKS5 proxy plans. They range from 1 to thousands of IPs and cover all proxy types. You can get proxies from a specific geo-location, carrier, or for a particular task. You can even rent proxies for an hour, if that’s what you want. RSocks isn’t very scrupulous about how you use its IPs, so there are themed plans for normally prohibited use cases like Twitch or mailing.

That said, it’s hard to treat RSocks as a proxy provider. It’s rather an intermediary between a customer and proxy service. As a result, the proxy performance might not always be reliable (as we’ve found out ourselves). So, that’s one trade-off you might have to make. 

Features:

  • Datacenter, residential, mobile IPs
  • Global, continent, or country-based locations
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Whitelisted IP, user:pass authentication
  • 24/7 customer service in 3 languages

Pricing:

Varies highly depending on the plan and proxy type. A short free trial and money-back guarantee are available.

Visit RSocks

Read the RSocks review for more information and performance tests.


Frequently Asked Questions About SOCKS5 Proxies

Can I Use SOCKS Proxies for Web Scraping?

SOCKS proxies do have a place in web scraping. It makes little financial sense to use them for scraping websites, but they have other uses. One example would be scraping apps like WhatsApp. SOCKS proxies can also perform automated tasks that can be categorized as web scraping, such as checking the legality of video streaming servers or torrents.

Can I Buy Residential SOCKS5 Proxies?

Yes, and we have quite a few providers on our list that offer residential SOCKS5 proxies.

5 comments

  1. chrls on November 18, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Which is better? Residential socks5 proxies or datacenter?

    • Chris Becker on November 20, 2020 at 6:49 am

      It depends on what you’re trying to achieve with the IPs.

  2. Nathen on December 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I understand that free socks5 are often shared. But don’t you usually buy shared socks5 too? I mean it as a risk.

    • Chris Becker on December 22, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      Using shared proxies from a trustworthy provider isn’t risky – or at least not as risky – because the other users can’t actually access your data this way.

  3. Con C on May 25, 2021 at 5:22 am

    rSocks very bad, much down time. Bad support

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