How To Create Socks5 Proxy Server
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How to set up a SOCKS5 proxy on a virtual private server (VPS)
@lahmstache January 12, 2017
Proxies and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Proxies and VPNs differ in nature, although they can provide some of the same services. A VPN routes all of the network traffic on a client computer through a tunnel to some other server computer. No individual application configuration is required. In contrast, using a proxy requires each application to be individually configured to ensure its traffic goes through the proxy.
The intent of a VPN is to allow a remote client computer to access network resources in some other location as if it were physically located in the same office. One of those network resources can be access to the internet, which masks the IP address of the remote computer. For this reason, VPNs have recently seen a surge in popularity as both a geo-obfuscation tool to access content not available in the client computer’s country (such as US Netflix from outside the US), and as a privacy tool to prevent the client’s IP address from being discovered. A proxy is more limited in that it cannot provide access to remote resources, but it can mask your IP address and provide geo-obfuscation services.
Types of proxies
The two most common types of proxies are HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) and SOCKS5 (Secure Sockets 5). The SOCKS4 and SOCKS4a protocols do not support UDP or authentication. The current SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies differ in the following ways:
In general terms, the HTTP proxy can only proxy HTTP (TCP) traffic whereas a SOCKS5 proxy can handle any type of traffic using either TCP or UDP.
A SOCKS5 proxy does not interpret the traffic sent through it in any way whereas an HTTP proxy typically does. This means that a SOCKS5 proxy is more universal and can be used with more applications.
An HTTP proxy can only be used with HTTP clients such as a web browser, but since it is aware of the HTTP content, it can do clever things such as caching or rewriting headers in addition to the proxying service. For the purpose of anonymity and privacy, a SOCKS5 proxy is a better choice since it can be put to more general use.
In this post we’ll look at setting up the most simple kind of SOCKS5 proxy using SSH (Secure Shell). We’ll set up an inexpensive VPS at Digital Ocean, configure the SSH server and set up a few client applications to use the proxy.
Set up the proxy server
Almost any type of VPS will work for this. Some web hosting accounts might also work since all you need is non-root SSH access, but using a web hosting account as a proxy server may violate some hosts’ terms of service. Digital Ocean is a well-known and affordable cloud provider and one of their $5/month servers will work well for a SSH proxy.
Digital Ocean is a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) provider meaning that you don’t purchase a particular server. Rather, you create an account and link a payment method to it. Once you’ve done that, you can create as many virtual servers as you want. VPCs tend to offer more control over system specifications and can cost much less than a traditional VPS. There’s a good explanation of the differences between a VPS and VPC here.
To create a Droplet, click the Droplets menu item and make a few selections to customize it. I’ve selected Ubuntu 16. 04 LTS (Long Term Support) as the operating system and the smallest (least expensive) size. Droplets are charged by the hour. The least expensive option will work well and only cost about $5 for the entire month.
You’ll now want to select a location for your Droplet. Keep in mind that when you are using your proxy, your traffic will be seen as coming from the IP address of your Droplet. If you’re setting up a proxy specifically for geo-obfuscation purposes you should pick a location in or near the country that you wish to appear to be from.
Once your Droplet has been created you will receive a confirmation email from Digital Ocean with its IP address and login information.
Configure OpenSSH on the VPS
Digital Ocean Droplets come with SSH installed and ready to go. The root user’s password is supplied in the welcome email so there’s no additional setup required on the server. But the best practice is to change the default password and create a user specifically for proxying.
Connect to the Droplet using SSH on MacOS (OSX) or Linux
Open a terminal and type the following command to connect using the IP address from your welcome email:
You will be prompted to accept the key. Enter the password from your welcome email, and then change the password.
Connect to the Droplet using PuTTY on Windows
If you’re using Windows, you’ll need an SSH client to connect to your Droplet. The most widely used SSH client is PuTTY.
Enter the IP address of your Droplet into the Host Name field and click the Open button.
Ensure the system is up to date
It’s a good idea to make sure the system software is up to date. Outdated software is a leading cause of system hacks. The two commands to do this in Ubuntu are:
There was very little to upgrade on my Droplet which means Digital Ocean keeps their images updated.
Add a user
The Droplet comes with one user – the all-powerful root user. It is a good security practice to add a less privileged user to the system and connect to your proxy with that account.
Issue the following command to add a normal user named myuser:
Set a password and at least a proper username. You don’t need to complete any other information.
We now have everything we need to use the proxy.
Connect to the proxy
In order to use the proxy to tunnel traffic it has to be connected. Unix-like operating systems have a built-in SSH client whereas Windows will need a third party application such as PuTTY
Using SSH on MacOS (OSX) or Linux
The method for connecting to the proxy is the same for Linux and MacOS (OSX). Open a terminal and use SSH to connect like this:
ssh 66. 77. 88. 99 -l myuser -D 12345
Replace 66. 99 with the IP address from your Digital Ocean welcome letter.
The -D switch tells the SSH client to forward traffic sent to port 12345 on your local machine to your proxy. You can use any port number you’d like as long as it is above 1024. From the help file, the -D switch:
Specifies a local “dynamic” application-level port forwarding. This works by allocating a socket to listen to port on the local side, optionally bound to the specified bind_address. Whenever a connection is made to this port, the connection is forwarded over the secure channel, and the application protocol is then used to determine where to connect to from the remote machine. Currently the SOCKS4 and SOCKS5 protocols are supported, and ssh will act as a SOCKS server.
Do not disconnect this SSH session. You can minimize it to get it out of your way because you won’t need to do anything further with it, but leave it running until you are done using the proxy.
Using PuTTY on Linux or Windows
When you open PuTTY you will be in the Session tab. Enter the IP address of your Droplet and leave the port as 22.
Navigate to the SSH -> Tunnels tab. Enter 12345 (or any port you’d like) into the Source port field. Select the Dynamic radio button and click the Add button.
If you don’t want to have to do this every time you open PuTTY, navigate back to the Sessions tab, highlight the Default Settings line in the Saved Sessions list, and click the Save button.
Configure your browser and other applications to use the proxy
Now that you’re connected to the proxy there are three basic ways to use it:
Set each application’s networking settings to use the proxy. Not all applications support proxies, but web browsers do.
Use a Plugin such as the FoxyProxy plugin for Firefox and Chrome to do the application configuration for you.
Configure the operating system itself to use the proxy for all applications.
The second option is the easiest because you can quickly enable or disable the proxy, and you can configure the browser to only use the proxy for certain sites. The other two options require a lot of flipping back and forth when you want to enable or disable the proxy.
Using the application’s built-in network settings
Any application that supports SOCKS5 proxies should be able to use the SSH tunnel. Simply use the proxy host IP of 127. 0. 1 (the localhost IP) and the port of 12345 (or whatever port number you’ve selected).
In Firefox the proxy settings are found in the Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings.
In Chrome, you will need to click the Advanced Settings link at the bottom of the Settings page and then navigate to Network -> Change proxy Settings. Chrome does not have its own proxy settings so this will just open your operating system’s proxy settings panel.
If you’re using Internet Explorer you will find your proxy settings at Internet Options -> Connections tab -> LAN Settings button. This opens up the Windows proxy settings control panel applet. Much like Chrome, there are no dedicated Internet Explorer settings for proxies.
Using a plugin for Firefox or Chrome.
There are a number of proxy plugins for Firefox and Chrome. A popular one is FoxyProxy. It sits in your browser bar and you can enable or disable the proxy by clicking on it, which is much easier than digging through your operating system or browser settings.
FoxyProxy can also be configured to exclude certain sites from using the proxy. This is useful if you want to keep the proxy running all the time, but don’t want to trip over your bank’s defenses by suddenly appearing to be in another country.
Download FoxyProxy for your browser.
When you first launch FoxyProxy, the main window contains a proxy that’s already set up but not active. There are many options and configuration settings within FoxyProxy but we’re just going to focus on the few we need to get the proxy up and running.
Highlight the existing proxy and click the Edit Selection button.
Go to the Proxy Details tab and enter 127. 1 as the Host IP Address and 12345 into the Port field.
Click the SOCKS Proxy? checkbox and select the SOCKS5 radio button.
Next, click on the General tab and ensure the Perform remote DNS lookups on hostnames loading through this proxy is checked. This will help to prevent DNS leaks. It won’t completely hide you because WebRTC lookups will still work to discover your real IP address. You can use this tool to check DNS leaks. There are plugins for Firefox and Google Chrome that will disable WebRTC functions.
Close the FoxyProxy settings window and then activate the proxy by selecting Use proxy default for all URLs. You can verify that your proxy is working by visiting a site like What is my IP, where you should now see your proxy IP address instead of your ISP’s.
If you want to identify specific URLs to use or exclude from the proxy, you will need to create a custom proxy. Click the Add New Proxy button and you will see an additional button at the top of the settings screen named URL Patterns. Click that button to set up custom filters.
You can enter sites and patterns to match or exclude in this screen.
Using the operating system network settings
Instead of entering the proxy settings into each application, it’s possible to set the details once at the operating system level. When that is done, you’ll just need to tell each application to use the system level proxy.
You can access the Internet Options applet in Windows in two ways. Access the Control Panel -> Internet Options, or access the Internet Options from the settings menu in Internet Explorer.
From there, you can follow the instructions for Internet Explorer in the section above.
Click the Apple icon at the top left of the menu bar on your screen and select System Preferences. Select Network and then Proxies.
Click the Advanced button to access the Network settings and navigate to the Proxies tab.
Click the SOCKS Proxy checkbox and enter the host and port information.
Each Linux desktop environment has a different control panel item to configure the network settings. The two most common desktops are Gnome and KDE.
In the Gnome desktop (used by Ubuntu), the Settings -> Network panel is the place to set up the proxy.
Select the Manual option.
Then set the SOCKS proxy and click the Apply system wide button.
The KDE Desktop (used by Kubuntu) has the network settings in the Settings – System Settings -> Network Settings -> Proxy.
Once the proxy is set up in the operating system, each application will have to be configured to use it. That option will be in the network settings for each application. As an example, in Firefox this setting is at the top of the proxy settings.
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How to use Windows 10 SOCKS5 proxy settings
Elena started writing professionally in 2010 and hasn’t stopped exploring the tech world since. With a firm grasp of software reviewing and content editing, she is always trying new things to improve her skill… Read more
SOCKS5 is a proxy server that can hide your IP address and make you anonymous online. You can use it to circumvent Internet blocks and access restricted can use Windows 10 proxy settings by configuring the built-in system options. Alternatively, you can download and install third-party software like Shadowsocks or a VPN with SOCKS5 our Proxy Server section to find out more about this our VPN Troubleshooting Hub to fix more VPN-related issues.
Windows 10 has built-in SOCKS5 proxy settings, but you can also set it up on your PC through other means. Find out how.
What is SOCKS proxy?
SOCKS is an Internet protocol that sends and receives data packets through a proxy server, which assigns a different IP address before the information reaches its destination.
Unlike a VPN, a proxy server doesn’t encrypt the network traffic, so you can take advantage of data protection against man-in-the-middle attacks.
What is SOCKS5 and why should you use it?
SOCKS5 is the latest SOCKS version. Compared to its predecessors like SOCKS4, SOCKS5 brings more security and authentication methods.
Here’s what you can do with a SOCKS5 proxy server:
Circumvent Internet blocks to access sites restricted to your true IP address
Use web-enabled applications that run under various request types: HTTP and HTTPS (web browsing), POP3 and SMTP (email), FTP (torrent and other peer-to-peer clients).
Make your Internet connection faster and more reliable by using not only TCP but also UDP.
Improve your performance by reducing errors caused by rewritten data packet headers.
Speed up downloads in torrenting and other P2P clients by transferring smaller data packets.
How do I use SOCKS5 proxy settings on Windows 10?
Go to Control Panel > Internet Options.
Switch to the Connections tab.
Click LAN settings.
Enable Use a proxy server for your LAN.
Activate Bypass proxy server for local addresses.
Disable Use the same proxy server for all protocols.
At Socks, specify the server address and port of the SOCKS5 proxy.
Delete everything at HTTP, Secure, and FTP.
Click OK > Apply.
You can configure SOCKS5 proxy settings in Windows 10 without having to install any additional software. Plus, the setup applies to all software applications with Internet access, not just your web browser.
Download Firefox and install it on Windows 10.
Click the ≡ button and go to Options.
In the General tab, scroll down to Network Settings.
Select Manual proxy configuration.
Set SOCKS5 Host and Port to the server address and port of the SOCKS5 proxy.
Select SOCKS5 v5.
If you prefer using a web browser with SOCKS5 proxy instead of the entire computer, Firefox is your best bet. While using Firefox for SOCKS5, you can use any other browser for direct Internet connections.
Firefox is one of the few web browsers that have individual proxy settings, unlike Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Opera.
If you wish to regularly switch SOCKS5 proxy servers, you can install a Firefox extension like FoxyProxy.
Go to the Shadowsocks page.
Download the latest version for Windows 10.
Unzip the archive and run the executable file.
Set the IP address, port, and password of the SOCKS5 proxy.
Right-click the Shadowsocks systray icon.
Select System Proxy > Global.
Shadowsocks is a SOCKS5 proxy client that can be easily installed on Windows 10 to use SOCKS5 proxy settings. It runs in the systray and can be quickly configured, enabled, and disabled.
Furthermore, Shadowsocks features several encryption methods to make up for the fact that SOCKS5 doesn’t have one, including 256-bit AES military-grade encryption.
In addition to security, a huge benefit of using Shadowsocks is that it applies the SOCKS5 proxy settings globally to Windows 10. As such, all Internet-enabled programs will use it.
Download uTorrent on your Windows PC.
Install the torrent client and launch it.
Open the Options menu and select Preferences.
Go to Connection.
Set Proxy Server Type to Socks5.
Set Proxy and Port to the server address and port of the SOCKS5 proxy.
On Windows 10 and other operating systems, you can configure SOCKS5 proxy settings directly in a torrent client to make your IP address anonymous and protect your true identity in the torrent swarm.
Private Internet Access
Sign up for a PIA subscription plan.
Download and install PIA for Windows 10.
Right-click PIA’s systray icon and go to Settings.
Switch to the Proxy tab.
Select Shadowsocks, click Configure, and choose a location.
Or, choose SOCKS5 Proxy, click Configure, and set the SOCKS5 proxy details.
Left-click PIA’s systray icon.
Press the big power button to connect to a VPN server.
If you want to not only spoof your IP address but also encrypt your traffic, use a VPN like PIA with a SOCKS5 proxy at the same time.
In Shadowsocks mode, you can connect the VPN server to a second location for increased privacy and security. It’s similar to using a double VPN to stay connected to two VPN servers at once.
In SOCKS5 proxy mode, you simply specify the connection details of a SOCKS5 proxy server. It’s the custom alternative to Shadowsocks mode, but it’s a bit more complicated.
Check out how to correctly use PIA SOCKS5 proxy.
Use PIA to stay connected to a VPN and a SOCKS5 proxy server at the same time.
To summarize, you can easily set up SOCKS5 proxy settings on Windows 10 using the built-in system options.
However, it’s also possible to resort to other methods, like configuring Firefox, uTorrent or Shadowsocks settings.
But the best solution is to use VPN and SOCKS5 at the same time with the help of Private Internet Access.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use SOCKS5?
You can use SOCKS5 on Windows 10 by configuring system settings or by turning to alternative methods that require additional software.
Is SOCKS5 a VPN?
No, SOCKS5 is a proxy server. Unlike a VPN, a proxy server can’t encrypt your data traffic. However, you can use a VPN and proxy together.
SOCKS Proxy Primer: What Is SOCKs5 and Why Should You Use It?
co-authored by Darshan S. Mulimath, Megha B. Sasidhar, and Ashiq Khader
In computer networks, a proxy or proxy server is a computer that sits between you and the server. It acts as a gateway between a local network and a large-scale network, such as the internet.
A proxy server works by intercepting connections between sender and receiver. All incoming data enters through one port and is forwarded to the rest of the network via another port.
Aside from traffic forwarding, proxy servers provide security by hiding the actual IP address of a server. They also have caching mechanisms that store requested resources to improve performance. A proxy server can encrypt your data so it is unreadable in transit and block access to certain webpages based on IP address.
Now that we have a general sense of how a proxy works, let’s zoom in on a specific type of proxy — SOCKS — and, specifically, the SOCKs5 variant.
What Is a SOCKS Proxy?
SOCKS, which stands for Socket Secure, is a network protocol that facilitates communication with servers through a firewall by routing network traffic to the actual server on behalf of a client. SOCKS is designed to route any type of traffic generated by any protocol or program.
A SOCKS proxy server creates a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection to another server behind the firewall on the client’s behalf, then exchanges network packets between the client and the actual server. The SOCKS proxy server doesn’t interpret the network traffic between client and server in any way; it is often used because clients are behind a firewall and are not permitted to establish TCP connections to outside servers unless they do it through the SOCKS proxy server. Therefore, a SOCKS proxy relays a user’s TCP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) session over firewall.
SOCKS is a layer 5 protocol, and it doesn’t care about anything below that layer in the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model — meaning you can’t use it to tunnel protocols operating below layer 5. This includes things such as ping, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), etc. From a security perspective, it won’t allow an attacker to perform scans using tools such as Nmap if they are scanning based on half-open connections because it works at layer 5.
Since SOCKS sits at layer 5, between SSL (layer 7) and TCP/UDP (layer 4), it can handle several request types, including HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP and FTP. As a result, SOCKS can be used for email, web browsing, peer-to-peer sharing, file transfers and more.
Other proxies built for specific protocols at layer 7, such as an HTTP proxy that is used to interpret and forward HTTP or HTTPS traffic between client and server, are often referred to as application proxies.
There are only two versions: SOCKS4 and SOCKs5. The main differences between SOCKs5 and SOCKS4 are:
SOCKS4 doesn’t support authentication, while SOCKs5 supports a variety of authentication methods; and
SOCKS4 doesn’t support UDP proxies, while SOCKs5 does.
A SOCKs5 proxy is more secure because it establishes a full TCP connection with authentication and uses the Secure Shell (SSH) encrypted tunneling method to relay the traffic.
Why You Should Adopt SOCKs5
Below are four key benefits to using a SOCKs5 proxy with SSH tunneling.
1. Access Back-End Services Behind a Firewall
Usually, a cluster is hosted in the cloud behind a firewall to minimize potential security vulnerabilities. There are two ways to access any backend services that are running inside a cluster, and each has its limitations:
Expose backend services to public (and accept the associated security risk); or
Whitelist the client or user’s IP to allow traffic to backend services (this is not the right solution for when a user’s IP changes, however).
A SOCKs5 proxy with dynamic port forwarding using SSH can be an alternative to the two undesirable options above. An administrator or developer could access any backend services within a cluster that is hosted in the cloud behind a firewall for debugging, monitoring and administrating from a public network without exposing the backend service ports or whitelisting specific IPs.
Let’s look at a use case. For security reasons, the administration or monitoring application APIs or web user interface (UI) ports for monitoring Hadoop cluster are closed by default when hosted on the cloud. To access these APIs or web UIs, you can use SSH dynamic port forwarding to master or edge a node cluster, since the master node will have a public IP and run SSH services by default, which is exposed so the user can connect from outside.
For another example, say you’re working with a virtual private cloud (VPC). You can deploy a bastion host to securely access remote instances within a VPC by limiting their access to the outside world. You can access the bastion host from the outside world, and only port 22 (SSH) is opened. Using SSH dynamic port forwarding (SOCKs5 proxy), you can access the remote instances that are running in the VPC.
2. No Special Setup Required
SOCKs5 doesn’t require special setup, as long as you have SSH access to either the Edge node or gateway of a cluster. Therefore, users such as administrators and developers can access back-end resources behind the firewall using an SSH tunnel without requiring a virtual private network (VPN).
3. No Third-Party Public or Free Proxy Server in Your Deployments
Since a SOCKs5 proxy routes all kinds of TCP and UDP traffic to their respective service through SSH tunneling, no layer 7 application-related special proxies are required for each service to route application requests.
4. Fewer Errors, Better Performance
Unlike other application proxies, SOCKs5 does not rewrite data packets. It just relays the traffic between devices. Therefore, it is less prone to errors, and performance increases automatically.
How Does SOCKs5 Work in Practice?
Any CISO wouldn’t jump at the chance to embrace the benefits listed above. But what does a SOCKs5 proxy look like in the context of an enterprise security strategy? Where do security leaders begin when implementing SOCKs5 in their environment? Below are some key steps to help you get started.
Setting Up a SOCKs5 Proxy Connection
To SOCKSify an IT environment, the client application must have the capacity to support the SOCKs5 protocol. The syntax below is based on the SSH client on Linux; it shows how to create a SOCKs5 proxy server running on your local computer and then authenticate to the Edge node of a cluster or gateway hosted on cloud that routes traffic to the servers inside the cluster:
$ ssh -D 30001 [email protected] -C -f -N (password: xyz; or
$ ssh -i /path/to/private_key -D 30001 [email protected] -C -f -N
The above command starts the SOCKs5 server and binds to port 30001, then connects to Edge Node, Master Node or Gateway Node over the SSH tunnel hosted on the cloud.
The options used in the above command do the following:
D 30001 tells SSH to create a SOCKs5 server on port 30001 on the client computer.
C compresses data before sending.
N means “Do not execute a remote command. ” This is useful for simply forwarding ports (protocol version 2 only).
F requests SSH to go to the background just before command execution.
Accessing the Endpoints Using the SOCKs5 Protocol
Once a SOCKs5 proxy is created, configure your clients to access the internal services of the cluster. To keep it simple, we use a command line URL (cURL) that supports the SOCKs5 protocol. Other methods such as using a web browser require some additional setup and configurations.
The below cURL command shows how to access one of the HTTPS application endpoints listening on port 8000 behind a firewall using the SOCKs5 proxy over the SSH tunnel created above:
curl -x socks5hlocalhost:30001 -v -k -X GET EdgeNodeSSHserverIP:8000
The above cURL tool connects to port 30001 on localhost. Upon receiving a HTTP GET request on port 30001 from the cURL, the SSH client sends the same request via SSH tunnel to the SSH server.
The remote SSH server handles the request and passes the request to a back-end service listening at port 8000. The response is sent back to the client over the same SSH tunnel to the client’s SOCKs5 proxy. The proxy relays the response to the cURL, which displays the response.
Once you have created a SOCKs5 proxy using the SSH dynamic port forwarding method, you can also use the netcat utility to test the TCP connection. As shown below, a TCP connection test is made for back-end services listening at port 8443 with the SOCKs5 proxy:
ncat –proxy 127. 0. 1:30001 –proxy-type socks5 EdgeNodeSSHserverIP 8443 -nv
A SOCKs5 proxy is a lightweight, general-purpose proxy that sits at layer 5 of the OSI model and uses a tunneling method. It supports various types of traffic generated by protocols, such as HTTP, SMTP and FTP. SOCKs5 is faster than a VPN and easy to use. Since the proxy uses a tunneling method, public cloud users can access resources behind the firewall using SOCKs5 over a secured tunnel such as SSH.
Frequently Asked Questions about how to create socks5 proxy server
How do I create a proxy for SOCKS5?
How do I use SOCKS5 proxy settings on Windows 10?Go to Control Panel > Internet Options.Switch to the Connections tab.Click LAN settings.Enable Use a proxy server for your LAN.Activate Bypass proxy server for local addresses.Click Advanced.Disable Use the same proxy server for all protocols.More items…•Aug 18, 2020
How does SOCKS5 proxy work?
A SOCKS proxy server creates a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection to another server behind the firewall on the client’s behalf, then exchanges network packets between the client and the actual server. … As a result, SOCKS can be used for email, web browsing, peer-to-peer sharing, file transfers and more.Sep 27, 2019
What is the best proxy for SOCKS5?
The best VPNs for SOCKS5 – In-depth AnalysisNordVPN. www.nordvpn.com. NordVPN is a reliable VPN that provides security, privacy. … Private Internet Access. www.privateinternetaccess.com. … IPVanish. www.ipvanish.com. … Hide.me. www.hide.me. … Windscribe. Windscribe provide a SOCKS5 proxy on their premium plan.Sep 29, 2021