Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: What are SOCKS? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: What are SOCKS?
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: gcse-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2004 05:30 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2004 05:30 PST
Question ID: 425248
I have heard that this is similar to a proxy. 
What is the different between the two of them?

Request for Question Clarification by tlspiegel-ga on 06 Nov 2004 06:09 PST
Hi gcse,

I've located a lot of information on SOCKS and Proxy... would you
please clarify if I'm on the right track with the
information/definitions I've posted?

If so, I'll be able to provide charts, links, and more extensive
information in order to answer your question.

"SOCKS is a networking proxy protocol that enables hosts on one side
of a SOCKS server to gain full access to hosts on the other side of
the SOCKS server without requiring direct IP-reachability. SOCKS is
often used as a network firewall, redirecting connection requests from
hosts on opposite sides of a SOCKS server. The SOCKS server
authenticates and authorizes requests, establishes a proxy connection,
and relays data between hosts."

"A proxy server is a kind of buffer between your computer and the
Internet resources you are accessing. They accumulate and save files
that are most often requested by thousands of Internet users in a
special database, called "cache". Therefore, proxy servers are able to
increase the speed of your connection to the Internet. The cache of a
proxy server may already contain information you need by the time of
your request, making it possible for the proxy to deliver it
immediately. The overall increase in performance may be very high.
Also, proxy servers can help in cases when some owners of the Internet
resources impose some restrictions on users from certain countries or
geographical regions. In addition to that, among proxy servers there
are so called anonymous proxy servers that hide your IP address
thereby saving you from vulnerabilities concerned with it."

I'm looking forward to your clarification. 

Best regards,

Clarification of Question by gcse-ga on 06 Nov 2004 12:31 PST
What I need to know is that if using socks would be more secure than using proxies?

Request for Question Clarification by tlspiegel-ga on 06 Nov 2004 12:40 PST
Hi gcse,

Thank you for your clarification.  Perhaps another researcher will be
able to answer your question.

Best regards,

Clarification of Question by gcse-ga on 06 Nov 2004 13:08 PST
No problem.
I hope someone who is expert at this might be able to help me.
Subject: Re: What are SOCKS?
Answered By: endo-ga on 06 Nov 2004 16:06 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

A proxy will typically transmit packets on certain ports to and from
hosts. A proxy can also cache data and do NAT (Network Address
Translation) to give multiple hosts access to the Internet. You need
to configure a proxy server for each application and port. Regular
proxy servers are not geared towards security but more for performance
reasons (caching) and restricting access to certain resources (prevent
access to certain websites at a school).

A SOCKS server is a type of proxy server that allows each host behind
the server to communicate transparently with hosts on the other side
of the server. It allows the use of all sorts of applications. There
are two main versions for SOCKS: version 4 and version 5.

"The SOCKSv4 protocol defines the message format and conventions to
allow TCP-based application users transparent access across a

SOCKSv5 adds authentication and UDP support.

I hope this short introduction was useful to understanding the basic
difference between SOCKS and regular proxies.

From a security point of view, SOCKS can be made more secure between
the clients and server by setting up an SSL connection. Therefore any
data transmitted between the clients and the server is done so
securely. Between the SOCKS server and the Internet the data will only
be secure if the application using it is secure.

For example if you connect to Amazon to purchase a product through a
SSL configured SOCKS server, the communication from your machine to
the SOCKS server will be secure. But when you browse items, Amazon
doesn't provide SSL, therefore the connection is no longer secure
between the SOCKS server and the Internet. However once you decide to
purchase an item, Amazon switches you to secure mode (notice the HTTPS
in the address bar and the padlock or key at the bottom right of the
browser). In that case the whole communication between your client and
Amazon is secure.

You can also set up a SSL enabled proxy server for secure
applications, but you would still need to provide a regular one for
non-secure applications. A SOCKS server is a more flexible solution.

Another type of security feature that is used in both cases of a
regular proxy and a SOCKS proxy, is the fact that you can set up the
range of IP addresses that can connect to your server to avoid leaving
your server as an "open proxy". Such servers can be used to relay
spam, or for other malicious activities such as Denial of Service

For example if you want your server only for your home network, then
you would configure its allowable IP range to whatever IP addresses
your home network uses.

From the point of view of a client, both a regular proxy server and a
SOCKS server allow the client to hide its true IP from the Internet,
therefore allowing a certain degree of anonymity and increased
security from Internet "attacks".

I've included some links for further reading; I hope you find them useful.

If anything is unclear or you require any more information, please do
not hesitate to ask.



Setting up a Secure SOCKS Proxy

SOCKS: A protocol for TCP proxy across firewalls


SOCKS Proxy + SSL Tunnel

Proxy Server


Proxy Servers FAQ

Search Strategy:

proxy socks security

proxy ssl

secure proxy

Request for Answer Clarification by gcse-ga on 06 Nov 2004 17:54 PST
To your knowleage, do you think using SOCKS is safer than using PROXY?

Clarification of Answer by endo-ga on 06 Nov 2004 18:06 PST

A well configured SOCKS proxy with SSL enabled is more secure than a
non-SSL regular proxy. It also allows more applications to run. In
short, yes.

gcse-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy