Choosing Between HTTP and SOCKS5 Proxy

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Are you considering whether you should use SOCKS5 proxy or HTTP proxy? A proxy choice can make or break your plans. That applies to both business and individual proxy use cases, especially if a proxy plays a vital role in your strategy execution.

On the other hand, accurate and updated proxies are hard to come by given how fast technologies advance. Nevertheless, you want to make a data-driven decision. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about proxies in general, including specifics on HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies.

How Proxies Work & What They Are

When you use the internet on the day to day basis, you directly communicate with the online servers. For instance, once you enter an address in your browser and hit enter your computer and a server hosting the website will communicate and exchange information such as browser version and IP address.

The concept of proxy is really easy to understand when you know the basics. It acts as your gateway to the internet. Instead of directly communicating with a server online, proxy enables you to access the server through it.

You never directly communicate with other servers. All communications go through a proxy. You send your request to a proxy, the proxy forwards it to the target server, gets the information from the server, and sends it back to you.

Different Types of Proxies

Before we continue, you should know that proxies come in different “shapes and sizes.” They can be put into different categories based on which technologies, protocols, and type of IP address they use. To keep it short, we will cover the categorization based on proxy server protocol.

There are four types of proxy server protocols:

  • HTTP proxy server – these proxies use the HTTP protocol to process the requests to the web sites.
  • SOCKS proxy server – these servers, including SOCKS5 proxy, are perfect if you need to handle various types of data such as UDP and TCS.
  • SSL proxy server – these proxy servers combine TCP relaying and SOCKS proxy protocol to process the request for web pages.
  • FTP proxy server – these are used for FTP requests cashing, making.

How HTTP Proxies Work

To understand how HTTP proxies work, you need to understand what HTTP is. It stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The protocol in question is used for displaying, sending, and receiving files on the Internet. An HTTP proxy acts as a content filter between you and the world wide web. They are used for high performance caching, load balancing, and content filtering.

It’s configured to make HTTP requests and route them to the target website. In fact, it takes the role of the client from you and acts as a client on your behalf when forwarding requests to websites. HTTP proxies assign you a new IP address while hiding your original one.

Every time you send a request, an HTTP proxy will process the HTTP protocol. It also processes the HTTP protocol the web site sends back. That’s why some companies use HTTP proxies as servers to filter all traffic, search for malicious content, and keep their internal servers and computer networks safe.

How SOCKS5 Proxies Work

SOCKS stands for Socket Secure network protocol. This protocol is used for communication between servers through a firewall. You will often find it under the name SOCKS5 because it is a layer 5 protocol. For instance, TCP/UDP is a layer 4 protocol, while SSL is a layer 7 protocol.

It’s very delicate how the SOCKS5 proxy works. It creates a UDP session and establishes a TCP connection to another server on your behalf. What’s important to note is that SOCKS5 does it behind a firewall. SOCKS5 proxies don’t support protocol operation below layer 5, which adds an additional layer of security to clients.

Comparing HTTP vs SOCKS5

Both HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies can be useful in certain situations. Both have their perks and drawbacks. Here is what you need to know before you decide which one to use.

An HTTP proxy has access to the HTTP proxy protocol, enabling you to filter the traffic however your want. You can even configure it to modify HTTP headers for every individual request, thus minimizing the chances of getting detected if you run a data scraping operation. The drawback is the limited use case. You can use HTTP proxies only for managing HTTP requests and protocol.

SOCKS5 proxy is much more versatile than its HTTP counterpart. It can help circumvent a firewall and access content and services behind it. You will even be able to connect to servers that have blacklisted your IP address. It uses authentication and SSH encrypted tunneling, making the connection even more secure.

Besides transferring, downloading, and uploading files, SOCKS proxies are the right choice for traffic-intensive scraping. For instance, the SOCKS5 proxy by Oxylabs works great for any heavy-duty scraping, like video streaming or live calls.

Unlike HTTP proxies, which can only handle HTTP requests and work with web pages, SOCKS5 proxies can handle HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, and FTP protocols and process all types of traffic. However, the SOCKS5 proxy cannot read and modify HTTP headers while an HTTP proxy can.

Conclusion

Now that you understand what proxies are and what makes HTTP and SOCKS5 proxy unique, you will be able to make a smart decision. As you can see, the only thing they share in common is being the intermediaries between you and the world wide web.

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