Choosing the right type of proxy for your operation is essential for its success. Sometimes the differences are too subtle, making you think that there is no difference between different types such as HTTP proxy and SOCKS5 proxy. The situation can appear even harder if you have no technical experience in this domain.
Learning the differences between two proxy types is not hard. Let’s see what HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies are, how they work, and how companies use them.
SOCKS5 proxy basics
In most cases, different proxy types get their names after the protocols they use. SOCKS5 proxy uses SOCKS internet protocol. SOCKS is short for SOCKet Secure. Unlike other protocols, SOCKS is developed to handle traffic-intensive projects easily. A SOCKS proxy uses a TCP connection to ensure fast and accurate data transmission.
SOCKS5 Proxy uses the latest edition of the SOCKS protocol SOCKS5. It brings a couple of new neat features such as support for TCP and UDP connections and increased security. Let’s see how SOCKS5 proxies work.
How SOCKS5 proxies work
It’s not hard to understand how a SOCKS5 proxy works. You should know that they can establish a connection even over a firewall. SOCKS5 protocol doesn’t interfere with the traffic. It creates a connection with a target server on the client’s behalf and relays the user’s TCP and UDP sessions. The number 5 indicates that these proxies use a layer 5 protocol.
Operating on the layer 5 protocol makes these proxies quite interesting. They can’t use it for protocols below layer 5 which automatically means better security (hackers can’t use specific tools to scan your open ports and launch an attack). Meanwhile, you can use them for a variety of request types, including HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, and FTP.
How companies use SOCKS5 proxies
Thanks to their support for many request types, SOCKS5 proxies have found a number of use cases in companies across verticals. Most commonly, they are used to improve an organization’s digital security. A SOCKS5 proxy can help secure the data but also enable companies to restrict access to online services.
SOCKS5 proxies can communicate with many different protocols, and their versatility enables companies to facilitate communication. Plus, they use small data packets, which ensures fast download speeds. Finally, data-driven companies with ongoing web scraping operations use SOCKS5 proxies to streamline data harvesting.
HTTP proxy basics
HTTP proxies are based on the HTTP protocol, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Hundreds of thousands of servers and personal devices use this protocol to exchange data. Given that it is a text-based protocol, it enables data exchange through scripting languages such as HTML and CSS.
HTTP proxy is built to stand as a gateway between you and the rest of the internet handling HTTP connections. It transmits your requests to a targeted web server and delivers their responses back to you. The entire transmission is in HTTP format.
How HTTP proxies work
When you type a website address in your browser and hit enter, an HTTP proxy will intercept that request. The proxy will hide your real IP address, use an IP address from its pool and assign your data packets to it. The altered web request is then sent to a web server.
An HTTP proxy can also be configured to alter the web request and filter the data packets. These proxies are developed to only work with HTTP request types.
How companies use HTTP proxies
HTTP proxies have found applications in the business world. They have many different applications. Most commonly, big companies use them to restrict content that can pass through their public server. It helps them increase efficiency and productivity.
They can also improve privacy and anonymity, given that they mask your real IP address. There are companies that use them to increase connection speeds because HTTP proxies have support for fast caching. Finally, they can improve security as you can configure them to prevent unauthorized files from being stored on your server or devices on your company’s LAN.
Differences between the two
Let’s start with digital security since it is the most common concern of businesses. Both SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies provide additional layers of security. HTTP proxies can filter the data packets while SOCKS5 renders servers immune to certain cyber attacks.
When it comes to functionality, these two proxy types are nothing alike. Unlike a SOCKS5 proxy which can handle a wide variety of request types, an HTTP proxy can only handle HTTP requests. This is why HTTP proxies have a limited number of use cases.
When it comes to performance, the differences are subtle. HTTP proxies are more efficient when you need to process more requests per second, while SOCKS5 proxies are faster when you need to download or upload big chunks of data online.
Given the differences, businesses that transfer or download copious amounts of data will find Oxylabs SOCKS5 proxy generally better than HTTP proxies. However, businesses that want to filter data, improve performance, and boost security easily should choose HTTP proxies.
Both SOCKS5 proxy and HTTP proxy bring unique perks to the table. Now that you know a few more things about each one of them, you will be able to make an informed decision. In any case, you should always consider your business goals first and then look for relevant features in a proxy.