From staying safe and anonymous to performing online activities faster and trying to bypass geo-restrictions, there are a thousand and one reasons to browse the internet behind some tools like proxies.
Proxies help perform the above functions without taking anything from the target servers. For instance, proxy servers help balance out traffic and prevent servers from crashing even though they are primarily used to offer user protection, security, and anonymity.
There are several proxies in the market, with SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies being two of the most common types. But when the choice is reduced to just these two, it is still prevalent to find some users confused about which to use.
If you own a digital business, you, too, are not spared such confusion. Should you choose a SOCKS5 proxy or an HTTP protocol?
We have described these two proxies below and tabulated their key differences to help make your decision-making.
What Are HTTP Proxies?
HTTP is a short form of HyperText Transfer Protocol and is the most common protocol for exchanging communications between users and target servers.
Therefore, HTTP proxies use this type of connection to transfer requests from web browsers to web servers and fetch resources solely in HTML or CSS.
It is worth noting that HTTP proxies only receive and transfer communication done in HTTP format. But once this aspect is covered, they are ideal for specific online operations quick and seamless. An HTTP proxy can also conceal your internet protocol (IP) address and location like any other proxy type.
How Do HTTP Proxies Work?
Because it is like any other proxy, HTTP proxies work in the same manner:
- The user enters a request using his web browser
- The HTTP proxy accepts the request and encrypts it before transferring it
- However, the proxy provider or anyone at a lower level can still access and read your encrypted file
- The connection reaches the web server, and the data requested is extracted in HTTP format and returned to the user.
Use Cases Where HTTP Proxies Work Perfectly Well
While HTTP proxies may not fit every know application of a typical proxy, there are several instances where using an HTTP proxy is perfect, including the following:
1. Extracting Specific and Clean Data
Because HTTP proxies function in a certain way and allow only specific connections, they can harvest relevant data from web servers.
And because they understand data well enough, they can extract what is needed and leave what is not needed.
This makes data extraction both effortless and clean.
2. Monitoring Connection Speed
HTTP proxies are also the type of proxies to monitor a brand’s connection speed. This is especially important when trying to monitor the activities of your staff and limit their internet usage.
It also stores caches and logs, which can be very important in some instances.
3. Improving Web Scraping
It is also possible to configure HTTP request headers with HTTP proxies, and this can help facilitate connections with websites that only allow this type of connection.
This may not necessarily help you overcome geo-blocking, but it can grant access to restricted servers and reduce your chances of getting banned by these websites.
What Are SOCKS5 Proxies?
The term SOCKS is an acronym for the word Socket Secure and is defined as an internet protocol that allows communications between users and just about any protocol, program, browser, or operating system.
One significant way this protocol triumphs over HTTP protocol is to allow any traffic generated by any protocol or program. This gives it a vast application spectrum.
A SOCKS5 proxy works with a SOCKS5 protocol (the latest version of the SOCKS protocol) and mediates connections between users and different servers through a firewall.
The connections could be Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP), making the communication faster.
Then the firewall is used to filter the outcoming and incoming data. However, a SOCKS5 proxy does all these without intercepting or reading the user’s data, another form of data protection.
Situations Where SOCKS5 Proxies Would Be a Better Choice
Consequently, there are several instances where using a SOCKS5 proxy is considered the best choice with some of the cases described below:
1. Accessing Servers Behind a Firewall
A firewall is necessary to protect you from specific security issues, but using it can also strip you of the rights to access certain websites. Most of these services are hosted on the cloud and become inaccessible by default when the request is sent behind a firewall.
You can use a SOCKS5 proxy to prevent this problem since it uses SSH dynamic port forwarding to transfer connections. This makes it able to access any server or servers behind a cloud.
2. Avoiding Limitations
Being able to transfer any traffic and make any connection from a single device is an underrated blessing.
A high-quality SOCKS5 proxy does not come with the limitations associated with HTTP proxies and can easily handle any protocol or program and transfer any communication across any traffic.
3. Better Performance with Fewer Errors
SOCKS proxies often transfer connections with reading or rewriting data packet headers, which helps safeguard the data against mislabeling and, consequently, misrouting.
This means your request will get delivered correctly, and the right results will be extracted with fewer chances of errors.
SOCKS5 or HTTP: Key Difference Between These Two Proxy Types
Below are the key differences between these two types of proxies highlighted in a tabular form:
|Differences||HTTP Proxies||SOCKS5 Proxies|
|Limitations||Limited to only HTTP traffic, web browsers, and web servers.||Have no limitations. Can handle any protocol, program, and traffic.|
|Functionality||Functions mainly in retrieving data in HTTP format from web servers to web browsers.||More flexible to deploy and use. The function is not bound to just one network protocol.|
|Security||HTTP proxies can add an extra layer of security to your communication.||SOCKS proxies generally do not add or have standard tunnel encryption. However, the SOCKS5 proxy does require some authentication method.|
|Performance||Private HTTP proxies may offer faster connection and decent performance, but the free or public versions have poor performance.||SOCKS5 proxies are synonymous with a great performance as they can download and transfer data quickly and effectively.|
An HTTP proxy is ideal for encrypting your data and increasing data security, while a SOCKS5 proxy is perfect for performance and working without limitations.
Hence, both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice you make should ultimately be based on your specific need and use case.