SOCKS5 connections are helpful when you download torrents because they offer faster speeds than VPNs. Unfortunately, not many VPNs have SOCKS5 support. To help you find one, we put together this list of the best SOCKS5 VPNs on the market.
We also answered some FAQs at the end that should help you better understand what SOCKS5 proxies are all about (and whether or not they're better than VPNs).
How to Use a VPN with SOCKS Proxy
- Subscribe to the best SOCKS5 VPN (we recommend IPVanish).
- Download and install the VPN provider's app.
- Check the provider's guide to see how to set up the SOCKS5 connection.
- Configure the connection and start using the web.
The 5 Best SOCKS5 VPNs in 2021
Many VPNs surprisingly don't offer SOCKS5 connections. We checked over 30 providers, and - after numerous tests - we found the five best SOCKS5 VPNs on the market:
1. IPVanish - Unlimited Parallel Connections + Many SOCKS5 Servers
We like IPVanish the most because it offers unlimited simultaneous connections with one account. Yes, that pretty much means you can use the VPN on as many devices as you want. In fact, you can even share the subscription (and its costs) with your friends to save money.
Besides that, IPVanish has excellent SOCKS5 support. You get 20+ SOCKS5 locations in multiple countries. We tested all of them, and they have great speeds. You also get unlimited bandwidth, so there's no limit to how much data you can download.
As a VPN, IPVanish is a really good service. It has a large server network, secure protocols, a zero-logging policy, traffic obfuscation, a kill switch, and powerful encryption. You also get a 2-in-1 deal when you buy a subscription (a SugarSync Storage account with 500 GB). Finally, IPVanish offers 24/7 live chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To find out more about IPVanish, please follow this link.
2. PrivateVPN - Largest SOCSK5 Network + Beginner-Friendly
PrivateVPN has one of the biggest SOCKS server networks on the market. With over 80+ servers to choose from, it's easy to find nearby locations to get fast speeds. And speaking of speeds, PrivateVPN has some of the fastest torrenting speeds we have ever seen.
Even better, PrivateVPN is very beginner-friendly. They have the list of SOCKS5 addresses on their site, and you just need to enter the information in your torrent client. Also, PrivateVPN's apps are very user-friendly. You'll get used to them in no time - yes, even if you never used a VPN before.
PrivateVPN's VPN service is also pretty good. While it has a small server network, it makes up for it with unlimited data, a no-logs policy, secure protocols, obfuscation, port forwarding (for better torrenting speeds), up to six parallel connections, bank-grade encryption, and a kill switch. PrivateVPN also has 24/7 live chat support and a 30-day refund policy.
Here's our in-depth review of PrivateVPN if you want to read more about this provider.
3. TorGuard - Big SOCKS5 Network + Best for Advanced Users
TorGuard has 60+ SOCKS5 proxy servers, making it one of the largest networks we have seen so far. The odds of using an overcrowded server are very small, so you're likely to get fast speeds. In fact, TorGuard has very fast download speeds too.
As a VPN, TorGuard is really good. It offers excellent security (military-grade encryption + kill switch), a no-logs policy, unlimited bandwidth, a very large VPN server network, port forwarding, up to eight parallel connections, traffic obfuscation, and secure protocols (WireGuard is available). TorGuard has 24/7 support but only through email. Also, it only has a 7-day money-back guarantee.
TorGuard has good apps, but the UI isn't beginner-friendly. So TorGuard is mostly geared towards advanced VPN users. For example, you can add your own scripts on the app.
Want to read more about TorGuard? Check out our full review here.
4. NordVPN - Most Secure SOCKS5 VPN
NordVPN has a few SOCKS5 servers. It makes up for the small numbers with excellent security and privacy, though.
For starters, NordVPN uses powerful end-to-end encryption, and it doesn't store any logs (NordVPN successfully underwent two security audits to prove it's a zero-log VPN). It also offers traffic obfuscation, double VPN connections, and a very capable ad blocker (that can also block connections to malicious sites). What's more, NordVPN has a kill switch, RAM-only servers, and started transitioning to a colocated network (they ship their own hardware to the data centers they use).
Other than that, NordVPN offers very fast speeds, secure protocols (including NordLynx, which is built around WireGuard technology), a huge VPN server network, unlimited data, 24/7 live chat support, and a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.
To find out more about NordVPN, just follow this link.
5. Windscribe - Unlimited Connections & Powerful Ad Blocking
Windscribe offers SOCKS5 connections, but the selection is really small at the moment. On the plus side, it has fast speeds and unlimited parallel connections - so you can use Windscribe on as many devices as you want.
Windscribe also has a very powerful ad blocker called R.O.B.E.R.T. Unlike most VPNs' ad blockers, it doesn't just block ads and malicious domains. You can also configure R.O.B.E.R.T to block social networks and their trackers, cryptominers, clickbait and fake news sites, porn and gambling sites, and ads from other VPNs.
Windscribe also offers cool features - powerful encryption, secure protocols (WireGuard included), easy-to-use apps, port forwarding, a kill switch, double VPN connections, and unlimited data.
Windscribe only offers email support, but it's pretty responsive. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best refund policy - it's only a 3-day money-back guarantee, and you must not consume over 10GB of data to qualify for it. On the plus side, Windscribe has a free plan that doesn't have any ads and offers unlimited data, so you can test it risk-free as much as you want.
To see more about Windscribe, please read our review.
Here are the most common questions people ask about the best SOCKS5 VPNs and using SOCKS5 connections:
What Is a SOCKS5 VPN?
It's a VPN that offers SOCKS5 connections. SOCKS5 stands for Socket Secure, and it's a protocol proxy servers use to route data between apps and servers. SOCKS5 makes the process a little bit more secure than SOCKS by adding authentication, meaning only authorized users can use the SOCKS5 server.
Why Do People Use SOCKS5 Connections?
They generally use them while torrenting because SOCKS5 servers are faster than VPN servers. Some people also use SOCKS5 connections to bypass geo-blocks and Internet censorship.
Is SOCKS5 Better Than a VPN?
That depends. If you want fast connections, yes, a SOCKS5 proxy is the better choice. We tested multiple SOCKS5 and VPN connections, and we always had faster speeds with SOCKS5 servers.
However, the reason SOCKS5 connections are faster is also an issue - it's because they don't have strong encryption. So, SOCKS5 servers are not as secure as VPN servers because somebody could theoretically monitor your traffic (like hackers or your ISP). We only recommend using SOCKS5 proxies on your home network (which needs to be secured).
Can I Use a Free SOCKS5 Proxy?
We don't recommend doing that. You might find free SOCKS5 services online, but they're not trustworthy or reliable. They might expose you to malicious ads, malware, and even log your traffic (and sell it to advertisers).
What's more, free proxies have really slow speeds - not to mention capped bandwidth (anywhere between 500 MB and 2 GB per month). If you download torrents often, you won't even be able to download a full season of your favorite TV series or a 1080p movie.
You should use paid SOCKS5 VPNs instead. The good news is you don't need to pay anything extra for the SOCKS5 servers - the VPNs throw them in for free!
How Do You Use a SOCKS5 Proxy?
We can't really offer a step-by-step guide because the setup process is different for each VPN provider and torrent client (we assume you want to use a SOCKS5 connection while torrenting).
Your best bet is to check if your VPN provider has SOCKS5 setup guides. At the very least, they should have a list of their SOCKS5 servers along with their addresses. Once you have that information, you just need to look up SOCKS5 setup guides for your torrent client on Google.