Proxies have become popular in the past couple of years. There are many different types of proxies out there, and all of them do something different. At the same time, they offer specific benefits and functionalities for certain applications.
Those might be a bit confusing for typical users, especially if they don’t have advanced knowledge of digital technologies. That’s why we’ve decided to help you understand some of the most common types of proxies and make a side-by-side comparison.
Individuals and organizations commonly use HTTP and SOCKS proxies. It’s essential to understand the differences between these two to pick the right option for your needs. Here’s what you need to know.
SOCKS proxies explained
SOCKS is short for Socket Secure, and this internet protocol is often used for applications with a lot of internet traffic, including P2P sharing, content streaming, downloading, etc. SOCKS uses a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) connection to receive and send data packets efficiently.
At the same time, a TCP connection guarantees the safety of all the resources being delivered over the networks. SOCKS proxies use a proxy server to route internet traffic using a TCP connection in the client’s name.
SOCKS proxies hide the user’s IP address, like most other proxies, and can help bypass location restrictions. SOCKS proxies don’t interpret the data they transfer, which is why they are often used for establishing effective communication with sites that limit access and have robust firewalls.
SOCKS proxies work on all network protocols regardless of the application. The latest SOCKS protocol, SOCKS5, is often used with proxies as it supports UDP and TCP connections to provide advanced security. A proxy using this protocol is called a SOCKS5 proxy.
HTTP proxies explained
HTTP is short for HyperText Transfer Protocol, used for all online data exchanges. This protocol is the foundation for all data exchange, and it’s an entirely text-based protocol. HTTP is a connectionless protocol that can acquire resources like CSS or HTML files and transmit them from servers to browsers.
It works with multiple scripting languages, and it’s often called a “client-server” protocol since it helps web browsers send requests to website servers to get essential elements like videos, images, or pages. After serving the request, the connection between the server and the browser ends.
That means that every new request establishes another connection. HTTP proxies work with HTTP connections and have the same client-server protocol. These proxies are intermediaries between the web browser and the server, transmitting data and delivering resources to clients in an HTTP format.
HTTP proxies are the most popular option, and they help improve website performance, restrict and give access to sites, filter content, and limit connection speeds.
Main differences between SOCKS and HTTPS proxies
Since these proxies are built on different protocols, they offer distinct advantages. Let’s take a look at their main differences.
A SOCKS5 proxy is generally faster than any HTTP proxy because it requires less coding to do its operations. Meanwhile, SOCKS proxies are particularly quick when downloading or transferring data online. See an example of SOCKS5 proxies for more information on their functionalities.
As far as HTTP proxies go, professional, shared, and public proxy servers offer different performances. Professional ones provide the best speed, while public proxies are usually overloaded. HTTP proxies are slower overall, but they can enhance significant scraping operations and let you manage requests effectively.
Level of privacy and security
SOCKS proxies offer better privacy and security overall since they can’t interpret the transferred data.
They use tunneling to create encrypted connections that guarantee security. Nobody can see the data from the outside or intercept your connection.
On the other hand, HTTP proxies provide less privacy and security. That is because they can decode and understand traffic, meaning they see the data exchanged. They don’t understand data sensitivity.
Applications and functionality
HTTP and HTTPS proxies use these protocols, which is why they are best for acquiring or providing data using web browsers. They have a higher operation level than SOCKS proxies and can decode all traffic users send via TCP.
On the other hand, SOCKS proxies are better for general use as they offer a lot of versatility. They can handle all requests, and individuals and businesses often use them for file transfers, P2P sharing, email forwarding, etc.
Which one to choose?
There’s no question about it. The choice of these two proxies depends entirely on your needs and use cases. SOCKS proxies might be better if you have projects involving transferring and downloading high data volumes.
However, HTTP proxies might be perfect for data filtering regarding performance or security concerns.
No matter which option you choose, find the right proxy provider and avoid free or shared options, as they won’t do a good job.