Proxies are a practical solution to disguise your IP address when you are downloading torrents. They can help you to enhance your online anonymity so that you can use BitTorrent without worries. The most common proxy types that you will come across are SOCKS Proxies and HTTP/HTTPS Proxies. Torrent users who want to use a proxy to add a layer of protection to their privacy should consider SOCKS5 Proxies over HTTP since they work better with BitTorrent. We’ll explore the differences between these proxies to help you understand why SOCKS5 is the best choice.
Differences between HTTP and SOCKS Proxy Servers
Not all proxy protocols work in the same way and different kinds of proxy types can be used for a variety of needs. Here are the main differences between SOCKS and HTTP proxies.
SOCKS Proxy SOCKS5
SOCKS Proxy are a versatile solution that supports multiple protocols, unlike HTTP proxies. SOCKS proxy technology is suitable for pretty much any application and type of traffic. There are different versions of the SOCKS proxy protocol, but the best option for the BitTorrent protocol is SOCKS5. This version comes with full support for UDP, unlike http proxies and it lets you connect to a larger selection of peers/trackers so that you can download torrents faster. SOCKS5 does a better job at anonymizing your torrent downloads than an HTTP proxy.
Advantages of SOCKS5 proxies
With SOCKS5 proxies, you get support for both TCP and UDP, which are the two transfer protocol used by BitTorrent. This means that you won’t have any issues using your torrent client and keeping your real IP address hidden. You will be able to access UDP trackers and enjoy good download speeds. SOCKS5 is much faster than HTTP, thanks to the full UDP support that it offers and that allows you to connect to as many peers as possible. SOCKS proxies are not affected by the issues that cause data packets to be misrouted or labeled incorrectly, which is something that happens with HTTP and that leads to slow performance. If you select a Socks5 proxy service that doesn’t keep logs, you can enhance the anonymity of your torrent activities.
The main purpose of HTTP proxies is to handle HTTP data. This protocol is used to transfer website data. When you visit a website, you will see that the address starts with http. This is the protocol used to transfer data from the web server to your computer. HTTP proxies are ideal for bypassing geo-restrictions that prevent you from accessing a website. However, it is not the best solution when it comes to using other applications. There are also HTTP proxies that are encrypted, and these are known as HTTPS. They allow the secure transmission of http data using light SSL encryption. This helps to enhance the proxy tunnel through a firewall or they can help you to avoid monitoring from third parties including your ISP.
Advantages of an HTTP proxy
The main advantages of using an HTTP proxy for torrents is that it includes encryption, which means that the data that your data won’t be read by others. This will also prevent your ISP from throttling your connection. The second benefit of HTTP proxy servers is that most of them can be used for free. It is possible to find an extensive selection of free proxy servers that provide free access to http and https proxies from all over the world. Although the fact that there are many free proxies available seems convenient, it is important to keep in mind the possible risks of using free options.
If you opt for a free proxy, you could risk your computer to virus/malware infections. It is not possible to know who runs the servers and this is particularly worrying, given that all the data you transfer flows through the proxy server. This means that they could get access to your login details. Even if you choose a free proxy server that is reliable, you should keep in mind that most of them keep server logs, meaning that your privacy is not protected when you are torrenting. Free proxy servers are likely to go down on a regular basis and since they are used by many people, they tend to be very slow.
Downsides of using an HTTP proxy for torrents
The truth is that there are more downsides than benefits of using an HTTP proxy for torrents. Since HTTP proxies are specifically designed for the HTTP protocol, they don’t offer good support for UDP/TCP, which are the protocols used by BitTorrent. HTTP proxies are meant to handle HTTP data (websites), so they are not the best option for torrents. They would filter all other protocols, including UDP or block them completely. In addition, HTTP proxy can also slow down your torrents speeds.
Since HTTP proxy servers don’t support the UDP protocol, it doesn’t work for BitTorrent because this application relies on UDP packets. The lack of UDP support means that your torrent downloads are likely to be very slow. Furthermore, many public HTTP proxies don’t allow torrents. They focus on giving users the chance to access websites without having to deal with restrictive firewalls. Torrents use a lot of bandwidth and this is not something that public proxy servers want. As previously mentioned, since HTTP proxy servers (particularly the free ones) are used by a lot of people, they can be painfully slow.
Best SOCKS5 Proxy services for Torrents
The below providers offers SOCKS5 proxy services that are perfect for remaining anonymous when you are using BitTorrent. They allow torrents and offer a good level of protection for your privacy. In addition, they offer good prices and since they also have VPN services available, you can step up the security of your traffic by getting both technologies.
Private Internet Access
PIA is a very popular provider among torrent users thanks to its affordability, ease of use and security. When you choose the yearly plan, you only pay $3.33 per month and can enjoy advanced features and strong security. They don’t keep logs of your online activities and allow torrenting on their network. When you pay for a subscription to their VPN, you get a fast SOCKS5 proxy for free. PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy server is located in the Netherlands, which is a torrent friendly location. You can connect up to 5 devices at the same time. With PIA you get the best of both worlds (VPN and SOCKS5 proxy) for a very convenient price.
Torguard is another excellent choice and it also offers both VPN and SOCKS5 torrent proxy service. Their anonymous proxy service gives you access to 8 countries at this time and their exclusive auto-installer makes things very simple when you want to set up the service with your torrent client. You can easily configure the service on uTorrent, Vuze, Transmission and more. Torguard offers both SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies and their no logs guarantee covers all their services. Your data remains protected and private and you can have up to 5 simultaneous connections.