- SOCKS5 is a proxy server that can hide your IP address and make you anonymous online. You can use it to circumvent Internet blocks and access restricted content.
- You can use Windows 10 proxy settings by configuring the built-in system options. Alternatively, you can download and install third-party software like Shadowsocks or a VPN with SOCKS5 support.
- Join our Proxy Server section to find out more about this technology.
- Visit our VPN Troubleshooting Hub to fix more VPN-related issues.
Windows 10 has built-in SOCKS5 proxy settings, but you can also set it up on your PC through other means. Find out how.
What is SOCKS proxy?
SOCKS is an Internet protocol that sends and receives data packets through a proxy server, which assigns a different IP address before the information reaches its destination.
Unlike a VPN, a proxy server doesn’t encrypt the network traffic, so you can take advantage of data protection against man-in-the-middle attacks.
What is SOCKS5 and why should you use it?
SOCKS5 is the latest SOCKS version. Compared to its predecessors like SOCKS4, SOCKS5 brings more security and authentication methods.
Here’s what you can do with a SOCKS5 proxy server:
- Circumvent Internet blocks to access sites restricted to your true IP address
- Use web-enabled applications that run under various request types: HTTP and HTTPS (web browsing), POP3 and SMTP (email), FTP (torrent and other peer-to-peer clients).
- Make your Internet connection faster and more reliable by using not only TCP but also UDP.
- Improve your performance by reducing errors caused by rewritten data packet headers.
- Speed up downloads in torrenting and other P2P clients by transferring smaller data packets.
- Go to Control Panel > Internet Options.
- Switch to the Connections tab.
- Click LAN settings.
- Enable Use a proxy server for your LAN.
- Activate Bypass proxy server for local addresses.
- Click Advanced.
- Disable Use the same proxy server for all protocols.
- At Socks, specify the server address and port of the SOCKS5 proxy.
- Delete everything at HTTP, Secure, and FTP.
- Click OK > Apply.
You can configure SOCKS5 proxy settings in Windows 10 without having to install any additional software. Plus, the setup applies to all software applications with Internet access, not just your web browser.
- Download Firefox and install it on Windows 10.
- Click the ≡ button and go to Options.
- In the General tab, scroll down to Network Settings.
- Click Settings.
- Select Manual proxy configuration.
- Set SOCKS5 Host and Port to the server address and port of the SOCKS5 proxy.
- Select SOCKS5 v5.
- Click OK.
If you prefer using a web browser with SOCKS5 proxy instead of the entire computer, Firefox is your best bet. While using Firefox for SOCKS5, you can use any other browser for direct Internet connections.
If you wish to regularly switch SOCKS5 proxy servers, you can install a Firefox extension like FoxyProxy.
- Go to the Shadowsocks page.
- Download the latest version for Windows 10.
- Unzip the archive and run the executable file.
- Set the IP address, port, and password of the SOCKS5 proxy.
- Click OK.
- Right-click the Shadowsocks systray icon.
- Select System Proxy > Global.
Shadowsocks is a SOCKS5 proxy client that can be easily installed on Windows 10 to use SOCKS5 proxy settings. It runs in the systray and can be quickly configured, enabled, and disabled.
Furthermore, Shadowsocks features several encryption methods to make up for the fact that SOCKS5 doesn’t have one, including 256-bit AES military-grade encryption.
In addition to security, a huge benefit of using Shadowsocks is that it applies the SOCKS5 proxy settings globally to Windows 10. As such, all Internet-enabled programs will use it.
- Download uTorrent on your Windows PC.
- Install the torrent client and launch it.
- Open the Options menu and select Preferences.
- Go to Connection.
- Set Proxy Server Type to Socks5.
- Set Proxy and Port to the server address and port of the SOCKS5 proxy.
- Click Apply.
On Windows 10 and other operating systems, you can configure SOCKS5 proxy settings directly in a torrent client to make your IP address anonymous and protect your true identity in the torrent swarm.
Private Internet Access
- Sign up for a PIA subscription plan.
- Download and install PIA for Windows 10.
- Right-click PIA’s systray icon and go to Settings.
- Switch to the Proxy tab.
- Select Shadowsocks, click Configure, and choose a location.
- Or, choose SOCKS5 Proxy, click Configure, and set the SOCKS5 proxy details.
- Left-click PIA’s systray icon.
- Press the big power button to connect to a VPN server.
If you want to not only spoof your IP address but also encrypt your traffic, use a VPN like PIA with a SOCKS5 proxy at the same time.
In Shadowsocks mode, you can connect the VPN server to a second location for increased privacy and security. It’s similar to using a double VPN to stay connected to two VPN servers at once.
In SOCKS5 proxy mode, you simply specify the connection details of a SOCKS5 proxy server. It’s the custom alternative to Shadowsocks mode.
Private Internet Access
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To summarize, you can easily set up SOCKS5 proxy settings on Windows 10 using the built-in system options.
However, it’s also possible to resort to other methods, like configuring Firefox, uTorrent or Shadowsocks settings.