What are Curl SOCKS5 proxies?

Written By Alla Levin
March 16, 2023
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A proxy is an intermediary that acts on behalf of a web client (user’s browser) or a web server. It routes traffic through itself, assuming the role of the client or server.

It is a reverse proxy if it accomplishes certain tasks on the server’s behalf. On the other hand, when it acts on behalf of a client, it is known as a forward proxy. It is worth pointing out that there are multiple types of forward proxies. This article will, however, primarily focus on the Curl SOCKS5 proxy.

Understanding Curl and SOCKS5

Before detailing what a Curl SOCKS5 proxy is, let’s first explore what Curl and SOCKS5 are. Curl, also written as cURL is an open-source project that utilizes an embedded transfer library (libcurl) and command-line tool to control internet protocol transfers. In fact, the cURL supports a number of protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, IMAP, IMAPS, WS, WSS, TFTP, SMTP, SMTPS, SMB, SMBS, POP3, POP3S, LDAP, LDAPS, MQTT, GOPHER, GOPHERS, FILE, DICT, FTP, FTPS, TELNET, and more importantly SOCKS5.

SOCKS5 is the fifth version of the Socket Secure (SOCKS) network protocol. At its core, SOCKS routes network packets between a browser and a server through a proxy server. This protocol mainly resides within the fifth layer of the OSI  model. It, therefore, relies on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for the exchange of data packets between the two entities. Generally, SOCKS supports several request types, namely HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SMTP, SMTPS, POP3, and POP3S.

Over the years, the SOCKS protocol has received updates that have improved its capabilities. This has resulted in SOCKS5, which supports authentication and can relay several messages simultaneously. Against this background, what is a SOCKS5 proxy? Also, what is Curl SOCKS5 proxy?

What is a Curl SOCKS5 Proxy?

For starters, a SOCKS5 proxy is any proxy that uses the SOCKS5 protocol to route network packets through itself and subsequently forward them to either the client or server. A SOCKS5 proxy can be created in several ways. For instance, you can log into your proxy service provider’s dashboard and configure the proxy according to your provider’s instructions. On the other hand, you can use the Curl tool. Thus, a Curl SOCKS5 proxy is a SOCKS5 proxy created using the Curl tools.

Curl not only enables you to select the specific SOCKS version, i.e., SOCKS5, but it also allows you to configure the proxy with or without resolving the hostname. To configure it without fixing the hostname locally, type: curl -x socks5://proxy.example.com  or curl –socks5 proxy.example.com. However, if you want to send the hostname to the server to ensure the name resolving is done elsewhere rather than locally, type: curl -x socks5h://proxy.example.com or curl –socks5-hostname proxy.example.com

Uses of Curl SOCKS5 Proxies

Curl SOCKS5 proxies are used for the following:

  • Bypassing firewalls by establishing TCP and UDP sessions/connections over a firewall
  • Peer-to-peer file sharing
  • Video streaming
  • Emailing
  • General Browsing

Curl SOCKS5 Proxies vs. Other Proxy Types

The Curl SOCKS5 proxies fall in the same category of forward proxies as HTTP proxies. This category groups proxies based on internet protocol communication. So, it is only fitting to compare SOCKS5 proxies to HTTP proxies.

Curl SOCKS5 ProxiesHTTP Proxies
They support a number of web requests, including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SMTP, SMTPS, POP3, and POP3SThey only support HTTP and HTTPS web requests
Curl SOCKS5 proxies are more flexible – they can be deployed in a number of use cases because they support multiple types of requestsHTTP proxies are less flexible as they only support two types of web requests
They can bypass firewallsThey cannot bypass firewalls
This proxy type is less secure as it does not interpret web traffic and can, therefore, not filter harmful contentThis proxy type is secure because it supports encryption (HTTPS proxies) but also interprets the web traffic, thus promoting security
Curl SOCKS5 proxies handle higher traffic volumes because they support multiple types of requestsHTTP proxies handle less traffic because they only accept HTTP and HTTPS requests
They are relatively fast, which is why they are preferred when streaming or sharing large filesCompared to Curl SOCKS5 proxies, they are slower, but overall, they offer decent speeds
They are primarily used on the client’s sideThey can be used on either the client’s or server’s side


Curl SOCKS5 proxies route internet traffic (network packets) through themselves, thus facilitating data transfer over firewalls. They support a variety of web requests and are, therefore, also used in video streaming, file sharing, general web browsing, and emailing. Compared to HTTP proxies, SOCKS5 proxies have certain superior attributes. However, they are less secure because they do not interpret web traffic. They are also mostly used on the client’s side of an internet connection, whereas HTTP proxies can be used on either the client’s or server’s side.

Check this article for more info on Curl SOCKS5 proxies.

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