For online marketers, making the right choices to preserve online privacy is no simple feat. There’s so much information available; online security has tons of tools that we need to choose from. The list is just endless, from proxy servers to VPNs.
But if you are keen to keep your business secure, jumping head-first for a tool you know little about is not ideal. It’s important to take the time to understand the benefits and risks of your online security tools.
In modern marketing, it’s vital to understand how privacy contributes to business success. It’s best to have tools, such as a SOCKS proxy, that protect your business’s privacy. Unlike other proxies, SOCKS gives you a better understanding of the protocol you use. It ensures that you get better responses for most of your online requests. It makes navigating through the internet fast, easy, and reliable.
In this article, we will discuss what SOCKS proxies are. We will talk about the pros and cons and why SOCKS proxies matter. Our discussion will revolve around the use of proxies by marketers to boost business performance.
So, let’s dive in.
What is SOCKS Proxies?
Socket Secure(SOCK) is an internet protocol. It is what proxy servers use to facilitate communication by routing internet traffic to the actual server on behalf of the client. It’s a standard protocol that’s ideal for clients who operate behind firewalls.
SOCKS uses Transmission Control Protocol(TCP) to deliver traffic. It also allows the forwarding of UDP packets through its network.
When the transmission happens, you are assigned a new IP address. As a marketer, the new address enables you to perform competitor research without being noticed. It creates anonymity that masks your IP address every time you request a competitor’s information.
When shopping for SOCKS, you will discover two versions of proxies to choose from; The SOCKS4 or SOCKS5. To understand which version is best for your business, here are the basic features.
- This was the first version of the SOCKS protocol.
- The proxy does not require authentication.
- You are only required to have a username to access the protocol.
- You need the IP address of the site you are accessing to transmit.
- SOCKS4 only supports TCP proxies.
- This is the latest version of SOCKS protocols.
- It is up-to-date with the latest technological advancements.
- SOCKS5 accepts TCP and UDP packets.
- It offers three authentication processes:
- Null authentication – You do not require authentication to connect to proxy
- Password-based/username authentication – You must include a valid username and login to access the proxy server.
- GSS-API authentication – Authentication is through the available information at the operating system’s level.
Please note that SOCKS is a layer 5 protocol and cannot operate below that layer. This means that you are protected from cyberattacks that use below layer 5. SOCKS5 operates under full TCP connections making it more secure for online marketing.
How Proxies Work
Proxies deliver information from a client to a server via a proxy server. Proxies act like intermediaries that receive information and later pass it to the relevant server. When this happens, the IP address of the client remains anonymous. The location is also masked, and the client’s area cannot be viewed.
If you are a marketer, proxies offer great opportunities for spying on competitors’ websites. When using a proxy, you can get information about products and services relevant to your business. Proxies help you bypass restrictions. If your IP address had previously been blacklisted, you could use SOCKS proxies to bypass the blockage.
Why Marketers Should Use SOCKS Proxies
Marketing requires that you stay on top of your game at all times. When using proxies, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of the protocol. Here are the benefits and downsides of SOCKS proxies you should know about:
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Circumvention of Internet Blocks
When Using SOCKS proxies, it’s easy to circumvent internet blocks. Even when your IP is blocked from certain websites, you can still bypass the block with a proxy server.
Although the circumvention works well with most websites, it does not bypass government firewalls. This is because national blockades use deep packet inspection(DPI) technology. The technology is effective in blocking any request you send to the ISP before it reaches the website.
SOCKS5 uses TCP protocols for delivery. The protocols ensure that every request is delivered fast and easy. Unlike the UDP packets that don’t guarantee delivery, TCP provides continuous delivery of requests.
With the TCP protocol, you do not require formatting. This saves you time and increases your connection speeds. The fast speeds also improve your performance and ensure the user’s immediate transfer of files to the website.
There are no limits to the traffic and programs you can process through SOCKS proxies. This is a significant improvement from the HTTP proxies that only accept HTTPS and HTTP webpages. Although HTTP proxies are high-level, they are not flexible.
SOCK proxy is low-level but still more secure. They can handle different types of protocols, programs, or traffic that they receive. For a marketer, this is of great benefit. You can administer and monitor requests without worrying about limitations.
A Better Performance with Fewer Errors
If you are looking for a proxy that does not rewrite header packets, SOCKS is the right choice. SOCKS5 does not rewrite data, and this creates little room for errors. All information you relay has fewer chances of mislabeling or misrouting during the transmission stage. If you think of it from a business point of view, fewer errors translate to better performance.
But as you use SOCKS proxies, remember that header packets contain your personal information. In some instances, not rewriting your header packets can reveal your identity, leaving you exposed to other websites. So, as you transmit through proxies, it’s essential to monitor your requests and use extra tools to ensure complete anonymity.
Your provider can still see your IP address.
While proxies can make your IP address anonymous to other websites, your provider can still view it. If your provider is not trustworthy, they can expose your website to cyberattacks. That’s why it’s always advisable to choose your provider carefully.
Check for reviews to find proxy providers most preferred by other marketers. When choosing a proxy, go for the private rather than the free proxy servers. Conduct thorough research into the type of proxy most relevant and convenient for your business.
Some SSL certificates are not secure and expose you cyber attacks.
An SSL certificate helps encrypt your requests. However, some SSL certificates are not as secure as they should be. SSL stripping, which is an attack on the certificates, is a common threat from attackers.
A cybercriminal can change an HTTPS file to an HTTP without your knowledge. This exposes your IP address, and you no longer remain anonymous on the sites you visit. The downgrading of pages could also lead to the blocking of your IP address if they are marked for suspicious activities.
To avoid this, keep constant checks on your protocols. Make sure to include VPNs in your tools to strengthen the security of your website further.
When Can Marketers Use SOCKS Proxies?
Marketing requires a lot of research. For some searches, the websites may contain firewalls that limit access. In such situations, a client must establish a TCP connection through SOCKS. The client can send a request to the SOCKS server indicating where they want to connect.
Luckily, SOCKS proxies are compatible with most networks. They are easy-to-use and applicable to most marketing strategies. They are suitable for keyword research and extracting results from analytics.
You can also use them to check comments and reviews on competitor websites. In some instances, proxies can help you gain information about product prices and promotional strategies of competitors.
SOCKS and VPN: Why we Use them Together
As we had stated earlier, SOCKS does not offer encryption. Every data you transmit is received as it is without any filtering. To ensure that important information is masked, you need a VPN. A VPN combined with SOCKS offers stable connections.
A VPN will encrypt your data while proxies will mask your IP address. The tools will ensure the complete anonymity and security of sensitive data in your business. They can also prevent the hijacking of your traffic by websites keen on tracking your progress.
Remember that for both the VPN and SOCKS protocols, the paid version is preferred. The paid version has better support systems and guarantees good performance. Paid versions offer fewer risks of your information being sold to third-parties.
The information shared in this article indicates the importance of proxies for your business. If you want to grow your business, you need to know the what, how, and when to use proxies. You need to understand the benefits of proxies and the challenges you might experience using them. You need to invest in a proxy service that gives the best security, speed, and performance.