An explanation of the differences between HTTP and SOCKS proxies

Proxy level and security

HTTP is considered a higher level proxy since it operates at higher internet security levels. SOCKS uses the lower-level protocol, TCP, and is used as a general-purpose proxy. HTTP can only work using the HTTP protocol and is used to retrieve information via a web browser. SOCKS can operate in varied environments and handle different kinds of traffic. Since SOCKS does not use the HTTP protocol, it is not very secure. The information passed using the SOCKS proxy is easily accessible to outsiders. 

However, SOCKS proxy guarantees security by incorporating an SSH encrypted tunneling mechanism. An SSH tunnel ensures data privacy by restricting the proxy to read the data passed between the server and client. On the other hand, an HTTP proxy can understand data transferred between the client and server, irrespective of the data sensitivity. Nonetheless, by establishing tunnel connections, an HTTP proxy can also provide higher-level security.

An anti-detection browser like Incogniton provides the most security by masking other parameters in addition to IP address. It allows users to bypass any IP bans or restrictions.

Speed

SOCKS proxy has faster operations as compared to HTTP because it has less code to run for performing computations. In addition, the UDP protocol of the latest SOCKS5 provides even faster processing since it does not waste time converting data packets into a stream of fixed packets and does not wait for all packets to reach from the client or server to the other end.

The speed of HTTP proxy depends on whether it is a public, shared, or private proxy. Public proxies are usually overloaded and hence are slower, shared proxies are faster than public proxies because they have lesser users, and lastly, private proxies provide the maximum speed.

Compatibility

HTTP proxy servers can connect with more varied 3rd party tools as compared to SOCKS. In the case of ports, the HTTP proxy server supports port 80 connections (HTTP) and port 443 connections (HTTPS SSL). When an HTTP proxy connects HTTPS to any other arbitrary port, it can be used for generic TCP connections like a SOCKS proxy. On the other hand, ports 1080 and 1081 are typically reserved for SOCKS proxy servers. However, usually, proxy services don’t use these ports since they reveal to the ISP (or Internet Service Provider) that the user is using a proxy server.

Choosing between SOCKS and an HTTP proxy depends primarily on what the user needs from a proxy apart from the common functionality of adding a security layer and providing anonymity. This article gives you information about each proxy in detail so that you can choose the proxy best suitable for your use case.