Whether you are thinking about getting a VPN account from Private Internet Access (PIA) or you have one already, you may have seen a reference to the Socks5 proxy feature. If you don’t know what that means, you are not alone. Many users don’t take full advantage of options they do not understand. That is why we are here to help. In this guide, we will help you realize the purpose and function of this tool, as well as a definition for the use of the Socks5 proxy.
Socks5 Proxy Explained
We’ll start first with the definition. SockS stand for Socket Secure. It is an internet protocol that exchanges network packets of data between a server and client through the use of a proxy server using authentication. The 5 portion represents an OSI level of 5. That means that more choices are offered over Socks4 including the addition of authentication support as well as support for the UDP protocol and IPv6.
In other words, PIA’s Netherlands-based proxy server can be used for several things. Those include:
- Anonymizing software that accepts SOCKS5 proxy with authentication
- If you use web scraping software, you can hide your IP address
- For those that like to use torrents, it will add another layer of privacy.
We’ll go over the most common programs in a moment, but the bottom line is it will help protect you more thoroughly. While this is a free service for PIA members, it requires some extra setup. You actually have a different username and password then you do with the normal VPN. Keep in mind the proxy is not encrypted, so it could broadcast your login information in plain text. That is why the two are separated. You won’t want to make it the same as your PIA login.
Getting Your PIA Socks Proxy Login
Once you have your Private Internet Access account, proceed to the privateinternetaccess.com website and log in as you normally would. Scroll down to the section that says “PPTP/L2TP/SOCKS Username and Password (Optional)”. Now, click on the button that says “Regenerate Username and Password”. This will create a unique username/password combination so you can gain access to the proxy server. You will want to copy the info to notepad, leave the window open, or take a screenshot of the window.
Socks5 Proxy Settings
Below, we have provided you with the settings you need. No matter which way you decide to use it, the basic settings won’t change.
- Host/Hostname/Proxy Address – proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com
- Port # – 1080
- Proxy Type – SOCKS5 (or SOCKS v5/version 5)
- Authentication – YES
- UN/PW – The info you generated earlier.
And that is all you have to do to activate the Socks5 proxy. The most common use of this feature is for torrenting. However, this low-level style of proxy can carry almost any type of data packet, data type, or protocol. If you do not use that type of software, there are the uses we mentioned. Here are some of the most common programs to use with this feature.
- tTorrent (android)
- Flud (android)
Once you have completed the steps, you are now ready to use the Socks5 proxy feature of your Private Internet Access account. If you have friends that may want to protect their privacy while using a torrent client, be sure to share this post with them and recommend PIA as a torrent-friendly VPN service.