Besides offering a VPN software, NordVPN also has a list of SOCKS5 Proxy servers that are useful for activities like torrenting and P2P. We made it clear in the past that we prefer to download torrent files with a VPN. But the truth is that NordVPN's proxies are much safer than most “shady” free alternatives we see all over the Internet.
- 1 What is a SOCKS5 Proxy?
- 2 Advantages of torrenting with SOCKS5 Proxy servers
- 3 What are the disadvantages?
- 4 How to set up uTorrent with NordVPN's SOCKS5 Proxy
- 5 A Word about Free proxies
- 6 Main Differences Between a Proxy and a VPN
- 7 Combining a VPN with a Proxy
- 8 Conclusion
What is a SOCKS5 Proxy?
First of all, SOCKS5 is a protocol that uses a proxy server. It routes the data of the user through a proxy server and creates a new and different IP address. After that, the user reaches his online destination, which will think this is a real IP, when in fact it's the one created by the proxy.
The fact that SOCKS5 provides authentication is a big plus, making it safer. That way, a server can only be accessed by users who have authorization.
Advantages of torrenting with SOCKS5 Proxy servers
When it comes to file-sharing, NordVPN's SOCKS5 proxies are a safe option. Besides giving you a new IP address, it also has the ability to interrupt your downloads in case the proxy stops working. That way, you wouldn't be downloading the files with your real IP. This is an equivalent of a Kill Switch, a very important tool in a VPN software.
The speed is another advantage. A SOCKS5 proxy allows users to establish a connection to the entire amount of peers available in a swarm because it uses full UDP. Obviously, being connected to more sources provides greater speeds.
What are the disadvantages?
The downside is that it will only protect you in one task, one operation. In other words, it will give you a new IP address when you are using your BitTorrent software, and nothing else. If you are browsing the Internet, sending emails, skyping, etc, you will be unprotected. We will talk about a solution for this a little further.
How to set up uTorrent with NordVPN's SOCKS5 Proxy
So let's see how exactly to configure uTorrent to work with the SOCKS5 proxy servers from NordVPN. We will break it down into steps, to keep it simple.
Step 1 – Make Sure you have a username and password
The login details are exactly the same as the VPN software. Later on, you will need this info. In case you still don't have it, you can visit NordVPN here and come back after that.
Step 2 – Select a correct server for P2P
Go to the NordVPN server page and choose one that allows BitTorrent traffic. Such servers are identified with “P2P“, as you can see in the image below.
The servers that allow P2P are the ones that you can use. Click on the country you want to connect to and you will move forward. If you want to make sure that SOCKS5 is available, on the next step click on “show available protocols” and you'll find it there.
Step 3 – Setting Up the NordVPN Proxy details in uTorrent
Now it's time to insert all the info we mentioned in your uTorrent preferences. There will be a couple of settings to tweak, so pay close attention.
- Start uTorrent and go to Options > Preferences > Connection
- On “Proxy Server”, select Socks5
- Tick every box under “Proxy Server”
- Insert the NordVPN Proxy Server that you copied from the website
- Set the “Port” to 1080
- Insert your username
- Insert your password
And that's it, click OK and you are ready to go.
A Word about Free proxies
Many sites and web browsers have proxies available that have the goal of replacing your IP address for free. But the truth is that most of the times, they are not reliable.
Many of these free web proxy providers find sneaky ways of making a profit. It is common for them to bomb a user session with ads or even spyware.
If you are going to use proxies, then the best option is to pay a couple bucks per month and use the ones from a company that specializes in privacy. That is the case with VPN providers, many of them have proxies included in their service, just like NordVPN does.
Main Differences Between a Proxy and a VPN
Both a Virtual Private Network and a proxy change the IP address of the user. But the VPN goes the extra mile in some areas. You can check our review of NordVPN to download torrents to know more about it. For now, let's discuss the main differences:
A Virtual Private Network encrypts the entire connection of the user. The proxy doesn't encrypt anything. With a VPN, everything is hidden. That means that none of your data is available to snoopers, hackers, and even your ISP.
2. Number of Tasks
Another thing we would like to point out is the fact that a proxy offers protection for one task at the time. A VPN protects every single thing you do online.
If you are downloading torrents with a proxy server, keep in mind that you will be exposed everytime you go to a torrent website. Those pages are also monitored by some agencies, and your real IP address is visible, giving them hints of what you may be doing.
It's also true that a VPN will be a bit slower than a proxy because of the encryption. It consumes resources and it has a minor impact on the speed.
We always preferred to download torrent files with a VPN because of the reasons mentioned above. If you are already a user of this VPN provider, using its main software would be a better choice.
Combining a VPN with a Proxy
Combining both options is also a choice that some users consider. Their intention is to have increased security because they will have one tool protecting them in case the other disconnects. That way, their IP is never exposed.
But nowadays, a VPN software is equipped with security tools that interrupt the Internet connection in case of malfunction. The main feature that performs this job is a Kill Switch. NordVPN has a good one that allows the user to choose if he wants to interrupt the whole connection or a specific software or app.
That being said, we don't see the need to run a proxy at the same time as a VPN. It won't give you any extra security.
A SOCKS5 proxy server can be a strong allied for users who want to download files with a different IP, making them anonymous. uTorrent has a simple options panel that allows NordVPN proxies to be easily configured. This is great for users who are only doing that task, only using a torrent program.
If there is a need for more online activities, you should consider a Virtual Private Network. It will encrypt and protect the entire Internet connection.