In this article, we clear up the difference between SOCKS5 vs VPN, so you can Torrent Your Arse Off ™ – anonymously and with fast download speeds.  SOCKS5 is the fast, inexpensive solution for downloading torrents anonymously.  Torrents can be slow to download anonymously over VPN, so we use SOCKS5 to get our torrents downloads running faster than a particle in the CERN Hadron Collector, while still maintaining our IP Address anonymity.

How to use this guide:  First check out the quick SOCKS5 vs VPN Ultra-Simple Explanation (“cheat sheet”) just below the text you’re reading now – then check out the SOCKS5 vs VPN Transfer Speeds Comparison ( Bar Graph) further down the page.  After you’ve read all that (once you’re enlightened), you can get the best SOCKS5 service here.

SOCKS5 vs VPN: The Ultra-Simple Explanation


  • Hide your IP address
  • Fully encrypted
  • Fast speeds for everything but torrenting


  • Hide your IP address
  • No encryption
  • FAST torrent download speeds

The Take-Away:  VPN is perfect for securely and anonymously transferring all kinds of data except for torrents (because torrents download slowly via VPN).  On the other hand, SOCKS5 is not preferable for normal daily data transfer (because SOCKS5 is not encrypted) – yet SOCKS5 is perfect for torrenting anonymously since your IP address is hidden along with your identity.

Nerdy Link:  If you’re interested in reading the technical details about SOCKS5, see the wiki article or IPVanish’s article.




Your location is: Ashburn VA

Your current IP address is: 2001:4455:2f7:b700:f880:7bad:b46b:1768

You can stream and download anonymously through your PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone through IP Vanish.

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SOCKS5 vs VPN for Torrenting

The most typical use-case for SOCKS5 is for anyone who needs to download torrents.

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Problem:  Content that we download via torrents can sometimes be mistakenly marked as copywritten material – even when the content is legal to distribute!  In these cases, you can receive a nasty letter from your ISP (or god forbid – a gov’t organization).

Solution:  To keep this from happening, we can use SOCKS5 to conceal our location & identity, just like we can with a VPN.  But for torrents – SOCKS5 is much faster.

SOCKS5 vs VPN Transfer Speeds

The reason you’d want to use SOCKS5 instead of a VPN to download torrents anonymously and/or unblock blocked resources is because SOCKS5 results in faster transfer speeds.

  • Summary of Table Data:  SOCKS5 is much faster than VPN for downloading torrents, because it does not encrypt the transferred data – simply hides your IP address to anonymize the traffic ;). Boom.

See the data in the chart below that shows typical differences in SOCKS5 vs VPN transfer speeds:


Testing method Transfer Speed (Result) (with No VPN or SOCKS5 active) 100Mbps (Megabits per second) (with VPN active) 96Mbps (Megabits per second)
uTorrent Download (with VPN active) 2Mbps (Megabits per second)
uTorrent Download (with SOCKS5 active) 10Mbps

Testing environment details:

Notice: Hackers create fake WiFi hotspots to steal your passwords when you log in to public WiFi. Secure your data.

OS:  Windows 7 x64

App:  uTorrent v3.3

VPN: IPVanish Secure VPN in Chicago, USA

SOCKS5 Server:  IPVanish SOCKS5 Server in Chicago, USA

What is SOCKS5?

SOCKS5 is the name of an Internet Protocol that uses a proxy server to deliver packets between a client and a server.  The SOCKS5 (“proxy server”) protocol gives you the anonymity you need to download torrents without worry – while still maintaining the high data transfer speeds you’re accustomed to ;)  So you can download all those great legal TV Show episodes you’ve been wanting to torrent.

What is VPN?

VPN is a way of re-routing your packets by passing them first to a secure server.  Then the secure server sends them securely to their destination.  While this is the most secure and most anonymous way of torrenting or transferring ANY kind of data, download speeds can suffer due to the encryption.  This is where SOCKS5 steps in.  Here are some facts about VPN and SOCKS:

  • SOCKS5 gives faster transfer speeds for torrenting!
  • VPN is still the mac-daddy of secure, anonymous data transfer – but SOCKS5 can accomplish the same goals for torrenting while still giving us high data transfer speeds.
  • Therefore, we recommend using VPN for all your normal data traffic, and then use SOCKS5 for your torrents.

This way you’ll get the maximum security for your normal traffic, and you’ll still get the security, privacy, and anonymity (and SPEED!) when downloading your torrents.

How to Set Up SOCKS5 for Torrenting

For uTorrent:

  • After you sign up for IPVanish’s SOCKS5 service, go to your IPVanish Control Panel (via browser)
  • In the IPVanish Control Panel, go to the Server List
  • Click on the SOCKS5 Proxy tab
  • You’ll be asked to create a username and password in order to use the proxy server (this is separate from your normal IPVanish username & password)
  • Launch uTorrent
  • Go to Options
  • Enter your SOCKS5 Proxy server address
  • Download torrents with SPEED

This setup process is pretty much the same for most/all torrent clients.  It’s a simple concept:

  1. Get the SOCKS5 proxy server address from IPVanish
  2. Enter the SOCKS5 proxy server address into your torrent client
  3. Download torrents like you normally would, but now with anonymity and speed.