SOCKS is an Internet protocol that facilitates the routing of network packets between client–server applications via a proxy server. SOCKS performs at Layer 5 of the OSI model—the session layer (an intermediate layer between the presentation layer and the transport layer). Port 1080 is the registered port designated for the SOCKS server.

The SOCKS5 protocol was originally a security protocol that made firewalls and other security products easier to administer. (source: Wikipedia: SOCKS)

SOCKS servers

Debian provides some SOCKS5 compatible server... search SOCKS in your prefered packages manager, like: apt-cache search SOCKS At the time of writting, DebianTesting has:

Also, many people uses openssh to act as a SOCKS5 server, see

SOCKS clients

Some applications can be instructed to use the SOCKS proxy in various ways:

SOCKS helpers & wrappers

Some helpers:

(If you wonder which one is the most poular, check: popcon )



Application specific instructions

Using SSH client

(If your gateway doesn't have a SOCKS helper, there are some alternatives, using netcat , or even this one [which doesn't work in Debian because of 146464] )

tsocks can be used too.

SSH and connect-proxy

Assuming your SOCKS server is running on your localhost, listening on port 20000, you could run one of the following commands:

  1. ssh root@mysshserver -o ProxyCommand='connect-proxy -S localhost:20000 %h %p'

  2. Configure your ~/.ssh/config:

    host mysshserver
      User root
      ProxyCommand connect-proxy -S localhost:20000 %h %p

    then simply run: ssh mysshserver

  3. Define an environement variable and an alias in ~/.bashrc :

    export SOCKS5_SERVER=localhost:20000
    alias ssh_socks="ssh -o ProxyCommand='connect-proxy -s  %h %p'"

    which makes it easy to ssh through your SOCKS proxy when you need it, by simply running: ssh_socks root@mysshserver

See also