Yes, NordVPN offers the SOCKS5 proxy.
And it’s actually relatively easy to set up, so long as you know which NordVPN servers support SOCKS5!
Using either tool – a SOCKS5 proxy or a VPN like NordVPN – will give your basic cybersecurity levels a considerable boost.
But just as both have their strengths, they also have their weaknesses.
The great news is they complement each other very well.
Each tool’s strengths make up for the other’s weaknesses.
This is a major reason NordVPN offers the SOCKS5 proxy as part of its server network.
I use both NordVPN and SOCKS5 quite regularly.
So today, I thought I’d show you everything you need to know about how to do the same!
NordVPN & SOCKS5 Proxy
Many tutorials (and VPN providers) try to claim that you don’t need anything other than a VPN to protect your online privacy.
So why would you want to use NordVPN and the SOCKS5 proxy together?
Well, for starters, VPNs aren’t a one-stop solution to protecting your online privacy.
Just take a look at these two articles:
Remember how I said using NordVPN and the SOCKS5 proxy together complements both tools?
Here’s what I meant:
- VPNs like NordVPN offer 256-bit AES encryption, often called “military-grade encryption,” because government agencies like the NSA use it.
- SOCKS5, on the other hand, doesn’t encrypt your data at all.
- The encryption and protocols a VPN uses can sometimes limit where, when, and how you connect to the internet while also slowing your internet speeds down.
- Because SOCKS5 has better flexibility and can connect via any protocol, it’s a far more flexible and lightweight method for changing your IP address.
So, depending on how you configure your VPN and your SOCKS5 proxy setup, you can hit a sweet spot where you get the best of both.
Why NordVPN and SOCKS5?
Okay, so I gave away that you can use SOCKS5 together with almost any other VPN if you configure the two tools correctly.
But that can be a rather tricky task, especially if you don’t have the proper technical knowledge.
And if you don’t get the configuration right, you might end up exposing yourself to new vulnerabilities.
NordVPN understands the appeal of using its VPN software with the SOCKS5 proxy.
And because the VPN provider wants you to be safe, they want to make it easier for you.
This is why NordVPN integrated the SOCKS5 proxy into its VPN structure.
Granted, SOCKS5 isn’t available on all of NordVPN’s 5,200+ VPN servers, and you’ll need to contact the provider’s 24/7 live chat support team.
But once you know which servers to use, it’s as simple as a few clicks in the NordVPN app.
NordVPN even gives you complete control over how you want the configuration to work, i.e., what combination of NordVPN and the SOCKS5 proxy is your sweet spot:
- Maximum Security is a mode that focuses on fully encrypting your data by sacrificing a lot of the flexibility SOCKS5 offers.
- Maximum Speed is a mode that relies on the SOCKS5 proxy flexibility a lot more by sacrificing some of the VPN encryption levels but still encrypts your data.
- Best of Both Worlds is the third and final mode and arguably the most descriptive. As the name implies, it strikes the best possible balance between offering Maximum Security and Maximum Speed at the same time.
This way, NordVPN takes all of the guesswork (and the risks of trial and error) out of the picture!
That’s because NordVPN does the same thing for Tor users with its Onion Over VPN feature.
But there’s a catch…
One-Click NordVPN With SOCKS5 Isn’t Currently Available
Unfortunately, the one-click option isn’t currently available anymore.
In 2020, Zack Thompson – one of the moderators for the NordVPN Blog – mentioned that the provider’s SOCKS5 servers were undergoing optimization.
As a result, the list of SOCKS5 NordVPN servers was drastically shortened:
Unfortunately, it also seems NordVPN disabled the one-click SOCKS5 option in its apps – at least until the optimization work is complete.
When writing this article (August 2021), the optimization rework was still underway more than a year after it started.
I couldn’t get any direct answer from NordVPN’s support team as to why it’s taking so long or even whether the feature is expected to return.
If I were to make an educated guess, I think it’s at least partially due to NordVPN upgrading its full network to RAM-only servers.
Unfortunately, this means we’re back to manual configuration for the time being.
How to Use NordVPN SOCKS5 in Firefox? (Desktop Only)
Now that you know NordVPN offers the SOCK5 proxy, let’s look at how to use them together on Firefox!
As I mentioned in the previous subsection, this will, unfortunately, require manual configuration.
The good news is, it’s still easy!
- Open your Firefox browser and download the add-on “FoxyProxy Standard.”
- When it’s done installing, click the FoxyProxy icon in your toolbar.
- Select “Options.”
- When the page pops up, click “Add.”
- Enter the NordVPN SOCKS5 server address in the Proxy IP address or DNS name box (you’ll need to ask NordVPN’s live chat support for an active address). At the time of writing (August 2021), these are the servers I was given:
- Use 1080 as the port number.
- Enter your NordVPN username and password.
- Click “Save” and run an IP leaks test to make sure the connection works.
How to Use NordVPN SOCKS5 With qBittorrent?
Using SOCKS5 proxies is especially popular with Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing activities.
And using a reliable torrenting VPN is especially important!
Luckily, NordVPN’s SOCKS5 proxy setup works perfectly.
Here’s how to set it up with qBittorrent, my preferred torrent client:
- Open your qBittorrent client.
- Click on Tools and select Options.
- In the Options window, click on Connection in the sidebar.
- Under the Proxy Server section, select SOCKS5 as your Type.
- Enter the NordVPN SOCKS5 server address in the Host box (you’ll need to ask NordVPN’s live chat support for an active address). At the time of writing (August 2021), these are the servers I was given:
- Use 1080 as the port number.
- Enter your NordVPN username and password.
- Click “OK” and run an IP leaks test to make sure the connection works.
Can You Use NordVPN SOCKS5 With Your Smartphone?
iOS and Android mobile devices don’t support the SOCKS5 proxy natively – only the less flexible HTTP proxy.
However, there’s still a way to get SOCKS5 on your iOS or Android device.
Unfortunately, this method is problematic – and during my tests, I couldn’t get either app to work properly.
As a last-ditch effort for Android users with some technical know-how, it is possible to set up a NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy connection with a rooted Android device.
However, if your root attempt is unsuccessful, your device can be irreparably damaged.
For this reason, I don’t recommend attempting to root your device unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
Can You Use NordVPN SOCKS5 With Chrome?
Users used to be able to use NordVPN SOCKS5 with Chrome.
However, in recent updates, Chrome merged its proxy settings with the Windows 10 proxy settings.
And as Windows 10 has no option to enter your NordVPN username and password, there is no (known) way to use the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy with Chrome until NordVPN reinstates its SOCKS5 one-click feature.
How to Use NordVPN and SOCKS5 Proxy to Watch US Netflix?
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for Netflix – and especially for watching Netflix US!
This is because the provider has hundreds of VPN servers in the US.
And they’re all optimized for streaming.
Some of them are also optimized as NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy servers.
So, to use NordVPN and the SOCKS5 proxy to watch US Netflix, follow the setup process above for Firefox.
The only difference is you’ll need to specifically ask NordVPN’s live chat support for a SOCKS5 proxy server in the US (if the one I listed isn’t working).
Unfortunately, until NordVPN reinstates its one-click SOCKS5 feature, you’ll either have to use Firefox for Netflix US or, alternatively, use the NordVPN app or browser extensions.
How to Make Sure NordVPN SOCKS5 Is Working Properly?
The best way to make sure your NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy setup is working is to run an IP test.
As you might have noticed, I included this as one of the configuration steps above!
I use BrowserLeaks.com, as it allows you to run multiple tests, including for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
But it isn’t the only option.
Specifically, if you’re using NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy with your torrent client, you can make sure it’s working properly by following these steps:
- Visit the ipMagnet website, click the URL under “Link,” and click “Magnet Link” (without quitting the website).
- In the pop-up window, choose how you want to open the magnet link. Select qBittorrent (or whichever torrent client you’re using), then click OK.
- Once your torrent client is done launching, choose where to save the torrent file before clicking “OK” again.
- You’ll see an entry in your torrent client showing the “ipMagnet Tracking Link” file synchronizing.
- Go back to the browser page where you have the ipMagnet website open. It’ll show that your torrent client is connected to the P2P network via the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy server.
Quick Troubleshooting Guide
If you follow the setup guides above, you shouldn’t have any issues getting the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy to work properly (save for the unavoidable Android and iOS troubles).
However, as I mentioned earlier, NordVPN confirmed (albeit informally) that its list of SOCKS5 proxy servers is going through an optimization process.
As a result, not all of the options you’ll find online are guaranteed to work.
This means if one of NordVPN’s SOCKS5 proxy server addresses was working for you previously, it isn’t always guaranteed to.
If you’re suddenly finding the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy isn’t working for you, it’s most likely because you’ve set up a server that has since been removed for optimization.
Unfortunately, with NordVPN being tight-lipped over why the process is taking over a year to complete, the only option is to contact their live chat support team.
They’ll be able to give you a new SOCKS5 proxy server address to use.
How to Get NordVPN’s SOCKS5 Proxy Server List?
To get NordVPN’s SOCKS5 proxy server list, you’ll need to contact NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat support.
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing server optimization upgrades for SOCKS5, this is the only option, and you might need to check again regularly.
What Ports Should I Use for the NordVPN SOCKS5 Proxy?
1080 is the port you should use for the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy.
While SOCKS5 is a very flexible proxy and can run on almost any port and protocol, 1080 seems to work the best.
NordVPN SOCKS5 Proxy – Closing Thoughts
It’s a little frustrating that NordVPN is taking over a year to complete its SOCKS5 proxy server optimization and isn’t publishing regular updates.
This also resulted in losing one of the best features: the one-click NordVPN SOCKS5 Proxy feature built into NordVPN’s apps.
But luckily, NordVPN still supports SOCKS5 – and it’s still pretty easy to set up!
NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat support also makes finding NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy servers easy, especially as the team is always friendly.
Interested in getting started using the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy servers?
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