Create a SOCKS5 Proxy Server with Shadowsocks on Ubuntu and CentOS 7

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Create a SOCKS5 Proxy Server with Shadowsocks on Ubuntu and CentOS 7

Shadowsocks is a lightweight SOCKS5 web proxy tool primarily utilized to bypass network censorship and blocking on certain websites and web protocols. A full setup requires a Linode server to host the Shadowsocks daemon, and a client installed on PC, Mac, Linux, or a mobile device. Unlike other proxy software, Shadowsocks traffic is designed to be both indiscernible from other traffic to third-party monitoring tools, and also able to disguise itself as a normal direct connection. Data passing through Shadowsocks is encrypted for additional security and privacy.

Since there is currently no Shadowsocks package available for Ubuntu or CentOS, this guide shows how to build Shadowsocks from source.

Before You Begin

  1. The commands in this guide require root privileges. To run the steps as an elevated user with sudo privileges, prepend each command with sudo. If two commands are presented in the same instance (separated by &&), remember to use sudo after the && (ex. sudo [command] && sudo [command]). To create a standard user account with sudo privileges, complete the Add a Limited User Account section of our Securing your Server guide.

  2. A working firewall is a necessary security measure. Firewall instructions will be presented for UFW, FirewallD, and Iptables. To configure a firewall on your Linode, visit one of our guides:

Install the Shadowsocks Server

Download Source Code and Dependencies

  1. Update system repositories, then download and install dependencies:

    Ubuntu 17.04

    apt update && apt upgrade -yuf
    apt install -y --no-install-recommends gettext build-essential autoconf libtool libpcre3-dev \
                                           asciidoc xmlto libev-dev libudns-dev automake libmbedtls-dev \
                                           libsodium-dev git python-m2crypto libc-ares-dev

    CentOS 7

    yum update && yum upgrade -y
    yum install epel-release -y
    yum install -y gcc gettext autoconf libtool automake make pcre-devel asciidoc xmlto udns-devel \
                   libev-devel libsodium-devel mbedtls-devel git m2crypto c-ares-devel
  2. Navigate to the /opt directory and download the Shadowsocks Git module:

    git clone
    cd shadowsocks-libev
    git submodule update --init --recursive
  3. Install Shadowsocks-libev:

    make && make install

Configure the Shadowsocks Server

  1. Create a new system user for Shadowsocks:

    Ubuntu 17.04

    adduser --system --no-create-home --group shadowsocks

    CentOS 7

    adduser --system --no-create-home -s /bin/false shadowsocks
  2. Create a new directory for the configuration file:

    mkdir -m 755 /etc/shadowsocks
  3. Create the Shadowsocks config file. Paste the contents listed below into the file, noting the instructions in the shadowsocks.json Breakdown table for each property. Follow these instructions to determine the value you should set for each property.

shadowsocks.json Breakdown

PropertyExplanationPossible Values
serverEnter your server’s public IP address.User determined
server_portShadowsocks will listen on this port. Use the default value of 8388.User determined
local_addressLocal listening address. Use your loopback address, address
local_portLocal listening port. Use the default value of 1080.User determined
passwordConnection password. Set a strong password.User determined
timeoutConnection timeout in seconds. The default value should be sufficient here.User determined
methodEncryption method. Using AEAD algorithms is recommended.See Stream Ciphers and AEAD Ciphers
fast_openReduces latency when turned on. Can only be used with kernel versions 3.7.1 or higher. Check your kernel version with umame -r.true, false
nameserverName servers for internal DNS resolver.User determined
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 910
    "local_address": "",
    "fast_open": true

Optimize Shadowsocks

Apply the following optimizations to your system kernel to provide for a smooth running Shadowsocks installation.

  1. Create the /etc/sysctl.d/local.conf system optimization file and paste the contents shown below into your file.

    These settings provide the optimal kernel configuration for Shadowsocks. If you have previously configured your system kernel settings for any reason, make sure no conflicts exist.
     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445
    # max open files
    fs.file-max = 51200
    # max read buffer
    net.core.rmem_max = 67108864
    # max write buffer
    net.core.wmem_max = 67108864
    # default read buffer
    net.core.rmem_default = 65536
    # default write buffer
    net.core.wmem_default = 65536
    # max processor input queue
    net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 4096
    # max backlog
    net.core.somaxconn = 4096
    # resist SYN flood attacks
    net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies = 1
    # reuse timewait sockets when safe
    net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1
    # turn off fast timewait sockets recycling
    net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 0
    # short FIN timeout
    net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 30
    # short keepalive time
    net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 1200
    # outbound port range
    net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 10000 65000
    # max SYN backlog
    net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog = 4096
    # max timewait sockets held by system simultaneously
    net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 5000
    # turn on TCP Fast Open on both client and server side
    net.ipv4.tcp_fastopen = 3
    # TCP receive buffer
    net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 4096 87380 67108864
    # TCP write buffer
    net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 4096 65536 67108864
    # turn on path MTU discovery
    net.ipv4.tcp_mtu_probing = 1
    # for high-latency network
    net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control = hybla
    # for low-latency network, use cubic instead
    net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control = cubic
  2. Apply optimizations:

    sysctl --system

Create a Shadowsocks Systemd Service

The Shadowsocks systemd service allows the daemon to automatically start on system boot and run in the background.

  1. Create a systemd file with the following content:

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    Description=Shadowsocks proxy server
    ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/ss-server -c /etc/shadowsocks/shadowsocks.json -a shadowsocks -v start
    ExecStop=/usr/local/bin/ss-server -c /etc/shadowsocks/shadowsocks.json -a shadowsocks -v stop
  2. Enable and start shadowsocks.service:

    systemctl daemon-reload
    systemctl enable shadowsocks
    systemctl start shadowsocks

Open Firewall Port for Shadowsocks Client

Depending on your preference, you may use either the iptables, UFW, or firewallD (CentOS 7 only) commands to complete this section.

Open port 8388 for the Shadowsocks Client:


iptables -4 -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 8388 -m comment --comment "Shadowsocks server listen port" -j ACCEPT


ufw allow proto tcp to port 8388 comment "Shadowsocks server listen port"


firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=public --add-rich-rule='
    rule family="ipv4"
    port protocol="tcp" port="8388" accept'

    firewall-cmd --reload

Install a Shadowsocks Client

The second stage to a Shadowsocks setup is to install a client on the user’s device. This could include a computer, mobile device, tablet, and even home network router. Supported operating systems include Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux, Android, and OpenWRT.

Mac OS Shadowsocks Client

Download ShadowsocksX-NG, or the appropriate GUI or CLI client for your system:

Shadowsocks download page

Once the program is installed, run it, and then enter your information in the New Server button:

Shadowsocks configuration

Press the Global Mode button to enable Shadowsocks globally on your computer.

Install Windows Client

  1. Navigate to the Windows Shadowsocks page. Click on under Downloads.

  2. Extract the contents of the .zip file into any folder and run Shadowsocks.exe. Shadowsocks will run as a background process. Locate the Shadowsocks icon in the taskbar (it may be in the Hidden Icons taskbar menu), right-click on the Shadowsocks icon, then click on Edit Servers. Enter the information that you saved in the shadowsocks.json file.

    New server configuration dialog

  3. Right-click on the Shadowsocks icon again. Mouse over PAC and select both Local PAC and Secure Local PAC. To confirm that your Linode’s IP address is selected, mouse over Servers.

Where to Go from Here

Once your Shadowsocks server is online, configure a client on your mobile phone, tablet, or any other devices you use. The Shadowsocks client download page supports all mainstream platforms.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

See Also

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