I want to add SOCKS proxy settings to /etc/apt/apt.conf. What is the syntax for it? Is it same as http and ftp syntax?



A possible solution can be to use tsocks, an application that can redirect the network traffic through a socks proxy. Install tsocks package, modify /etc/tsocks.conf to set address and port number of your socks proxy, and run:

$ sudo -s
# tsocks apt-get update
# tsocks apt-get dist-upgrade
# exit


$ sudo -s
# . tsocks -on
# apt-get update
# apt-get dist-upgrade
# . tsocks -off # not really necessary, given the exit
# exit

You can think to a number of options, to simplify and automate its use.
Don't forget the leading dot, the Manpage has more deatails on this.

Edit: a shorter way to use it:

$ sudo tsocks apt-get update
$ sudo tsocks apt-get dist-upgrade
  • 12
    It seems tsocks is not installed by default, so I need to run sudo tsocks apt-get install tsocks. Hahahahahaha...
    – fikr4n
    Apr 12 '16 at 7:21
  • 1
    You can use curl to download tsocks, install it and then use :)
    – neutrinus
    May 20 '16 at 20:38
  • 3
    Also: As of apt 1.3~rc1 (Debian version, not sure exactly which Ubuntu version, though my guess is not until Zesty), you can use Acquire::http::Proxy "socks5h://hostname:port/". See the changelog at anonscm.debian.org/gitweb/?p=apt/apt.git;a=blob;f=debian/…
    – derobert
    Feb 21 '17 at 22:12
  • 1
    Well... that's funny. To make apt-get work you need to... apt-get something!
    – Equidamoid
    Jul 5 '17 at 17:48
  • 2
    a little correction to @derobert line: Acquire::socks::Proxy "socks5h://hostname:port/"; does the trick. Http does not - try it with Tor and you'll see a standard response "Tor is not a http proxy", so the http goes replaced by socks - and it works! Aug 20 '17 at 11:30
Acquire::http::proxy "socks5h://server:port";

This works for me on Ubuntu 18.04. As the man page says, socks5h, not socks5, is supported by apt, which means socks5 proxy with DNS resolving ability.

  • 2
    This is correct and indeed seems to work on Ubuntu 18.04. Although one might want to include Acquire::https::proxy and Acquire::ftp::proxy as well (with the same value).
    – Hamy
    Mar 1 '19 at 14:19
  • 4
    adding proxy rule Acquire::https::proxy "socks5h://server:port"; to a apt.conf.d file (like /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/12proxy) works just fine. I would suggest to stick to https unless otherwise is necessary.
    – codegenki
    May 9 '19 at 6:35
  • 2
    Also for a proxy server requiring authentication, this line is modified as Acquire::http::proxy "socks5h://user:pass@server:port";. The above rule works just fine in Ubuntu 18.04. Here socks5h enforces DNS resolution at the proxy server.
    – codegenki
    May 9 '19 at 6:44
  • Anyone knows if this works in Ubuntu 16.04?
    – becko
    Jun 18 '19 at 12:54
  • doesn't work on 14.04 Jul 6 '19 at 12:55

Using the next config line works for me:

Acquire::socks::proxy "socks5://server:port";

To keep apt.conf clean and avoid problems at Linux upgrade I created a new file (/etc/apt/apt.conf.d/12proxy) and added the config file to it.

  • what's the begin number mean in the foler
    – LF00
    Dec 29 '16 at 2:14
  • It's just the script execution order
    – Bit-Man
    Dec 30 '16 at 11:48
  • 1
    This is wrong. This doesn't work.
    – dedunumax
    Sep 7 '18 at 2:08
  • What failed to you @dedunumax? Any error? Any clue?
    – Bit-Man
    Sep 7 '18 at 15:35
  • 3
    It should be Acquire::http::proxy and also socks5h for dns resolution on proxy side
    – ZAB
    May 29 '19 at 20:50

I couldn't find anything on Acquire::socks::proxy in the apt.conf manual of Ubuntu Xenial. You could fix this by running a local http proxy that supports upstream socks proxy, for example Polipo. You need to configure Polipo as follows:

proxyAddress = "::1"
proxyPort = 8118
socksParentProxy = "sockshost:socksport"
socksProxyType = socks5

and then set the http proxy in your apt.conf file:

Acquire::http::proxy "";
Acquire::https::proxy "";
  • This is a great solution, it worked for me smoothly on Ubuntu 14.04. Thank you Apr 21 '20 at 10:22

Or tou can put in your /etc/apt/apt.conf something like this:

Acquire::socks::proxy "socks://user:pass@host:port/";
  • 2
    This doesn't seem to work in Ubuntu 12.04
    – Shnatsel
    Oct 16 '13 at 17:38
  • Works in 13.10.
    – isaaclw
    May 2 '14 at 4:11
  • 4
    I'm pretty sure this is wrong syntax, it means "proxy all URLs that begin with socks:// through socks://user:pass@host:port/". Really, it should be this: Acquire::http::proxy "socks://user:pass@host:port/"; Jul 18 '14 at 16:03
  • @Hans-ChristophSteiner: This makes a connection to the indicated host and port, but the connection does not use the socks protocol. It looks like a http proxy protocol, but I did not check with an actual http proxy. Apr 16 '15 at 0:02
  • At this point, I'm sure that Acquire::socks is for setting the proxy for URLs that start with socks://. So that means you don't need a proxy to access the internet, and apt is not using any proxy for ftp://, http://, or https://.. apt only supports HTTP proxies, i.e. Acquire::http::proxy "http://localhost:8118. Sep 8 '15 at 19:38

In Debian, you can read the manpage apt-transport-http(1) and look for supported URI schemes. As was answered before, put

Acquire::http::proxy "socks5h://server:port";



You can read more about the APT-config in general in apt.conf(5) and read the examples in /usr/share/doc/apt/examples/configure-index.gz mentioned at the end of the manpage.

This can be combined with ssh -D <LOCAL PORT> <USER>@<HOST> to create a SOCKS proxy to a different system so that apt can then use the proxy as if everything originated on <HOST>.

If you use ssh -D<LOCAL PORT> <USER>@<HOST> or ssh -D [::]:<LOCAL PORT> <USER>@<HOST> (for IPv6) to enable other systems to use the SOCKS proxy on all interfaces. This can be a security risk or breach of (corporate) policy. Make sure you know what you are doing.

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