Why Are Residential Proxies Better Than Datacenter Proxies
Proxies are a useful service for when it is important to hide your IP online. There are multiple affordable options of proxies and also plenty of free services too. Any home user can use a free proxy as they could a VPN if they wanted to mask their IP address.
Businesses are far more likely to avoid free VPNs or proxies and choose a more advanced paid proxy service. Traditionally, this would have involved using a data center proxy server, but there are other choices available now, and businesses are making use of them.
A number of providers now are offering residential proxies, and many firms involved in data collection, optimizing content for SEO, and social media marketing are recommending these other data center proxies. Providers promise that they are more reliable and secure than shared proxies. But are they really better, and if so, why?
What is the purpose of a proxy?
All proxies have one main purpose. That is to provide a gateway for your information to flow anonymously to a website and back again. When you connect to a proxy service, your data will no longer travel directly to the website you are visiting.
Instead, you will be assigned a new IP by the proxy provider, and all traffic will appear to come from the proxy’s IP. For all intents and purposes, the website will believe the proxy IP address belongs to the user.
This means you get to remain anonymous and can choose a different location to operate from. For instance, in 2022, Slovakia had the biggest Netflix library in the world. So, switching your proxy to that country would allow you to see new content.
Proxies are used by home users and businesses to mask their IPs, access geo-restricted websites, and connect to the internet securely. How this traffic is routed will depend on the type of proxy you use because not all proxies are quite the same.
What are the differences between proxy services?
A datacenter proxy is shared by many users, and the IPs are generated by the provider. Residential and mobile proxies are different. ProxyEmpire.io explains that residential IPs are provided by real internet service providers and are linked to genuine devices. Mobile proxy IPs are linked to mobile networks and are also genuine.
Some of the differences between mobile, residential, and shared data center proxies include cost, reliability, privacy, and what they can be used for. All three types of proxy will mask your IP, but some will do so more effectively.
What is a residential proxy service?
When you connect to a data center proxy, the traffic between your device and the websites you look at will be funneled through the proxy server. With a residential proxy, things are quite different, which is what makes them a superior option for many.
If you use a residential proxy you will be connected to a genuine device that is linked to an ISP. In effect, you will appear to be a residential internet user who uses one of the many internet service providers around the world.
Your IP will be hidden as it would through a mobile or data center proxy, and you will be anonymous while online. Due to the cost though, residential proxies are not used as much by individuals as data center proxies are, and are currently used more by businesses. However, micro plans are offered by many businesses to make the service more affordable to individuals who are currently choosing data center proxies.
What is a data center proxy?
A data center proxy will still hide your IP as a residential proxy will expect the IP address provided is not linked to an ISP. This means that these IPs are more detectable, and can be flagged up as suspicious by websites.
These proxies still work as intermediaries, except that they funnel your traffic through a server instead of a device linked to a residential IP. They are also shared with other users, and this can cause some issues.
Nevertheless, data center proxies offer a reliable, affordable, and easily accessible solution to individuals and businesses who wish to remain anonymous online. It just might be though that residential proxies offer more.
Why are residential proxies better than data center proxies?
One of the biggest problems with shard data center proxy servers is what is known as the neighbor effect. Sometimes, and perhaps more appropriately, this is called the bad neighbor effect. It effectively means that your proxy IP could be blacklisted from websites through guilt by association.
If a user was acting suspiciously online, or perhaps involved in fraud, the website could report this IP to the proxy provider. Blanket bans can and have occurred which make datacenter proxies null and void for certain websites. Unfortunate web users can even find their own IPs on blacklists, and the Passive Spam Block List check is just one of many blacklists operating today.
Residential proxies don’t have the same problem as shard proxy servers. For instance, ProxyEmpire Residential Proxies provides genuine IPs provided by ISPs that are linked to one device and not a shared server.
Residential IPs are far harder to detect than data center IPs due to their authenticity. And websites are far less likely to blacklist residential internet protocol addresses when there is a high chance they are genuine web users.
Why use residential proxies?
Data center proxies provide a valuable tool to businesses, and they are still used by millions of people. However, the value of a residential IP for certain business practices is understood. For instance, data center proxies can be used for web scraping but they may be more practical for smaller-scale data collection than residential proxies are.
The neighbor effect means that data center proxies may not always be fully effective for tasks such as web scraping. Website owners want to protect their data and content from cyber attacks and online threats. Quite rightly, they wish to protect their customer’s sensitive data from any breaches also.
So, websites utilize different types of security including botnet protection. Social media sites invest a lot of time and money into shutting down bots and fake accounts. Website operators try to stop web scrapers from extracting data and content. When any IP is identified as being linked to these activities, it will be flagged and banned.
Residential proxies are almost undetectable from real users. Therefore, they are ideal for use with web scrapers, social media marketing, and other types of data collection.
What can you use a residential proxy for?
Any individual who decides to use a residential proxy for home use would find the world opened up to them. At the moment it is more likely that a business would use residential proxies than a home user, but there are some reasons an individual would want a reliable secure proxy too.
A home user could utilize a residential proxy for:
- Accessing ticket sites
- Accessing sneaker sites
- Streaming foreign content
- Accessing geo-blocked promotions
- Opening multiple social media accounts
Buying sneakers through proxies is a growing trend now. This lets fans of sneakers be able to buy more than one pair when limited editions are released. Often brands will limit purchases of new line sneakers to one pair per customer. using different IP addresses bypasses this problem.
Similarly, configuring a proxy to appear in another country can give access to new content, and different promotions. For someone interested in reselling tickets or other products, a residential proxy could be a cost-effective solution.
Any size business can use residential proxies. And some of the more common tasks that are made easy through proxies are these:
- Web scraping and data mining
- Social media marketing
- SEO improvements and compliance
- Price comparison
- Ad verification
- Bypassing geo-restrictions
Being able to switch a proxy to a different region means that a business can check to see what adverts are being displayed on their own pages. Your business could unwittingly be displaying inappropriate or even rival advertising in different geographical regions.
Residential proxies are fast becoming one of the important social media marketing tools today. Being able to make multiple social media accounts through a proxy undetected is vital to being able to scrape valuable data.
And web scraping itself is made more effective through the use of residential proxies. Residential proxies can have 1,000 concurrent connections, and through the use of rotating IPs, mass web scraping can occur.
This means that you can collect and analyze all manner of competitor data including market prices for comparison, contact details for leads, SEO improvements for content, and keyword analysis. So long as all the data you collect is not confidential then web scraping is an allowed business practice.
Is it okay to use a residential proxy?
There are some regions of the world where proxy use is banned or restricted. Back in 2017, Russia passed a bill to prohibit the use of proxies. It is regimes that strive to restrict internet access from their inhabitants that make proxies and VPNs more vital for freedoms.
Fortunately, the majority of countries don’t ban the use of proxies. Residential proxies use authentic ISPs to obtain IP addresses. There is nothing illegal about the practice, and proxies provide a safer way to browse and work online.
While there are accusations of residential proxies enabling online fraud, the majority of people using these services are doing so to protect their sensitive data, and improve business practices.
Residential proxies by default are better than data center versions due to the way IP addresses are assigned. Datacenter proxies allocate IPs that are generated in blocks and not linked to genuine ISPs. Residential proxies, however, assign authentic IP addresses linked to real devices connected to ISPs.
They provide a valuable tool for businesses involved in data collection and analysis today, and these proxies are widely used in eCommerce and social media marketing. While data center proxies remain a useful tool for businesses and individuals seeking anonymity and safety online, residential proxies have several advantages.
Secondary Image Source: Unsplash