Proxies have a way of transforming all you thought you knew about the internet and shattering those assumptions into a million pieces. Think you’re restricted to the geographical location of your IP address? Wrong. Assume you’re forever blocked from websites whose origins come from countries other than your own? Not a chance. A proxy is a gateway between you and the internet. A way to bypass restrictions, break down digital barriers and create anonymity never before seen on run-of-the-mill laptops. A proxy is your solution for secure web scraping and an escape from prying, hacker-like eyes. But you need only google the word “proxy” once to find a number of different types to choose from. A wide variety of options can be overwhelming, not to mention confusing to those unfamiliar with the intricate details of proxy use.
Before you go jumping ship on me, I’m going to define two of the most important types of proxies. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be equipped to buy the right proxy for your needs. In this blog, we’re discussing the differences between datacenter proxies and residential proxies. You want to buy a proxy asap, so enough chatter, let’s explore.
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What are Datacenter Proxies?
Datacenter proxies are known to be the most common proxies. In fact, they are probably the first proxies to pop into your brain, if you are odd and spend as much of your time thinking about proxies as I do. However, there is a good chance you don’t know the specifics of how these proxies operate. Time to investigate.
First off, datacenter proxies don’t have anything to do with your internet connection or internet service provider. These proxies are completely independent of either one. Typically, you buy datacenter proxies in bulk from a secondary source, giving you an assortment of IP addresses to use. Every proxy will have its own unique IP address. Whenever you connect with one of the datacenter proxies, it will mask your identity by providing you with a new IP address. This will make it appear as though you are in a different location. For instance, with a datacenter proxy, you can be in Germany and get an IP address that is located in California. A datacenter proxy provider will allow you to choose the location of your IP address, giving you the freedom to stream or browse from anywhere in the world.
The main benefit of using a datacenter proxy is anonymity. A datacenter proxy hides your identity when you’re surfing the web. That means you can easily cop sneakers, scrape data, or do anything else that you want without people knowing who you are. With the rise of social media, it’s easy to feel overexposed online. A datacenter IP is a great way to combat that.
How to Use a Datacenter IP
Datacenter proxies can be used in a myriad of ways, but I want to talk about a major draw that keeps customers coming back for more and more IP addresses.
Web scraping is an automated way to collect data from websites. Using datacenter proxies for scraping gives you a better chance for overall success. Think of a web scraper like a diamond collected in a sea of gold mines. All that scraper wants is one diamond but is forced to wade through gold in order to find one. Once you tell a scraper what to look for, it searches through whatever corner of the internet you like, Facebook, Google, etc. until it gathers enough scrapes on a specific subject. Datacenter proxies allow you to scrape at higher volumes. The more IP addresses you have, the greater the chance for success while scraping. If you use a datacenter IP vs residential IP proxies for scraping, you have a better chance of remaining anonymous while sorting through public information.
A datacenter proxy is faster than a residential proxy, this means that you will be able to scrap more in a shorter period of time. If you run a company that performs a lot of market research or want to launch a product but need more information about consumer feedback, then scraping is a fantastic way to gain enough insight into your query. Web scrapers save you time, energy, and money. Pair a datacenter proxy with a web scraper and you’re setting yourself up for success.
What are Residential Proxies?
Time to define residential IPs. Whenever you connect to the internet, you’re using a residential IP address. Your IP address identifies who you are and allows you to connect to various websites across the internet. For instance, let’s say that you call AT&T to get their high-speed internet service. They send you a modem, and after setting it up, you can go online. A residential IP address allows you to do this. Every computer in the world comes with a unique IP address, a way to identify your online activity.
Your IP address is either static or dynamic. A static IP address never changes, meaning it’s the same every time you log onto the internet. On the other hand, a dynamically assigned IP address does change. If your IP address is dynamic, it might be a specific number one day and then another number the next. Even if it changes, your identifying factors remain the same. That means that websites can identify your location based on your IP address. Most people don’t know what their IP addresses are, but there is an easy way to find out. Simply go to a site like What is My IP Address and you’ll have access to all of your details, including your IP address, internet service provider, city, region, and country. You will even get a map of your location. If preferred, you can click to get additional information. This shows you just how powerful your residential IP is. Think of all the identifying information that can be accessed this way.
So, in short, a residential proxy is an IP address provided by an ISP or internet service provider to a homeowner. For instance, an ISP might sell a personal Comcast IP address out of California to someone who lives in Brazil. That way, the resident of Brazil will get a connection that looks like it belongs to a person who lives in California.
Datacenter vs Residential Proxies
So, we’ve come to the main discussion at hand: datacenter proxies vs residential. Before you can choose the best proxy for your needs, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.
Let’s start with datacenter proxies. These proxies are super affordable, costing just a few dollars per month. That small investment allows you to enjoy all of the benefits that come with private datacenter proxies. In addition, it is easy to buy them in bulk, something that is important if you need to do something like scrape data. Because you can continue to change your proxies out, websites have a more difficult time detecting your activity. With a datacenter proxy comes the option for rotating proxies, which automatically rotate out, making it even harder for you to be detected. There is one main drawback of using datacenter proxies in that they don’t trace back to an internet service provider. Therefore, if someone inspected the proxy, it would be obvious that you are the user. But the good news is, this only becomes an issue if you share a subnet with someone who is abusing a proxy. Simply choose a provider that offers a lot of subnets and you can get around this issue with ease.
Since residential IP proxies provide people with legitimate IP addresses, they are less likely to get blacklisted from websites. If website owners were to look into the details of the proxy, they would see that it belongs to an internet service provider rather than a datacenter. That makes it look as if a regular person is surfing the web. However, all of this can be negated if the datacenter proxy provider offers a diverse range of C-class IPs. Designed for company use, and particularly helpful for SEO, C-class subnets with high diversity can make up for datacenter IPs’ relative lack of authority.
There are a few downsides to residential proxies as well. For one, there are people on the internet that obtain residential IP addresses illicitly, stolen from ISPs and then sold for a profit. Internet service providers could potentially take away your IP address, which was purchased legally, simply because they are cracking down on the nefarious aspects of this kind of proxy. Plus, residential proxies are very expensive and much slower than datacenter proxies.
Bottom line, while residential IP proxies are incredibly secure, they are also much more expensive than datacenter proxies, and since they are more difficult to secure, it can prove difficult to replace them if banned from a website. You could end up losing your ability to browse the web anonymously due to a backlisted residential IP proxy. However, some datacenter proxy companies will replace your proxy if it is blacklisted. That way, you can go back to surfing the web or taking care of business with minimal downtime.
How to Find the Best Datacenter Proxies
If you want to remain anonymous online, proxies are a must. But like I mentioned earlier, I do not want you to purchase a proxy without considering a few more things. First, remember to always purchase a proxy rather than download one for free. Don’t get me wrong, I love free stuff, but a free proxy can open your server up to spam, hackers, and other nefarious activity occurring online. While trusted residential proxies are more difficult to find, datacenter proxies are readily available from reputable sites. Before you buy, make note of how many proxies will need to purchase at a time. Purchasing in bulk the smart option, especially if you need to use multiple IP addresses while web scraping. The more IP addresses you have the greater your chance for success.
Be sure to buy data center proxies that are fairly priced and come from a provider without hidden fees and offer discounts depending on the duration of your purchase. If you keep all of this in mind while shopping for a proxy, you will be sure to buy the best proxy available and surf the web from whatever location you please.
I can’t believe there was a time when I used the internet without the faintest idea of what a proxy was or what it did. But a naïve infant I was in those days. I sat at my computer, casually browsing the web, entering my personal information into whatever random website asked for it, never paying attention to the sites I had access to and the sites I didn’t. Go are those days. Thank goodness. Now that I am fully aware of all the good proxies can do, I am equally excited to share all I can about the different kinds of proxies available. Not all proxies are made equal and understanding the key differences between datacenter proxies and residential proxies can save you a major headache.
Remember to buy your proxy from a reputable site and keep in mind all the tips I gave about purchasing your proxy. Before you choose a datacenter proxy or a residential IP proxy, think about the cost of each proxy and never forget the magic of buying proxies in bulk. I’m just getting carried away now. That happens sometimes. I think they call it datacenter proxy fever.