There are so many reasons to be interested in a proxy. Individuals use them as much as businesses, but for different motives and purposes. You might want one for online gaming or to access geo-blocked TV shows on Netflix, or you might need it for market research and data scraping.
Proxies-as-a-service are a versatile solution based on a simple protocol:
They hide your device’s IP address, ensuring your anonymity on the web.
If you’ve been looking for a proxy, you might have already considered choosing between two common types – residential proxies and datacenter proxies.
What are they, exactly, and how are they different? Let’s contrast and compare to help you get the best solution for your needs.
If your mind is already set on residential proxy servers, here’s more about that price.
What are proxies-as-a-service?
A proxy allows you to browse the internet without anyone monitoring and tracking you. More precisely, using a proxy server is a way to prevent anyone from following you back to your physical location. Whatever you do online while using a proxy stays online; nobody can see or record your digital footprint.
That means that your identity and address are impossible to reveal.
A proxy is a valuable tool that boasts so many different applications. We’ve already mentioned bypassing geo-restrictions, data scraping, and market research, but that’s not all. Businesses also use proxies for testing affiliate links, ad verification, monitoring brand reputation, and SEO.
So, how do proxies work?
Every device has a unique IP address such as 192.168.1.1 that carries information like a physical location and past online activity. A proxy hides your IP address and gives you a different one from another source. This alternate address is the crucial difference between residential and datacenter proxies.
Datacenter vs. Residential Proxies
Datacenter proxies are traceable, leading back to data centers from third-party corporations. They have nothing to do with your internet service provider (ISP) and exist outside this network. The vital thing to note is that the IP addresses from datacenter proxies are fabricated.
There is no actual device and a physical location behind a datacenter proxy.
On the other hand, residential proxy servers borrow IP addresses from actual residential devices. That might be a PC owned by a work-at-home mom from Norway or a public laptop from a library in Croatia, depending on whether you need an IP address from a specific place.
Is borrowing someone’s IP address without their knowledge OK?
It can be, which is why you need a reliable proxy provider. Driven by integrity, the best proxy vendors would never use a residential IP address without consent. Since internet services providers are those who dedicate IP addresses to our devices, residential proxy vendors must include them, too.
Why is the price different?
Residential proxy servers are more expensive than datacenter proxies. That might be inconvenient, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Residential proxy servers are more reliable and secure because they use IP addresses from existing physical locations. The IP addresses from datacenter proxies are made up; they exist only in their digital form. Trace them back, and they’ll lead you to their data center.
Datacenter proxies express a bot-like behavior, and websites don’t like that.
Every reputable website has a security protocol that analyzes visitors and their intents. When a security protocol spots a bot, it usually blocks or bans the IP address associated with it. When it comes to datacenter proxies, many websites restrict entire subnets of these IP addresses.
That is never the case with residential proxy servers, and that’s worth the price.
When you try to access a website with an IP address from a residential proxy, the website’s security protocol sees an actual device from a specific location. It marks you as a legitimate visitor, which allows you to scrap the website for identity-sensitive public data without throwing you out.
How to choose the right option for you
For these reasons, residential proxies are generally more reliable. However, it’s difficult to say if they are better than datacenter proxies. That depends on your specific needs. In comparison to residential, datacenter proxies are faster and more affordable.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution to help you finish a project where speed is crucial, then datacenter proxies are an excellent choice. They are also suitable for gaming, but they offer a less exposed alternative to incognito mode, allowing you to browse anonymously from your ISP.
However, residential proxy servers are a better solution if you need a proxy for data scraping.
Generally speaking, datacenter proxies are better for individuals, while business applications require a more secure and reliable solution, such as their residential counterparts.
Whichever you choose, avoid cheap proxy servers and obscure providers. Only a quality proxy is worth the investment.