Using a proxy can help your business accomplish tasks, projects, and long-range goals. The basic one is to hide your device’s IP address from the rest of the world. That way, you can protect your identity, location, and access geolocation-blocked sites.
And perhaps the best way to do that is to use residential proxies.
What is a residential proxy?
A proxy is a server computer that sits in between your local network or computer connection and the internet world.
A proxy can be provided by a cloud server provider based on a physical address or a data center.
Or, it can be allocated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If it’s ISP provided, then it is tied to your physical location/address. So, the proxies are typically assigned at a one per device ration.
Yet, a residential proxy is a proxy server that’s allocated by an ISP, but which some third-party proxy services can rotate among thousands, and even millions of users subscribed to the service.
What is the difference between data center proxies and residential proxies?
While residential proxies are initially allocated by a regional ISP and pinpoint a specific user’s location, data center proxies are assigned by a corporation that is based on a specific physical address, from where it provides its proxy services.
That major difference makes it relatively easy to spot data center proxies.
Data center proxies typically support fast connections, are more affordable, and easier to replace with a new proxy compared to residential proxies. That is why both cybercriminals and marketing research professionals love to use data center proxies.
Now data center proxies have a bit of a tarnished reputation because hackers, spammers, and other cybercriminals, take advantage of the masking to unleash terror online.
And that’s why when a site, and in some cases, a search engine, notices you are using a proxy from a suspicious data center, you may be banned or blocked from accessing the site.
Residential proxies, on the other hand, seem much less suspicious.
When you use a residential proxy, you are unlikely to suffer from a ban or web block as a result.
What is the difference between sticky proxies and rotating proxies?
A rotating proxy is a server that changes your masking IP every time you start a new session. A new session can be reloading a website you are already on. Or, it could be when you open a new link in a new tab.
A sticky proxy, meanwhile, is a server that changes your masking IP after a while or due to inactivity. Typically, a sticky IP session runs up to 10 minutes for a residential proxy and up to 30 minutes for a data center proxy.
Now to fully appreciate the factors to consider when choosing the best residential proxy service, it is vital to understand the different residential proxy use cases.
Use cases: When best to use residential proxies
On top of browsing the web anonymously and unblocking geo-blocked content, consider buying residential proxies if you want to:
#1. Reduce chances of being banned or blocked
Whatever you plan to do with your proxies, residential proxies generally have a good reputation, are tough to suspect, and that makes them less likely to be banned or blocked by many sites and search engines.
#2. Buy more pairs of discounted sneakers
Also known as sneaker proxies, rotating residential proxies can help you buy multiple pairs of Nike and Adidas (or other) sneakers that are supposed to be sold on a one pair per person basis.
#3. Get the best travel deals on booking sites
Travel booking sites display certain travel deals based or targeted to online browsers in specific geo-locations.
Using a residential proxy in other areas will help you view and take advantage of deals that would have never shown in your region.
#4. To run your social media empire
You know how Instagram doesn’t allow one person to switch among more than five accounts?
So, what if you are a budding or established Instagram influencer or marketer with about a dozen accounts?
Use a residential proxy. It’ll indicate on Instagram’s servers that you are different people switching between their less than five accounts.
You can even have a different IP for each account if you want to be absolutely safe.
#5. Web scraping for business
People that run e-commerce sites are most familiar with this sneaky trick. Or, if you don’t know, your competition is pulling it on you.
They could be scraping your product listings, pricing, discounting strategy, and other competitive research elements to inform their market and competition research.
You can either use rotating residential IPs to protect your competitive edge or to also scrape what you need to learn from your competition without getting your IP banned or blocked from accessing their sites.
Those are the most powerful, ethical, and popular reasons to use residential proxies.
Now, how do you choose the best residential proxy service for your specific needs?
How to choose the best residential proxy service in 2020
Notice that these factors are largely dependent on your use cases.
Whatever your reasons, though, avoid using a free proxy service. About 68% of them are unsafe.
That said, here’s what to consider when choosing the best residential proxies for your needs
#1. Again, use case matters
If you want to buy multiple pairs of discounted sneakers for reselling, for example, get a rotating proxy plan. That way, you’ll seem as if multiple people based in different physical addresses are buying the different pairs.
But if your use case needs you to maintain a connection account or IP session for success, such as when using more than five Instagram accounts simultaneously, you’ll want to choose a provider that provides dependable sticky IP session plans.
#2. Number of IPs in the service’s pool
The more subscribers a vendor has, the wider the pool of real residential proxies they can provide.
A vendor doesn’t have to have millions of them. You’ll probably use just a few over the course of your plan.
More crucial factors to consider include the distribution of the vendor’s customers.
For example, a vendor that has a good-enough number of unused IPs in a specific part of town, city, region, country, or continent could be more important to your project than having a million customers concentrated in just one physical location.
#3. There’s a trial period
Fake proxy providers claim to offer residential proxies while all they assign are data center proxies.
Choose one that offers a minimum 7-day trial period so you can test their proxies.
You can just type “what’s my address?” in Google’s search bar. Then you should see if you are connecting online from a real IP but one that is different from your actual IP or not. You should experience the former.
Or, you can enter a couple of the service provider’s IPs on the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) search bar and note that you are connecting from a different physical address to yours for every session (if you choose a rotating IP plan).
#4. Proxy server location
Residential proxy connections tend to be slower than data center proxy connections–especially if you choose a budget plan.
Many use cases require speed, though.
To achieve that, choose a residential proxy service that offers servers close to your target site’s servers’ location. So, if you want to scrape an American ecommerce site, choose IPs based in America.
#5. Your proxy service budget allocation
How much you plan to spend will affect the level of service and benefits you’ll get from a proxy vendor.
Those benefits include:
- Specific IP location
- Allowed bandwidth
- Whether or not your plan supports geo-targeting
- Number of ports and threads you can use
And so on.
There are multiple legitimate residential proxy services right now. There are more coming out. So be sure to shop around, compare residential proxy plans, and all before committing your cash to one provider.
Do that, and you’ll be glad you did your due diligence.