Residential IP Proxies vs. Datacenter Proxies

Residential? Datacentre? Is all the proxy jargon leaving you confused?

There are plenty of reasons you might use a proxy to anonymize your online presence. Yet the way you disguise your IP could be just as important to your activities.

Residential and datacenter IP proxies are the two main methods of masking your IP. You need to choose the right one for your purposes.

To help you make the choice, let’s take a look at how residential IP proxies compare to their datacentre counterparts.

What’s the Difference?

Both types of IP proxies share the same basic purpose: they communicate with servers using something other than your native IP address. Proxies have a few uses, ranging from anonymity to security, and they’re used by a wide variety of individuals and businesses.

Residential IPs are the common IPs issued by an internet service provider (ISP) to individuals or businesses. They identify the host and indicate the host’s location in a network. Residential IP proxy services provide these residential IPs for use outside of the tight control that ISPs hold over them.

Datacentre IP proxies are a more common way of using an alternative IP. Providers issue these IPs to customers wishing to achieve greater anonymity. While more widely available and capable of anonymizing your traffic, datacentre IP proxies do face some issues not encountered by residential IP proxies.

Legitimacy

Site owners often avoid accepting traffic from proxy users. They consider proxy traffic untrustworthy and look for ways to block it.

Bad actors can use proxies to carry out deceptive or illegal activity with full anonymity, which causes site owners to fight back by restricting access to datacentre IPs. This renders datacentre proxies useless for purposes such as overseas purchases or data scraping.

By contrast, residential IPs are legitimate. They’re the same IPs issued by service providers, so websites see them as ordinary traffic. The only clue to the true nature of residential IP proxies might be in the number of connections made at once, but this requires sophisticated security to identify. Even then, users can rotate their residential IPs to ensure the site won’t remain blocked for long.

Expense

Of the two types of proxies, residential IPs are usually more expensive.

Residential IPs owe their extra expense to their utility and legitimacy. There are a large number of services offering datacentre IPs, but residential IPs are harder to procure due to their close connection to ISPs.

Datacentre proxies might be cheaper, but they’re easily detected and banned. That makes them a poor investment, as their initial cost can fail to provide a return. Trying to go cheap with datacentre IPs often proves to be a case of false economy.

Geo-blocking

For a world without borders, the internet has some surprising geographical boundaries.

That’s why one of the most popular uses for an IP proxy is accessing geo-blocked content. Another popular application is in verifying ad delivery for countries outside of a business’ local country; leveraging IP proxy services enables companies to emulate the experience of viewing their ads first-hand from the perspective of users in a foreign nation.

In theory, both datacentre and residential IP proxies can get around geo-blocking. On a technical level, they both do the same thing. Yet the widespread distrust of datacentre IPs makes them less effective in practice. Moreover, residential IP proxies enable you to access many more geographic locations than datacentre proxies–the latter usually limits your reach to a mere 3-5 countries.

For instance, some sites that use geo-blocking also block datacentre IPs. They know that if an IP comes from a datacentre, there’s a good chance it’s someone trying to get around their geo-block. That makes datacentre proxies useless for accessing these geo-blocked websites.

Residential IP proxies don’t appear suspicious. They’ll slip through a site’s checks just like any other residential IP, which allows access to geo-blocked content and also allows companies to verify ad delivery as previously referenced. Residential IPs function as the internet’s version of a physical geographical address, which the site’s server will read as legitimate.

The Outcome: Residential vs. Datacentre Proxies

Datacentre IP proxies allow users to remain anonymous, but their weaknesses lie in the ease with which sites can detect and ban their traffic. For users looking for proxies that aren’t susceptible to basic countermeasures, residential IP services are a robust solution, offering all the advantages without the drawbacks of datacentre proxies.

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