Proxies are intermediaries that help you hide your IP address when surfing the web. These simple tools don’t take much time or effort to start using and work in situations where other methods can fail. However, choosing the right kind of proxy can be a difficult task.
Depending on the setting in which you are going to use your new IPs as well as the purpose, you may choose to buy residential proxies or stick to common datacenter ones as a cheaper option.
Read this article before you make the decision. You’ll find out the following:
- The operating principle of proxies in general;
- How residential and datacenter proxies are different;
- Why datacenter proxies cost more but are worth it in the end;
- What kind of work residential proxies enable you to do.
How Proxies Work?
When we talk about proxies in the context of web usage, we typically mean proxy services, not to be confused with proxy servers. Unlike the latter term, which refers to a piece of hardware, proxy services are software products designed to act as an intermediary layer between use as a user and the internet.
Typically, you don’t need to install or set up proxies after purchasing them. They will start functioning automatically, so you should just make sure they are in place. How can you check it? Your IP will change.
This is basically the main purpose of using proxies. This kind of software redirects your request to web resources as if it were the proxy sending it, thus changing the IP address associated with the request. To put it simply, it enables you to browse the web anonymously and bypass a number of IP-related restrictions. Read the section below to learn more.
Proxy services have a number of potential uses depending on the user’s occupation and interests. Generally, most of the activities fall into one of the following categories:
- Automated gathering of data, such as in web scraping or crawling. The former refers to the process of getting the information you need, such as prices on a specific category of products, from websites without having to browse them in person. The latter is a similar process. The key difference is that it involves “crawling” from site to site using existing links.
- Lifting geographical barriers. You’ll need proxies if you want to access content that’s restricted to this or that region, such as some of YouTube’s videos. It’s also an important and challenging aspect of ad verification. If you want to make sure your ads are showing in the right context, you’ll most probably need proxies for unlimited checkups.
- Enhancing anonymity. This is a bonus that comes with proxies: no one will be able to tell who you really are and where you come from, so you may feel free to explore what you are interested in.
Datacenter vs. Residential Proxies
There are two major categories of proxies, namely datacenter and residential ones. As the name suggests, datacenter proxies are generated by physical datacenters and thus come associated with their location. Conversely, residential proxies are real IPs associated with residential locations.
The key difference between the two is that datacenter proxies are cheaper and less convincing. Many websites will be able to tell you’re using a datacenter proxy to hide your ID and thus blacklist you to prevent you from harvesting data. You also get a way narrower range of locations to choose from.
On the other hand, datacenter proxies can be somewhat faster. Finally, they are cheaper than residential ones, although they won’t save you money if you’re interested in serious web scraping or ad verification. In these cases, we recommend residential proxies.
If you invest in a pack of rotating residential proxies, i.e. those where the IP will change automatically, you can harvest virtually unlimited data to boost your business’s performance and inform your decisions. This is also the best option for bypassing geo-restrictions.
Residential proxies are a great way to explore an unprecedented degree of freedom on the web when looking for insightful and helpful data. They also ensure serious anonymity. If you are looking for an IP-changing tool to bring your surfing to the next level, look no further.