What Is a Residential Proxy Server?
Simply put, it is a proxy server that uses a residential IP as the public IP. A residential IP is when an IP address is assigned to a home user instead of a data center or commercial use. To give you a fair idea, most content streaming providers largely do business with residential IP addresses rather than the ones with a commercial IP address. Depending on the pricing of the internet service provider, these IPs can be static or dynamic.
Apart from adding an extra layer of security, residential proxy servers are used for many other reasons. Content that is accessible to a specific geographical location can be accessed using a residential proxy. These proxies are also often used by people with malintent to hide their locations. According to experts, the vulnerabilities from threats such as malware are reduced when a residential proxy server is in use. The opposite is true too; residential proxies have been used for criminal activities, but have also been known to have been infiltrated by law enforcement.
Generally speaking, residential IPs are dynamic, which means that in case the router was restarted or rebooted, your IP address will change. One drawback that residential proxies face is the speed when compared with data center proxies. Also, remember that while surfing the web through residential IPs, the requests are routed through desktops and mobile devices.
How Residential Proxies Work
Backconnect proxies (also called rotating proxies by some providers) are a combination of a pool of residential IPs and hardware that work towards securing your internet connection. But as complicated as it sounds, configuring them is quite easy for the end user. Every time you send a request to the server, the backconnect proxy switches your IP, and the pool of IPs can be as small as 20, or even 50,000! This way, it provides significantly better security and anonymity. Think of them as a buffer between the web server and your system.
As an immediate utility, backconnect proxies allow you access to blocked or banned search engines. While using a backconnect proxy, the chances of getting your IP are almost nil. Not only is the rotation of IPs automatic and like clockwork, but they are also great for scraping data in an anonymous manner. The chances of getting identified while doing so are almost negligible. So while choosing a backconnect proxy, you should be clear as to how you are going to use them, whether it is for commercial or private use.
When you use backconnect proxies, you can generate a larger number of search requests at a time. They use a multi-server facility, compared with ordinary servers that use single server machines. Backconnect proxies usually have widespread locations (and hence, the risk is spread over a wider area), when compared with traditional proxies, and have much more available IP addresses. While surfing, even the country location will be concealed because to provide better protection, the IP addresses will keep changing to different countries. On the other hand, they can tackle as many types of connections and software, just like traditional proxies.
However, you should remember that backconnect proxies are generally more expensive than traditional proxies, and also slower in comparison.
An IP pool is a set of available IP addresses that can be distributed to resellers and customers for them to use. These can be designated as either dedicated, meaning only the people they have been assigned to may use them, or shared, meaning that they could be shared among other subscribers.
When traffic leaves your machine (or the device you are using), it goes through a proxy, which acts as a middleman between the internet and your device; forwarding the traffic for you. If the proxy has been set up with an IP pool, it will simply select a random IP address for the outbound connection. The simple thought behind this is that when the traffic leaves your computer, its IP address can be traced by “sniffing” that traffic between your machine and proxy, and this way, the IP is masked.
In order to improve the degree of efficiency, proxies are made multi-threaded at times. The proxy works as a normal proxy, with the only difference that whenever new data is to be received, a new thread is generated. To improve the efficiency more, a cache is attached to the proxy server.
A networked computer uses a default gateway, or an access point (called so because it is chosen by default unless specified otherwise) to send information to another network or computer. This “access point” can be a computer with a couple of network adapters; one can be connected to an outside network, while the other can be connected to a local subnet.
Without a default gateway, the networked computer is isolated from the outside, but with it, it is allowed to communicate with computers of another network.
Advantages of Residential Proxies
One of the most significant advantages of residential proxies is the increased anonymity and speed they offer while surfing. When used as a point-to-point connection between you and a remote location, it stands more ground. Imagine the residential proxy providing a “tunnel” through which the data flows from one point to the other. This data is encrypted and without an encryption key, it is virtually impossible to decipher it. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of using residential proxies.
Unlike most of their counterparts, residential proxy servers are completely legitimate. For example, it is possible (and easy) to create an untold number of data center proxies, but not that easy to create a few hundred residential proxies. Also, a large number of people using data center IPs are using them for malicious purposes, and those IPs are likely to be blocked more than any other proxies. The main reason for this is that residential proxies are only meant for residents and are tagged to a specific ISP and home. This is one of the reasons that they are known to be really secure and legitimate when compared with any other types of proxies.
The IP rotates every few minutes, so that the proxies have no or zero chance of failure. Also, these proxies are created for people with the thought that they have nothing to hide, but just their identities.
A proxy’s main goal is to hide your IP address successfully. While most proxies can assure you this service, but with residential proxies, you have the assurance of added security. A lot of service providers claim their residential IPs to be the most secure, and there may be some truth in that. These proxies recover data from servers they are supposed to retrieve them from to the user, without the server realizing a proxy was used.
If you have invested in a residential proxy or proxies, the chances of you getting blacklisted from a particular server are less. This is also pertaining to the fact that pool IP addresses will rotate at a regular interval, and as we mentioned, the pool can be very large indeed. With the presence of so many IPs, the chance of monitoring a session is decreased remarkably.
Blacklisting? No Thanks!
When you are using residential proxies sold by a reputed provider, the chances of being blacklisted by security systems, search engines and databases are significantly low. Proxies, such as data center proxies are largely associated with activities that are frowned upon by search engines and security systems alike, like scraping or mining data. Leading search engines such as Google regularly block such proxies that are linked with such activities.
And it is not the search engines; if the website in question suspects or comes to know that an IP has been scraping information from them or spamming them, they are quick to ban or blacklist such IPs. So, if you indulge in these activities (for work), it is very important that you invest in residential proxies, because they are considered safe by many leading websites.
While most proxies follow this rule and will respect your privacy as you surf the web, residential proxies are preferred over them. The simple reason behind this is that they are not unlimited in number and are considered to be more safe and secure. The point to be noted here is that residential proxies are IP addresses of a certain country, but are mostly used elsewhere (in another country).
So if you are in a country that has banned your access to certain sites within the country, you will be able to access them easily. Also, most of the service providers will almost guarantee you that your data will be safe and secure while using their products.
Ability to Send More Requests
Have you ever tried sending too many requests and have been frustrated by errors? One of the reasons behind this is that if you are doing this without a proxy, you may have to wait for a longer time to access the information you were looking for, or be simply blocked by the server. This is true for large businesses that need to send a large number of requests, sometimes per minute, and being blocked or banned can be a hurdle in efficiency, and sometimes, profit.
When you are using residential proxies, the chances of that happening are greatly reduced. This is because residential proxies are trusted and reliable and lift any limits on sending HTTP or SOCKS requests.
Because there is a pool of IPs involved in this process, the need to replace or get rid of banned proxies is eliminated. This, in turn, will save you a lot of time if you run a business, and you can do away with the process of monitoring proxies.
Disadvantages of Residential Proxies
One of the biggest drawbacks of a residential proxy is its cost. This is because they are offered by very few providers, which increases their cost and can run into several hundred dollars. Besides, for the same reason, unlike data center proxies where you can buy them in bulk, it is not the same with residential proxies. Also, in case a residential proxy is banned or blacklisted, it is difficult to replace them because they are so hard to come by.
What Kind of Tasks They Are Good For
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Parsing: Provides access to SERP and anonymous data collection. They also are excellent for those who run web scrapes at data centers, where IP addresses are blacklisted often.
- Advertisement Verification: If you are an advertiser, your clients would want advertisements to appear where they are supposed to. With residential proxies, you can browse the internet from hundreds of locations without getting tracked and keep a tab on how your ads appear in different locations.
- Sales Intelligence: Using residential proxies, you can scrape the internet for real-time analysis of your sales data, hence improving your sales process.
- Copping Sneakers: If you are a sneaker aficionado, you know how difficult it can be to procure those new releases, especially if they are already killing it on social media. And it is pertinent to keep your IP hidden when you attempt to make a grab at them, and what better way to do that than residential proxies?
- Bulk Account Registration: This particular feature comes in handy if you are a marketer who wants to sign up for multiple accounts of the same site without the fear of getting blacklisted.
- Traffic Bots: What is the point of creating an amazing website if no one visits it? With the help of residential proxies, you increase the traffic and engagement with your site, which will help it move up the organic rankings.
If you are considering buying residential proxies, make sure you do it from a reputable source, because if you are not careful, some sellers might sell you data center proxies. Those will work for a while, but will not be as safe and secure as a residential proxy. Sure, data center proxies are faster, chances are that they might have been used before, and hence might get banned after just the first use. Remember, for tasks such as copping sneakers, web scraping and account creation, residential proxies are your best friend.