When it comes to browsing and scraping websites, proxies have become an essential tool for many users. Proxies allow users to browse the web anonymously and can also provide other benefits, such as bypassing geographical restrictions or improving online security while web scraping. There are two main types of proxies: residential and datacenter proxies.
In this article, we will take a closer look at both of these types of proxies, their advantages, disadvantages, and which one is the best fit for your needs. The topics we are going to discuss:
- What are Residential Proxies?
- What are Datacenter Proxies?
- Which One Should You Choose?
What are Residential Proxies?
Residential proxies are IP addresses assigned to real homes or internet service providers (ISPs). This means that when you use a residential proxy, your internet connection is routed through someone’s home or ISP. Residential proxies are used by regular users who want to browse the web anonymously, by businesses that need to extract data from websites, or by researchers who want to collect public data for their projects.
Similar to residential proxies, there are also mobile proxies that belong to real mobile devices.
The Main Advantages of Residential Proxies
- Genuine IP Addresses: Residential proxies are coming from real homes or ISPs, which makes them less likely to be detected as a proxy. Websites often block proxies (datacenter for example), but residential proxies are less likely to be blocked as they appear to be regular users browsing the web.
- High Anonymity: Residential proxies provide high anonymity to the user. As the IP address is genuine, it is difficult for websites to trace back to the user, providing a layer of protection to the user.
- Better Geo-Targeting: Residential proxies allow users to access location-restricted content. As the IP address is genuine, websites are more likely to serve correct content based on the user’s location. Most of the top residential proxy providers also allow city-targeting, making them perfect to use with the best web scraping tools.
The Main Disadvantages of Residential Proxies
Although residential proxies have a lot of advantages, there are some small drawbacks.
- Expensive: Residential proxies are expensive compared to other proxy types, and the cost can quickly add up for businesses that need to extract data from multiple websites.
- Slow: As residential proxies route through a real home or ISP, the connection can be slow, leading to slower browsing speeds.
What are Datacenter Proxies?
Datacenter proxies are IP addresses that are stored in data centers. These proxies are not assigned to a physical location and are created virtually. Datacenter proxies are used by businesses that need to scrape data from simple websites or by users who need to access location-restricted content (although the global coverage is often very limited).
The Main Advantages of Datacenter Proxies
- Fast: Datacenter proxies are faster than residential proxies as they are created artificially, allowing for faster connection speeds.
- Cheap: Datacenter proxies are cheaper than residential proxies and are an affordable option for businesses that need to extract data from multiple websites.
- Number of IPs vs. bandwidth: Those proxies are often based on the number of IPs and not bandwidth. This gives you the option to “maximize” the potential of the proxies without increasing your usage fees.
Disadvantages of Datacenter Proxies
- High detection rate: Datacenter proxies are easier to detect by more sophisticated websites as they are often part of a blacklist handled by anti-bot solutions like CDNs for example. Websites often block datacenter proxies, making them less effective in providing anonymity to the user.
- Limited locations: As you already know, those proxies are part of a data center. It is unlikely for a provider to have data centers in all countries and cities in the world, therefore the geo-targeting of those proxies is limited.
Residential vs. Datacenter Proxies: Which One Should You Choose?
The choice between residential and datacenter proxies depends mostly on your specific needs. If you need to access and scrape location-restricted content (especially from big brand websites worldwide), then residential proxies are also a good choice. However, if you need to extract data from multiple simple websites (that don’t use advanced anti-botting systems), then datacenter proxies are a better option as they are cheaper and faster.
Datacenter proxies are cheaper and faster, but residential proxies are available in more geo-locations and have higher success rates. The choice between datacenter and residential heavily relies on your use cases, so you can use the information in this article to determine which proxy type is the right one for you.
Overall, proxies are a powerful tool that can benefit both individuals and businesses, but it’s important to use them responsibly and ethically.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are using sneaker bots, it really depends on the website you are trying to get those sneakers from. If it’s a well-known website like Nike, you’ll probably have to use residential proxies. If it’s a local seller with a simple website, most likely datacenter proxies will do the trick.
Simple; because they are much harder to get. To get residential proxies, legitimate providers have to get permission from real users to use their IPs.
Datacenter IPs are hosted on servers, meaning that routing requests through them is faster than routing a request through a device that belongs to a real user.