Datacenter proxies vs. residential proxies
APRIL 17, 2023
Have you ever thought about the types of proxies behind a hidden online identity? Datacenter IP offers one solution, but the choice isn't always straightforward when set against residential proxies with their real IP addresses.
In this article, we'll unravel the pros and cons of each, ensuring you're well-equipped for your next digital step.
How Do You Get Detected?
Anti-detect software, like Multilogin, masks all standard browser fingerprints, such as screen size, operating system, and other websites that track and identify you. Using the same browser fingerprint across your accounts can lead to account suspension.
But ultimately, the most enormous fingerprint of all is your IP address. Using the same IP address with multiple accounts is a big red flag that leads to account suspension.
As such, many users log in to their accounts through proxy servers to change their IP addresses and avoid triggering the red flag. But not every IP address is the same. When connecting through a proxy server, you use either a residential IP proxy or a data center IP proxy.
Note that there are many different ways to mask your IP address other than using a proxy server, like by using a VPN or a separate internet connection, and with those other types of connections, you can end up with either a residential IP or a datacenter IP.
But for the sake of simplicity, in this article, we will group the types of connections with the general terms “residential IP proxy” and “datacenter IP proxy”. Let's get it started.
Understanding Proxy Types
Datacenter proxies originate from a secondary corporation and provide an entirely artificial IP. These IPs are not associated with an ISP but are housed in data centers worldwide. Famous for their speed and reliability, they're widely used in mass crawling and are usually cheaper than their residential counterparts.
Residential proxies are IP addresses provided by ISPs to homeowners. When using a residential proxy, your online appearance is like operating from a home computer. Known for their legitimacy, these proxies are less likely to be flagged or blacklisted.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Cost-effective: Sourced from vast servers, the economies of scale make data center proxies more affordable. Especially for businesses that require many proxies, the data center option can significantly reduce overhead costs.
Speed: Owing to their nature, data center proxies offer unmatched rates. For operations that demand fast data retrieval or quick actions, such as bulk data scraping, these proxies provide an edge, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently.
Bulk Availability: Data centers are designed to handle vast amounts of data. Hence, obtaining many data center proxies is relatively more straightforward and faster than residential ones. This feature can be a game-changer for businesses that require a multitude of proxies in a short time frame.
Detection Risk: The primary drawback of data center proxies is their susceptibility to detection. Popular websites with robust security protocols can quickly identify and blacklist these proxies, especially if they observe a pattern of unnatural traffic.
Lacks Authenticity: Unlike residential proxies, data center ones lack the genuine facade of a real user. They don’t represent actual ISPs, which can make them stand out and be a potential red flag for websites employing advanced security measures.
Authentic Browsing Experience: The primary strength of residential proxies lies in their legitimacy. They mirror actual user behavior because they originate from genuine ISPs. This makes them invaluable for operations that require non-suspicious browsing, like purchasing bots or accessing localized content.
Reduced Detection: These proxies have a lower risk of detection and blacklisting due to their organic nature. Websites find it challenging to differentiate between a genuine user and someone using a residential proxy, making them ideal for sensitive tasks.
Versatility: Residential proxies are incredibly versatile. Their authentic appearance makes them useful across various domains, from market research to ad verification.
Costly: The genuine IP addresses that residential proxies offer come at a premium. For businesses that require a vast number, this can escalate costs.
Speed Variability: Unlike their data center counterparts, residential proxies can sometimes be inconsistent in speed. This is because they leverage real users’ devices, which might not always guarantee the lightning-fast speed that data centers provide.
Which One Should You Use?
Consider this impartial analysis without any intention to promote either proxy type. Be cautious of advice from proxy or VPN companies benefiting from your choices.
For most users, datacenter proxies are sufficient if you use a browser fingerprint mask like Multilogin's. A clean data center proxy and a credible fingerprint usually let you bypass security triggers. Keep in mind genuine users also employ data center IPs.
If your browser fingerprint is detectable, the security system may take action against you. This detection can occur even if you use different datacenter proxies but have the same fingerprint. Merely using a proxy isn't enough nowadays. To stay discreet, use both fingerprint masking and datacenter proxies.
Certain cases, like Craigslist, necessitate residential IPs due to usage restrictions. For most situations, datacenter proxies work well with masked fingerprints. Residential IPs cause fewer suspicions than datacenter proxies.
Choose datacenter proxies if you want to:
Purchase from providers offering monthly rates. Choose between private (exclusive) or shared (with others) proxies. Private proxies are safer for Multilogin users to avoid misuse.
Set up your proxy pool for fresh and unexploited datacenter proxies.
Choose residential proxies if you want to:
Buy from reputable providers like Bright Data (formerly Luminati) or Geosurf. Bright Data offers IPs from users who've opted in. It's pricier, starting at $500/month.
Beware of unethical companies similar to Bright Data but without user consent.
Create your "gateway" of residential IPs using smartphones and mobile connections in specific locations.
Use Cases for Datacenter Proxies
Web Scraping for Competitive Analysis:
In the business world, staying ahead of competitors is crucial. Web scraping facilitates this by allowing businesses to extract valuable data from competitor websites.
For example, an e-commerce store could use data center proxies to regularly monitor and scrape product pricing, stock availability, and discount offerings from competitor websites.
This rapid accumulation of data helps them adjust their strategies, ensuring they offer competitive prices or better deals. Datacenter proxies' unmatched speed and bulk availability make this large-scale, frequent scraping feasible and efficient.
SEO Monitoring & Rank Tracking:
Digital presence determines a brand's success today. SEO professionals use data center proxies to gauge a website's performance across different regions and devices. A UK-based online retailer wishes to expand to the US market.
Data center proxies can be used to imitate user searches from various locations in the US. This allows them to assess their ranking for specific keywords.
This knowledge can guide their SEO strategies, helping them target areas where they're lagging.
Website Performance and Uptime Monitoring
A website's uptime is critical for business operations. Companies use data center proxies to test their website's uptime and performance from various locations. For instance, an international SaaS company might employ these proxies to simulate user access from Asia, Europe, and America. By doing so, they can ensure that their platform delivers consistent performance worldwide and promptly address regional downtimes or lag issues.
Use Cases for Residential Proxies
Ad Verification for Brand Safety:
Digital advertising can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Brands invest heavily in online campaigns but must ensure their ads are displayed in the proper context.
Using residential proxies, brands can verify their ad placements from a genuine user's perspective. For example, a children's toy brand advertising on a video platform would want to ensure its ads don't appear alongside inappropriate content. By mimicking a real user, residential proxies allow the brand to verify and ensure its reputation remains untarnished.
The sneaker and collectibles market is one of the top choices when it comes to limited-edition items selling out in seconds. Enthusiasts and resellers employ bots to gain an edge. However, websites have become adept at detecting and blocking bots. Residential proxies provide these bots with a cloak of authenticity.
For example, during a limited sneaker release, a bot employing a residential proxy can mimic a genuine buyer from New York, effectively bypassing website defenses and securing the desired item.
Accessing Geo-restricted Streaming Content:
The world of streaming is vast, but geo-restrictions can limit content access. Residential proxies serve as gateways to global content libraries.
Consider a film enthusiast in Australia wanting to watch a series exclusive to US Netflix. With a US-based residential proxy, they can access and stream the content as if they were in the US. This benefits not only the user but also researchers and content analysts who study global content trends and preferences.