The advantages of web proxies are well-known. Proxies provide anonymous browsing because they mask a user’s IP address, increase security, and bypass geo-restrictions. There are many proxies to choose from, such as datacenter and residential proxies. Which type of proxy is best?
What Is a Web Proxy?
A web proxy is an intermediary between the user’s device and the internet. Its purpose is to disguise the actual IP address from the website and provide the site with its IP address instead. This way, it can keep the user’s IP address shielded from the website and prevent blocks due to restrictions. It can enhance security because it hides data from hackers.
There are many varieties of web proxies, including datacenter proxies, residential proxies, shared proxies, static residential proxies, and more. The difference between these proxies depends on their source, whether they are associated with a specific geographical location or not, and whether they are private or shared. Some proxies are free, whereas others may be premium proxies and can be costly.
What is a Residential Proxy?
A residential proxy is issued by an internet provider and is connected to a specific geographic location. In this sense, it is like the user’s original IP address. Because it resembles a regular IP address, a residential proxy is more likely to pass as an average user and not be detected as a proxy. This reduces the chance of getting blocked by a website, particularly during tasks such as web scraping.
What Is a Datacenter Proxy?
A data center proxy is not issued by an internet provider but by a secondary company that provides a private proxy service. Therefore, they are not associated with a location. Datacenter proxies are the most common type of web proxy, and therefore there is a significant variation in quality.
Since data center proxies are not connected with a geographic location, they can more quickly shield an IP address. However, one disadvantage is that they tend to be detected as proxies and are more likely to get blocked than residential proxies. It is also important to beware of low-quality datacenter proxies. Some are used on the cloud, shared, and could be flagged by certain sites.
The above provides an introduction to the data center and residential proxies subject, but what are the three main differences?
- The IP Location
IP addresses for residential proxies are assigned to actual locations. This makes them virtually undetectable as proxies. For added stability, some users choose static residential proxies, which do not alternate specific locations but stay at the same IP address. These may cost more, but the chances of getting flagged or banned outright are significantly less.
Since datacenter proxies are not connected to a location at all, they can more easily bypass geo-restricted sites. This may seem like good news for those who want to stream movies on sites that do not offer certain titles in their location. However, those with datacenter proxies may still be denied access because their IP address has been detected as belonging to a datacenter proxy
When shopping for a web proxy, speed is a major concern. Since the proxy acts as a go-between for a device and the internet, there is an understandable worry that the proxy may slow down browsing, streaming, and other online activities. Residential and datacenter proxies show some differences when it comes to speed.
Datacenter proxies tend to be faster than residential proxies. The faster speeds for data center proxies are that they are not linked to a certain location. This allows the proxy to stream or scrape content faster than other types of proxies.
Residential proxies are less likely to get flagged, as mentioned before, but they tend to be slower. However, a high-quality residential proxy may not be that much slower than a datacenter proxy, and it can be more secure.
Residential proxies look and act like any other IP address. This will make it easier to avoid getting banned.
However, even a residential proxy can get an IP address banned if it is a low-quality variety without a kill switch, which will shut off automatically if the internet goes down. This will prevent the user’s IP address from becoming visible if there is an interruption in service.
Datacenter IPs are cheaper, faster, and can skate past geo-restrictions more easily, but websites are starting to become more vigilant about proxies and are likely to ban datacenter proxies. They can be useful for those who can afford the risk.
Which Proxy to Choose?
Suppose the task is non-essential, and it is just a question of getting past geo-restrictions to see a movie or performing a task quickly on a site that isn’t that vigilant about proxies. In that case, a data center proxy may be the right choice, particularly because it is cheaper.
However, if the purpose is work-related and essential, like web scraping for data mining, and if the task is valuable enough that it isn’t worth risking getting blocked by a website, using a residential proxy may be the right choice.