Residential Proxies VS Datacenter Proxies

Last updated: December 18, 2020

To tell, which is better for your purposes, we first have to declare what is a proxy server at all.

What is a proxy server

If we imagine a network where the user makes a request to a server, the proxy server is the middleman between these two entities.

It acts as an intermediary to receive the user’s requests and forward them to the target server. The proxy acts under its own identity, so the target server does not receive the request directly from the user, but from the proxy server.

Usecases for proxy servers

There are many possible uses of proxies. The proxy server is able to filter and control the data and connections it forwards, as well as cache them.

Load balancing and bandwidth control by the proxy is also something to consider. This makes it possible to compensate for imbalances in transmission capacity by having the proxy regulate and evenly distribute the load of the connected clients.

Proxy servers are also suitable for anonymizing connections, similar to a VPN.

There are many ways to use proxies

  • Search Engine Crawler
  • SEO monitoring
  • Website testing
  • Market research
  • E-commerce
  • Web data extraction
  • Price comparison
  • Collecting stock market data
  • Ad verification
  • Brand protection
  • Travel aggregation
  • Sneaker Bots/Shopping
  • Stock market data

Differences between proxy and VPN

A proxy server is comparatively simpler and therefore less secure than a virtual private network (VPN). Also, with proxies it is often necessary to configure the individual programs for the proxy server, while VPN connections encrypt all of a client’s data traffic.

Residential Proxies

To understand residential proxies, let’s take a look at our home Internet connection. We use this to access the Internet for private and business purposes, while the Intnernet Service Provider (ISP) provides us with an IP address for this purpose. This IP address can either be dynamic, which means it changes constantly (usually every 24 hours), or it is static and always remains the same.

The IP address provides information about our location or about the location via which a connection to the Internet is established with this IP address.

Residential IPs or proxies are IP addresses assigned to a connection owner that reveal information about that owner’s location. They are more trustworthy than IPs from data centers because they are only accessible to the connection owner and can only be used via the owner’s line. Such connections are thus generally considered trustworthy.

In short, residential proxies are IP addresses assigned to a private household by the Internet service provider.

Advantages of residential IPs

Since residential IP proxies provide individuals with legitimate IP addresses, they are less likely to be blacklisted by websites. If a site operator were to track a proxy, it would quickly become clear that the IP belongs to an ISP and not a data center.

Thus, it can be assumed that there is a real person behind it who is using his or her private connection to access the Internet.

Other advantages of residential proxies

  • IPs can be selected by country and city
  • Significantly lower chance of being blocked
  • Lifetime IPs
  • Mobile proxies offer ASN and carrier targeting
  • Residential proxies are extremely secure

Disadvantages of residential IPs

Residential IPs are significantly more expensive. Since they cannot be imitated by data centers, providers of residential proxies also charge significantly more for this service.

There are people who obtain illegal access to IP addresses from private individuals or steal them from ISPs in order to make a profit.

Residential proxies are usually much slower than data center proxies. We show you providers that nevertheless offer very fast lines.

Data Center Proxies

There are numerous use cases that require a large number of IPs and thus a single proxy server is often not sufficient to meet these requirements.

For this purpose, there are numerous providers that make entire IP ranges available to their customers.

Advantages of Datacenter Proxies

  • Renting IPs from data centers is more cost-effective
  • Datacenter proxies can be easily leased in bulk (e.g. for web scraping)
  • Rotating proxies are possible to quickly use other IP addresses

Disadvantages of data center proxies

The main disadvantage of using data center proxies is that they cannot be traced back to an ISP. If a proxy is tracked, it can be figured out that you are the user. This can be the case if the subnet you are on is being abused by you or another user.

Shared VS Exclusive IPs

Shared IPs – the favorable variant is – comparable to webhosting – an address pool shared with other customers. These IP addresses are therefore not available to the user alone. This can lead to the addresses already being blocked by the services/servers used, for example because they were used for spam.

The advantage of shared IPs is primarily the price, which is naturally lower than for exclusively assigned IP addresses.

Exclusive IPs are – as the name suggests – exclusively available to the customer. Only he and no one else is in possession of these addresses at the time of leasing. The advantage is that these IPs have not yet been burned, i.e. used for questionable purposes and banned from the service used. On the other hand, the price for leasing is higher.

Data center proxies VS residential proxies

To determine the best solution for your application, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both options we have just described.

For use cases where it is not uncommon for IPs or IP ranges to be quickly blacklisted because they are abused by users, residential IPs may be the right choice.
However, a good data center proxy provider can also help if a large number of C-class IPs are available, because then the likelihood of you moving around with a “burned” IP decreases.

Residential proxies allow the web server to identify your location as well as the name of your ISP every time you connect to the Internet.

Data center IPs, on the other hand, can’t be associated with an ISP and thus can end up on the blacklist faster.

Our conclusion on residential VS datacenter proxies

In most cases you will have a good experience with datacenter proxies. If you are moving in highly competitive areas or have to deal with strict requirements on the part of the server you want to communicate with, you may have to resort to residential proxies. It all depends on your intended use. While for many web scraping applications you will do very well with data centers, for sophisticated, regionally based research (such as ad analysis) you will need real IPs from local connections.


Residential Proxy Providers

There are many residential proxy providers out there, we’ve picked out what we think are the best and present you with the pros and cons of each below.

Luminati.io

Our number one when it comes to residential proxies and datacenter proxies, and probably the biggest player in the proxy game: Luminati owns the fastest and largest residential IP network with over 72 million reel-peer IP addresses worldwide and they offer even more: static and rotating IP pools aswell as datacenter proxies.

Luminati claims to offer these geographically referenced IPs from every country and city.

Connection speeds are excellent and users have the ability to make simultaneous requests to different IP addresses.

The only disadvantage we see are the prices, but it’s not a real disadvantage since quality has its price. The offer is therefore aimed more at professional users and those with a fat wallet, as the prices for the starter package start at 500,- US dollars per month which corresponds to 12,50 USD per gigabyte. A pay-as-you-go plan is also available for $17.50 per gigabyte.

Advantages of Luminati

  • largest residential proxy network
  • fast connections
  • simultaneous requests to different IPs

Disadvantages of Luminati

  • very expensive

Smartproxy.com

Our personal price & performance winner is Smartproxy. For us, this provider is a successful combination of professional infrastructure and high-quality services for an affordable price.

Smartproxy’s offer is aimed at SMEs that want to use residential proxies for professional purposes – such as web scraping, ad analysis or even sneaker bots – without having to dig too deep into their pockets.

Individuals and sole proprietors also like to use Smartproxy’s offer, as the provider is reliable and enables good, regional proxy connections and does so within flexible rate structures.

Thanks to the 3-day money-back guarantee, customers can also cancel afterwards if they are not satisfied with the offer after all.

Also worthy of special mention are the numerous features of the helpfully designed dashboard with traffic overview, active sessions as well as whitelisting IPs and a dedicated API for savvy users.

Advantages of Smartproxy.com

  • 24/7-Support via email and live chat
  • Sophisticated dashboard
  • 3-day money-back guarantee

Disadvantages of Smartproxy

  • SOCKS protocol is not supported

Stormproxies.com

The least expensive provider in our list of top proxy providers, with a rather small network: Stormproxies.com

Stormproxies offers a solid, albeit rather small proxy network with currently about 70,000 residential IPs. However, Stormproxies is by far the cheapest provider we could find.

For as little as $19, the customer gets a port and access to the provider’s entire IP pool and unlimited bandwidth (traffic).

Each rate package includes access to the entire IP pool. The different packages, which cost up to $500/month, vary only in the number and price of ports included.

Advantages of Stormproxies

  • very affordable
  • 24/7 support
  • unlimited bandwidth

Disadvantages of Stormproxies

  • small IP network