What are Residential Proxies?

James Keenan

The automation and anonymity evangelist at Smartproxy. He believes in data freedom and everyone’s right to become a self-starter. James is here to share knowledge and help you succeed with residential proxies.

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In this article you will find answers to the following questions:

What is a proxy?

Before we jump into explaining what residential proxies are, let us define what a proxy is. According to Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, a proxy server is “a server that exists between somebody's personal computer and the Internet to provide some services for the user and/or to prevent them from reaching information, websites, etc. without permission”.

How Smartproxy proxy network works

As the description goes, a proxy is like a middle man between your computer or local network and larger scale networks. You can use it for multiple purposes – from improving security to monitoring your online activities.

What are residential proxies?

A residential proxy is an intermediary that uses an IP address provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP), not a data center. Each residential proxy address has a physical location. And even though billions of digital devices connect to the internet at any time, their IP addresses can pinpoint the location of any device. So, every time you go online, you give out information about your browser preferences, cookies and get logged with your real IP address.

A residential proxy is an IP address provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Trouble is, while the internet is a global community, many service providers will geo-lock content so you can only access it from certain countries. Moreover, if you’re trying to scrape data or use bots for social media or scripts for search engine optimization (SEO), your IP address might get blocked and you won't be able to access the desired webpage.

Luckily, a residential proxy network is one of the effective ways to getting around these problems.

What is a residential IP?

A residential IP address is an IP address tied to a physical device, for example, a mobile phone or desktop computer.

Smartproxy - What is a residential IP

Their real owners, Internet service providers, register residential IP addresses in public databases, which lets websites determine a device’s internet provider, network and location. Most online services recognize residential IP addresses as real people, as opposed to those who use data center IP addresses.

Why use a residential proxy network?

You might want to hide your IP address for various reasons. Or you might need to scrape data from several websites, run many accounts from the same machine, upload or download torrents via P2P connections or stream geo-blocked content.

Whatever the case is, a residential proxy network is a great for hiding your true online identity. It allocates genuine, residential IPs to you and hides your IP from servers for more online anonymity.

There is one snag though – search engines will only allow you to make a specific number of requests from the same IP in a minute. Thus, this type of single server set up can significantly limit your browsing options, and even get a ban if you exceed the rate you’re given.

What are residential rotating proxies?

Unlike regular residential proxies, which simply hide your real IP behind another IP, rotating residential proxies, also known as backconnect proxies, conceal you behind a pool of proxies. These proxies switch between themselves with every session or at regular intervals.

When you proxy your connection like this, your IP will continuously change. This way you can make as many requests as you like without getting flagged for suspicious activity.

Here’s what happens each time you make a server request:

  • You send a server request through your normal connection. We will call this Connection 1 and let’s say you search for “smart proxy”.

  • The server returns you the result: https://smartproxy.com/. If you keep repeating this search or run a bot to make multiple, high-rate searches, the search engine will flag this as suspicious activity and may even ban Connection 1.

But what happens when you try to connect through a residential rotating, or backconnect proxy? Once you make the initial search, every subsequent search will be directed through a different connection. By doing so, you reduce the risk of a block for too many requests. Then the proxy rotates your IP so you get a new identity. This way you avoid flagging for suspicious activity.

How to connect via rotating residential proxies?

Although you can find free residential proxy services, it’s best to sign up to a subscription plan with a trusted proxy provider. This is much more reliable, quicker and offers the greatest level of security and anonymity. Free proxy services often steal data, passwords and even hack their users.

smartproxy-global proxy network

Smartproxy offers a range of price plans to suit your needs and budget. Price plans are based on traffic usage and offers access to a pool of over 10 million proxies. All plans come with an unlimited number of connections, threads, and countries at any time.

Free proxy services often steal data, passwords and even hack their users.

All you need to do to get started is to sign up to our dashboard. There you will get to choose your preferred subscription, change your plan, or add credits. You can also track daily traffic usage, add sub-users or whitelist IPs and track their usage.

For more information, check out our FAQs, or get in touch via live chat.

People ask us

How do residential proxies work?

Like any other proxies, residential proxies route your internet traffic trough an intermediary server. This server changes the IP address of your connection request. Residential proxies are exceptional because they are real mobile and desktop devices which are used as the the intermediaries for your connections. Click here to read more.

Can you buy residential proxies?

Yes, you can buy residential proxies at very affordable prices and change your IP address into one that looks just like a normal user's IP. We recommend using residential proxies to avoid restrictions and bans.

What is a rotating proxy?

A rotating proxy is a type of proxy that gives its user a new IP address for every connection request.

How to use a residential proxy?

You can use residential proxies on almost any smart device and software program, including every major browser. To find out how to set up a proxy on your device, visit our proxy settings page.