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June 07, 2021
9 minutes read

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.

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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.

Avoid Firewalls and Bans

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.

residential proxies

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.

How do I get a residential IP address?

You can get a residential IP from various proxy providers. Some providers offer a list of IP addresses, while others, like us, offer endpoints. This is going to save you some hassle – there's no more need to import proxy lists, and there's almost zero chance you will get a proxy that doesn't work.

How do residential proxies work?

First, it’s important to note that residential proxies are different from datacenter proxies. Residential proxies are more reliable and more in demand, while datacenter ones are easier to block. Even though they are the cheaper option, you do get what you pay for. Let’s talk about the real MVPs – residential proxies.

This is how the residential proxy magic happens:

  1. The proxies route your internet traffic through an intermediary server.
  2. This server changes the IP address of your connection request.
  3. Your IP is completely hidden, and you appear as a different yet completely normal user.

Residential proxies are exceptional because they are real mobile and desktop devices that are used as the intermediaries for your connections.

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.

residential proxies

Whatever the case is, a residential proxy network is 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 per 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. Luckily, our residential proxies come with advanced rotation, which does make it easier to get past this hiccup.

What are residential proxies used for?

Residential proxies can be used for market research, business automation, social networks, network penetration testing, and retail. Here’s some info about what you can really do with paid proxies:

  • Market research: web scraping, ad verification, affiliate testing, SEO, and travel fare. Web scraping lets you collect all kinds of data to get ahead of your competitors – and do it fast. Ad verification helps you test and localize your ads while using real desktop and mobile IP addresses. Affiliate testing is easier than it looks – this is for checking localized affiliate content and whether it’s trustworthy or not. SEO proxies make it possible to conduct competitor research and look after your domain rating. Finally, travel fare aggregation will make your flight search engine soar with the right kind of data.
  • Business automation: you need to meet changing market demands in order to stay ahead of other businesses. Luckily, you can use Smartproxy's residential IPs for data extraction, all kinds of automation processes, gathering business intelligence, and other use cases. Data center IP addresses are no match for real device IPs when it comes to competing for the highest market share. For your convenience, you can easily track your usage statistics in our dashboard!
  • Social networks: this is a very popular reason why our users choose residential proxies. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks are quite cautious, however, with the help of residential proxies, you can still create and manage multiple accounts, increase your following, and change your location without any restrictions.
  • Retail: have you heard about sneaker bots? There’s a whole market for sneaker copping, and it’s outstandingly profitable. Sneaker proxies are the ones to go for if you want to start copping, but you can also unblock and scrape eBay, Shopify, and Craigslist if sneaker copping is not your cup of tea.

This is all great, but what about real-life examples? Do you want to hear more use cases from entrepreneurs, social media managers, and small startups that used a proxy service to make it? Well, we’re glad you asked. Some of our clients have shared their success stories with us, and we also put them up on our site.

Proxies working with every major browser

This includes Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and even Internet Explorer! You can also use proxies on your iPhone or Android.

What are rotating residential 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 choose rotating proxies, your IP will continuously change. This way you can make as many requests as you like without getting flagged for suspicious activity.

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

  1. You send a server request through your normal connection. We will call this Connection 1, and let’s say you search for “smartproxy”.
  2. The server returns you the result: 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.

Once you make the initial search, every subsequent search will be directed through a different proxy 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 try free residential proxy services, eventually you will find out that it’s best to sign up for a paid 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. You were warned.

Smartproxy offers a range of price plans to suit your needs and budget. Price plans are based on traffic usage and offer access to a pool of over 40 million proxies. All plans come with an unlimited number of connections, threads, and countries at any time. City-level targeting is included.

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.

Automatic rotation in a smart way
The Smartproxy dashboard

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

How to set up residential proxies

It really depends on the device of your choice. Nevertheless, this isn’t something you should worry about as our team is willing to help you at any time of day. We also have detailed setup guides that contain screenshots and other helpful info to make setup a breeze. If you want to use residential proxies for your own personal reasons, you can find a detailed guide that will help you integrate Smartproxy residential proxies into your mobile phone, desktop device, website, and extension. If you want to use our proxies for your business, you can use one of our residential proxy integrations and scripts.

Premium residential proxies for as low as $75 per month. Free trial included.


James Keenan

Senior content writer

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.

People ask us

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.

Can I use residential proxies anywhere?

You can get real IP addresses from all around the globe – we’re offering over 195 locations and 8 major cities. This selection is great for anything from web scraping to social media account management. Go on, localize those ads.

What are rotating proxies?

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

How to use residential proxies?

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 integrations section.

How long do residential proxies last?

It depends on the session – one IP can last for up to 1, 10, or 30 minutes during a sticky session. However, if you’re choosing a rotating session, the IPs will change with every request.

Are residential proxies illegal?

Residential proxies are completely legal. In fact, they’re necessary if you want to keep yourself safe online. However, it also depends on how you use them – proxies will not protect you from detection if you do commit an online crime.

Can you be tracked through a residential proxy?

Even though residential proxies aren’t as safe as VPNs, you will not be tracked – at least your private data will not be seen or used by third parties.

Why are my residential proxies blocked?

It might be due to your proxy usage. You might have sent too many requests at once, or you didn’t respect the website’s Terms & Conditions. We suggest randomizing your scraping speed, your search requests, and checking whether what you’re scraping isn’t one of our blocked targets. Stay legal, kids.

What are residential SOCKS5 proxies?

SOCKS5 proxies are good for streaming (think online gaming sessions) and for traffic-intensive web scraping. They’re also compatible with the UDP protocol, not just TCP.

How to use multiple residential proxies?

This one’s easy – just use the same gateway address but change the port numbers. Here you go!

How to use multiple browsers at the same time?

Unlike most proxy networks, we have our own multi-profile browser for this – the X Browser. This is a new tool that is designed to make multi-profile management easier. X Browser offers unique fingerprints for each profile!

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