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 are residential proxies?

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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.

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 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.

Like any other proxies, residential proxies route your internet traffic through 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 intermediaries for your connections. Click here to read more.

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 proxies used for?

Residential proxies can be used for market research, social networks, 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.
  • 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? What about people who have made a huge profit with residential proxies? 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 here:

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: 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.

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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.

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 set up guides that contain screenshots and other helpful info to make set up 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 here. If you want to use our proxies for your business, you can use one of our residential proxy integrations and scripts – can find this list here.

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 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.

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.