smartproxy
Dec 19, 2023
7 minutes read

What Is the Difference Between Residential and Datacenter Proxies?

Proxies act as intermediaries hiding your IP address when connecting to the internet. They’re particularly useful if you can’t access a certain website because you are banned or when you’re trying to access geo-blocked content like on Netflix, YouTube, or a flight ticket platform.

Residential and datacenter proxies are the main two types that offer a way to hide your IP and, among many other things, can help you anonymously scrape data from the web. However, they differ significantly – so which proxy type is the ideal choice for you?

Difference Between Residential and Datacenter Proxies
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What are datacenter proxies

Datacenter proxies, the most common type, are remote computers with unique IP addresses that act as an intermediary between you and the target website. These proxies have nothing to do with your internet connection or Internet Service Provider (ISP), as they’re completely independent of both. So, hiding your IP without being linked to one place is easy. You can opt for shared or dedicated datacenter proxies.

Shared datacenter proxies

Shared datacenter proxies are like taking a bus to your destination. Multiple users access these proxies simultaneously, making them cost-effective. They’re great for market and SEO research, ad verification, entertainment, and browsing. But remember, sharing a proxy can mean slower speeds and a higher chance of getting blocked if another user misbehaves.

Dedicated datacenter proxies

Think of dedicated datacenter proxies as driving in your personal car. Only one person uses them at a time, offering faster, more reliable connections. Ideal for web scraping, multi-accounting, cyber and brand security, or smooth online gaming, these proxies provide stability and security. They cost more, but they’re worth every penny for those needing consistent performance.

What are residential proxies

Residential proxies offer IPs provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and sourced from regular users’ mobile or desktop household devices connected to Wi-Fi networks. These proxies are great for tasks that require authenticity, maintaining privacy, and data scraping, as they’re the least likely to be blocked.

ISP proxies

ISP proxies are a specific type of proxy directly provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and hosted on servers at data centers. Unlike residential proxies, ISP proxies aren’t sourced from user devices. Instead, they’re allocated by the ISPs themselves. This proxy is best suited for tasks that require both the authenticity of a residential IP and the speed and reliability of a datacenter proxy, like managing multiple social media accounts or high-speed data scraping.

Mobile proxies

Mobile proxies use IPs assigned by mobile carriers and sourced from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets using 3G, 4G, or 5G cellular networks. They excel in activities needing high trust and anonymity, as they rarely get blocked and rotate within network and provider pools. Mobile proxies also enable access to mobile-specific data and offer faster internet speeds.

Comparing proxy types

Datacenter vs. residential proxies

When choosing between datacenter and residential proxies, it's important to weigh their advantages and disadvantages in relation to your specific use case. For example, do you need speed, stability, and cost-efficiency? Or are anonymity, various geo-targeting options, and avoiding anti-bot systems and IP bans more important to you?

Datacenter proxies are known for their quick speed and reliability, but they're more susceptible to subnet bans due to their less diverse IP range. Also, the rapid response time of datacenter proxies can lead the user to be flagged for non-human behavior. Residential proxies, on the other hand, offer unique IP addresses that mimic real user behavior, making them less prone to bans and better for tasks requiring a natural-looking online presence.

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Type

IP origin

Uniqueness

Ban risk

Response time

Geo-targeting

Use cases

Pricing

Residential proxies

ISPs (Internet Service Providers)

High, resemble actual users

Low due to unique IPs

Moderate to fast

International access with a variety of regional IPs

Web scraping

Multi-accounting

Ad verification

Travel fare aggregation

Cybersecurity

eCommerce research

SEO monitoring

Best value with shared proxies; higher cost for dedicated IPs

Start from for free

Datacenter proxies

Data centers & cloud servers

Low, may be identified as computer-generated

Higher, with subnet bans affecting many IPs

Fast

Limited to the proxy server’s geographic location

Scraping simple websites

Accessing geo-restricted content

SEO monitoring

Price monitoring

Website & application testing

Cost-effective; usually cheaper than alternatives

Residential proxies vs. dedicated datacenter proxies

Residential proxies typically operate on a rotating IP system, offering users IP addresses that can change every session or remain static for up to several minutes. Dedicated datacenter proxies, on the other hand, assign a unique IP to each user, ensuring exclusivity and a consistent online presence, which is important for tasks that demand a stable, trustworthy IP identity. Regarding pricing, dedicated datacenter proxies often adopt a per-IP pricing model, as opposed to the traffic-based pricing commonly associated with residential proxies.

ISP vs. datacenter proxies

ISP proxies represent a hybrid of functionality, merging the high anonymity of residential proxies with the enhanced speed and stability characteristic of datacenter proxies. This blend makes ISP proxies an optimal choice for users who require the best features of both residential and datacenter proxies without compromising on quality or performance.

Mobile vs. datacenter proxies

Mobile proxies offer a higher level of authenticity by rotating IPs typically assigned to mobile devices, which can effectively evade detection algorithms. In contrast, datacenter proxies offer stability and speed but lack the inherent trustworthiness of mobile IPs and are more easily identifiable as proxies. While datacenter proxies are more cost-efficient, mobile proxies offer the unique advantage of real-world user simulation, making them a more suitable choice for operations that require moving under the radar of web security measures.

In a nutshell

Both residential and datacenter proxies provide essential tools for secure and efficient web navigation, suiting various online needs. Residential proxies, with their rotating IP addresses, excel in anonymity and mimic real-user behavior, while datacenter proxies offer stable, unique IPs known for speed and efficiency in data-heavy tasks.

At Smartproxy, we have every sort of proxy you may need. We take pride in our 55M+ residential proxies from 195+ locations with the fastest response time (<0.5s), one of the highest success rates (99.68%) in the market, and a great entry point with Pay As You Go. Additionally, new users can pick any residential plan and try all features with a 3-day free trial.

We also have 100K+ shared datacenter proxies with worldwide locations and flexible payment options (Pay per GB or IP) as well as 400K+ dedicated datacenter proxies from the US. Furthermore, you can rest assured of the quality of our 10M+ mobile proxies and shared or dedicated ISP proxies.

And if you ever need someone to talk to about choosing the right proxies, don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 support team via LiveChat!

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Vilius Sakutis

Vilius Sakutis

Head of Partnerships

With an eagerness to create beneficial partnerships that drive business growth, Vilius brings valuable expertise and collaborative spirit to the table. His skill set is a valuable asset for those seeking to uncover new possibilities and learn more about the proxy market. 

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Frequently asked questions

What is a residential proxy?

A residential proxy is an intermediary that uses an IP address provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider). Residential proxies come from actual household desktop and mobile devices, so they’re extremely difficult to detect. Learn more about residential proxies in our blog post.

What are residential proxies used for?

You can use our residential proxies with almost any application that supports HTTP/HTTPS proxies. Smartproxy residential-level IPs work great with all search engines, ScrapeBox, and other bots. 

You can integrate Smartproxy proxies with all major automation tools. If your software runs on a dedicated server or your local machine, simply add the machine’s IP to your list of whitelisted IPs. Find integrations on our site.

How do we source residential IPs?

Together with the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition), we’ve launched the Ethical Web Data Collection Initiative (EWDCI). This industry-led consortium will strengthen public trust, promote ethical guidelines, and help businesses make informed data collection choices. We aim to be transparent about our process of proxy sourcing and usage.

What is a datacenter proxy?

Shared datacenter proxies route your internet traffic through servers located in data centers. These servers act as intermediaries between you and the websites you visit, masking your real IP address and providing you with a different IP.

Meanwhile, dedicated datacenter proxies (a.k.a. private datacenter proxies) work as shared datacenter proxies, and additionally, they provide exclusive and private IPs sourced from data centers. Dedicated datacenter proxies offer enhanced privacy and performance with reliable and uninterrupted access, as each IP is dedicated to a single user.

What are the advantages of datacenter proxies?

Two of the greatest advantages of datacenter proxies are speed and reliability. These proxies are commonly used for tasks that require a quick response time and reliable connections, such as load testing, automated tasks, and certain SEO activities.

Datacenter proxies are easier to scale up as they're not tied to physical devices. You can easily acquire multiple proxies from a provider to accommodate your needs.

Our shared and dedicated datacenter proxies are exceptional for their advanced rotation capability, unlimited connections and threads, and low price point.

How do residential proxies differ from datacenter ones?

Residential proxies are true household devices that act as your intermediary servers. They have all aspects of real internet users, such as ISP attribution, no subnetworks, or other tell-tale signs of a proxy network. Thus, you can scale any operation almost indefinitely, especially when you can access millions of these nodes.

What’s more – on Smartproxy’s residential proxy network, you can send unlimited concurrent (simultaneous) connection requests. That means your scraper can access all the pages you need in no time. Advanced rotation is what makes our proxies unbeatable.

And if that wasn’t enough, with us, you’ll no longer need to import any proxy lists – all you need is a single endpoint.

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