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June 03, 2021
7 minutes read

What is the difference between residential and datacenter proxies?

Residential proxy and datacenter proxy servers offer a way to hide your IP address and help you anonymously scrape data from the web. But which proxy is the best choice for you?

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Both residential and datacenter proxies hide your real IP address when browsing online. This helps if you can’t access a certain website because you are banned, or when you are trying to access geo-blocked content such as Netflix, YouTube, or whilst you are searching for the cheapest flight tickets.

How datacenter and residential proxies work and differ in short

So, how does this work? Well, your IP address is like an online fingerprint that is used to track you. By using a residential proxy you are able to hide your real IP behind another IP, which is traced to a home address that’s not your own. Whereas a datacenter proxy IP address is traced back to the corporation or datacenter associated with it.

So, which one would be the better choice for you to use?

What are datacenter proxies and why use them?

Let’s start with datacenter proxies – they are the most common proxies out there. When it comes to hiding your IP address, these proxies don’t have anything to do with your internet connection or Internet Service Provider (ISP) as these are completely independent of both. This way it is easy for you to hide your IP address without being linked to one particular place.

Hiding your IP with datacenter proxies

Websites also use cookies to help and identify your IP address by placing them in your browser. Of all the online fingerprints you leave behind when you browse the internet, your IP address is the most valuable, as it can pinpoint your exact geographical location. This way, search engines can provide localized results, and websites can geo-block content based on your location.

So, if you need online anonymity, or you want to unlock content from another country, you can try a paid datacenter proxy service to help mask your IP address. The trouble is, websites are getting more aware of this, and will often block datacenter proxies. There is a way though – if you’re tired of being flagged while using datacenter proxies, residential proxies offer an effective way around this problem.

What are residential proxies and why use them?

Hiding your IP with residential proxy

Residential proxies offer IP addresses that are connected to real residential addresses, making them all but impossible to ban. This allows you to effectively hide your real IP address, work around geo-blocked content or scrape and harvest data from around the web. Buy residential proxies from reliable providers only, and avoid free proxies if possible.

Smartproxy offers a rotating residential proxy service that constantly rotates and updates the IP you’re hiding behind, making it a more effective way to improve your online privacy, security, and safety. Smartproxy makes sure to secure communications and transactions by supporting an HTTPs protocol. Smartproxy residential rotating proxies also give you access to a pool of more than 40 million proxies which alternate with each new request, or sticky IP sessions to keep your sessions for up to ten minutes. This way very few, if any, websites will be able to track you. Unlike free proxy services, which are usually slow and unreliable, Smartproxy offers residential proxies with an unlimited number of connections, threads, and countries at once. Even so, there’ll be a solution to suit both your needs and your budget, as our pricing model is based on traffic usage.

Are residential proxies better than datacenter proxies

In short, the answer is yes – and there are a few reasons why you should choose rotating residential proxies over datacenter proxies.

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1. Residential proxy IPs are more legitimate– Security systems will usually place more trust in residential IPs, as residential IPs are assigned only to real residential addresses. Basically, some websites can detect you are using a proxy connection and you may find that your datacenter connection is blocked. What usually happens is that datacenter IPs are often easier to acquire than residential IPs, and a high percentage of datacenter users will be hiding their real IP for malicious purposes. Therefore these IPs are more likely to be banned.

2. A greater range of locations to connect from – Rotating residential proxies offer a range of locations you can connect from, making them ideal for circumventing geographical blocks.

Smartproxy dashboard - residential proxies from worldwide

Datacenter vs. residential proxies for sneakers

The clear cut answer to this question: residential proxies are better for hiding your sneaker bot than datacenter proxies. Data center proxy speed and reliability is good, if you only have one or two accounts, but they are worse with many accounts and prone to subnet bans.

Choosing the right type of proxies for sneaker bots is very important. Sneaker proxies hide your IP address, so a sneaker bot like Better Nike Bot or Nike shoe bot can connect to Nike, Adidas, Supreme, or Footsites and add products to the cart multiple times. Sneaker sites frown on that, so you have to use the best proxies. But which - datacenter or residential proxies - are really better for sneakerheads?

To cop multiple pairs with a sneaker bot (e.g. Nike bot, Adidas bot, Yeezy bot, etc.) you need fast proxies and unique IPs for every account. BUT, your bot can’t act too fast, because if they add to the cart and go to checkout instantly, they will get blocked. That means proxy speed is not the main factor to cop sneakers, so you must set up your shoe bot correctly. Your best bet is to make its actions look natural, and residential proxies are better than datacenter proxy IPs for looking like a real user.

Here are the pros and cons of residential vs. datacenter proxies for sneakers:

  • Bans: residential proxies are better because they are unique. Datacenter proxies get massive subnet bans if one IP is detected.
  • Speed: datacenter proxies are usually a little faster, but speed is not the main factor, because if you act too fast, you will be blocked. You will always get the best speed if you choose a location near your target.
  • Price: shared proxies are cheaper because you can use more IP addresses at the same time. If you choose to buy dedicated IPs (residential or datacenter), you will pay a lot more. Remember, most dedicated proxies have no guarantee and might have been used in the past. We recommend using shared residential proxies for the best value.
  • Uniqueness: residential proxies are more unique than datacenter proxies.
  • Usability for international releases: global residential IP networks like ours are better than data center IPs because you can choose USEuropean or Japanese proxies and cop goods internationally. Datacenter proxies would only work in the country where its servers are located.

How to set up a residential proxy server?

To get started, get in touch via live chat, or leave us a few details in [email protected] form and we’ll get right back to you. In order to get you set up, we’ll discuss your needs and use case.

After creating your dashboard account you can choose the subscription service that suits you the best. You can then use this dashboard to track your daily traffic usage, add extra sub-users and track their usage, add whitelisted IPs, and change your plan at any time. You can also add extra credits to your account if necessary.

For more information, check out our FAQs, or if you’re ready to get started, get in touch and we’ll set you up right away. Start using residential proxies today!

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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.

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