What is a Residential Proxy and What is it Used for: Complete Guide
Gleb Lepeshkin
Gleb Lepeshkin Published: 2021/09/20

It’s no secret to most of you that every time you go online, your computer is assigned an IP (Internet Protocol address) that should tell the websites you are trying to access about the location of your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Some websites out there are extremely sensitive to the geo-location of your ISP and can block access from your location (country or state) to their website upon identifying your device and its location through cookies and other methods of malignant traffic detection. You can overcome this hurdle by using residential proxies, which will help obscure your current location and let you buy or scrape your target sites safely.

What is a residential proxy?

Let’s start by defining the meaning of a residential proxy. In essence, a residential proxy is an IP provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) of your choice. This is what makes it different from a datacenter proxy where an IP will be assigned to you by a datacenter and could be easily detected as such by the website you are trying to access. Unlike a datacenter IP, a residential IP will have a physical location assigned to it by the ISP.

Most online services consider residential IP addresses as real people and block datacenter IP queries for potential spam attacks. The main advantage of a residential IP is that it is linked to a physical location and appears to the targeted site as a completely legitimate access request.

This way residential proxies are identified as real people’s IPs and are not getting banned by the websites, unlike some datacenter IPs. 

So, if we compare residential proxies (with residential IPs) to other types of proxies the following will be the main advantages of using residential proxies:

  • residential IPs are harder to detect because they essentially appear like IPs of real people residing in a certain area;
  • being more durable than datacenter IPs, residential IPs can be safely used for scraping search engines and social networks;
  • in the case of rotating residential proxies the chances of getting detected by the target websites are virtually zero.  

How do residential proxies work and why do you need to use them?

There is a whole range of how to use residential proxies. Here we will study some use cases when such IPs can be handy in your proxy-driven operations. You can safely use them for scraping websites (inside bots or scripts) for required information or data. You can stream geo-blocked content to your computer from remote servers. Or you can arrange for uploading or downloading to remote torrents using P2P connections.

Whatever is your case, by using residential proxies you will be able to hide your real IP replacing it with a genuine address that will ensure your anonymity online. 

The only drawback that you might experience is with search engines that might have a limit on the number of queries over certain time intervals. Be careful in this case, since you can get banned by a search engine for repetitive attempts to access the site. To overcome this hurdle you might want to use rotating residential proxies that can be set up for accessing sites within certain intervals. Read on to learn more about them.

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What are rotating residential proxies?

When we are talking about rotating (or backconnect) residential proxies we mean a specific type of residential proxy that hides your real IP address by using a range of IPs one after another. Here, we come across sessions. For each session, your software script or browser picks a different IP:port combination from the pool to avoid getting blocked by the target website. 

Each IP is used at a certain interval. We can also set instant swapping so that the IP will change upon every new request. This allows for multiple user requests without the risk of being identified as a spammer. 

This practice is most valued when you need to perform several consecutive search engine requests or e-commerce websites. A search engine might suspect or red-flag your activity if it is performed from a single IP. A rotating residential IP (inside a bot or script) or proxies for e-commerce will be able to pace these search requests so that they appear absolutely legitimate for the search engine.

What are residential proxies used for?

Some of the common areas where you might need residential IPs include web scraping of social media, social networks scraping and parsing (and other types of large-scale scraping), and some retail-oriented practices. Down below we describe some of the most common uses of residential proxies.

Web Scraping Techniques 

When we talk about using proxies for helping you adjust your marketing efforts on the Internet and residential IPs, in particular, we consider the opportunities granted by the proxies for studying competition in your market involving scraping data. While data scraping is also possible to pull off using datacenter IPs, you will be on a much safer side with residential proxies. With a very low rate of detection, you will be able to access Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google for scraping on a large scale. When you decide to buy proxies for social networks, you will definitely need to end up with a good set of residential proxies at your disposal. 

Accessing Ticket Airfare Aggregators

Residential proxies would be your clear choice for scraping ticket sites. Here the efficiency of using such IPs is absolutely remarkable since such websites feature different pricing policies for different locations. Using datacenter IPs here would most definitely raise a red flag leading to blocking you from the site. On the other hand, residential proxies will make sure that you have unlimited access to the information you need on the ticket aggregator for your further analysis.

Buying Sneakers Using Proxies

Another type of site that is critically sensitive to your geo-data is a shoe-selling site. This happens for a number of reasons including possible copying, identity theft, and purchase limits during drops when people shop for sneakers in hordes. With residential sneaker proxies, you can get access to such sites for fast purchase or on a large scale (for data harvesting). Make sure that you use the right IPs for this mission. Otherwise, you may get banned on sites like Nike or Supreme Shoes for using shoe bots. 

Ad Verification and Reputation Intelligence 

Yet another area of using residential proxies is reputation intelligence (reputation management), sales intelligence, and advertising verification. As an advertiser, you need to be sure that your ads appear correctly on some sites and some locations where you post them. This is important since your competitors may cause damage to your reputation by misplacing ads or displaying them incorrectly. As for reputation management and intelligence, there are SaaS services and agencies that use proxies for reporting on your current visibility on the Web from the consumers’ perspective. They parse the data from search engines and other information aggregators to give you a complete rundown on your current standings. This information can be particularly interesting from the marketing viewpoint and should allow you to engage with your audience to further improve the corporate image of your business.       

How to get a residential IP address

That entirely depends on how you are planning to use your residential proxies. They may be used inside scripts or other tools used for process automation (like proxies for Scrapebox or proxies for bots). Anyway, this is something we can easily guide you through and advise on proxy setup. As for Scrapebox, we published a detailed guide on how to use proxies inside Scrapebox. It features plain and simple screenshots for all possible variations of proxy use inside the application. In all other cases, our account managers will take good care of you based on your use case. You will be able to use residential private proxies from our dashboard right after you claim your package.    

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Consider PrivateProxy Your Trusted Partner

When you buy static residential proxies or rotating residential proxies from us, regardless of your use case, we will be there for you during the whole lifetime of our proxies. The most use cases of our proxies include coupon aggregators, lead generation, reputation and price intelligence, fraud prevention, local SEO, and VPNs. Please follow these links to learn more about how PrivateProxy can help you in these missions. 

Final Thoughts

If your priority is just to access the Internet anonymously, you will be able to hide your IP using regular proxies. Although, if you are working on some mission-critical projects (like intensive search requests, data scraping on Facebook, Linkedin, or Pinterest, etc.) with websites sensitive to geo-location and risks to be banned, you will need high-performing residential proxies.

Residential IPs are not easily tracked since they are linked to a real geo-location. This prevents red flags and/or bans on the side of websites. This leads to safe data harvesting and successful missions be it scraping coupon aggregators, ticket sites, or buying sneakers online. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please read our Documentation if you have questions that are not listed below.

  • What is a residential proxy network?

    A residential proxy network is an array of private proxy IPs provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) operating in a certain area. It should not be confused with a datacenter proxy network where proxies originate from the datacenters. In the case of residential IPs, their authenticity and security characteristics are not easily compromised by certain websites, unlike datacenter proxies, thus making them more robust in geo-sensitive operations. In general, proxies from residential proxy pools are more expensive than their datacenter counterparts.

  • How to use residential proxies?

    ThereTo use your residential proxies you need to buy a residential proxy plan from us and you will be able to access your IPs through a user-friendly dashboard, from where you can copy and paste your proxies into bots or scripts of choice. In case you have a specific use case that is not covered in our guides (like the one we have on Scrapebox), our Account Managers will gladly assist you in setting up your proxies for continuous and successful operation.

  • How do residential proxies work?

    Like any proxy, a residential proxy hides your real IP behind an IP provided from a pool of an ISP (Internet Service Provider), so you can access websites of choice cloaking your real location. This is particularly useful when you conduct multiple search engine requests or buy limited products from online stores. Also, some cases of residential proxies application include reputation management analysis, buying tickets online, and ad verification in some geographical locations of your choice.

  • How to get a residential IP address?

    So, what is a residential IP? It is nothing but an IP address of your residential private proxy. Once you pay for your residential proxy plan, you will get a set of residential proxy IPs available in your profile. Accessing your profile is easy and with our proprietary dashboard, you will always know what IPs you have currently available at your disposal. In case you get lost in the interface (which is highly unlikely), our Account Managers will always be there for you to address your problems and get you up and running again.