Proxy servers help maintain a user’s privacy and anonymity on the internet, whether they are scraping data for competitive marketing analysis or gaining access to content blocked in their geographical region. But with so many proxies available in the market, it can be challenging to find out the best option to suit your needs.
Of all the proxies, datacenter and residential proxies are the most popular. However, which proxy is better than the other highly depends on your needs. This post addresses what residential and datacenter proxies are, their pros and cons, and the best use cases of each type of proxy. But before we begin, let’s cover proxy servers briefly.
What is a Proxy
A proxy server (or proxy) is a system that serves as an intermediary gateway between a user and a server. It enables anonymous and safe data exchange on the web by masking IP addresses. The traffic goes from the user’s device to the proxy before continuing to the requested web server. Any response from that website returns to the proxy, which forwards it to the user.
Essentially, proxies communicate with websites on behalf of the users. They provide a unique layer of protection to users, ensuring their online security while they explore the internet.
They are used for many different purposes, like accessing geo-blocked content, anonymous browsing, controlling server or network load, setting up content filters, and web scraping. Additionally, proxies help prevent an attacker from invading a private network and are also useful in building a firewall.
Residential vs. Datacenter Proxies
A residential proxy is a proxy server with IP addresses connected to real residential addresses, enabling users to choose a particular geographical region and anonymously use the internet without getting banned. Residential proxy servers are of two types: static and rotating. While static proxies are assigned to one user and remain the same for each request sent through them, a rotating proxy assigns a new IP address each time a request is sent.
Datacenter proxies are a gateway or an intermediary between the internet and the web-enabled device. It makes use of IP addresses owned and managed by data centers. One of its types is shared datacenter proxies which are used by multiple users concurrently. A dedicated datacenter proxy is another type that is not shared or used by another client.
Difference between Residential and Datacenter Proxy Servers
Comparing residential proxies with datacenter proxies, the latter costs less and offers much faster speed. Datacenter proxies secure online anonymity to some extent, whereas residential proxy servers provide top-degree anonymity as it has a vast pool of IP addresses.
When it comes to detection, a residential proxy is better than datacenter proxies at masking the scraper’s identity. In addition, these proxies are of high quality and can work even when datacenter proxies fail. However, residential proxy servers are harder to get access to since they are provided by an actual ISP (Internet Service Provider), not data centers or cloud servers.
Use Cases of Residential and Datacenter Proxies
Residential proxy servers can be tailored to suit a variety of applications. The most common use case is to access geo-restricted content without getting blacklisted. These proxies are best for scraping sites with advanced defense mechanisms. A bot with a residential IP address can collect data from most websites, which can be used for a range of purposes.
Residential IPs are highly useful for search engine optimization (SEO) because of their geo-location capabilities and the ability to visit competitor sites undetected. These proxies also come in handy in competitive marketing analysis, where businesses can collect data on their competitors’ products, pricing strategies, and marketing campaigns. Other uses of a residential proxy are affiliate link testing, review monitoring, price aggregation, and social media monitoring.
While datacenter proxies can also be used to access geo-blocked content, ad verification, and social media management, there are some other applications as well. These proxies help marketers to scrape data from minor search engines in a cost-effective manner.
Also, companies use a datacenter proxy to run market research tools and gather intelligence on competitors’ ads. For those aiming to retrieve a large amount of data, academic or market research, or web scraping open-source libraries, datacenter proxies are optimum.
To recap, we have covered what proxy servers are and what residential and datacenter proxies mean, their pros and cons, and their uses. Even though both proxies serve the needs of connecting a user and a server, making it possible to scrape data from the web anonymously, their origin, as well as purpose, is different.
Datacenter proxies are faster and cheaper and have fewer locations covered than residential proxy servers. However, residential proxies guarantee better legitimacy and are more useful for larger tasks, leaving the datacenter proxies good for everything else.