Residential proxies are the crème de la crème of the proxy servers market. These proxies are sold by internet service providers to homeowners and therefore have genuine internet protocol (IP) addresses. Compare them to the cheaper and more accessible datacenter proxies and the benefits of residential proxies will still be overwhelming.
Proxy use online is on the rise as more businesses take up data mining and scraping to stay competitive. Proxy servers are integral to the data scraping process, helping to efficiently collect accurate data.
Data center proxies have many uses such as access to geo-restricted content, and enhancement of online privacy, but these proxies cannot provide optimum data scraping solutions. Additionally, shared datacenter proxies cannot provide the data safety standards of residential proxies.
What are proxies?
A proxy server is an online tool designed to hide the IP address of a computer. Proxies serve as intermediaries between the internet-enabled device and the internet. They will make requests to other site’s servers online on behalf of your computer.
Additionally, they will return the information sent by other websites via their servers. Proxy servers not only hide the IP address of computers but save bandwidth as well. These tools can compress web traffic and cache web pages and files coming to a computer.
This process can save businesses with thousands or hundreds of employees’ precious bandwidth, especially on the most frequented web pages. Since they can hide IP addresses, residential proxies can also significantly enhance data safety.
Three factors to consider when choosing residential proxies
Residential proxies are more expensive than data center proxies because the former has genuine IP addresses. Instead of a valid IP address, data center proxies use a combination of numbers. Purchasing several datacenter proxies at a go, will not put a big dent in your budget as residential proxies would.
For this reason, most residential proxy providers use either port-based or bandwidth-based pricing models. Bandwidth charges are as per the amount of traffic going through the proxy server. If your traffic is heavy, then your ISP will charge you more for the use of the residential proxy.
There are providers however that offer unlimited bandwidth use to their proxy networks. You should verify whether the unlimited bandwidth has throttling features or not. These proxies can at times be unstable and slow when overloaded but are also more affordable.
Consequently, if speed is not an important aspect of your proxy use, then this type of proxy pricing should work for you. Port-based pricing may offer unlimited bandwidth usage or limit the number of connections in each port.
Some providers will also offer port-based price models but one that throttles the number of requests going through a proxy server. Small businesses with limited bandwidth usage will benefit most from port-based pricing models.
Larger data mining intensive businesses will require bandwidth-priced residential proxies because they will be sending multiple requests simultaneously and or a short time-frame.
2. IP pool sizes
An internet service provider with a large pool of proxies will offer better city-level and country targeting features. The best residential proxies’ providers have wider proxy geo-location coverage to ensure that they have enough proxies for any popular location. If you require a proxy for a less popular location, ensure that you first inquire about its availability before paying for the proxy.
The size of the IP pool is also important because it influences the history of the IPs. If a business has a small pool of IPs, then you will most likely encounter some IPs therein with a bad history, which could get your scraping activities in trouble.
A large pool of IPs has advantages such as a wide selection of locations and speed. A multitude of IPs implies that your business can send multiple requests via different fresh IPs, speeding up your scraping processes.
You can, nonetheless, use ISPs with small proxy pools if you are not going to be scraping much data. Additionally, if your web requests are limited, you can also approach a provider with fewer IPs.
3. IP pool rotation
Proxy services such as web scraping require a rotating pool of residential proxies to prevent IP banning or blocking. Proxy providers have various forms of rotational IP pools with some using per-request rotations. If you are web scraping, these residential proxy providers will rotate every request originated via a new IP.
Others offer rotational IPs through sticky sessions. Your requests will be batched in sessions that vary in time-frames. Whenever a period passes, a fresh IP is rotated in place of the older one. Rotational IPs are expensive and are mostly useful for services such as web scraping. Proxy benefits such as data privacy and security will not require large pools of residential IP use.
Purchase your residential proxies from legitimate providers. There are legal protections in place for businesses that use registered services, which will protect your business from data breaches and other illegal operations.