The terms proxy and VPN are used in so many ways that mean different things.
There are numerous cases where an individual or a business need to access websites anonymously, through a different country or location.
The different use-cases, derive different products that often mix up.
One of the most common questions is the difference between residential proxy and data-center ones.
These are IPs of real end users’ devices, that are connected directly to an ISP (Internet service provider) or a mobile carrier. The are usually offered via a network of peers (individuals who agree to share part of their internet connection with others).
The pros of residential IPs
When used correctly it’s nearly impossible to spot a Residential IP. The proxy request is one of many requests generated by real users, and are impossible to differentiate or block. Also residential IPs are available in every country and city in the world.
The cons of residential IPs
A Residential IP can become unavailable unexpectedly, since it’s a device of a real person that may use it or turn it off. In some cases there will be higher latency as well and less reliability as for speed and bandwidth.
Data center IPs
Data center IPs refer to proxy servers that are hosted in datacenters, and hold large amounts of consecutive IPs.
The pros of data center IPs
Data center IPs are easy to get and more affordable than residential IPs. They are also called “static IPs” because they are always available and can hold a long session without the risk of becoming unavailable before the goal is achieved.
The cons of data center IPs
There are thousands of data centers worldwide. They are listed and their IPs can be identified as not real users, which makes them more easy to recognize and block. Some websites would display misleading information when they spot a connection attempt from a data center IP.
Another common issue is that data center proxies are usually shared proxies where multiple users share the same server, making it even more prone to detection.
The way to overcome the latter, is to buy private proxy, where the IP is dedicated to you only.
Try using data center IPs first and the more expensive alternative of residential IPs as a fallback option, that way you can reduce the costs of your operation and still get great success rate.
A good free solution for managing your proxy balance is the Luminati Proxy Manager, where rules can be defined to automatically switch between proxy networks in the “Waterfall” method to get best results at lowest costs.