Residential, better known as residential, proxies allow routing web requests through a home-like device with a residential IP address. It is the most powerful and versatile proxy type. So much so that even those who already use it are not aware of all possibilities residential proxies can bring.
What are residential proxies?
All proxies act as intermediaries changing your IP address. Residential proxies accomplish this task by using residential IP addresses, which are tied to physical devices and verified by internet service providers (ISPs). This way, residential proxies achieve the highest level of legitimacy.
Residential IPs are uniquely assigned to the homeowner’s location. When you first set up a router and contact your ISP, they will give your house a unique IP address. If you move somewhere else, the IP address will change even if you use the same hardware.
Residential proxy providers make use of this uniqueness to build legitimate proxy networks. The only ethical way to source these IP addresses is by contacting ordinary homeowners or third-party providers and asking permission to establish a proxy service through their devices.
Usually, this involves paying homeowners for access to their devices, which significantly raises the prices of residential IP addresses. However, some illegitimate providers hack devices or otherwise trick people into allowing access. Such providers should be avoided, as you risk losing your data or getting into legal trouble.
Using residential proxies from legitimate providers ensures that the routed traffic easily blends into the rest of the internet traffic, as the IP address doesn’t look any different. In contrast, other proxy types, such as datacenter, use specialized servers and create IPs in bulk, which makes them easier to detect.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms ban IP addresses that access more than a dozen accounts. But many businesses and marketing agencies cannot function without easy access to multiple accounts. Using special software for this task complicates things further, as it is against the rules of most platforms.
A large number of legitimate connections is needed to manage multiple social media accounts efficiently. Residential IP addresses are the best choice because they can blend in with the rest of the traffic. Other proxy types perform worse as most social media platforms quickly ban them.
Web scraping helps companies and individuals easily gather publicly available data from the internet. It’s a process of automating this task by using scraper bots that can visit websites, collect the data and extract it in your needed format. What’s left for you is to analyze it from a sheet or JSON file.
Even though the information is freely available, most websites do not want scraper bots visiting them 24/7. They might not want to share this information or get an unnecessary load on the website server. Thus, websites monitor IP addresses and ban those that look suspicious or bot-like.
Residential proxies are best for scraping websites with advanced defense mechanisms. Datacenter proxies, for example, signal that the connection originates from a server in a data center. So it is easy for websites to notice and ban them right away.
A scraper bot with a residential IP can collect data from most websites. Such data can be used for a variety of purposes. Here are some of the main ones:
- Market research
- Crypto analysis
- Equity analysis
- Price comparison
- Sentiment analysis
- Lead generation
- Academic research
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about the data, so monitoring is a crucial part of this endeavor. It is the act of constantly collecting visibility and ranking information about a website on search engines. The better the data, the more chances of discovering ways to increase the website’s traffic.
The days of collecting this data by hand are far gone. Not only because of the sheer volume of data but also because most of it is geo-targeted. Visitors from different locations see varying results on the search engine page, which complicates data collection from your local IP.
Proxies are necessary for this task, and most SEO or marketing tools use them in some way. Residential IP addresses are extremely valuable because of their accurate geo-location capabilities and the ability to visit competitor websites undetected.
Most of us have faced a situation with a shortage of products or services we want to purchase. Whether it is shoes, concert tickets, graphics processing units, or anything else, we are determined to pay for these products. Yet, someone else buys them first.
You can avoid this problem with the help of shopping bots – automated software developed to visit an e-commerce website, select a needed item and go through the checkout process in seconds. These bots are so fast that human buyers don’t stand a chance, and websites have started to ban their IP addresses.
Thus, bulk purchasing enthusiasts started to use proxies to change the IP address and allow their bots to grab the needed goods undetected. The most prominent case of such practice is sneaker copping. Whole communities have developed with the intent to fine-tune methods of purchasing sneakers online.
Businesses can receive thousands of spam emails in a day. Most of them are harmless and can simply be deleted, but others can infect the network with malware or perform phishing attacks. Cybersecurity specialists have developed email protection tools that automatically scan incoming emails and detect threats.
However, proxies are needed for this software to work. A proxy server will act as an intermediary while you check your emails. Some proxy types can be detected by scammers or flagged as suspicious, denying incoming emails. Residential proxies avoid such problems due to their legitimacy.
There are much more use cases where residential proxies are a great fit. The ones we listed here highlight the most important advantages that residential IP addresses bring to businesses and individuals. Now that you know these use scenarios, in theory, the next step is to try residential proxies in practice.