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Residential proxies in 2020: what they are used for and how it works

michaelswerston profile image MichaelSwerston Updated on ・3 min read

Let’s start off by defining what a proxy server actually is — it’s a server that acts as an intermediary between the user and the desired web content. What this means is whenever you are connected to a proxy server all of your web traffic is first being transferred through the proxy server and then to the website itself. Due to the fact that all your requests first go through the proxy, the websites you visit will not be able to see your real IP address and thus will think that you reside in the location of the proxy server.

There are a couple of different proxy types, the main ones being: Data center proxies and Residential proxies, in this article we will be focusing on the latter of the two and see what are the most popular use cases for this type of proxy.

What are residential proxies?

The main and only difference between residential and the previously mentioned data center proxies is that this proxy type has direct association with an ISP. Meaning that the IP of the proxy server is provided by a regular ISP (internet service provider) like the one providing you internet access to read this article. Due to this residential proxies are the superior choice in proxies in terms of being undetectable by websites as a proxy server, which is usually one of the major problems in different projects that use proxy servers.
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Residential proxy types

There are a couple different choices in residential proxies:

Mobile residential proxies — basically work in the same principle as regular residential proxies, but the IP address is provided by a mobile data provider;
Private proxies — this proxy type only allows a single user to connect to it, thus making it less likely to be blacklisted on the web;
Shared proxies — this proxy type allows multiple different users to connect to the residential proxy at the same time, making it more likely to be blacklisted on the web, but making these proxies much cheaper than private ones.

What are residential proxy use cases:

Travel fare aggregation
Flight and travel companies tend to block bot-like activities on their website. As they provide different pricing options for different regions in the world, you are not able to see that from your primary location. That’s where residential proxies come in handy — providing you access to different parts of the world and less chances of your bots being blocked in the process.

Ad verification
Residential proxies are great for verifying whether or not the ads you set up are working correctly on all regions throughout the world. Also, allowing a business to see whether the ads shown are real, as a lot of bad players tend to fake ads and claim the revenue.

Sneaker proxies
One of the lesser known use cases of this proxy type is using them to purchase sneakers. The basic idea is that on most premium sneaker releases a single user is limited to the amount of sneakers they can buy. Thus the residential proxies + a bot comes to the rescue allowing you to rotate the IP address making it look like many different people are purchasing the items.

Brand protection

  1. The proxies will cover your sensitive data from unwanted eyes, while still being accessible to authorised people remotely.
  2. Tackling counterfeiting and copyright infringement
  3. Retail monitoring helps you pinpoint unauthorised selling of your goods.

Web scraping
Probably the most resource intensive task, when it comes to proxies. A web scraper is essentially a bot, that goes on the website of your choice and collects specific data. Many websites tend to block web scrapers and that’s where proxies come into play — rotating your IP address on every request your bot sends out and makes it virtually impossible for the bot to be blocked.

There are many proxy providers out there and as most of these use cases are business focused I would recommend choosing a proxy provider with that in mind. That being said, Oxylabs is a great residential proxy provider, fulfilling all of the above mentioned use cases and much more.
Edit: I have found a discount code in one of the coupon pages, so if you use “COUPONIT” you can get 10% discount on residential proxy plans.

Final thoughts

The ability to connect to any part of the world is useful for pretty much any business nowadays — it allows easy access to data collection, testing their brand in different regions, and so much more. That’s why residential proxy services have become increasingly popular.

The original article was posted on medium.

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