Most people don’t start using residential proxies right from the start, whatever their chosen tasks. Most of us will start looking for free proxy options first then quickly realize that they’re mostly virus and adware riddled at best or worst set up to steal credentials and personal data. Unfortunate but let’s be honest who in their right minds will provide servers, bandwidth and IT support at a huge cost completely free of charge to total strangers! It’s simply not going to happen.
The next step is to start looking for low cost options and to be fair there are lots of solutions in this bracket. After all the generic technology of running a proxy isn’t that difficult. Any competent network administrator should be able to set up, secure and manage a proxy server with relative ease. Indeed many applications automatically install proxies in order to enable remote access and administration. The early days of Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Server) left millions of automated proxy installs all over the internet, often completely ignored or unnoticed by IT staff everywhere.
The cheapest option if you just want to hide your IP address is actually one of the most secure is to use something called a VPN service. A VPN is a virtual private network which is basically an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote proxy server. There are many services which provide access to literally thousands of these servers for a few dollars a month, check out companies like NordVPN for something which can do this for you. If you want something even more secure with the ability to rotate addresses automatically then try out something like Identity Cloaker. However the core problem with these services is that you’ll almost certainly be sharing your IP address with hundreds (or even thousands) of concurrent connections. However for hiding and changing your location then these could well be enough – check out these two videos demonstrating how they work –
How to Change Your IP Location -Using NordVPN
Rotating Your IP Address – Using Identity Cloaker.
However whatever task you need a proxy for the crucial difference in most of them is the IP addresses that they use. This is because you are effectively swapping your real IP address for the address of the proxy server you connect to. If this IP address has been completely abused and is instantly flagged as used by fraudsters or spammers, then it’s of very little worth for someone wanting to buy or sell services through it. Using such an IP address is the equivalent of impersonating a Nigerian scam artist in order to make a business deal, it’s unlikely to help !!
Yet often this doesn’t matter, for many tasks it’s irrelevant that you’re sharing with thousands of people or that your IP address is blacklisted. If the sites you are using don’t check then it simply won’t be an issue. Examples of these sort of tasks include many generic SEO (search engine optimisation) tasks like building links which can be automated through multiple IP addresses. Using a decent VPN service is perfect for these sort of tasks where the actual IP address is of limited importance.
So Why Do People Pay More For Residential Proxies ?
The reality though, for many of us, is that the IP addresses assigned and shared by these VPN services simply don’t work. One of the most important criteria is the classification, every VPN service uses almost exclusively datacenter IP addresses. Of course from a networking perspective these addresses work perfectly well, yet the problem is that they are not associated with ordinary home users. Any internet user connecting to the web would never normally be assigned one of these commercial addresses. In fact they are probably the most widely used indicator of proxy use, if you connect with one of these addresses then it’s likely it’s via a proxy or VPN server.
So for any web site, if you want to filter out or block these sort of connections then datacenter registered IP addresses is the simplest first detector. Which is why for so many tasks these proxies are pretty useless. Certainly if you connect to virtually any website which processes financial transactions or any form of e-commerce, using a datacenter based proxy won’t work very well at all.
The issue is quite fundamental and almost entirely involves the IP address. Most of us want to look like an ordinary user, we certainly don’t want to have a big flag round our neck announcing that we’re using a proxy server to hide our real address. Most tasks now involve more than hiding our real identity – we need to create a new one. Using datacenter proxies certainly won’t allow this and it’s unlikely that this situation will change in the future.
When you connect using a residential IP address assigned to a proxy server (essentially all a residential proxy is) then you’ll look like a standard, home user. You’ll blend into the crowd and be treated like a potential customer, these are the visits most e-commerce sites covet. For so many tasks this is what you need, if your business relies on making multiple purchases for things like sneakers, tickets or other short supply items you need residential proxies. If you want to do any meaningful market research or evaluation then the same applies, to see what a customer sees and be treated the same way a residential address is vital.
Of course, nowadays there are some other options. The divide between commercial and residential addresses has become blurred with so many of us now using mobile devices online. These addresses are also distinct assigned by the mobile gateways that service our phone networks. They can also be used to ‘look like a standard user’ so expect to see an increase in the availability and use of mobile proxies as an alternative to residential ones too.