Using proxies and VPNs online is now becoming extremely common practice. People use them for all sorts of reasons – privacy, anonymity, e-commerce, marketing and often for bypassing all the geo-targeting that’s everywhere nowadays. For example if you visit a British ex-pat community in somewhere like Spain you’ll find almost everyone uses a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer or stream Coronation street on their laptops and phones.
Geo-targeting is the process where your access to a site is controlled depending on your physical location. So outside the United Kingdom all the normally free British TV sites are blocked. The same goes for the US media sites when outside the USA too. Indeed, pretty much every major media site like Netflix, NBC, Hulu and the BBC all restrict access generally to their domestic market. This is all done mainly by checking your IP address when you connect to a website.
Most addresses are registered for use in a specific country by each internet service provider so it’s a simple and quick way for a site to check where you’re physically located. Using a VPN however changes all this, as the only thing that is visible is the IP addresses of the VPN you’re connected to. So if the VPN is located in the US, that’s where you’ll appear to be located too irrespective of where you actually are. So to watch the BBC you need to ensure it’s got a UK address and for American sites you’ll need a USA IP address.
So you can switch your IP address through using proxies or VPNs wherever and whenever you like! However if you check out one of our favorite proxy providers – IPBurger you can see there’s a lot of variety and a whole selection of residential proxies for example!
So What Exactly is a Dedicated Residential IP Address ?
Well in truth in most use cases – a dedicated residential IP address is exactly what most people have assigned to them from their standard internet connection. It’s restricted to your own use and is not shared with anyone. Further more the IP address will be classified as from a ‘residential user’.
This is important as this configuration is the most trusted IP address you can get – one which indicates an ordinary person connecting from their home connection not through proxies. The dedicated IP address is assigned through your broadband connection and normally can’t be used by anyone else.
Summary of a dedicated residential IP address –
- Dedicated to single user and not shared with many different connections.
- Residential – classified as being allocated to a ‘home user’ normally through and ISP.
- Static – usually a dedicated IP is a static IP – i.e. it doesn’t change every time you connect.
This is completely fine in normal circumstances but when you use a VPN or proxies then you’ll effectively lose this dedicated IP and connect with the server one instead. Which is great for privacy, hiding your location but this address may be way less trustworthy. What’s more it will normally be shared with other people from around the world who may be using the same VPN service.
Using a VPN IP Address is kind of like parking up your Mercedes and taking the bus to arrive at your destination.
So your privacy can come at a price, your trusted residential IP becomes whatever IPs your VPN provider has assigned to your VPN connection. Mostly you’ll find the standard is commercial and data center proxies and VPNs because they’re the cheapest and most available addresses. So by default most services come with a shared, data centre address although this doesn’t have to be the case.
Upgrade to Residential Proxies and VPNs
Often this downgrade to commercial, shared IP addresses when using a standard VPN or proxy service doesn’t really matter. After all the connection is still secure, privacy is maintained and mostly you can still bypass most blocks for geo testing. So it usually doesn’t matter for watching UK television like the BBC iPlayer for example, the primary requirement is that your internet traffic is routed through a UK VPN or proxy network and therefore has a UK IP address.
Yet this isn’t always the case, there can be significant issues with this IP change when using a network like this to connect through different countries. Generally these are the main problems with using things like datacenter proxies and VPNS.
- Too Many Concurrent connections – sharing your IP address with a couple of people or ten thousand can be quite a difference. Many websites look for multiple inbound connections to detect proxies and VPNs. Too many concurrent connections will be a huge flag for some sort of IP proxy and will get blocked. This is why people are having increasing problems accessing sites like BBC iPlayer through popular VPN services – there’s simply too many people on the same addresses.
- Commercial Addresses Blocked or flagged – many websites will treat connections from commercial networks in a different way. It’s often used as a flag for proxy/VPN use and some sites will even completely deny access. Netflix for instance blocked all connections from commercial networks for some time. It meant that you couldn’t watch different versions from a VPN or from proxy pools at work for instance. Many other sites merely flag the addresses as potentially suspicious which makes it risky to manage accounts or use this IP change for important purposes. The failure rate or risk of account issues definitely increases with a commercial IP address.
Too Complicated ! Do I Actually Need Residential IPs ??
Well for avoiding the vast majority of geo blocks around the world – currently no. You’re mostly fine with a standard VPN, the problem here will be how many people are using it. If there’s too many that IP address will be blocked. You’ll find this issue with most of the popular VPN service providers, and any company that offers a free trial will also have issues. Fortunately most provide a lot of different servers and IP addresses so if one doesn’t work you’ll be able to switch.
For example NordVPN spend a lot of time and effort ensuring that their servers and proxy addresses don’t get blocked by the main UK TV channels. They swap out addresses regularly on their UK servers , monitor usage statistics and try and limit the numbers using concurrent connections to places like BBC iPlayer. It doesn’t always work though and often you’ll have to try a couple of servers before you find one that works – you’ll always find one though! The very cheap VPN providers who keep prices down by getting as many users on a server as possible will rarely work at all with the popular services like the BBC or Hulu.
Summary – For Streaming Geo blocked TV You Generally Don’t Need Dedicated Residential Proxies
It’s the same for most basic level tasks, if you’re just scraping content, simple web data extraction or doing some research then these ordinary datacenter IPs through a VPN or a proxy will generally be ok. If you’re doing anything on any scale though particularly using heavy duty api access then you might have to rethink that strategy or switch to residential ones.
E-Commerce, Valuable Social Network Accounts and Heavy Duty Access Tasks – Consider Residential
If it’s important that make sure that your proxy or VPN use is hidden then residential IP addresses are always going to be more effective. As mentioned, a commercial IP address will automatically be flagged by many sites as being a potential proxy of some kind.
Here’s some tasks that really need a residential proxy or VPN to work properly –
- Any e-commerce transactions e.g. buying from ticket or sneaker sites in volume.
- Social Networking marketing – if you’re managing or developing valuable social media accounts then using residential IPs (plus ideally a dedicated IP) is much safer.
- Marketing/Research – to act as a consumer and Ad verification needs addresses from internet service providers to be accurate.
- Heavy duty anything – if you’re using up lots of bandwidth and establishing many connections, then you’ll need a proxy provider who can either supply rotating residential addresses or a series of dedicated residential proxies.