Every business is looking to save money where they can, but sometimes this leads them into doing something that will cost them more in the long run. When it comes to IP addresses, there are two types: a residential IP address and a standard data centre IP address. A data centre IP address can be cheaper than a residential one, but it also has some limitations which may not satisfy your needs as an online business owner. This article discusses the key differences between these two types of internet protocol addresses so you can decide what’s best for you!
As far as the technology goes and indeed how TCP/IP works there is actually no difference between a residential and data centre IP address. Both will allow you to communicate across the internet and enjoy the world wide web. However what is different is how you are ‘perceived’ when you visit a particular website. Generally a residential IP is trusted and valued whereas one from a data centre is viewed with distrust and caution.
What is a residential IP address?
The reason for this is simple. A data centre IP can be assigned to any customer at any time, whereas a residential IP address belongs to you and nobody else (although it’s always possible that someone could hack into your Wi-Fi). What’s more the majority of websites ‘know’ that a residential IP normally originates from an ordinary home user – a data centre address is much more likely to be a commercial user, tool, proxy or VPN connection. Most websites generally want more of these ‘real users’ and less commercial connections who aren’t real customers.
So if you’re browsing, purchasing, researching or analysing anything online and want to see a site like a normal customer then a residential IP address is what you’ll need. Unfortunately most VPNs and proxies generally use data centre addresses because they’re much more available and also cheaper! Indeed theoretically you can only only actually get one by subscribing to an internet connection from an Internet Service provider.
How do I get a Residential IP address?
Well the easiest way is through a standard home internet connection. When you access the internet through your ISP you will be using a residential IP address. The difficulty comes when you need to use extra addresses for managing multiple accounts for example or when you need an address from a different country or location. In this instance you’ll have to look at buying additional IP addresses.
To gain access to multiple residential IP addresses or just one in other locations then the simplest method is to use a residential VPN or proxy. These will route your connection through any number of external IP addresses. You can effectively operate a single connection through multiple IP addresses. Remember though if you use non-residential IP addresses most websites will detect that you’re using a VPN or proxy.
What is a residential IP proxy?
A residential proxy server is a private network that sits on your home or business broadband connection. They are designed to be used from the same location which means they offer limited use for most people, but can work well in certain circumstances such as with web traffic management software. Residential proxies will typically only provide you with one IP address so it’s not always that useful. However the new generation operate from a pool of addresses which can be switched or rotated automatically.
A residential proxy is simply a standard proxy which has been allocated residential IP addresses. If this is not stated it’s likely that the proxy uses data centre IP addresses instead.
How can I get Free or Cheap Residential Proxies?
There are a few of these, but they’re really not recommended. Firstly obtaining residential IP addresses is time consuming and expensive, so handing the out for free doesn’t work. If you don’t pay then you’re likely to be either sharing your bandwidth with the provider who will sell out your connection to premium members. In other ‘free models’ your computer will probably have adware or even malware in to earn the owners money.
In reality most people use residential IP addresses for commercial gain. Whether it’s buying up limited edition sneakers for resale or managing multiple Instagram accounts, a decent residential proxy can help you make money. It really doesn’t make sense to use a free hacked proxy which will pimp out your internet connection or load your PC with unwanted malware.
The other drawback is that the vast majority of free residential proxies have IP addresses which are already blacklisted which means that they’re usually blocked or flagged by most sites anyway. There are plenty of decent providers of inexpensive residential proxies, check out the adverts and this post on my favourite proxies on these pages for some suggested providers.