Proxy servers have been developed for anonymous use of the internet. They are extensively employed among various businesses that dabble in social marketing, web scraping, and automating their daily tasks by using bots.
Yet, the usage of proxies goes far beyond this to the point where they are invoked for unblocking access to social media, unblocking geo-restricted content, or anonymous browsing on the internet for any personal or work-related purpose.
As you can see, proxy servers can be used for personal and business matters alike. Datacenter and residential proxies are two major types of them that can be used in either case. Which one is better depends on why you need them in the first place and what features can be sacrificed for the ones that are more important to you.
Where do the terms come from?
These distinguished types of proxies bear their names for a straightforward reason. Although they both are used to change your IP address and route all your requests through their servers, they function differently.
Datacenter proxies are operating from a datacenter. Your IP address is changed there into a different one that can also be changed at any time to another one. Your new IP address conceals your identity, but it also masks the fact that a proxy is used, for it indicates a place somewhere else than this datacenter is located.
Usually, all your traffic is routed through the network of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). When a datacenter proxy is used, it works instead of your ISP, and you connect to the proxy server instead of your ISP network.
On the other hand, residential proxies use residential locations where different devices are located and have their IP addresses assigned to them. Each IP that you use leads to that specific location if someone tries to identify who is using that IP address. These different devices with different IP addresses are connected to the internet through different networks given by their ISPs.
In summary, a datacenter proxy operates from a datacenter by giving you different IP addresses that are established from that datacenter, while a residential proxy works by giving IP addresses from different devices in different locations.
Datacenter proxies are faster
If you want to hide your identity by changing your IP address, but at the same time you don’t have the luxury of losing speed, then datacenter proxies are your best choice.
Since they route all the traffic only through their servers, they are faster than residential proxies, as the former usually have business-grade internet. Whereas the latter lack the speed because proxies must readdress your requests, but use, at best, an internet a regular consumer has. Residential proxies are also much more likely to experience slowdowns due to the other user.
Faster proxies are better when you are using bots, and you need fast automation to be maintained without interruptions. The same can be said about harvesting data or doing any other activity that requires working fast, such as sneaker copping.
Residential proxies have more legitimacy
Although proxies are legal to use, residential proxies are more difficult to be identified because they are using real IP addresses that are working through the networks of their ISPs. Therefore, they seem like any other regular internet user to websites.
If a slower pace doesn’t bother you and legitimacy is your priority, then you should prefer residential proxies. Moreover, if your main interest is to protect sensitive data that you might be sharing with your business partners or if you are harvesting data that you can’t afford to stop gathering, residential proxies provide you with the necessary safety from possible blocks.
It’s more difficult to block you for whatever reason anyone might want to do that when this type of proxy is used.
Datacenter proxies are cheaper
The price can be a driving factor in determining which type of proxy to use. If that is your concern, then your choice is datacenter proxies.
They are easier to build and use fewer resources because proxy providers can simply create them in servers instead of looking for household devices willing to share IP addresses all over the world. That makes them cheaper.
Very fast and considerably cheap service is what you can get if you choose datacenter proxies. It doesn’t mean that they are worse. Their low-cost nature comes from the way they function, namely, by using simpler resources.
Residential proxies have a bigger pool of IP addresses
Since real IP addresses in different locations are used, residential proxies tend to have a bigger variety of IP addresses that can cover more locations. That makes them more useful when you want to access geo-restricted content.
You can access virtually any content when you use IP addresses that indicate a particular location if you want to access the content only accessible to users from that country. Likewise, if you want to bypass any restrictions or blocks that are set for a particular location, you just need to use an IP address that is located beyond that restricted place.
Datacenter proxies have more providers
Residential proxies are more difficult to develop because they need real IP addresses to be fully operational. Datacenter proxies don’t face this issue because they are more easily created.
That makes them more available because many more providers can be found. It also can improve their quality because bigger competition for customers makes them decrease their price and increase the quality of their service.
If you need to get a proxy fast and you need it to work fast, then the headache of datacenter vs residential proxies can be ended by choosing the datacenter proxies.
The main difference between a datacenter proxy and a residential one is in their developmental differences. Datacenter proxies are cheaper, faster, and easier to get, while residential can guarantee better legitimacy and more IP addresses. That makes residential proxies safer and more useful for more sensitive and bigger tasks, leaving the datacenter equally good or better for everything else.