Mobile vs. Datacenter Proxies: 4 Key Differences

By
Khaled Bentoumi

Reviewed By

Updated
May 15, 2024
12 min read

Helpful Summary

  • Overview: We detail the differences (and similarities) between mobile proxies and datacenter proxies.
  • Why Listen to Us: anyIP is a leading provider of secure, reliable mobile proxies for businesses and individuals.
  • Why It Matters: Picking the right proxy for your needs means better performance and security.
  • Action Points: Use mobile proxies for jobs that need your traffic to seem like it’s coming from a real mobile device. Use datacenter proxies for fast, high-volume jobs.
  • Further Research: Check out the anyIP blog for more information about choosing (and using) mobile, residential, and rotating proxies.

Curious About the Difference Between Mobile and Datacenter Proxies?

“I know you need a proxy… but which kind of proxy do I need?”

It’s a question we get a lot, especially from users considering mobile and datacenter proxies. Both types come with unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s smart to think carefully about which one you need.

Well, in this anyIP guide, we’re answering it once and for all. We’ll go into detail on each proxy type, explain when to use them, and give you some tips for choosing the right one.

Why Listen to Us?

At anyIP, we understand how important it is to pick the right proxies for online tasks. We’ve helped more than 10,000 customers find the perfect solution for their needs.

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And today, we’re here to help you, too.

Mobile vs. Datacenter Proxies: An Overview

Before we dive into the article, here’s a quick comparison.

Mobile proxies use IP addresses that come from real, mobile devices like smartphones. On the other hand, datacenter proxies use IP addresses that come from data centers.

Both types of proxies have their own pros and cons (more on those later), but in general, mobile proxies are considered more secure and private because they're harder to detect. However, datacenter proxies tend to be faster and cheaper.

What Are Mobile Proxies?

Mobile proxies are proxies that use real, mobile devices as their IP addresses. This means that they appear on websites and online services just like a regular smartphone user would. Everything seems normal from the location to the device and connection type.

screenshot of anyip.io homepage

With a provider like anyIP, you can easily access 100M+ mobile and residential IPs to use for everything from web scraping to sneaker shopping, ad verification, and more. We prioritize high-quality connections that will offer you the stability you need while remaining affordable.

Related: Check out our comparison of residential proxies and VPNs.

How Do Mobile Proxies Work?

Mobile proxies work by routing all of your internet traffic through the IP address of a real mobile device.

Since these IPs are genuine (issued by a mobile carrier), they're less likely to be flagged or blocked by websites and online services. And since Carrier-grade NAT (CGNAT) is used by mobile carriers, one IP address can be shared between multiple users, making them more challenging to identify.

Here’s what the flow of data looks like with a mobile proxy:

  1. Generate Request: You make a request to access a website or online service.
  2. Request Is Routed via Mobile Device: The request is sent to the mobile device that is acting as a proxy server.
  3. Website Receives Request: The proxy server then relays the request to the destination website or service via cellular network.
  4. Website Only Sees Mobile IP: The website or service sees the request coming from a legitimate mobile IP address and allows it through without any issues.
  5. Response Is Routed Back: The response from the website or service is then sent back to the proxy server, which in turn sends it back to your device.

This entire process happens in the background while you browse the web as you normally would.

What Are Datacenter Proxies?

The underlying concept of datacenter proxies is the same as a mobile proxy. Your traffic is routed through a middleman server before reaching its final destination.

The main difference is that datacenter proxies route your internet traffic through servers located in data centers; large facilities that house servers, networking equipment, and things like that. The IPs used for this kind of proxy are issued to the data center in blocks, and that fact is usually a telltale sign that you're using a proxy.

How Do Datacenter Proxies Work?

Like we mentioned, the basic concept is the same as a mobile proxy:

  1. Request Is Routed via Datacenter: Your internet traffic is routed through a middleman server.
  2. Datacenter Acts as Middleman: The middleman server acts as an intermediary between your computer and the website or online service you're trying to access.
  3. Your IP Remains Hidden: Your IP address is hidden, making it appear as though your requests are coming from the datacenter proxy's IP instead.

But with datacenter proxies, there are some additional steps involved.

Datacenter proxies obtain their IPs in bulk from cloud service providers or hosting companies. These IPs are usually dedicated, meaning they belong exclusively to the proxy provider and aren’t shared with other users.

Mobile vs. Datacenter Proxies: 4 Key Differences

1. Success Rate

Websites try hard to tell the difference between real people and bots. Datacenter proxies often trigger red flags because the IPs they use are recognized as non-residential. This can result in websites blocking or limiting access to datacenter proxy users.

Mobile proxies don’t have this problem. Your traffic appears genuine, so websites and services are more likely to allow it. This is how anyIP maintains a success rate of 98.6% on average.

2. Geotargeting

This is a major difference.

Mobile proxies can get super specific in terms of location. Since traffic is routed through real mobile devices, the device’s location is what's shown to the server. With a service like anyIP, you get granular control over the location of your proxies, allowing you to target specific cities around the world.

On the other hand, datacenter proxies have limited or generalized location options. Major providers may offer a select few cities, but you’re usually limited to regions and countries.

3. Speed

Mobile proxies are as fast as the mobile devices they're connected to.

This means that they can offer lightning-fast speeds… or they can be slow, depending on the device. A good provider (like anyIP) will make sure their devices are high-performance and have good network connections.

Datacenter proxies, on the other hand, are known for their speed. They're good for big tasks that need a lot of data quickly.

4. Costs

Finally, it’s important to consider the costs when choosing between mobile and datacenter proxies.

Mobile proxies tend to be more expensive due to the complexity of maintaining and rotating a large number of devices. However, they can offer better success rates and higher quality traffic, making them worth the investment for certain use cases.

Plus, you can still find affordable mobile proxies. At anyIP, our pricing drops as low as $2/GB of data.

That said, datacenter proxies tend to be more cost-effective. They often have fixed pricing plans that allow for unlimited usage at a lower price point compared to mobile proxies.

Use Cases for Mobile and Datacenter Proxies

Mobile Proxies

Great for…

  • App testing: Test your app’s geo-targeted features from different locations.
  • Mobile web scraping: Scrape data from mobile websites.
  • Checking prices and ads: Check how your competitors’ prices or ads appear on mobile devices.
  • Managing multiple accounts: Managing social media accounts linked to different locations.

Datacenter Proxies

Good for…

  • Simple website verification: Quickly verify ads, pricing, and website features.
  • SEO monitoring: Track search engine rankings from different locations.
  • High-speed, high-volume work: Web scraping and data mining tasks.
  • Testing your website: Quickly test website loading speeds and functionality.

Mobile vs. Datacenter Proxies: Feature Comparison

Feature Mobile Proxy Datacenter Proxy
IP Source Cellular networks Server farms
Mobile-Specific Data Accurate Often Inaccurate
Speed Can vary slightly Faster, Stable
Cost Generally Higher Usually lower
Geo-Targeting City/ISP-level precision Often limited to country
Scale/Pool Size Larger, vast geographic spread Smaller, centralized pools

Conclusion

Understanding the differences between mobile and datacenter proxies is key if you want to choose the right option for your needs. In this guide, we’ve highlighted four main differences; but the distinction doesn't stop there.

Mobile proxies are often considered the premium option due to their low detection risk, accurate data, and typically high-speeds. However, datacenter proxies offer advantages like lower costs and stable speed.

Looking for a reliable mobile proxy provider? Sign up for anyIP and experience fast and stable connections with geo-targeting capabilities.

Khaled Bentoumi

Khaled is a software engineer. He’s been involved in many startups of different sizes. Previously, he founded Data to Page, an AI Programmatic SEO startup. He now handles all the marketing at anyIP.

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Article by
Khaled Bentoumi

Khaled is a software engineer. He’s been involved in many startups of different sizes. Previously, he founded Data to Page, an AI Programmatic SEO startup. He now handles all the marketing at anyIP.

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