Residential Proxy Explained: What It Is and How It Works

By
Khaled Bentoumi

Reviewed By

Updated
May 15, 2024
12 min read

Helpful Summary

  • Overview: We explain what residential proxies are, how they work, why you might want to use one, and how to get started with anyIP.
  • Why you can trust us: anyIP is a leading provider of high-quality, affordable residential proxies. We have years of experience in the industry.
  • Why it matters: Residential proxies provide enhanced privacy, access to geo-restricted content, and efficiency in web scraping and automation.
  • Action points: Choose a reputable provider like anyIP, evaluate their proxy features (e.g., global IP coverage, pricing, anonymity), and integrate the proxy.
  • Further research: Check out the anyIP blog for more resources on residential proxies and other related topics.

Want to Learn More About Residential Proxies?

Nobody likes running into IP restrictions. Whether you’re trying to manage multiple social media accounts and get flagged for suspicious activity, or running into blocks while web scraping data, the result is wasted time and missed opportunities.

Residential proxies can be the perfect solution.

In this anyIP guide, we explore residential proxies. What they are, how they work, why they matter, how to set them up, and much more.

Why Listen to Us?

At anyIP, we’ve helped 10,000+ users browse the web anonymously, access geo-restricted content, and conduct efficient web scraping and automation. We have years of experience with residential proxies and we’re here to share our knowledge with you.

So, let’s start with the basics…

What Is a Residential Proxy?

A residential proxy is a type of proxy server that uses IP addresses associated with real residential devices, like phones or computers.

They act as a middleman between your device and the website you are trying to access, masking your original IP and location by presenting the IP and location of the residential device. As a result, you stay anonymous while still appearing as a “real user” to the website.

Providers like anyIP source millions of high-quality residential and mobile IP addresses from all over the world. That means changing your location to access geo-locked content, bypass website restrictions, and stay undetected while web scraping is as simple as rotating your IP.

Types of Residential Proxies

  • Rotating Proxies: Your IP address changes regularly, ideal for large-scale data scraping where avoiding blocks is crucial.
  • Sticky (Session-based) Proxies: Your IP address remains the same for a session, offering greater control for managing logins and maintaining a consistent online presence.

Protocol Support

  • HTTP/HTTPS Proxies: Designed for web traffic, widely supported by browsers and software.
  • SOCKS5 Proxies: Versatile protocol supporting various connections. Developers can often easily integrate them with their code.

What Makes Residential IPs Undetectable?

Residential IPs enjoy a natural camouflage when it comes to remaining undetected. Here's why:

  1. Issued by Trusted Providers: Residential IPs belong to legitimate internet service providers (ISPs) that supply internet connections to homes and businesses. Websites generally trust traffic from these known, reputable sources.
  2. Mimicking Regular Users: Because residential IPs are used by everyday people browsing the web, their activity patterns appear indistinguishable from normal internet traffic. This makes it difficult for websites to identify them as proxies.
  3. Diverse and Dynamic: Unlike datacenter proxies, which often come from a limited range of IP addresses, residential proxies leverage a vast pool of IPs assigned to individual devices. This diversity further strengthens their disguise.
  4. IP Quality and Rotation: anyIP carefully manages its IP pool, removing low-quality IPs that might trigger suspicion. Rotating IPs regularly can also make it harder for websites to track usage patterns associated with a single IP.
  5. Avoiding Suspicious Behavior: Even with the best proxies, abnormal browsing activity (like sending thousands of requests per second) can be a red flag. anyIP can help you configure your usage to mimic regular user behavior.

How Do Residential Proxies Work?

To understand how a residential proxy works (in simple terms), think about it as a middleman between you and the target website. You pass data to the residential proxy, the residential proxy passes it to the target website and vice versa.

In more technical terms, the residential proxy collects all of your HTTP requests (e.g., button clicks, form submissions) and routes them through a real residential IP address. This not only hides your true IP address, but it also makes it seem like you are accessing the website from a different location.

Here’s a step-by-step example to help with any confusion:

  1. You Make a Request: You click a link or initiate an HTTP request on a website.
  2. The Proxy Intercepts: The residential proxy collects your request.
  3. IP Swap: The proxy routes your request through a residential device, making it appear as though the request came from that device's IP address.
  4. Website Response: The website sends the response back to the proxy, thinking it's communicating with a regular user
  5. Data Delivery: The residential proxy then forwards this data to you, completing the cycle.

So, the proxy server keeps the user and the website totally separate. Your IP address is never revealed to the website.

How Do Residential Proxies Compare With Other Types of Proxies?

Feature Residential Proxies Free Proxies Datacenter Proxies Mobile Proxies VPN
Source Home networks Data centers Data centers Mobile Networks Data centers
Anonymity High Low Low High High
Undetectability High Low Low High Low
Blocking Risk Low Very High (usually blacklisted) High (often blacklisted) Low Medium (occasionally blacklisted)
User Identification Moderate (can be traced to individual households) Very Easy (some of them sends your IP address to the server) Easy (often static and tied to specific organizations) Hard (dynamic and diverse IPs) Easy (often static and tied to specific organizations)
Speed Fast Very slow Fast Normal Fast

Pros and Cons of Using Residential Proxies

Pros

  • Enhanced Privacy: Residential proxies enhance privacy by concealing the true IP address, providing an additional layer of security against potential surveillance and ensuring a more confidential online presence.
  • Bypassing Geo-Restrictions: Residential proxies have the capability to overcome geographical barriers, allowing users to access region-specific content and services easily, thus enabling a more global online experience.
  • Improved Efficiency in Automation: Residential proxies are useful tools for web scraping and automation tasks, as they help bypass obstacles like IP blocks and bans, resulting in enhanced efficacy and efficiency in data collection and automated online activities.
  • Accessibility for All Users: Residential proxies offer a universal solution for individuals regardless of technical expertise, addressing concerns about online privacy, enabling access to specific content, and facilitating the management of multiple accounts.

Cons

  • Cost: Premium pricing compared to some other proxy types. anyIP offers flexible pricing and tools to help you manage performance for your specific needs.
  • Performance: Slight speed reduction may occur due to the extra steps involved.

How to Set up a Residential Proxy

1. Choose a Proxy Provider

The first step in setting up a residential proxy is choosing a provider. This may seem basic, but the provider you choose is really important.

Why?

Because not all proxy providers are created equal. Some have unreliable servers, others use low-quality IPs, others have poor customer support. That’s one of the main reasons why customers come to anyIP in the first place, we prioritize quality and reliability.

Not sure what to look for in a provider? Here are some key features:

Pool Size & IP Quality

Pool size is probably pretty self-explanatory, it’s how many IP addresses the provider has in their pool. Generally, more is better (if the IP addresses are also high-quality) because it means you can rotate IPs more easily.

At anyIP, we have a massive pool of over 100 million IPs that are constantly updated and sorted by various criteria for easy selection. But don’t let the size of our pool fool you: we prioritize quality over quantity.

We also prioritize IPs from a variety of ISPs to guarantee our users can access a wide range of different subnets, an average response time of 0.87 seconds, and a ~98.6% request success rate.

So, to summarize:

  • Look for a large pool size.
  • Look for low response times.
  • Look for high success rates.

Location Coverage

One of the main reasons people use residential proxies is location spoofing. For example, accessing geo-restricted content or ad verification. So, it makes sense that location coverage is something to look for in a provider.

At anyIP, we offer city-level targeting across Europe, Asia, and North America. This gives you a ton of flexibility when choosing an IP address that meets your needs.

Reputation

A provider's reputation is crucial for ensuring reliable and ethical service. Look for reviews, case studies, or testimonials from current users to gauge the provider's standing in the market.

At anyIP, we guarantee high success rates of our residential proxies for various online activities as follows:

  • 95% success rate on e-commerce platforms like Walmart, Wayfair, Craigslist, AliExpress, and Amazon.
  • 99.9% success rate for SEO monitoring on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex.
  • 90% success rate on travel aggregation sites like Booking.com, Trip Advisor, and Expedia.

Pricing

Residential proxies typically come at a premium due to their legitimacy and effectiveness in mimicking real user behavior. Pricing models vary, including pay-as-you-go, monthly subscriptions, or based on the amount of traffic used.

Make sure the pricing aligns with your usage needs and budget.

anyIP offers residential proxies at competitive prices, starting as low as $2 per gigabyte. We provide access to a large pool of over 100 million residential and mobile IPs with a success rate of around 98.6% and an average response time of approximately 0.6 seconds, making us a cost-effective and efficient choice for various proxy needs.

2. Integration

Integration in the context of residential proxies just means configuring your proxy.

Providers like anyIP make this easy by:

  • Providing tools that ensure proxies are configured to work across whatever applications you need them for.
  • Offering dedicated support to assist with any integration issues or questions via live chat.

anyIP also allows for multiple protocol support (HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKs5) along with different authentication methods (username/password, IP whitelisting, etc.) to make sure that your proxies are compatible with a huge range of software, browsers, and extensions.

What Are Some Common Use Cases for Residential Proxies?

Looking for some inspiration about what you can actually do with a residential proxy? Here are some common use cases:

  • Efficient Web scraping: Residential proxies help you avoid rate limits and anti-scraping protocols by rotating different high-quality IPs. This means you can load tens of thousands of pages without triggering any red flags.
  • Ad verification: You can use residential proxies to load your ads from different locations to see when, how often, and where they're displayed.
  • Accessing geo-locked content: With a residential proxy, you can access geo-restricted websites or content by appearing to come from the same location as that website's target audience.
  • Safe Account Management: Maintain multiple social media or website profiles without the risk of bans or detection. Each account looks like it's being managed by a unique individual.
  • Competitive Sneaker Shopping: Boost your success rate when buying limited-edition sneakers by using multiple residential IPs to create different online identities.

Additionally, you can also use residential proxies for:

  • SEO performance monitoring
  • Market research
  • Price comparisons
  • Data mining

Ethical Considerations and Legality

Residential proxies have many legitimate uses, such as market research, price comparison, accessing geo-restricted content, and safely managing multiple accounts. However, it's crucial to use them responsibly.  Avoid any activities that violate privacy laws or the terms of service of the websites you access.

Conclusion

Residential proxies offer a versatile solution for various tasks, including ad verification and data scraping.

anyIP is a reliable provider of residential proxies and offers a range of features and services to meet the diverse needs of its users. With anyIP's proxy client software, users can enjoy advanced configurations and efficient management of multiple proxies simultaneously. Plus, our network is growing every day!

Sign up now to get started.

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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