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What Are Residential Proxies, How, and Why Use Them?

Residential proxies are like virtual private networks (VPNs) - you can use them to hide your IP address and location. Companies use them for web scraping, SEO monitoring, competitive market research, and more. However, they are not as secure as VPNs but still provide a high level of anonymous browsing.

Residential Proxies vs. Datacenter Proxies - What's the Difference?

Residential and datacenter are the two terms that describe proxies based on the location of their IP addresses. Residential proxies provide IP addresses of real devices in various places, which is why they're hard to detect or block. Due to providers renting them from other genuine users, these proxies tend to be more costly.

Companies also offer a certain type of proxy known as datacenter proxies. These are old-time proxies provided massively via powerful data centers. They have been on the market for years. While these proxies are cheaper and more affordable, you won't go far with them because many websites will block you before you know it.

How to Use Residential Proxies

Residential proxies allow you to access the internet through another person's IP address. They can be useful for private browsing or accessing geo-restricted content. Here are some ways to use a residential proxy.

1. Browser Extension

The easiest way to use a proxy is with your browser. What you have to do is search for "extensions" in the settings, install your free or premium residential proxy extension, and enter the address port details you received from the provider. After that, enable the extension and visit IP Location homepage to see if your IP address or location has changed.

2. Standalone Apps

Most proxies come as standalone tools you can download and activate outside your browser. Proxy providers allow you to download proxies as desktop software for Mac, Windows, and Linux computers, while others even offer Android and iOS mobile apps.

Why Use Residential Proxies?

People use residential proxies for many purposes (and we'll get into that in a few), but the main reason you'd want to use a residential proxy is to bypass geo-blocks or censorship. If you are looking to access a website that's blocked in your country or region, using a dedicated residential proxy server for that location is the best way to do it.

For example, if you want to access YouTube from China but it's blocked there (as it often is), you'll need a residential proxy for this trick to work successfully. Here are a few reasons why you should use a residential proxy.

1. Genuine IP Addresses

Residential proxies are sometimes known as "home proxies" because they provide IP addresses of real devices worldwide. For example, if you try this residential proxy provider, you'll see they offer two million IP addresses from real users!

Since a residential proxy IP belongs to someone from a specific area, all requests made through it will appear as if they were from that location. This method considerably reduces the chances of getting flagged on other websites. However, residential proxies are rented from ISPs and thus pricier than data center proxies.

2. Online Privacy

Did you know that the websites you visit constantly invade your privacy? Some may argue that it's necessary if we want a free web. However, some people track your online activity for selfish motives like harvesting data, which they can sell to third-party marketers. Individuals and businesses fear their financial records and other sensitive data might end up in the hands of cyber attackers.

A proxy server assures your anonymity on the web by giving you a new IP address. They make it difficult for others to figure out your "real" IP address. Proxies are notable for boosting your privacy and protecting your personal information while you are online.

3. Competitor Research

Web scraping using proxies is a brilliant technique to get ahead of the competition. They can help you extract as much data as possible from a competitor's website, helping you to position yourself in the market. But site owners are likely to block your IP address when they realize you're scraping their content. That's where residential proxies come in.

Websites will think you're a genuine visitor by using an IP address from a residential proxy. You can also switch to a different IP address in the unlikely event they block you. You can use proxies when snooping on your competitors to avoid leaking your real IP address.

Final Words

Residential proxies are a valuable resource for anyone looking to increase their online security, visit blocked websites, or surf the internet anonymously. They work by providing you with an IP address that looks like it's from a real user so that no one can flag you as a proxy or deduce your location based on your online activity. Remember, it's pretty easy to use residential proxies even if you're a beginner; start using them today!

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