If for some reason you want to hide your real IP address while browsing the web, there are not that many options, and all of them lead to using proxies of some kind. There are datacenter as well as residential proxies, both of which have pros and cons. Today we will go through them and discuss the most appropriate use cases.
How datacenter proxies work
Datacenter proxies are the most popular among all IP hiding tools. When you use this type of proxy, you are assigned an IP address by a hosting provider used by a proxy server. These IPs can solve the task of changing your IP address, which is useful for unblocking online content.
It is easy to obtain, say, a US-based IP, while you actually reside in Eastern Europe or Asia, so you can easily access content that may be blocked in countries from these regions.
Pros and cons of datacenter proxies
While datacenter proxies are easy to use and do their primary job, i.e., unblocking the content, they are not that good when you really need to achieve a better level of privacy while browsing the web or trying to access content that is securely blocked.
Proxies of this type have nothing to do with IPs used by regular users. Usually, datacenter proxies belong to pools of addresses assigned to a specific hosting provider. And you can quickly find out which provider owns a particular address via the ASN number.
So, if the state or cybercriminals want to know who is hiding behind a specific IP, there is almost nothing to stop them. Also, if the censorship authority decides to imply a more sophisticated block and use anti-circumvention systems, you won't be able to access any type of restricted content using datacenter proxies.
And it is not just governments that may apply such blocks. Corporations often restrict access to specific content for users from different regions. They can easily detect datacenter proxies via ASN numbers and block them. And here residential proxies can be very useful.
How residential proxies work
In its turn, the residential proxy uses a so-called residential IP address. These addresses are assigned to real ISPs. This connection is the market in corresponding internet registries. For example, Infatica is an example of such a residential proxy.
Requests sent from these addresses are indistinguishable from the ones sent by regular internet users based in the specific region.
Residential proxies pros and cons
As residential proxies use IP addresses assigned to real ISPs, there is a high probability that you will be able to unblock almost any content on the web. This tool allows the bypassing of geo-based restrictions as well as the avoidance of anti-circumvention systems - they can easily detect datacenter IPs, but not residential ones.
Also, as the request sent from the residential IP does look identical to the one sent by a regular user, it has a higher probability of being skipped by hackers or special services that may monitor proxy users.
However, compared to those provided by datacenters, residential proxies are slower and cost more.
What type of proxy should I choose?
A proxy is a tool for completing specific tasks. So, you should focus on these tasks to pick the best tool. If you need to mask your IP address but are not concerned about possible blocks, while also keeping browsing speed at the highest possible level while maintaining low costs, go with a datacenter proxy.
However, if you need a stable solution for accessing most blocked online content with a minimal chance of your IP getting blocked, residential proxies should be your number one option.