It’s no longer a question of why you should secure your online identity but how. Even if you aren’t doing anything suspicious or illegal, all websites are tracking you for ad revenue.
The best way to secure yourself while performing various automated tasks is proxies. While there are many types of proxies for different uses, static residential proxies are generally considered the best. The reason stems from the very nature of what proxies are.
What are proxies?
A common definition of proxies dictates that they are intermediary servers that stand in between you and the websites you visit. When you connect to a website without a proxy your request to load a page or provide other information is sent directly to the website’s server. When the server responds, the website is loaded.
However, the server can also log your IP address – a string of numbers (sometimes also letters) that identifies your device and knows exactly what you are doing. Even worse, websites frequently share such (along with cookies and other data) information with each other to track you.
If you use a proxy server, it can act as a mediator. Receiving the requests from you, then passing them to the websites, and returning you the needed data. Websites might load more slowly with proxies, but no one will be able to identify your device or location.
The website’s server only sees the proxy sending the requests, but he still might see that you are using a proxy server. Some resourceful and aggressive websites ban certain IP addresses related to proxies or violate their rules.
It creates a problem for proxy users as they must know what proxy type to choose for their needs. Luckily, there are only a few main proxy types to know for a basic understanding.
Residential and datacenter proxies
Although there are many ways to categorize proxies, the most important distinction comes from the IP address source. Households get their IP addresses from an internet service provider (ISP) that verifies them according to their location. If you were to change where you live, the ISP would assign you a new IP address.
Such IP addresses are called residential IPs, and proxies using them are called residential. They are also tied to a physical device since the connection must originate from a location where it resides. For this reason, residential proxies are best for accurately targeting needed locations and for appearing as casual users for the websites.
As the internet has grown in scale, a need to store and access large amounts of data on the internet has also emerged. This and other functions are accomplished by data centers, which, essentially, are large facilities with lots of servers and other network equipment.
These data centers have especially fast internet connections, and one physical server can house thousands of IP addresses. Proxies that use such IP addresses are called datacenter proxies. They are cheap and fast, but some tasks are impossible with them.
Datacenter IPs are created in bulk, and the strings of numbers they use are easily recognizable by website servers, which means they can find them frequently without spending much resources. CAPATCHAs and even blocs are frequent with such proxies. That’s why their IP addresses are rarely static.
Static and dynamic proxies: what’s the difference?
The terms static and dynamic come from the way IP addresses operate. So, it allows us to give yet another layer of categorization to proxies. Static IP addresses are those that do not change over time. A WiFi router, for example, has a static IP address that was assigned to it by the ISP.
The same router can supply the devices that connect through it with dynamic IP addresses that change over with each new connection. The same applies to mobile devices that use cellular data. Each time a smartphone connects to the tower, he is assigned a new string of numbers in his IP address.
That’s why mobile proxies are more often dynamic, as they must change their IP address with every connection. Datacenter proxies too often have dynamic IPs, making use of the fact that it is harder for websites to block them if the requests are being rotated. That’s also why dynamic proxies are often called rotating proxies.
However, such rotation is less beneficial for residential proxies. The rotation more significantly impacts their speed, and since residential IPs are more expensive, maintaining a large pool of IPs is very costly. The lack of rotation is not a drawback of residential proxies. Quite the contrary.
Use of static residential proxies: A case study
Imagine you want to purchase bulk tickets to a concert. The price is better at a different geographical location, but all the datacenter proxies you tried are getting blocked instantly by the vendor’s website. The only solution in such a case is to use a residential proxy.
Rotating residential proxies seems like a more affordable solution in the short run, as you might be able to pick up a proxy that suits your needs. However, after some time (usually half an hour), the proxy provider will change your IP address, and you will lose the previous speed or even access to the website.
If your IP address suddenly changes during the same checkout, it might be seen as suspicious for the website. The vendor might even block your payment card on his site or refund you the tickets you already bought.
Static residential proxies are the only option to avoid such a situation in this scenario. They can be consistently fast and accurate in their geographical location. It’s something required more often than it seems. Social media marketing, web scraping, market analysis, SEO, and many other tasks will be easier with static residential proxies.
Staying anonymous in a dynamic internet environment requires, somewhat paradoxically, a static IP address to shield you. There simply isn’t any better solution than static residential proxies.