What is a residential proxy?
A residential proxy is a type of proxy server. Proxy servers act as an intermediary for all the traffic between your devices and the websites you connect to. Using a proxy server means all your internet traffic looks like it’s coming from the proxy server’s location, improving online anonymity, and allowing access to geo-blocked content such as YouTube videos not available in your country.
Normally, proxy server providers route your traffic through a data center. Residential proxies instead route your traffic through computers or phones connected to typical home ISPs. This makes residential proxies even more anonymous, better hiding the fact you’re using a proxy and minimizing the chance your connection will be blocked.
What does a residential proxy do?
- Funnels your data through one of many intermediary devices.
- Proxies your connection via a real device connected to a residential internet service provider (ISP).
- Hides your real internet protocol (IP) address from the resources you connect to.
- Makes your requests look like other typical connections.
- Greatly lowers the chance your proxy connection will be recognized and blocked.
Features and benefits of a residential proxy
How much does a residential proxy cost?
Residential proxies cost significantly more than data center proxies on a per-month, per-GB basis, but typically offer better results because the proxy connection is better masked.
As an example, the Wise datacenter proxy plan from Smartproxy (opens in new tab) costs $200/month for 400GB. In comparison, the Starter residential proxy plan, also $200/month, only includes 20GB.
You can choose the more economical Micro residential proxy plan, which is $75/month for 5GB of data. For many business applications, this amount of monthly data will be more than enough.
Residential proxy FAQ
What are residential proxies used for?
Residential proxies can be used by individuals and businesses for any application where they want traffic to appear as if it’s coming from another location. Residential proxies are used heavily in digital advertising, affiliate testing, market price monitoring, web scraping, and social media automation.
Are residential proxies legal?
The use of residential proxies is entirely legal. Of course, you shouldn’t use a residential proxy to perform any illegal activity.
For example, residential proxies are often used to make web scraping harder for websites to block. It’s legal to use a residential proxy to scrape websites that are publicly available, but illegal to scrape content from private websites.
What’s the difference between residential proxy and VPN?
A proxy will route all your internet traffic through an intermediary device. A VPN service performs a similar role but also encrypts all the data being transferred. This is more secure but has more overhead.
Residential proxies are the best choice for those looking to perform hundreds or thousands of requests, as they’re typically cheaper and faster than VPNs at scale. VPNs are a better choice for personal use, protecting yourself from hackers, and preventing ISP tracking.
You can read more about the differences in our guide on proxies vs VPNs (opens in new tab).
What is a rotating residential proxy?
A rotating residential proxy gives you a new IP address from a pool each time you make a new connection. If you run a script to scrape content from a thousand pages of web content, for example, those connections will be sent from up to a thousand different connections. This type of proxy is difficult to track and block.
How long do residential proxies last?
With a good residential proxy service, you can set how long your IP address will remain constant before being assigned a new one. Typically, there’s a maximum of around 30 minutes. Rotating residential proxies change the IP address for every request you make.
- Proxy services route all your web traffic through intermediary devices connected to the internet.
- In the case of residential proxies, these devices are physical, not virtual, and they’re connected to the internet through traditional ISPs.
- Using a residential proxy offers excellent anonymity.
- Services you connect to via a residential proxy are unlikely to be able to tell you’re using a proxy.
- Residential proxies have several functions in business, from ad verification and web scraping to market price monitoring and internet marketing.
So you can better understand the roles of virtual private networks and proxies, we’ve put together a guide on the difference between a VPN and a proxy (opens in new tab). You can read about how VPNs keep your data safe (opens in new tab) through the use of encrypted tunnels, and our pick of the best free and paid proxies (opens in new tab) available today.