What Are Datacenter Proxies? The Beginner’s Guide
Deepen your knowledge about datacenter proxies.
Datacenter proxies have long been an indispensable tool for browsing anonymously, accessing geo-restricted content, and collecting data from the web. This article will teach you more about what a datacenter proxy is, how it works, and when you should use it.
- What Are Datacenter Proxies?
- How a Datacenter Proxy Server Works
- Why Use Datacenter Proxies
- Datacenter Proxy Types
- The Main Features of Datacenter IPs
Datacenter proxies are like remote computers that stand between you and the internet. They have their own location, IP address, and can be configured to forward all connection requests passing through.
The defining feature of datacenter proxies is that they are hosted by various secondary corporations that provide cloud hosting services: Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, and the like. This distinguishes them from residential IPs which come from consumers of internet service providers.
A datacenter proxy server positions itself in-between two devices on a network. It then routes connection requests that leave your device (if you’re using forward proxies) or reach a website (if it uses reverse proxies). So, instead accessing a resource directly, you first connect to the proxy server, and it passes on the request like some kind of messenger. While doing so, the server can hide your identifying information to trick websites that impose connection or location limits.
Datacenter proxies support all of the general proxy use cases. You can use them to:
- Control incoming and outgoing requests – datacenter proxies can filter all traffic on a network. Setting up a reverse proxy server will let you cache content, limit access to websites, and otherwise moderate internet use.
- Hide your IP address – an anonymous proxy will let you browse without exposing your IP address. This can help you improve your anonymity online.
- Access geo-restricted content – you can get datacenter IPs from various countries around the world. You can then browse as if you were in that location. This opens up regional content that otherwise would be unavailable.
- Scrape the web – datacenter IPs are very useful for quickly collecting data from the internet without receiving blocks. They can help you monitor your ranking on Google, extract pricing and product information, collect leads, and more.
- Buy limited edition items – people use bots and proxies to automatically buy coveted items (especially sneakers) before they get sold out.
Ideally, you’d want to get datacenter IPs when the website you’re targeting isn’t very well protected, your project uses a lot of traffic, or you need to complete the task as fast as possible. It’s a good idea to try them out first; and if they don’t work, then switch to residential or mobile IPs.
- Public – also called free or web proxies. These are IPs that you can find online free of charge. They are effectively useless for anything serious but can help with basic tasks like changing your location. Just remember never to use HTTP datacenter proxies with anything that requires sensitive information (such as login details).
- Shared – these are proxy IPs that several people use at the same time. They cost money and perform well enough for simple web scraping tasks. But you can find them blocked on some websites because of their shared use.
- Private – datacenter IPs you alone use at a given time or for a certain domain. The fastest option that gives you the most control, but also the most expensive of the three.
- Dedicated – in the proxy lingo, that often means the same thing as private proxies. Sometimes, the name can refer to proxies dedicated for a specific task, such as working with Instagram or copping sneakers.
High speed. Because they originate in data centers, such IPs make use of very fast internet connections. For a datacenter proxy, 100 Mbps is considered slow, and you can easily find servers with 1 Gbps or even 10 Gbps speeds.
High uptime. You can expect a datacenter proxy to have the same uptime as the server it’s hosted on. Major proxy providers will ensure to have their infrastructure online over 99% of the time over a given month.
Unmetered traffic. Unlike residential IPs, most datacenter proxies have an IP-based pricing model. This means you get a certain number of addresses, and you can use them to your heart’s content.
Low price. Back in the day, anyone could create hundreds of datacenter proxies on their own using Amazon Web Services or Digital Ocean. While that no longer works due to abuse and increasing website restrictions, these IPs are still relatively easy to procure. As a result, you can expect to pay much less for a datacenter proxy than a residential or mobile IP.
Easy detection. Even if you use anonymous proxies that hide all the headers, websites will have an easy time detecting that you’re connecting via a proxy server. That’s because even the simplest IP checker reveals your ASN number; if this number doesn’t belong to a consumer ISP, that will be a dead giveaway of proxy or VPN use.
Is that so bad? Not necessarily. Knowledgeable web scrapers can still collect data from protected sites like Google. Other websites will ignore you altogether until you make too many requests from the same IP address. But it’s still something you should be aware of.
Subnets. Datacenter proxy providers buy ranges of IP addresses, which they then use to create proxies in bulk. Such IPs often share the same subnet (numbers in an IP address). Here’s an example from someone who tried to spam our own website:
As you can see, even though the spammer uses different IP addresses, they all come from the same subnet: 210. Some websites block datacenter IPs by the subnet, so having your proxies in one basket can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing if you control the whole subnet and know what you’re doing. It’s a curse if you share it with other people that don’t.
No rotation. This is no longer the rule, but many datacenter proxy providers still sell proxy lists instead of backconnect gateway addresses. This means you’ll have to set up proxy rotation by yourself, or use specialized tools like Oxylabs’ Proxy Rotator. The providers that do sell rotating datacenter proxies usually make you share them with others. Some examples could be Smartproxy, Blazing SEO, and Luminati.