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 how they work, when you should use them, and how datacenter proxies differ from residential IPs.
- What Are Datacenter Proxies?
- How a Datacenter Proxy Server Works
- Main Use Cases
- Datacenter vs Residential Proxies
Datacenter proxies are IP addresses that come from servers in data centers. By data centers, people often refer to secondary corporations that provide cloud services. Some examples could be Google Cloud or Amazon AWS. But not necessarily. The important thing is that such IPs are not associated with internet service providers that offer internet services to consumers.
Whenever you send a connection request to a website, it first goes to a datacenter proxy server. It routes your request through a different IP address and returns the website’s content to you. Commercial providers offer anonymous proxy services, so your own IP is never exposed in the process.
- Hide your IP address – an anonymous proxy will let you browse without exposing your IP address. You can use it to 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 – you can use many proxies at once. So, datacenter IPs are very useful for quickly collecting data from the internet without receiving blocks.
- Buy limited edition items – some niches like sneaker reselling (and previously ticket scalping) are very profitable. People use bots and proxies to automatically buy items before they get sold out.
- 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.
It’s hard to list all the use cases here, and many more exist. Web scraping alone can have various purposes, such as comparing prices between e-commerce stores, collecting business leads, or analyzing how people react to events on social media.
- Public – also called free proxies. These are IPs that you 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 multiple people use at the same time. They are often paid 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, they often mean the same thing as private proxies. Sometimes they can also refer to proxies dedicated for a specific task, such as working with Instagram or copping sneakers.
Datacenter proxies have important benefits over residential proxies. But there are also trade-offs. Here’s how the two compare looking from multiple perspectives:
- Speed. Datacenter proxies, especially dedicated ones, will always be faster than residential IPs. That’s because their servers use powerful hardware and a speedy internet connection. Residential proxies borrow the internet from real users, which isn’t always stable – or fast.
- Stability. Datacenter proxies can have up to 99% uptime. So, they’re more stable than the sometimes unpredictable residential IPs.
- Price. Residential proxies are harder to get, so they cost more and charge by the traffic used. Datacenter proxies are cheaper and often priced by IP.
- Locations. Datacenter proxies cover fewer locations because it’s expensive to maintain servers in many countries.
- Performance. Despite better speed and stability, datacenter IPs perform worse than residential proxy networks. That’s because they don’t look like real users, and websites don’t hesitate to block them. It doesn’t help that datacenter proxies come in groups of IP addresses called subnets. Sometimes, a website can block the whole subnet at once.
- Scalability. Residential proxy pools can contain millions of IPs, so they can scale better.
- Ease of use. Datacenter proxies traditionally come in proxy lists and don’t rotate. They require more experience and are harder to maintain than residential proxies, which use convenient backconnect servers.
So, which one should you choose? If you’re targeting relatively unprotected websites – and know what you’re doing – datacenter proxies can be a more efficient option. If the website is well protected (such as Instagram or Google); you’re not as experienced; or you need broad location coverage, choose residential proxies instead.