The Differences between Residential and ISP Proxies

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced proxy user, you’re probably wondering how residential and ISP proxies compare – after all, both proxy types hide your IP address. So, what’s the difference? And why should you choose one over another? Let's answer these questions and more.

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Contents

What Are Residential Proxies?

Residential proxies are IP addresses owned by Internet service providers (ISP) and assigned to home users. These proxies are tied to the physical addresses of real people – their computers, smart devices, or mobile phones on Wi-Fi. 

Residential proxies send your internet traffic to a proxy server, which then routes the request through a residential device. So, the connection path looks like this: your device -> proxy server -> user’s device -> web. 

Strengths

  • Many IPs to choose from – residential proxy providers control thousands – even millions – of different IP addresses. That’s why you’ll hardly get the same IP address twice. 
  • Many locations – the size of residential proxy networks brings another great benefit – you can find IPs pretty much anywhere in the world.  
  • High diversity – many proxy providers offer virtual IPs originating from data centers, which come in related blocks called subnets. Residential proxies rarely share the same subnet. Thus, you can forget accidentally blocking a bunch of IPs at once. 
  • Hard to block a residential proxy is hosted on a real device, so the IP looks like a regular user. Websites can’t see whether you’re using a proxy server, making it much harder to get these proxies blocked. 

Weaknesses

  • Slow speed these proxies are several times slower than datacenter or ISP addresses. They rely on the internet quality of end users and add an extra element to the connection path.
  • Unstable connection even if the provider offers sticky sessions – lets you keep the same IP for 10 or more minutes – end users can disconnect at any moment. 
  • Only shared IPs residential proxy providers give all customers access to the same proxy pool, so you’ll have to share IPs with others.

Ideal For

  • Websites that have a strict protection mechanism. That would be social media platforms, sneaker stores, highly-scraped sites like Wayfair.
  • Location-sensitive tasks. Residential proxies are very helpful if you need to view localized content (think city-level) or work with multiple locations at once.

Example Use Cases

  • Ad verification advertisers check if their ads are placed in the right context and shown to the right audience. Residential proxies are the most popular option since fraudsters can’t easily block them and they cover many countries for localized campaigns. 
  • SEO monitoring – marketing agencies scrape Google and other search engines to track local keyword positions, research topics, and analyze competitors. 
  • Travel fare aggregation – proxy-powered aggregators offer the best hotels, flights, and other deals by scraping various sources. As residential proxies are highly anonymous, it’s hard for websites to detect whether someone is collecting data from their site.
  • E-commerce intelligence – residential proxies help businesses extract insights about product trends, positioning, and pricing changes from protected e-commerce platforms like Amazon.

What Are ISP proxies?

ISP proxies, or static residential proxies, attempt to combine the best qualities of datacenter and residential proxies. Like residential proxies, they’re owned by internet service providers and not web hosting services; like datacenter proxies, they’re hosted on servers at data centers, without involving end users.

Strengths

  • High speed and uptime – ISP proxies are fast, stable, and always available on-demand – just like datacenter IPs. That’s because they don’t need to rely on iffy end-user connections.
  • Relatively hard to detect – ISP proxies are owned by internet service providers, which have a much better reputation than cloud hosting services.
  • Unlimited bandwidth – some ISP proxy providers offer unlimited traffic plans. This option is very useful when carrying out data-intensive activities.

Weaknesses

  • Low subnet diversity – ISP proxies can’t escape the drawback of datacenter IPs – they’re simply too organized. Having neat IP ranges sacrifices diversity, and you still risk getting subnet banned.
  • Small ISPs – it’s hard to get big commercial providers on board, so many of the IPs end up registered with small, regional companies. IP databases often identify them as datacenter IPs, which negates the main benefit of ISP proxies.
  • Fewer locations – just like with datacenter proxies, it’s hard to get IPs in a wide range of countries.

Ideal For

  • Protected websites that require a consistent identity.  What would that be? Facebook, Instagram, and Yeezy Supply are a few examples.
  • Traffic-intensive tasks. You can buy ISP proxies by IP address. That means you won’t have to pay extra for bandwidth used. 

Example Use Cases

  • Multiple account management – marketers use ISP proxies to overcome account limits on social media, access them from different geographical locations without encountering issues. Merchants control several e-commerce accounts on platforms like Amazon. ISP proxies work great for this use case because they offer stable access to the same IP address.  
  • Large purchases of limited-edition items – many retailers suffer from bots, so they have advanced protection mechanisms in place. ISP proxies are hard to detect and impose no traffic limits, so they’re popular for buying sneakers and other rare items.  

ISP and Residential Proxies for Sneaker Copping

Residential and ISP proxies are both popular choices for buying shoes. They can guide your sneaker bot through checkout undetected. But which of the two is better? The answer is: it depends.

Residential proxies are great because they’re naturally diverse and you can generate as many IPs as you like. This works very well for raffles or running hundreds of tasks. The downside is slower speed and traffic limits.

ISP proxies, on the other hand, are faster and let you use unlimited traffic. It’s also possible to get IPs with a clean usage history, while residential proxies are less predictable. However, ISP proxies are easier to block in bulk, and get you a fixed number of IPs.

So, you should consider your priorities: more tasks or unlimited traffic? If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea try both. This way, you’ll see which type works better for you and diversify risk at the same time. You can find some great providers in our list of the best sneaker proxies.

Comparing Residential and ISP Proxies

Here’s how residential and ISP proxies look next to each other.

Residential Static residential (ISP)
Source Real people's devices Servers in data centers
Speed Medium High
Stability Low-medium High
Locations Many Few
Anonymity Highest High
Rotation Automatic Automatic or manual
Exclusivity Shared Shared or private
Price Medium Medium-high
Best for Protected websites, use cases that need high IP diversity or precise location targeting Protected websites that require a consistent identity or strict control over the IP address

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