Proxies are essential tools for a wide variety of online activities nowadays, and two of the most commonly used proxy types are residential proxies and ISP proxies. In this article, we will compare and contrast them, exploring their characteristics and differences to help you understand which one could better suit your needs.
A residential proxy is a specific type of proxy server. As all proxies do, residential proxies function as intermediaries, relaying data to facilitate indirect connections between end users and websites. In doing so, they enable users to conceal the IPs of their devices and browse the Internet anonymously. Notably, residential proxies do this by utilizing IP addresses assigned to real users by internet service providers, and this sets them apart from other kinds of proxies.
Residential proxies also come in two main varieties: static and rotating. As the names suggest, static residential proxies use fixed IP addresses, whereas rotating residential proxies use a pool of IPs, changing at regular intervals.
A key strength of residential proxies is that they provide a high degree of IP diversity. This is because they are sourced from real residential IPs which have been assigned to unique residential networks. As such, residential proxies allow users to benefit from an extensive range of IPs distributed across a wide variety of subnets in many different locations. This means that it is more difficult for sites and online platforms to identify and block users utilizing residential proxies.
Residential proxies are also reliable. Since they use ISP-assigned IPs that are connected to real devices and physical addresses, their traffic appears authentically online, so they are less likely to arouse suspicion or be flagged.
Despite their advantages, residential proxies also have some notable limitations.
One key drawback is their authenticity comes at a price of a slightly slower speed compared to other proxies. Since they rely on the connections of the end users, their speed can vary to some extent in accordance with the bandwidth and overall quality of those connections.
In addition, since end users can potentially disconnect without warming, residential proxies can potentially suffer from stability issues.
Residential proxies are well suited to activities that require a high degree of anonymity and flexibility, so they are commonly used for:
ISP proxies are similar to residential proxies in that they use real IP addresses assigned by ISPs. However, instead of being provided through end-user devices, these proxies are provided by ISPs directly to customers or organizations and are sourced from data centers. As such, they can be considered something of a hybrid between residential proxies and data center proxies.
What Are the Strengths of ISP Proxies?
One of the main strengths that ISP proxies bring to the table is their speed. Since they are sourced from data centers rather than relying on end users, they benefit from faster connections and can offer quicker response times. Unlike residential proxies, which use fixed plans, they also often offer unlimited bandwidth, making them suitable for handling high volumes of traffic.
ISP proxies also provide an assurance of reliability given the nature of their providers. This means that users are less like to encounter disruptions when using ISP proxies.
Additionally, ISP proxies are less detectable than the alternative. Since they are directly associated with internet service providers, their reputation is generally superior to that of cloud-hosted proxies, which can be of benefit in situations where stringent anti-proxy measures are in use.
At the same time, ISP proxies are not without their weaknesses.
First and foremost, ISP proxies have considerably lower subnet diversity than residential proxies. This is because they are provided in an organized, centralized manner, which means that multiple proxies from the same ISP may share the subnet. This can potentially lead to flagging when using ISP proxies on sites that track subnet activity.
Additionally, ISP proxies tend to have relatively few location options when compared to residential proxies. Whereas residential proxies benefit from the connections of individuals in many different regions, ISP proxies are limited by the infrastructure of the providers that offer them.
ISP proxies are well suited for activities that require a high degree of stability, consistency, and continuity with large volumes of traffic, as well as on sites or online platforms where strict access controls. As such, they are often utilized for:
Both residential proxies and ISP proxies have their specific strengths and weaknesses. When choosing between the two, your choice will depend on your specific needs, such as the degree of IP diversity that you want, the need for location targeting, the requirement for continuity of identity, and the connection speed and stability that your online activities necessitate.
To aid you in your choice, you can use the following comparison chart:
Both residential and ISP proxies have their strengths and weaknesses. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs and the complexity of the websites you want to scrape. By understanding the differences between these two types of proxies, you can make an informed decision that best suits your business needs.