This article was contributed by Swedish data gathering analyst and consultant Ebbe Kernel.
If, like most people, you've spent a considerable amount of time on the internet, you've probably heard the term VPN or residential proxy thrown around.
These might be unfamiliar terms for the average internet user that doesn't elicit any specific emotions. However, for companies or internet user's with a great deal of important information on the world wide web, VPN's and residential proxies offer more security and safety.
With the global online community expanding at the most rapid rate in history, many countries have opted to geo-lock their sites, making them available only to people in a particular country or countries. This is only one example of the uses for a proxy – online freedom.
So you might be wondering what this is all about. Let me color the picture for you. Every time you go online, certain information, like your location, your cookies, and your browser preferences, gets logged with your IP address.
No matter how many billions of devices are online at a single time, your IP address makes your precise location known to anyone looking for it. With over four billion internet users, you'll want to ensure your data stays as anonymous and safe as possible.
Proxies help users stay safe by making their specific location online, on their browser, or on a particular app untraceable. They do this by using an internet service provider and not the data centers that are usually used. So essentially, they use an intermediary server to reroute your internet traffic whenever you're using your browser, offering a different location depending on your needs.
Every proxy has a physical location (a city, country, or a mobile carrier). These locations allow you as the user to use the web as a resident in that specific location. This helps when a firewall might block you because you're in a different country (geo-blocked content). Proxies also make it possible to browse the web anonymously, which is one of their main benefits.
How Do These Proxies Work?
When you sign up for a proxy, the company you decide to go with has what they call a pool. A pool consists of a certain number of IP addresses available for your use in the city or country of your choosing. When you need to use a server in a blocked country, just choose the IP address allowed in that country and enjoy the bliss of anonymous online scrolling.
Datacenter Proxies vs Residential Proxies
Datacenter proxies and residential proxies appear to be quite similar in many ways. However, they do differ in a few significant ways. Datacenter proxies are shared servers that you and millions of others connect to, to protect their data. This means that you share an IP address with other people. This makes them by far a cheaper option, but they are not nearly as effective as residential proxies.
A residential proxy makes use of existing IP addresses listed to a specific city, region, or country. Because these existing IP addresses are listed in this way, the server at the destination is unlikely to know that it is a proxy address.
How Do Residential Proxies Remain Untraceable?
Due to the nature of these proxies, they remain absolutely untraceable to most people. They run user requests through internet-enabled devices and use the necessary proxy to ensure anonymity and security. These IP addresses are real and active and are assigned to specific internet service providers (ISP). This is the reason that web services can't distinguish between these proxies and regular users. This makes these proxies incredibly popular for anonymous web browsing and access to geo-blocked or other blocked websites.
Do You Pay for a Proxy?
There are a great many options available for internet users when it comes to proxies. I would not recommend you opt for a free proxy due to the high incidents of data mining and malicious coding that can occur when using these proxies. There are quite a few options available in the USA for users looking to use proxies. Look for providers that have a large active pool of IP addresses that work on any device.
Subscription prices vary depending on your needs; smaller project options come in around $60, and larger packages can go up to $400. We recommend ascertaining your online needs and deciding which subscription is best for you.
If online safety and anonymity are a priority for you, a residential proxy is the first step you can take towards online security. With this proxy you will be able to browse the internet securely and without restrictions.
About the author:
Ebbe Kernel is Swedish data gathering analyst and consultant. He has been working in the field of data intelligence for over ten years and has advised hundreds of data providers and large companies on in-house data acquisition solutions. Read more about me over at ebbekernel.com