Before we get down to what data center proxies are, we need to first have an understanding of what proxies are. Proxies are like a tunnel or gateway between the user and the internet and they are very important in the functions they provide. Since proxies prevent direct access to the internet but route all requests through its server, they can provide you with security, privacy, and a lot more depending on what you need it for.
So if you want to buy a proxy or an IP, the details could still be strange. What type of proxy do you need? Would a residential proxy serve you better? Do you need a data center proxy? All these questions and more would be attended to as you read on.
WHAT IS A PUBLIC IP ADDRESS?
A public IP address is like a mailing address, and it allows you to send requests to sites and provides a return address through which the site can respond. When you send requests, you are asking a site to show you what it contains; its homepage and products, and when the site responds, you get access to these.
The IP address itself contains some information about the user like the user’s location, and other details to ensure that the right service is rendered e.g currency and language. If you intend to buy an IP, you are leasing it from either of the following sources; an internet service provider (ISP), a data center farm, or a proxy provider.
WHY BUY AN IP ADDRESS FROM A SPECIFIC COUNTRY?
After purchasing a proxy, you will see different countries available for your use. Buying and making use of an IP from a specific country is important mostly because of geoblocking. You might not have access to some sites or their content with your IP due to your location, but with the IP of a different location, the otherwise blocked content would now be open to you.
If you want to carry out market research, or desire to test your site from other locations in the world, then you would also need to buy an IP from the specific country you have in mind. If your intent however is for ads verification or other use that is location-sensitive, then the use of city-specific IPs would be more useful to you.
HOW CAN YOU BUY AN IP ADDRESS?
There are different sources from which to purchase an IP address. If you want to use a residential IP, it can be purchased from an internet service provider such as Verizon, Xfinity, or AT&T. if you wish for data center IPs, you can purchase them from a data center farm. IP addresses can also be gotten from a mobile phone service provider in the form of a 3G/4G connection called a mobile IP.
Residential IPs tend to have some limitations as enforced by the ISP and such limitations include the use of one IP per household. You can’t change nor rotate the IP for another one.
Getting IPs from proxy service comes with several other features like the availability of different types of IP. The features however differ in terms of the number of available IPs, the settings, and the types of available IPs as these depend on the proxy provider. When purchasing proxies from a proxy service provider, its best to go with reputable brands like Limeproxies so you can be sure of the best services.
WHAT IS A DEDICATED IP ADDRESS?
A dedicated IP address is a special type of IP address that can be used to host a website or an account. With a dedicated IP address, you can have access to more features with your server such as hosting your SSL Certificate and getting better security as you are the only user of the IP.
This implies that you can control the traffic to the site and maintain optimum performance. Dedicated IP addresses are also the types that are used for File Transfer Protocol (FTP), allowing your clients to have access to and download files from your server.
WHY BUY STATIC IPS?
A static IP is necessary for use when some devices are connected such as a server, wireless camera, or printer. These types of IPs just as the name suggests do not rotate, and so are best for use in situations like filling forms and managing accounts where the use of rotating IPs would be a problem.
If the use of a static IP isn’t feasible, the alternative to use is a rotating IP. It rotates between the available IP addresses and it doesn’t this based on the set parameters like the number of requests, and the time frame for them.
HOW TO BUY A RESIDENTIAL IP
Its highly likely that the IP you use at home is similar to a residential IP, and these types are leased from the ISP. These types of IPs are the strongest and have all the features of a real and valid IP. The reputation of your proxy service provider is important when considering the purchase of a residential IP as the method of acquisition is related to its legality and performance.
The first step is to choose the location you want, and then move on to the number of IPs you would want and the bandwidth you need. The bandwidth is probably the way you would be charged because most residential IPs are rotating.
HOW TO BUY A STATIC RESIDENTIAL IP
Just like its name goes, a static residential IP isn’t a rotating IP and it’s also leased from the ISP. Normally, residential IPs rotate and provide internet access to the user, and also rotate when the owner needs access. But with a static IP, there is no rotation as you alone own the IP, so there is no user and owner instigated rotation of IPs.
Static IPs are the ideal type for use in account management, or when you need to make a purchase or fill a form online. When static IPs are purchased, its usually per IP.
HOW TO BUY A MOBILE IP
A mobile IP is a way you get access to the internet with your mobile phone when you are not connected to Wi-Fi. It’s a 3G/4G network. If you need to carry out actions using your mobile phone, or actions that are only specific to the use of mobile phones like having access to apps, checking out the performance of your online assets on a mobile interface, or even verifying that your mobile ads are up and running, mobile IPs would come in very handy.
To buy a mobile IP, you have to first choose a mobile provider that can give you internet access using the IP location you have in mind. After that, you would need a 3G/4G SIM card. Some mobile IPs also come with carrier targeting, so if you would love this feature, ensure that the type of carrier you need is offered by the mobile provider you choose.
Just like residential IPs, mobile IPs are rotating and are charged by the bandwidth rather than per IP.
HOW TO BUY A COUNTRY SPECIFIC IP
Since there are blocks and restriction to content and website access on the internet, the use of country and city-specific IPs are high. The first thing to do if you want to purchase this type of IP is to first look for a trustworthy proxy provider so you can be sure that the IP server is actually in the location of your choice. Purchased IPs can come with country, city, and also carrier resolutions. Apart from ensuring that the IP server is in the right location, check that the type of IP offered is the type you require.
Check also the cost of the IPs and their availability so you can make up your mind on the best pay package for you; by bandwidth with unlimited rotation, or per IP with unlimited bandwidth.
TYPES OF PROXIES
There are two types of proxies;
1 . Datacenter proxies
- Residential proxies
WHAT ARE DATA CENTER PROXIES?
Datacenter proxies are a type of proxies that are linked to your IP address to help keep you anonymous. They are independent of your internet connection or your internet service provider. The benefit of using this type of proxy includes being ideal to ensure your online identity stays safe, for copping of sneakers and even in data scraping. It’s also easy for you to change IPs with this type of proxy and as they are not owned by any ISP, they are not assigned to anyone.
So when you use data center proxies and send a request to a website, the webserver instead checks the credentials of the data center proxy you are using instead of your real IP information, keeping you anonymous in the end. Even though data center proxies are cheap and fast, when used for data scraping the chances of getting blocked are high.
There are two types of data center proxies;
1 . Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) proxy
- Secure socket proxy (SOCKS)
Let’s first understand the working of the HTTP protocol to fully understand the HTTP proxy. When connected to the internet, you will see HTTP in the web browser, indicating that the website uses HTTP protocol. The protocol functions on the client-server model and is specific in dealing with requests and responses. In this case, the client in the web browser and it sends out information called request in the form of a URL.
The server is anything from an application to a system that is capable of receiving the information, and it responds to the information using a package of resources that are in HTTP format. This information is then sent back to the client.
Simply put, HTTP protocol is utilized by websites to allow visitors to have access to the site, and in browsing anonymously, you can add a proxy; HTTP, or SOCKS in the combination.
HTTP proxies are built to be used with the HTTP protocol. These protocols usually have specific functions and so can be used by specific proxies. The proxy can read the data that is shared between the client and the server, so the chances of storage are there. HTTP proxies also support the connect method and establish a secure and safe tunnel connection that is untraceable.
Unlike the HTTP proxies, SOCKS proxies are not built specifically for a type of protocol, so they are diverse and are low level.
SOCKS proxies are not limited to a specific port of network protocol and so they are more flexible. They are also simpler and faster as there isn’t much code involved. SOCKS can’t read the data that is shared between the client and the server, so unlike HTTP, the shared data isn’t stored. They also utilize the tunneling method and if you require much security, go for SOCKS5. It's the recent version and provides more security than SOCKS or SOCKS4.
A downside to the use of SOCKS however is that it doesn’t protect your data in itself. It just acts as a tunnel between your browser and the internet and so the data you share isn’t secure and can be hacked.
WHAT ARE RESIDENTIAL PROXIES?
Residential proxies unlike data center proxies are connected to real residential addresses, and so are less likely to get noticed and banned. So you can use it to have access to geo-blocked content and move around the security put in place to prevent you from scraping data from the web. They are however more expensive, lack proper anonymity, and not easily acquired.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROXIES YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM
1 . DATA CENTER IPS
These IPs as already mentioned are the most commonly used. They are hosted in data centers and are cheap, so you can get as many as you need for your task.
2. RESIDENTIAL IPS
Residential IPs are the IP addresses of real households that you can use to send your request to the web. They are less likely to be detected and banned as they are like real IP addresses, but are hard to get and are expensive.
3. MOBILE IPS
Mobile IPs are the IP addresses of mobile devices, and these types are also difficult to get and also expensive.
4. PUBLIC, SEMI-DEDICATED, OR DEDICATED PROXIES
When the choice of the type of proxy to use comes up, it’s important to also decide if you would be using a public, shared, or dedicated one. Generally, it’s not advisable to use public or open proxy servers as they are of low quality, and are dangerous for your use. It’s common to see that they are malware-infested, so using such comes with the risk of infecting your devices.
Choosing between a semi-dedicated and dedicated proxy is more difficult and would mostly depend on the type of task you want to carry out, and your budget. Dedicated proxies are more expensive as you alone make use of the IP. But in a case where you would require multiple IPs, it could be an expensive venture. Semi-dedicated proxies although not private, are safer than public proxies and are cheaper too, so you can afford to purchase as many IPs as you need.
WHEN IS WEB SCRAPING USEFUL?
1 . SALES INTELLIGENCE
For data-dependent businesses, like those that make sales online, you would need to extract data from competitor sites to regulate your sales properly. You can also know more about your customers and potential customers, so you can serve them better.
2. AD VERIFICATION
In ad verification, you try to prevent ad fraud and ensure that you are not wasting your money. Ad fraud happens when hackers disguise as legit companies and instead of distributing your ads on trustworthy websites for your target audience to see, they create fake websites and generate fake traffic for you. This way, real people don’t get to see your ads, there is no conversion, and your funds are wasted.
Some competitor websites also try to ruin a company’s reputation by posting their ads on a different category of websites like porn sites or a casino site. If your ads appear here, your brand may not be taken seriously.
3. SEO TRACKING
In the use of web scraping in SEO tracking, you can extract search engine results from say google. With this, you can then analyze the search words to help you in building your keywords for more traffic to your site.
4. PRICE COMPARISON
With price comparison proxies, you can know what your competitors are doing, it allows you to keep your price within an acceptable and attractive range at all times by comparing your prices with that of your competitors.
5. REAL ESTATE LISTING
If you want to track the price of real estate in a location you desire, you can make use of web scrapers and extract the data from the site.
6. SOCIAL LISTENING
If you want to know the opinion of the public on policies or products, you can extract their comments from social media platforms with web scraping tools. It's faster and allows you to analyze the results better for decision making.
HOW TO SAFELY SCRAPE THE WEB
Web scraping is a legal process that helps with business growth in aiding important decision making. Websites however block web scraping activities because the process is accompanied by a large number of sent requests. In scraping the web, some of the best processes are below;
1. BE MODERATE
Don’t send too many requests to the target website at once as it could raise a red flag and get your IP blocked. Use rotating IPs and stay within the limits of the number of requests per given time.
2. DON’T DAMAGE THE TARGET SITES
Make use of bots that do not cause any damage to the site while extracting data. Also, your activity like sending in too many requests at once can overload the server and lead to damage.
3. SCRAPE RESPONSIBLY
When your bot is detected, slow down on your activities and reduce the number of requests you send. Chances are that the IP that is detected would be banned, so when you use another IP address to gain access, repeat the scraping process but this time do it responsibly.
CHOOSING THE BEST PROXY FOR YOUR TASK
As they are a lot of proxy types available, making a choice of one over the other can be a bit difficult. However, they are some factors that can help make your choice easier.
As resources are limited, your budget is a very important factor to consider when choosing proxies. Some types of proxies are more expensive than others and depending on the number of IPs you need, you can choose from there. Note that when choosing based on affordability, don’t compromise quality because if the proxy isn’t good enough and doesn’t give you what you need, it would be a waste of time and money in the end.
Also, check the features and settings that are available to you for each proxy. Check the bandwidth, the speed, the encryption, and feasibility with your project. Choose the one that offers you more, especially the one that gives you what you need for your task.