What are residential proxies?

  It’s all in the name—residential proxies are proxy servers with IPs from consumer-level ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that are located in residential areas. This is the most concise explanation, but it is difficult to comprehend for consumers who aren’t familiar with the layers of the Internet’s communications protocols.

What are residential proxies?

  First, it’s important to understand what a proxy server is. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries defines the term “proxy server” as “a server that exists between somebody’s personal computer and the Internet to provide some services for the user and/or to prevent them from reaching information, websites, etc. without permission”. Therefore, a proxy is like a middle man between your computer or local network and larger scale networks and can be used for multiple purposes, from monitoring your online activities to improving security while browsing the Internet.

  Essentially, each consumer device like a smartphone or laptop uses an IP address, which is similar to a phone number, to “dial in” to the Internet. That IP address pinpoints the device’s location, and it also saves your digital information like browser preference and cookies. However, a residential proxy can help you circumnavigate this issue by acting as an intermediary between your devices and a data center by using an IP provided by an ISP.

  Residential proxies are key to hiding your identity online because they mask the sensitive information that would be provided by your device every time you connect to the Internet. While they could look like a nefarious tool for criminal activity, they help millions of Internet users to access geo-blocked content, improve search engine optimization (SEO) and stay safe while browsing.