Websites tend to cloak or hide data from corporate IP addresses. A proxy can help cut through this cloaking and see the real data shown to website visitors. For example, if a website displays a different price for a product when the user is a corporate IP, a proxy can show the real price.
The problem with traditional proxies is that they are served from data centers. Websites can easily detect that the IP originates from a data center and therefore is a bot and not a regular user. This means that, even with a proxy, websites may continue cloaking their data.
The solution is a residential proxy, which lets you access the Internet via a residential IP. This is an IP address granted to a home user by an Internet Service Provider. When you access a website using a residential IP, websites have to show you the real data. Websites also won’t be able to block you, because if they do, they will be blocking regular home users.
Before you invest in a residential proxy, here are a few questions you should ask your proxy provider. All of your data will pass through the proxy provider, so you need to trust them. Because you’re accessing the web via a home user’s IP, you need to know for sure that those home users consented to let you use their IP.
Disclaimer: Bright Data is a residential proxy provider used by Fortune 500 companies for brand protection, price comparison, ad verification, testing, and more.
1. Where did you obtain your residential IPs?
You should ask: how does the provider collect residential IP addresses, and did users consent to the use of their IP? Some proxy providers operate legitimately with the full permission and knowledge of the device owner. Others might have shady or even illegal ways of gaining access to user devices.
Bright Data’s answer: Bright Data SDK partners with operators of popular web applications. These operators ask their users to allow access to their residential IPs as an alternative to displaying ads or charging a subscription for the app.
2. How many IPs do you have?
The more IPs available, the higher the level of anonymity provided by the proxy service, because there is a lower chance of an IP being flagged as a proxy.
Another important factor is how many IPs the service provides in different cities or countries. If you need to simulate a user in a specific city and the provider has very few proxies in that city, it will not provide effective anonymity.
If the provider supports concurrency (using several IPs at once), more IPs also means higher performance.
You should ask: how many residential IPs does the proxy service operate, and how many in different cities or countries? What level of concurrency is supported?
Bright Data’s answer: Bright Data offers over 72 million residential IPs, spread across every city in the world, and is rapidly growing. Bright Data’s network supports unlimited concurrency, making it much faster than other proxy providers.
3. Do you support HTTPS?
When you use a proxy, residential or otherwise, you are transferring sensitive data over the proxy server, including your identity and credentials. The server owner can intercept that data.
You should ask: Is it possible to transfer data over an encrypted protocol like HTTPS? This means the provider won’t be able to intercept and make harmful use of your communications.
4. Who else uses the IPs?
You should ask: How does a provider ensure other users are not abusing the service? What level of rotation is provided between users? Can you get a dedicated residential IP?
Bright Data’s answer: Bright Data requires all users to undergo a user compliance evaluation video session, to ensure they are business users using the proxy for legitimate purposes. Bright Data’s IPs are constantly rotating. You also have the option of getting a group of IPs from the same location for your exclusive use.