Surfing the web requires constant communication between devices. You send a request to the website’s server. It checks your connection and then provides you with a response. The website loads on your screen. Unfortunately, not every server follows such a simple process, and not all IPs are equally trusted by websites.
This is a constant issue for social media managers, those who collect data or automate certain online tasks. Your own IP address might not work, so you must use proxies. During my years of accomplishing these tasks, I found that residential proxies are the best for these purposes.
IP credibility and residential proxies
The internet protocol is a set of rules governing how the internet functions. It requires each device to have a unique string of numbers and letters identifying it - an IP address.
IPs are distributed in a hierarchical order. First, they are assigned to regional internet registries (roughly the size of continents). Then, to internet service providers (ISPs), where they get further specified by location.
Once you contact an ISP and establish an internet connection in your home, a certain IP address is assigned to your device. Usually, this is a router, which can further distribute addresses to the devices in the network.
Location plays a central role in IP addresses. That's why most of them are residential - tied to a specific location provided by an ISP. Because of this rigorous verification process, residential IPs are the most trusted on the internet.
Every website trusts that there is a real person with a physical device browsing the web behind one. That's why residential proxies are the most trusted proxies.
In essence, proxies act as intermediaries between you and the internet. Instead of using your own connection to access the web, you first connect to the proxy, and then it connects on your behalf with its own IP address.
Anonymous proxies don't tell the website's server they are proxies. If a server has suspicions about whether there is a real person behind an IP, it might not allow access. In most cases, they implement some restrictions, such as CAPATCHAs.
Datacenter and residential proxies
Datacenter proxies, for example, are created in bulk on large servers running in data centers. One such server can represent thousands of IP addresses, each hosted on a different virtual machine on the server.
Such a process is relatively cheap because it's easier to maintain one powerful server than a thousand home devices. Datacenter proxies are also fast, as servers use the highest tier equipment and commercial internet plans from hosting or cloud companies.
However, websites do not trust these IP addresses. They are frequently used by bots that can perform DDoS attacks or overload the server in some other way. What's worse, datacenter IPs are relatively easy to recognize. They are created in bulk, and the string of numbers differs only in a few last digits.
While datacenter IPs have their use cases, they are no match for residential ones when it comes to building trust on the internet. Website servers can ban or restrict the entire IP range without worrying about how it will affect ordinary visitors.
Every residential IP address is unique and verified by the IP assigning process. So, all residential IPs, proxy or not, must be checked individually. It is harder to block an entire range of IPs as the website risks restricting users that aren't using proxies.
Use cases of residential proxies
Most social media websites restrict the number of accounts one user may have. Facebook, for example, only allows up to 3 accounts to be created and managed from one IP address. They take various measures to enforce this rule, and checking the IP address is the main one.
If the same IP address accesses a personal Facebook page from Australia, an E-commerce business page in Spain, and logs in to scroll some reels from the US, it will seem suspicious. Facebook will likely restrict you with CAPATCHAs, warn you, or suspend your accounts altogether.
The cause for this restriction is noble - social media platforms are swarming with fake profiles spreading misinformation. But what if you are a marketer with clients from all those countries with a need to access those accounts daily?
You use residential proxies. They allow people to quickly change their location to avoid geo-restrictions and access multiple accounts concurrently. Proxies, unlike VPNs, can also be integrated into automation software.
Various software solutions exist that help social media managers accomplish tasks automatically. For example, scheduled posting allows a marketer on the other side of the globe to target communication when it's needed. It would not be very easy otherwise due to time zone differences.
But automation software can also be used for many other purposes - bulk purchasing, AD verification, Website testing, SEO metrics tracking, and much more. Each of them uses bots to accomplish tasks at a much faster speed than a human could.
Websites don't want their servers overloaded, so they try to block these bots. But if you use a residential proxy, websites will have a harder time blocking your activity. With residential IP, your connection is perceived as more trustworthy, and you will receive fewer restrictions when using a bot.
Web scraping must be distinguished as a special case of automation. It uses bots (called scraper bots) to visit websites, make a list of the publically available data available, and then download it automatically in high quantities.
Websites want to save their resources and restrict access to data, so they ban IP addresses that use scraper bots. Datacenter proxies are most frequently used, so you want to avoid them while scraping and use residential proxies instead.
Having a credible, ISP-verified IP address is crucial for building trust online. While other proxy types can have performance benefits, there is nothing more trustworthy online than a residential proxy. The trust it provides will help you to blend in with the crowd, avoid restrictions, and achieve more.