How Residential Proxies Work [Simple Guide]

May 12, 2020

Even the most capable of persons tend to feel a tad intimidated by certain things such as chopsticks use, driving stick-shifts, typing speeds, or stellar LinkedIn profiles. One thing that can be a menace to any computer user is challenging computer terminologies.

The truth is that the applications of some information technology tools are not as baffling as their names sound. Proxies, for instance, are very common internet tools and have been in use for quite some time. While there is little recorded history of their origin, proxy use dates back to the emergence of the internet and networking tools.

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs, who named his brand after an apple because it was “fun-spirited and un-intimidating,” was not around to give the proxy server a fun name as well. Fortunately, the answer to the question “How do proxies work” is super easy.

How do proxies work?

An English definition of a proxy is a person that acts on behalf of another. As an illustration, a board member can vote by proxy if they are physically absent. Proxy servers, work as intermediaries between computers and the internet. Neutral computers work as filters and masks between larger networks and localized computer networks.

Like a human proxy, they are middlemen that receive instructions from your computer, then send them to the broader internet or larger networks. The proxies also intercept all communication directed to your computer’s browser, apply a mask to your IP address, perform a filter of content, and then send it to your browser.

When a proxy is in place, any internet-enabled device will not access your internet protocol (IP) address. You will, therefore, enjoy more privacy online via an anonymous browsing experience.

What is a residential proxy?

There are two main types of proxies online: residential and data center proxies. Datacenter proxies are the most common and popular types of proxies out there. Third-party cloud-hosted providers sell or give them away.

Datacenter proxies are cheap because they do not have valid IP addresses. While they can provide a high level of anonymity online, they cannot work for services such as website data scraping. Data center proxies utilize a combination of numbers for IP addresses, which can reveal their fake IP nature upon close inspection.

Residential proxies, on the other hand, are pricey because they provide genuine IP addresses. They supply high levels of anonymity and privacy online and are more secure than open data center proxies. If you wish to learn more, Oxylabs blog offers an in-depth coverage of residential proxies.

Since residential proxies have a valid physical address, they are very suitable for web scraping tools. Web scraping is a process of gathering mass information online using AI-powered bots. Websites generally have anti-scraping tools to keep bots away.

Nevertheless, rotating pools of residential proxies closely mimic organic human activity and will therefore not raise any red flags with website surveillance.

The benefits of residential proxies

  • They give online anonymity since they have a genuine IP address. Any computer or online user tracking your digital footsteps will hit a dead end because they will never find your IP address. They will only view the residential proxy’s physical location instead.
  • Unlike data center proxies, these proxies can perform various online processes without being banned. Residential proxies are, therefore, the perfect web scraping tool integrations.
  • Unlike public data center proxies, whose data can be abused by malicious websites, spammers, or hackers, residential proxies are more secure. Legally registered businesses sell residential proxies with a mandate to protect their customer’s interests or face legal challenges.
  • Some data center proxies can be very slow, especially if they have traffic overloads. Residential proxy servers will give smooth and faster browsing experiences with fewer timeouts, blocks, or errors.
  • If you need access to geo-restricted content such as Netflix programs, travel industry offers, or limited-edition sneakers, these proxies can open the access doors. Through proxy use, you can access an IP address with a physical location acceptable within a specified geo-restricted content zone. You can use proxies to log on to a website from any location in the world.
  • If you live in an area with prevalent internet censorship, the proxy server can hide your online activity and open internet communication doors for you.
  • If your business has a brand abuse policy in place that needs enforcement, then you will need residential proxies. Any brand abuser hiding behind IP restrictions can be uncovered via residential proxies. You can utilize these same proxies for other services, such as ad verification across different regions.


Now that you know the answer to the question “How do proxies work” grab some proxies today from reputable providers. Scour the internet for reviews, subscribe to the best service, and enjoy the many benefits of residential proxies.


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