Residential Proxy: What is it and why should you use it?

By Steven, on October 22, 2023, updated on February 11, 2024 - 6 min read

Faced with an ever-increasing number of cyber threats, many internet users are seeking solutions to maintain their anonymity and secure their online data.

Is this your case? Then the residential proxies could be an interesting option for you.

proxy settings

This intermediary server allows you to hide your real IP address behind a borrowed one, enabling you to easily access the internet without drawing attention to yourself.

But what are the actual benefits of using this kind of tool? How do you choose a worthy residential proxy? In this article, Debugbar will explore residential proxies in detail and reveal how they can be real allies for serene web browsing. Are you ready to unveil this indispensable tool?

You’re in a hurry ? Here are the key points of this article :

  • Residential proxies are an effective solution for preserving your online anonymity and accessing geo-restricted content.
  • They use real IP addresses provided by ISPs, making them less detectable by websites.
  • The choice of a residential proxy will essentially depend on your specific needs (objectives, price, technical requirements).
  • The 3 Proxy providers to be tested include OxyLabs, IPBurger and Bright Data.

What is a residential proxy?

A proxy is an intermediary server that acts as a gateway between your device and the website you wish to access.

proxy concept

The peculiarity of a residential proxy is that it uses a real IP address provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or a LIR (Local Internet Registry) rather than addresses generated within a data center.

To put it simply, every time you surf the internet, you leave a footprint (your IP), much like a shoeprint in the sand.

While most conventional proxies give you a “footprint” that resembles that of thousands of others (as they come from a datacenter), a residential proxy offers you a unique and authentic footprint.

This authenticity makes you less suspicious in the eyes of bots. Thus, not only do you access the website without revealing your identity, but your connection also appears legitimate to the website, even if it has powerful protection mechanisms.

Your IP is therefore less likely to be blocked or filtered, as it is perceived as coming from a real user and not from a machine.

So, at first glance, it may seem somewhat technical, but in reality, it’s actually quite simple to understand. Let’s together look at how proxies function for a better understanding.

Residential Proxy: How does it actually work?

The operation of a residential proxy is quite easy to understand:

  1. You launch a request on the Internet (for example, visiting a web page).
  2. Your request passes through the proxy server which borrows the IP address of a real residential user, provided by an ISP.
  3. This IP address is then used to mask your actual IP and present the request to the website as if it was from a standard user.

However, there are several types of residential proxies, each with their own specifics. It is therefore important to know them in order to ensure you opt for a proxy adapted to your needs.

The 4 types of residential proxies

There are several types of residential proxies. These include:

  • Dedicated residential proxies: The IP address is assigned to only one user. They offer better performance and increased security, but are more expensive.
  • Mobile residential proxies: These proxies use IP addresses assigned to mobile devices. They are ideal for targeting specific regions, but can be slow and costly.
  • Shared residential proxies: Multiple users share the same IP address. They are generally cheaper, but the risk of overload or blocking is higher.
  • Rotating residential proxies: The IP address changes with each request. They provide better anonymity, but can be difficult to configure for novices.

Why use a residential proxy?

Can’t see how a residential proxy could be useful to you? Yet, residential proxies have many uses and could well serve you daily, both at your workplace and at home.

They can notably be used to:

  • Monitor the prices of certain specific products on the market: When conducting a market study on a specific area, you might not find what you’re looking for because you’re not in the right region… By using a proxy, you can access an IP address from that specific region and thus access the prices used in that area for better comparison and analysis of offers.
  • Perform penetration tests for cybersecurity: Conducting penetration tests is a crucial step in assessing the robustness of a computer system’s defenses. These tests consist of trying to “hack” or exploit vulnerabilities within a system, simulating attacks that real cybercriminals could carry out, all with the aim of prevention and improvement. You might guess that with your own IP address your system will recognize you and not react. Thanks to the anonymity they confer, residential proxies allow you to make your system truly believe it is being attacked and defend itself. Therefore, you can test it under real conditions.
  • Extract certain web data: Data extraction or “web scraping” is a very useful technique for competitive analysis, economic intelligence, etc. However, most sites put protective measures in place to prevent abusive scraping. Your competitors’ sites could thus block your IP and deny you access. So, goodbye comparative studies… This is where residential proxies will be useful as they will allow you to carry out large-scale data scraping with several IPs without being blocked.
  • Unlocking sites in restricted countries: It can happen that content is blocked in certain geographical areas. The residential proxy allows you to bypass the block and access the content as if you were physically present in the concerned zone.

What are the advantages of residential proxies?


Beyond these various uses, residential proxies offer a number of undeniable advantages:

  • Anonymity: They hide your real IP address and enable you to browse the web without leaving traces.
  • Reduced risk of IP blocking: As most websites have trouble distinguishing residential IP addresses from others, the risk of your IP address being blocked is greatly reduced.
  • Company network protection: If you use a residential proxy to access the Internet from your company, you reduce the risk of intrusion or attack on your network.
  • Access to geo-restricted content: With a residential proxy, you can access content normally unavailable in your country.

Of course, using residential proxies is not without drawbacks. And it’s important to be aware of these before deciding to equip yourself with them.

What are the drawbacks of residential proxies?

Despite their numerous advantages, residential proxies are not perfect. They can notably be reproached for:

  • A lack of data encryption: Although they offer some degree of anonymity, residential proxies do not encrypt your data. For maximum security, it would be preferable to use a VPN in addition.
  • A potential reduction in speed: As your traffic passes through an intermediary server, you may notice a slight decrease in the speed of your connection, especially if the proxy is located in a remote region.
  • Higher cost: Compared to other types of proxies, residential proxies are generally more expensive due to the authentic IPs they provide.
  • Complexity of configuration: While their use is quite simple, the initial configuration of a residential proxy can be complex for laypersons.
  • Limited availability in certain countries: Not all ISPs provide IP addresses for residential proxies, which may limit their use in certain regions.

So, you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and are convinced by residential proxies and you’re ready to buy? Then you should choose yours carefully.

How to choose your residential proxy?

To choose the best possible residential proxy, you should consider 6 essential points:

  1. Your objectives: Your needs in terms of residential proxies will mainly depend on what you plan to use them for. Be it for SEO, e-commerce, social media management, or any other activity, your requirements will differ and the suitable proxy will not necessarily be the same.
  2. Your budget: The price of a residential proxy can vary significantly depending on the provider, the type of proxy and the volume of traffic you plan. Make sure that the residential proxy you choose matches your budget.
  3. Your geo-targeting needs: If you are targeting an audience in a specific country, make sure that your proxy provider can offer you IPs in the targeted region.
  4. Compatibility with automation tools: If you plan to use automation tools, like bots, ensure to choose a compatible proxy.
  5. Your speed requirements: An excessively long response time can greatly affect your web experience. Thus, make sure that the proxy offers a good balance between speed and reliability.
  6. The support and reputation of the provider: Finally, make sure to choose a proxy provider with a good reputation and responsive customer support. The comments and reviews from other users can be an invaluable source of information in this regard.

So, we’re almost done with this guide. But before that, we couldn’t leave without suggesting some residential proxies for you to try.

3 residential proxy services to test

If you’re ready to embark on the residential proxy adventure, here are three providers worth considering:

  • IP Burger

If you’re looking for a more affordable proxy service provider without sacrificing quality, IP Burger might just charm you. In addition to its competitive rates, IP Burger offers excellent performance and solid customer support.

PriceFrom $79 / month
IPs10 M IPs
Bandwidth10 – 100 GB
Users2 – 5
  • Bright Data

Formerly known as Luminati, Bright Data is a major player in the proxy market. It offers a wide range of targeting options, excellent performance and responsive customer support. However, Bright Data remains quite expensive compared to some of its competitors.

PriceFrom $10 / month
IPs72 M IPs
Bandwidth1 GB – Unlimited
  • OxyLabs: With its vast network of residential proxies (over 70 million residential IPs in total!), OxyLabs is an obvious choice for many. Its services are particularly appreciated for large-scale data collection.
PriceFrom $99 / month
IPs+100 M IPs
Bandwidth11 – 86 GB

Residential proxies: key points

In conclusion, residential proxies are real allies for anyone wishing to browse the Internet anonymously and securely.

They offer numerous advantages, but it is essential to choose the right provider to ensure a successful experience.

In summary, here are the main takeaways about residential proxies:

Types of residential proxiesDedicated, Mobile, Shared, Rotating
AdvantagesAnonymity, reduced risk of IP blocking, company network protection, access to geo-restricted content.
DrawbacksLack of encryption, potential speed reduction, higher cost, configuration complexity, limited availability.
How to choose?Consider objectives, budget, geo-targeting needs, compatibility with tools, speed requirements, provider’s reputation and support.
3 Providers to considerIP Burger, Bright Data (Luminati), OxyLabs