Online privacy has become as much of a concern for companies, casual internet surfers, and researchers as it has been for cybersecurity enthusiasts. Maintaining a low online profile is no longer solely about personal safety—it is now an invaluable asset for people performing data harvesting, market analyses, enjoying entertainment from different locales, and so much more.
Proxies stand at the forefront of providing simple and reasonably priced privacy against web trackers, anti-bot measures, locale-detector, and many other inconveniencing types of snoopers. In this article, we will look at the most widespread category of proxies: the datacenter proxies.
What is a Datacenter Proxy?
First, remember that any proxy is a remote server that acts as an intermediary between devices and the internet. That means that proxies take all requests originating from their user’s device, and then they mask the IP address in the traffic before forwarding it to a website, online service, or anything else with a connection to the internet. As a result, to external entities, any button click or page visit appears to stem from the proxy, not from the user’s device.
In the context of modern proxy categories, datacenter proxies are the most commonly used. As the name implies, datacenter proxies are hosted in data centers. In essence, these facilities are equipped with robust network infrastructure, servers dedicated to be proxies, and pools of IP addresses to choose from.
Like most other types of proxies, datacenter proxies have two subtypes: shared and private.
- Shared datacenter proxies are used by multiple clients simultaneously. This means the same IP address from a single server is shared among various users. On one hand, this helps decrease the costs, while on the other, this directly contributes to bandwidth congestion.
- Private datacenter proxies, in contrast, have IP addresses dedicated to individual users. This exclusivity ensures the owner has complete control over the IP’s use, leading to a more reliable experience and a cleaner IP reputation. Private datacenter proxies offer higher speeds and greater stability compared to shared proxies. Additionally, thanks to their cleaner reputation, as maintained by the sole owner, private datacenter proxies are also less likely to be blacklisted.
What are the Advantages of Datacenter Proxies?
Datacenter proxies have two key advantages that make them particularly appealing for a variety of online activities
- Cost-Effectiveness. These proxies are often more affordable than other types of proxies. Searching for a cheap datacenter proxy is easy, as they are abundantly offered by various proxy services Their operation within large data centers allows for economies of scale, making them a cost-effective solution for individuals and businesses alike.
- High Speed and Reliability: Datacenter proxies are known for their high-speed connections and reliability. The infrastructure of data centers ensures that these proxies can handle large amounts of traffic and provide stable, uninterrupted service.
- Wide Range of IP Addresses: Data centers have access to a vast pool of IP addresses, allowing users to choose from a wide range of IPs based on their specific needs, such as location-specific browsing or avoiding IP bans.
- Suitability for Data Harvesting and Market Analysis: For activities like data harvesting and market analysis, datacenter proxies offer the necessary speed and efficiency. They can rapidly process large volumes of data/pulling requests, making them ideal for scraping and similar tasks.
What are the Limitations of Datacenter Proxies?
The single, most significant drawback of datacenter proxies is the origin of their IP addresses. Consider that when a person enters some online platform, it can see the proxy’s IP address and the provider of that IP, which is shown as the respective data center. This means that while proxy users can enjoy a layer of privacy, they are not entirely anonymous.
In other terms, in case an online service, such as a banking website, desires to ban a range of proxy IP addresses, they can do so relatively easily. This isn’t an issue for another type of proxy called ‘residential proxy’, which sources its IP addresses from household devices.
Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of websites will have similar anti-proxy measures established, there may still be a range of them that restrict access to datacenter proxy users.
Why use a Datacenter Proxy?
After considering the advantages and disadvantages of datacenter proxies, it’s helpful to understand why they are still a popular choice for many users and in various scenarios.
- Web Scraping and Data Mining: They are widely used for web scraping and data mining, where large amounts of data need to be collected quickly and efficiently.
- Online Privacy: Individuals and businesses use these proxies to mask their IP addresses, maintaining anonymity while browsing or conducting online activities.
- Reaching more entertainment: They can be used to access content or services that are restricted to specific geographical locations.
- SEO Monitoring and Research: SEO professionals utilize these proxies to track search engine rankings and perform competitive analysis anonymously.
- Ad Verification: To ensure that their advertisements are displayed correctly and in the proper context, companies use datacenter proxies for ad verification purposes.
What are the Alternatives to Datacenter Proxies?
Alternatives to datacenter proxies include several other types of proxy servers, each with its own set of features, advantages, and use cases. If we exclude subcategories applicable to various types of proxies, such as rotating proxies, HTTPS proxies and the likes, we are left with two unique types of proxies: residential and mobile proxies.
- Residential proxies, as we have already brushed upon, are servers that are established on household devices and that supply users with an ISP-sourced IP address. In exchange for a higher cost, residential proxies allow users to browse the internet both in privacy and anonymity. In this context, anonymity refers to the ability of proxies to hide the fact that they are proxies.
- Mobile proxies are similar to residential proxies, in that they too possess a residential IP address. However, the main difference is that they are connected to a cellular network, providing them with ISP-distributed cellular IP addresses. These proxies are mainly used for mobile-related testing and private browsing.
Recap, at a Glance
To summarize, datacenter proxies are external servers that act as intermediaries between a user’s computer and the Internet. These proxies are housed in data centers and are not affiliated with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). They provide a different IP address to mask the user’s original IP, enhancing privacy online.
- Function: Datacenter proxies route internet requests through a server in the data center. This process changes the user’s apparent IP address, making it seem as though the requests originate from the proxy server, not the user’s device.
- Availability: These proxies are readily available and often more affordable than other types. They are provided in bulk by hosting companies.
- Use Cases:* Commonly used for web scraping, private browsing, and bypassing geo-restrictions, datacenter proxies serve well for tasks that don’t necessarily require a residential IP address.