Residential Proxies vs. Datacenter Proxies: Pros and Cons for Web Scraping

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Success Eriamiantoe
Written by
Success Eriamiantoe

Updated · Nov 16, 2023

Success Eriamiantoe
Frontend Developer | Technical Writer | Joined August 2023 | Twitter LinkedIn
Success Eriamiantoe

Meet Success Eriamiantoe, a dynamic and optimistic individual who thrives on fresh ideas and energy.... | See full bio

Lorie Tonogbanua
Edited by
Lorie Tonogbanua


Lorie Tonogbanua
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Lorie Tonogbanua

Lorie is an English Language and Literature graduate passionate about writing, research, and learnin... | See full bio

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Whether it's market research, competitive analysis, or staying updated on trends, unlocking information available on the web through data scraping has become indispensable for individuals and businesses. However, data extraction has become increasingly challenging as websites refine their anti-scraping defenses. 

Proxies play a vital role in getting around such anti-scraping measures. They act as intermediaries between the scraper and the target website, masking the scraper's identity. 

Two primary categories of proxies commonly used for web scraping are data center proxies and residential proxies. Each type has its merits and drawbacks, making it essential to weigh them carefully to determine the most suitable one for your scraping use case. 

In this article, we will explore and compare residential proxies and data center proxies, shedding light on their specific use cases and essential factors to consider when choosing a proxy provider. We'll also look at Bright Data's Scraping Browser, an all-in-one scraping and proxy management solution with a cutting-edge proxy infrastructure.

Key Takeaways

Proxies are crucial for successful web scraping, enhancing security, privacy, and performance.

Datacenter proxies are cost-effective and scalable but easily detectable and prone to IP bans.

Residential proxies offer higher anonymity, ideal for sensitive scraping tasks and bypassing geo-restrictions, but are more expensive and may have slower speeds.

When choosing a proxy provider, consider project needs, network size, pricing, performance, features, and ethical compliance.

Bright Data's Scraping Browser provides a comprehensive solution with diverse, high-quality IPs, automated IP rotation, scalability, legal compliance, and reliability for seamless data extraction.

The Role of Proxies in Web Scraping

When it comes to web scraping, proxy servers are crucial to improve security, privacy, and performance

As previously mentioned, a proxy is an intermediary between a web scraper and the target website. Instead of directly connecting to the website, the scraper routes its requests through the proxy server, masking its true identity.  

A proxy server in action

Whenever a user requests to access a web page, a proxy server receives the request first. It authenticates and filters the request before sending them to a server. The destination server responds to the proxy, which relays the response to the user. 

Helpful Articles: If you want to learn more about proxies, check out Techjury’s article on private proxies and fresh proxies.

This lends several crucial benefits to the web scraping process:

  • Evading Anti-Scraping Mechanisms: Proxies hide the scraper's IP address and ensure anonymity, making it difficult for websites to identify and block scraping activities. By rotating between different proxy IP addresses, scrapers can avoid triggering CAPTCHas and other IP-based website blocks.
  • Scaling and Performance: By getting around anti-scraping mechanisms, proxies help collect more seamless and uninterrupted data. Proxies also enable parallel scraping by sending multiple requests simultaneously through different proxy IPs, improving scraping speed and efficiency.
  • Geographical Diversity: Proxies help bypass geo-restrictions, allowing access to region-locked content without revealing the user's location.
  • Data Security: Proxies act as a buffer between the scraper and the website, reducing the risk of exposing the scraper's system to potential security threats.

Now that we've discussed the significance of proxies, let's look at two types of proxies that are particularly essential to the web scraping process: data center and residential.

In a nutshell. . .

Proxies are essential for web scraping, providing anonymity, improved performance, and data security. They help evade anti-scraping mechanisms, enable parallel scraping, and bypass geo-restrictions. Two vital types are data centers and residential proxies.

Datacenter Proxies - Limitless Scaling and Cost-Friendly Solution

Datacenter (DC) proxies are widely used among the different types proxy servers for web scraping. These proxies use IP addresses from data centers, facilities designed to host computer systems, and networking infrastructure. 

Diagram of how a datacenter proxy work

Unlike residential proxies that use IP addresses provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or residential users, data center proxies are not associated with physical locations or real Internet users. Instead, they are created and distributed by third-party data center providers, offering a range of benefits that suit specific web scraping needs.

Here are some key advantages of data center proxies:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Perhaps the biggest advantage of data center proxies is that they are generally far more affordable than residential proxies. Since they are not associated with real internet users, their maintenance costs are lower, resulting in more affordable pricing for users.
  • Speed and Reliability: Datacenter proxies offer fast and reliable data retrieval since data center servers can process scraping requests at high speeds. This can make them ideal for some large-scale scraping projects.
  • Bypassing Geo-restrictions: Datacenter proxies can be used to access content from various regions worldwide, making them useful for scraping websites that impose geographical restrictions.
  • IP Blocks for Scaling: With data center proxies, a single provider may offer a pool of IP addresses. These are known as “IP blocks.” This can be used to implement parallel requests and scale scraping operations.

However, data center proxies also come with some limitations. These can include:

  • Detection by Anti-Scraping Mechanisms: Data center proxies' lack of real residential IPs makes them easily detectable by websites with advanced anti-scraping measures. This can lead to higher chances of IP blocks or CAPTCHA challenges.
  • Potential IP Bans: Websites maintain and regularly update IP address lists from data centers to deter scraping, making data center proxies more susceptible to IP bans.

Warning: Persistent and aggressive scraping from a single IP address can lead to IP blocks and rate limiting, hindering the process further.

  • Less Natural Requests: Websites often detect and block scraping requests based on whether they appear to originate from real users. Since datacenter proxies do not rely on actual residential IPs, they may not mimic genuine user behavior as effectively, increasing the risk of detection.

In a nutshell. . .

Datacenter proxies are popular for web scraping due to their affordability, speed, and ability to bypass geo-restrictions. They are not associated with real users, which can lead to detection and potential IP bans. Residential proxies will be explored as an alternative with their own advantages and drawbacks.

Let us now explore using residential proxies, an alternative approach with advantages and drawbacks.

Residential Proxies - Ensured Anonymity and Genuine IP Addresses 

Residential proxies are specialized proxy servers that route web requests through real residential IP addresses. Instead of using proxies sourced from data centers, they use IP addresses provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to simulate the identity of real residential users. 

Diagram of how a residential proxy work

These proxies are designed to appear as if real people are accessing the web, making them a popular choice for web scraping tasks that require a higher level of anonymity, stealth, and evasion of anti-scraping measures.

Here are some advantages of using residential proxies in your web scraping process: 

  • Real User Identity: The primary advantage of residential proxies is their ability to mimic genuine internet users. By using IP addresses associated with real residential locations, these proxies can bypass some anti-scraping measures implemented by websites, such as CAPTCHAs, rate limits, and throttling.
  • Enhanced Anonymity: Residential proxies offer a higher level of anonymity since websites perceive them as regular users rather than proxies. This reduces the risk of IP bans and other forms of blocking during scraping activities.
  • Evasion of Geo-restrictions: When scraping websites with region-specific content, Residential proxies are highly valuable, as they can access data limited to certain geographical locations.
  • Natural Web Requests: Unlike data center proxies, these proxies generate web requests that closely resemble how real users interact with websites, making them more inconspicuous and less likely to be flagged as internet bots.
  • Reliability: Residential proxies are generally more reliable for web scraping since they draw from a pool of legitimate IP addresses provided by ISPs.

However, residential proxies, too, can have their drawbacks. These include: 

  • Cost: Due to the need to obtain IPs from ISPs, residential proxies are more expensive than Datacenter Proxies.
  • Slower Speeds: While residential proxies offer higher anonymity, their connection speeds might be slower than datacenter proxies, as they depend on residential internet connections.
  • Ethical Compliance: Some providers may obtain residential proxies through questionable means, such as using botnets or exploiting users' devices without their consent. Utilizing such proxies may expose you to legal repercussions and further strain the proxies' reliability. For this reason, choosing reputable proxy providers that source their residential IPs responsibly and transparently is essential.

Summing up the points previously mentioned, here is a table highlights the differences between residential and data centre proxies:


Residential proxies

Datacenter Proxies


more anonymity

less anonymity


less scalable

more scalable


more expensive

less expensive

Source of IP Addresses

real residential users and ISPS

data centers

In the next section, we’ll consider some factors when choosing a proxy provider for your web scraping project. 

Note: It’s worth bearing in mind that regardless of whether you opt for datacenter proxies or residential proxies, the choice of the proxy provider can significantly impact the success of your scraping project. 

How to Choose a Proxy Provider for Web Scraping

Now that we have explored the pros and cons of both residential and datacenter proxies, it's essential to understand how to make an informed decision when selecting the best proxy provider so that you can navigate the complexities of data extraction efficiently. Here are some of the factors you should consider: 

1. Assess Proxy Types According to Your Project Needs

Proxy services offer different types of proxies, each with its unique purposes and benefits. Assess your web scraping project's requirements to determine whether datacenter proxies, residential proxies, or both are the ideal fit. 

For example, any website not scanning for human-like behavior or employing complex bot-detection measures would be a good use case for datacenter proxies. However, residential proxies would be better for scraping more sensitive websites. 

2. Evaluate the Network’s Size, IP Pool, and Infrastructure

The size of the proxy network and the range of IP addresses it controls play a crucial role in the effectiveness of your web scraping activities. A larger network provides more options and reduces the risk of overcrowding, ensuring improved performance and anonymity. A well-distributed IP pool facilitates effective rotation and distribution of addresses, aiding in bypassing restrictions and minimizing the chance of detection.

You must also assess the provider's infrastructure to ensure stability, uptime, and fast connection speeds. Multiple strategically placed server locations further enhance coverage and access to proxies from various regions.

3. Analyze Pricing Structures and Payment Options

Understand the pricing structure the proxy provider offers and how it aligns with your budget and needs. Different pricing models exist, such as: 

  • data transfer-based pricing
  • per proxy pricing
  • per use case plans
  • subscription-based models. 

Pro Tip

Look for proxy providers offering free trials and refund policies, allowing you to test their service and secure your investment. However, you have to ensure that it’s safe to use a free proxy.

4. Verify Provider Performance and Availability

Prioritize high availability and uptime when choosing a reliable proxy service. You must also evaluate the proxy provider's performance, including:  

  • connection speed
  • response time
  • success rate

Customer reviews and feedback provide valuable insights into the provider's reliability and scalability in handling varying traffic volumes.

5. Ensure the Features Match Your Requirements

Select a provider that offers tools suitable for your specific project requirements. Consider the features and tools the proxy provider offers to enhance your web-scaping capabilities, including: 

  • automatic IP rotation
  • location filtering
  • authentication methods
  • proxy management tools
  • scraping APIs

6. Do Not Overlook Customer Service

Reliable customer service is vital for prompt issue resolution and uninterrupted access to proxies. A skilled support team can guide you through setup, configuration, and troubleshooting, ensuring a seamless web scraping experience.

Pro Tip

Look for providers offering 24/7 support and multiple communication channels, including live chat, e-mail, or dedicated account managers.

 7. Prioritize Ethical Compliance

Ensure the proxy provider operates transparently, prioritizing security, privacy, and ethical practices. Verify the implementation of robust security measures, data encryption, and adherence to privacy regulations. Choose a provider committed to the responsible use of proxies, avoiding illicit activities, and safeguarding user data.

With so many factors to consider, choosing the right proxy provider for web scraping can be daunting. But what if there was a comprehensive solution that simplified the entire process while considering all of the above-mentioned factors?

This is precisely where Bright Data’s Scraping Browser comes in. 

The Scraping Browser: An All-in-One Solution for Proxy Management and Web Scraping

The Scraping Browser is a fully graphical user interface (GUI) Chrome instance that operates on Bright Data's servers. A WebSocket connection can be remotely connected to headless browsers like Puppeteer and Playwright. Its sophisticated unlocker technology enables it to bypass complex anti-scraping bot-detection measures effectively. 

Notably, the Scraping Browser comes in-built with Bright Data's cutting-edge proxy infrastructure, which offers an extensive network of diverse, high-quality IP addresses sourced and vetted ethically —General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act compliant.

By using Bright Data’s advanced proxy infrastructure, you can effortlessly achieve seamless data extraction for invaluable location-based insights.

Here are some of the benefits of using Bright Data’s proxy infrastructure: 

  • Diverse Range of Proxy Services: Bright Data makes use of four different kinds of proxy services - residential proxies, datacenter proxies, ISP proxies, and mobile proxies. This dynamic approach effectively overcomes rate limit, ReCAPTCHAs, and throttling by automating IP rotation based on the specific use case. 

An interpretative photo of what Scraping Browser can do

Note: The Scraping Browser uses the waterfall solution, where requests begin with data center IPs, progress to residential IPs for sensitive pages, and finally, resort to mobile IPs if earlier attempts are unsuccessful. 

  • Automated Proxy Management: Bright Data's powerful platform streamlines the proxy management process with automated IP rotation and handling of HTTP responses. This automation ensures a steady and uninterrupted data flow during the scraping process, sparing businesses the burden of manual proxy management.
  • High-Quality, Diverse IPs: Bright Data's extensive pool of proxies spans the globe (over 195 countries), offering geographically diverse IP addresses that minimize the risk of detection and IP blocks. Bright Data’s powerful residential proxies, which use 72+ million residential IPs from real devices, allow you to access data from any country, city, zip code, carrier & ASN. By accessing location-specific data from virtually any region, businesses can enhance their geo-targeting capabilities and glean insights from culturally diverse markets.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Bright Data's platform is designed to handle large-scale scraping projects easily. As business needs evolve, the infrastructure allows seamless scalability to accommodate increased demands, providing the flexibility required for ambitious geo-targeting initiatives.
  • Legal Compliance and Ethical Practices: Bright Data prioritizes legal compliance and ethical data collection practices such as the EU data protection regulatory framework - the GDPR, and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 - the CCPA. Bright Data’s proxies are acquired with the full consent of their peers, and a dedicated compliance officer thoroughly vets each IP provider.
  • Reliability and Performance: Bright Data's proxy infrastructure ensures a remarkable 99.9% network uptime and an impressive 99.99% success rate, so you can rest assured of a reliable and stable scraping experience with minimal disruptions and delays. Bright Data’s team also offers 24/7 customer support, so you can contact them anytime to resolve any issue.

Manually integrating proxies into your scraping script can be a tedious, messy, and time-consuming process. Fortunately, Scraping Browser comes in-built with Bright Data’s proxy infrastructure, eliminating the need for external infrastructure or advanced coding with third-party libraries. 

You can use either data center proxies or ethically acquired residential proxies as per your use case. It also adeptly handles IP rotation, throttling, and retries automatically, making for a comprehensive and highly scalable solution for your data collection needs. 

The Scraping Browser comes with a free trial and can be easily integrated into existing libraries like Playwright or Puppeteer. You can look up instructions to get started here

Helpful Articles: Techjury has other data scraping-related articles. Check out our guides on how to scrape Google Search data and 5 simple methods to scrape e-commerce websites.


Are residential proxies better for high-traffic web scraping compared to data center proxies?

No, data center proxies are more efficient than residential proxies if you need to scrape at higher volumes. However, datacenter proxies are more susceptible to website anti-scrapping methods.  

Is there a proxy you can use to prevent someone from accessing sites?

Yes, you can use reverse proxies to restrict and monitor users’ access to webservers with sensitive data. A reverse proxy protects web servers against potential attacks while imrpoving performance and reliability.

Is it legal to use residential proxies?

The legality of using residential proxies depends on how it is used. If used for legitimate purposes such as market research, ad verification, and web scraping, this proxy is completely legal. However, it becomes illegal if used for fraud, spamming, or phishing. 


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