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We talk a lot about proxies in this blog, how to use them to stay secure, protecting our anonymity and really important stuff like being able to watch the BBC on our holidays. In truth, as far as watching online media sites go proxies are very little use anymore because they’re very easy to detect. If you want to watch a multimedia site online then you’re normally going to need a VPN as they are much more difficult to detect.
There is another side of the blocking war technology, which doesn’t involve the type of server you’re connecting to but rather the IP address it is assigned. You see there’s another crucial distinction as far as the network address you use on these servers – commercial or residential. Virtually all IP addresses that the ordinary individual can get access to falls under these two categories. So it’s worth just briefly clarifying what we mean by these:
- Commercial IP Addresses – these are assigned to public and private companies and commercial datacentres. Indeed 99% of proxy and VPN services are hosted in commercial datacentres which is why they’re allocated commercial addresses.
- Residential IP Addresses – if you simply connect to the internet through your ISP like most people, then you’ll have a residential address. These are only allocated to home users via their normal internet connections whether they’re broadband, cable or even dial up.
It seems a minor difference, after all they’re both just standard IP addresses but the distinction is becoming more crucial. In 2016 Netflix became the first ‘media giant’ to restrict access to their content based on the classification of your IP address. It’s been used before in smaller organisations and in other sectors but this was a major shift in region locking. If you sat on a company network and wanted to watch Netflix using your computer you’d be blocked, didn’t even matter if you owned the company!
After years of trying to enforce Netflix users to stick to the locale they were based in, they finally decided that only those who originated from a residential IP provider would have access. This worked big time, indeed compared to the years of blocking proxies, checking for concurrent connections and trying to detect VPNs it was incredibly effective. The reason was simple all the circumvention tools like proxies and VPNs had one thing in common, they all had commercial IP addresses assigned from the datacentres where there servers sat.
People Suddenly Need a Residential IP Provider
There was some collateral damage, but basically it made Netflix only accessible from home connections. More importantly users could not use VPNs and proxies to switch to a better version of Netflix, the US version has more than double the content of many regions.
In fact what Netflix was doing wasn’t that original, in other areas commercial websites have been using this classification for years. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of programming can use incoming IP address information to determine both the region and classification of the IP address. Using the classification is an easy way to ensure all the inbound connections are from legitimate residential users. They can also determine specific countries and regions from the IP address to – all crucial information if you’re running any sort of e-commerce site too!
Most online resources and commercial sites are directed at home based customers which is why having a residential IP address is crucial, residential traffic has certain characteristics. Normally that’s fine but there are also many situations where you need more than one address and that’s extremely difficult to do. For example people involved in online marketing or research need the ability to process numerous requests from social media sites, advertisers, search engines and even online retailers. Unfortunately if you try and do this from a single solitary internet connection and address you’ll get blocked pretty quickly.
Whether it’s the classification, origin or more likely the fact it’s being used for repeated requests – it’s pretty simple to get blocked by a web site nowadays.
People who use marketing and research tools will get blocked very quickly for example as the multiple requests are logged. Even posting stuff to social media using applications can have this effect very quickly too.
Others use tools in order to buy multiple copies of items or place lots of adverts. Again if you are stuck using your single default, residential IP address you’ll get an IP ban very quickly. the more requests you or the application makes then the quicker it will happen. Even something like a residential VPN won’t help because although the actual connection is encrypted, the mere fact that multiple concurrent connections are established from the same IP is easy to detect.
For example there are lots of people who use software to buy multiple items in order to sell them later. There are computer programs designed to do this for you, making multiple requests and placing lots of items in shopping baskets automatically.
They are usually found in sectors which have limited or restricted availability like designer trainers/sneakers, concert and sporting tickets and similar items. When items like these are sold online then the restrictions are normally enforced by the classification and location of the IP address.
Let’s consider buying concerts for a very popular rock band, the tickets always sell out extremely quickly. How do you ensure that people don’t buy extra tickets to sell online at inflated prices? Well imagine you’re sitting there looking at the requests come in for a Dallas based concert and you see hundreds of requests from IP addresses originating from New Delhi? These obviously don’t look like legitimate requests from fans and the website will almost certainly block or restrict access from these addresses.
There is a workaround method that can be used and is implemented very profitably by people online – they hide their locations by using home based IP addresses originating in ‘non-suspicious’ locations. However to do this you need to buy residential IPs which are bought from a residential IP provider. These are normally bought by buying access to dedicated residential proxies which have home based addresses assigned to them.
Some of these networks are extensive and extremely sophisticated indeed they need to be to fool the websites involved. The most advanced are called residential backconnect proxies, which are much more than simply standard static residential proxies. They are networks consisting of thousands of residential IP addresses all linked together through single backconnect proxy gateways. These are much more difficult to detect as they offer the ability to rotate IP addresses automatically and also the referrer data that is sent from individual connections. Any sort of automated bot which buys, researches or posts will need access to rotating residential proxies in order to function with any volume.
These networks are of course extremely difficult and expensive to set up, primarily because getting access to residential IP addresses is very difficult. Many have taken years to set up, it’s not that hard to learn how to make residential proxies but it’s much,much harder to set one up! It’s worth remembering this before you go searching to buy residential proxies, they are much more expensive to run than normal one. Which is why the people running automated tools like ‘sneaker bots’ or ‘ticket bots’ are always searching for reliable sources, you’ll even see them referred to as residential sneaker proxies as they’re often used with these bots to buy lots of sneakers from large online retailers like Nike, Adidas and Footlocker.
There’s only two or there of these with large enough residential networks to make most of these bots and tools work properly. Here’s one of the oldest and most respected networks – they’re called Storm Proxies. They’re unique in that they’re the only ones who actually own the hardware and addresses (the registrations) unlike their competitors. Indeed many of the other providers have little direct control over their residential IP address inventory, e.g. Illuminati who’s network consists of piggybacking off the connections of a free VPN called Hola.
It’s definitely the fastest, safest and best residential IP provider and you can try out their proxies here
Check out their residential proxy trial which you can test for 48 hours and get your money refunded if they don’t work for you.