If you’d asked about a residential VPN service 12 months ago not many people would know what you were talking about. Although there were a few companies like Storm Proxies a residential IP provider mainly supplying addresses for use in the UK and USA. They were mainly used for people seeking that little extra privacy and in the SEO and internet marketing arenas for promoting sites and using marketing tools. However having access to a residential IP address is becoming important in another areas – bypassing region blocks.
What Exactly is a Residential VPN ?
There’s two parts to this question, most of us have probably used a VPN but the vast majority of these have standard IP addresses from commercial ranges. However residential proxies and VPNs have IP addresses from residential range. The likelihood is that your standard internet connection almost certainly already have one. If you go to any of the check my IP address type sites and look at your public IP address, it’s normally been assigned by your internet provider. Your modem or router will be assigned this by your ISP to establish your internet connection. Here’s mine, heavily censored obviously –
– it is assigned by British Telecom, whom I have the misfortune to be a customer, they allocate that address and it’s pretty much out of my control. The address can be classified as a UK Residential IP Address and that in itself has many implications for example;
- Can Watch BBC iPlayer and all UK TV channels
- Blocked Access if I try and watch Hulu or NBC
- Search Engines Set to UK Results
- Netflix will Route to the UK version only
That’s only the start but it gives you an idea about how your IP address controls what you can do online. Of course, many people weren’t happy about all this filtering, blocking and redirection. They wanted to watch the BBC News when on holiday, watch the rugby from Ireland and knew that the US version of Netflix was way better than any other one.
Here’s one in action –
The solution was simple enough – to hide your real IP address and instead relay your connection through a proxy or VPN service. This was a perfect way to access any web site you liked, especially as most of the best services offered a range of servers in different countries. At the click of a button you could switch from a UK address to watch the BBC, then switch to a US server to enjoy your Hulu subscription.
The important thing was having access to a server physically located in the country you needed, nothing else mattered – until now.
Unfortunately it looks like it’s going to get much more complicated in the future and we can probably thank the media giant Netflix for this. In a few short weeks they have effectively blocked 99% of the VPN servers used to access their site. Not only have Netflix blocked access based on the location of the IP address, they have also restricted any connections from commercial IP addresses. The problem is virtually every VPN service uses a commercial IP address as they are housed in data centers across the world. You can get residential VPNs from specialist providers but they are extremely expensive, suppliers like proxyrack you usually have to go on a waiting list to get a residential VPN.
There are Very Few Residential VPN USA Available Anywhere
It doesn’t matter how advanced your VPN or proxy solution is, if it doesn’t have a residential IP address there’s some tasks which are going to get blocked automatically. These residential IP addresses however are mostly reserved for domestic customers – you can get one easily for your home connection but it’s very difficult to get a range to support VPN services in different countries. You definitely can’t just buy residential IPs to use like you can with standard commercial address ranges. The other worry is that when other media companies see the huge success that Netflix has had in blocking VPN access they are likely to follow suit.
Many platforms now distinguish between connections originating from these different IP ranges. Nearly all the large social media platforms for instance automatically detect these. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get blocked from a commercial range after all lots of people use these platforms from work or from commercial networks. What it does mean is that your account or connection will be flagged as originating from this sort of range. Many people who promote or manage numerous Instagram accounts have reported issues until they’ve started routing their accounts through private residential proxies.
Finding a VPN Network with Lots of residential IPs
There is some hope, Identity Cloaker have come up with a solution by integrating residential US IP addresses into their infrastructure. They are not used all the time, but merely when a connection is made to the Netflix site – it is automatically routed through a US residential VPN. You can see this working in this video rather confusingly called Using a Proxy for Netflix which shows how a UK viewer can access the US version of Netflix through a VPN without issues. They have limited numbers though, so this solution is not suitable for managing multiple accounts or high volume activities.
For access to US Netflix from anywhere try out the 10 day trial and see how well it works for all the world’s major media sites including US Netflix. Remember thought the majority of VPN connections are with commercial IP addresses, not residential ones.
If you want any volume of residential IP addresses for running SEO tools, Bots for buying from various sites and similar then you’ll need to go direct to the residential vpn providers. The problem is a single IP address is ok for watching a movie but pretty much useless for any sort of automated tool, in fact you’re going to need access to a significant amount to stop them being banned. The best providers have a variety of systems to make this accessible including rotating and backconnect proxies which effectively rotate the IP address automatically.
Here’s the best one by far, which you can test out for 48 hours without commitment