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ISP Proxies vs. Residential Proxies – Ultimate Guide

Enrika Pavlovskytė

2024-01-103 min read
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Simulating organic, human-like traffic can be a headache, but for some tasks, like account management or web automation, there’s no way to go without it. Both ISP and residential proxies can help, but you can’t just buy and deploy them blindly. You need to learn their strengths, understand their weaknesses, and get crafty when utilizing them.

What are ISP proxies?

ISP proxies are a particularly interesting type of proxy because, being a hybrid of both, they bridge together datacenter and residential proxies. Like the former, ISP proxies are artificially made and hosted on a server. This makes them fast, stable, and consistent. 

Moreover, ISP proxies are registered with internet service providers — companies like Spectrum, Xfinity or AT&T that provide access to the internet. Because of that, ISP IPs are perceived as residential and websites are less likely to block them.

What are residential proxies?

Residential proxies are intermediary servers often employed to protect user information when accessing a target site. While this is true with most proxies, residential servers have a nice perk. They will show an IP address of a real internet user who had consented to lend their IP addresses. Because of this, residential proxies are the most difficult type of proxy to detect.

Ethical residential proxies

Unfortunately, some residential proxy providers acquire IP addresses from unconsenting users or, in other words, without their explicit knowledge. This practice is highly unethical, and proxy buyers are advised to look into the origin of a proxy IP address. The best way to go is to use A+ proxies, where the IP owner consents and is compensated.

Are ISP proxies residential?

ISP proxies will only be residential in the eyes of the target website, as they’re likely to perceive both residential and ISP proxy traffic as organic. However, the consensus across the industry is that the two are entirely different. That’s because residential proxy IP addresses belong to real internet users and ISP proxy IP addresses are artificial (hosted in a data center). 

On the other hand, you may sometimes see ISP proxies listed as residential proxies (static residential proxies, to be precise). That’s to reflect the consumer preference: a proxy identified as residential by websites and also static. Actual residential IP addresses are extremely unstable, meaning they have rotating IP addresses, and it isn’t easy to make them static. ISP proxies is the best way to achieve a residential proxy's anonymity and a datacenter proxy's stability.

ISP proxies: Advantages and disadvantages

Like many other things, ISP proxies have numerous strengths and weaknesses some of which are:

Advantages

  • High speed and uptime: ISP proxies offer superb speed and uptime as they’re hosted on data centers and have higher bandwidth.

  • Less likely to get blocked: Associated with internet service providers, these proxies often appear as organic traffic to websites. As a result, the target website is less likely to block you.

  • Long sessions: Where residential proxies can be flaky, ISP proxies can maintain long sessions, making them an ideal choice for tasks requiring a stable connection.

Disadvantages

  • Low subnet diversity: IPs of ISP proxies are grouped in ranges (or subnets). One drawback is that if one IP in the subnet is blocked, others will likely meet the same fate.

Residential proxies: Advantages and disadvantages

Likewise, residential proxies can have both pros and cons:

Advantages

  • Very difficult to detect: Because these IPs come from real people’s devices, it’s very difficult for websites to identify them as proxies.

  • Large IP pools: IPs of residential proxies often sprawl across the globe, offering a wide array of location choices with precision targeting.

  • High IP diversity: It’s extremely rare for residential proxies to come in a subnet. So, if one IP address gets blocked, others will stay functional.

Disadvantages

  • Unpredictable speed and stability: People’s internet speed and stability vary. So, if you use a residential proxy, its performance can be affected accordingly. 

Use cases

It’s not uncommon for residential proxies and ISP proxies to be used for similar purposes. For example, both will be suitable for web scraping, but residential proxies will have an easier time bypassing sophisticated anti-bot systems, while ISP proxies will be handy for websites requiring a consistent IP.  

The same goes with other use cases; both proxy types will do the job, but you probably want to choose the one that will excel at it. With that in mind, people tend to choose ISP proxies for:

  • Account management

  • SEO monitoring

  • Enabling multi-login access at organizations

And residential proxies for:

ISP vs. residential proxy comparison

Residential Proxies ISP Proxies
Speed Medium High
Use cases Websites with extremely harsh anti-bot measures Websites that need a consistent IP address
Source Real user devices Data centers
Anonymity High Medium
Stability Low-Medium High

Wrapping up

We hope this article made the distinction between ISP proxies and residential proxies clearer, making it easier for you to choose one for your next project. 

If you'd like to learn more about different types of proxies, be sure to read our other posts like What is a Residential Proxy or SOCKS vs HTTP Proxy.

If you're interested in trying out a proxy solution, don't hesitate to contact us at hello@oxylabs.io.

About the author

Enrika Pavlovskytė

Copywriter

Enrika Pavlovskytė is a Copywriter at Oxylabs. With a background in digital heritage research, she became increasingly fascinated with innovative technologies and started transitioning into the tech world. On her days off, you might find her camping in the wilderness and, perhaps, trying to befriend a fox! Even so, she would never pass up a chance to binge-watch old horror movies on the couch.

All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.

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IN THIS ARTICLE:


  • What are ISP proxies?


  • What are residential proxies?


  • Are ISP proxies residential?


  • ISP proxies: Advantages and disadvantages


  • Residential proxies: Advantages and disadvantages


  • Use cases


  • ISP vs. residential proxy comparison


  • Wrapping up

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