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What is a Rotating IP Address?

Lukas Motiejunas



In the inevitable digital era, it is quite likely that you came across the term “rotating IPs.” However, when it comes to explaining what IP address rotation is and the cause it serves, it might become a challenge. To fully understand the purpose of this practice, let’s see what IP rotating is and what it is used for.

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What is IP address rotation?

First, let’s visit the basics: What is an IP address?
IP address identifies every device connected to the internet, just like our physical addresses identifies where the letters, parcels and other goods should be delivered. There are two types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.

IP rotation is a process where assigned IP addresses are distributed to a device at random or at scheduled intervals.

For example, when a connection is active via an Internet Service Provider (ISP), an IP address is automatically attached from a pool of IPs. As soon as a disconnection and reconnection occur, the ISP will distribute the next available IP address.

ISP rotate IP address because they usually have more users than IP addresses at their disposal. Hence, when a particular user disconnects, the ISP will bring back the user’s most recently used IP address to their pool of IP addresses, thus ensuring the optimization of existing resources.

What is a proxy rotation?

ISPs rotate IP addresses, and this process is transparent to their users. However, out there in the online world, there are plenty of cases when internet users intentionally rotate their IP address. In fact, not even an IP address, but they rotate proxies, which allows them to operate under multiple different IP addresses. 

If the proxy server is accurately configured, rotating IP addresses from a proxy pool of IP addresses is possible. With rotating proxies, you can manage numerous connections from a single device, and carrying out web crawling and data scraping operations becomes a much easier task.

There are different methods used to rotate IP addresses. In some cases it has to be done manually, as is the case with Chrome proxies (learn how to use proxy in Chrome). But here at Oxylabs, we offer a Proxy Rotator that does all the work for you. How does it work? A client gets one entry node (with the necessary amount of static proxies inside) which is used as a static address in order to get a proxy from the list. The rest is pure magic on our side! The rotator works by random IPs method, meaning it rotates an IP on each request.

What is a rotating proxy?

Rotating proxies is a process of assigning a new proxy with every request sent to the target. A rotating proxy itself is an IP address that is changed with another IP address when required.

Why rotate proxies?

First and foremost, proxy rotation enhances the level of anonymity. Secondly, as already mentioned, it is a widely used practice to automate such tasks as data scraping and web crawling in order to increase success rates.

When it comes to web scraping operations, a common challenge faced by many is avoiding getting blocked by websites while trying to gather the data.

Several techniques can aid the prevention of blocks, and one of them is proxy rotation. It can help to operate scrapers past most of the anti-scraping measures as it allows to imitate the behavior of multiple organic users. Hence, strengthening the chance of being undetected while gathering vast amounts of data.

There are countless cases out there when proxy rotation is being used. Here are some examples:

  • SEO firms use proxies that automatically rotate to check keyword rankings from various locations or to promote specific content on social media accounts. I.e. with Brazil proxy or Germany proxy you can check keyword rankings in that country.

  • Data intelligence companies rotate proxies automatically to scrape websites for analytics and performance purposes. 

Methods used to rotate IP addresses

Internet Service Providers rotate IP addresses using a number of different methods:

  • Pre-configured IP rotation. This refers to a technique where the rotation is pre-configured to occur at specified intervals. Once the time specified elapses, the user is assigned a new IP address.

  • Specific IP rotation. The user can choose which IP address to use for an outgoing connection.

  • Random IP rotation. This method assigns a randomly rotating address to each new outgoing connection. The user has no control over which address gets assigned. 

  • Burst IP rotation. The ISP assigns new IP addresses after a specified number of connections. For example, if the specified number is 10, a new IP address will be given to the eleventh connection after every 10 connections are initiated.

On an individual level, proxy rotation can be carried out manually. For instance, a user can manually configure the proxy settings in Chrome. Proxy managers such as FoxyProxy can be of great help to set up and easily change proxies.

You can also execute proxy rotation programmatically using tools such as the Python Requests library. However, not everyone may have the required technical skills to get the code running properly.

Alternatively, an internet user can use an automated proxy rotating tool such as our Proxy Rotator. This tool will automatically rotate the proxy IP address using the random IP rotation method.

Using a dedicated proxy rotating service makes it easy to get past blocks when carrying out web scraping. It also reduces the risk of incorrectly configuring the IP rotation process, which could result in the overuse of some proxies and lead to bans. 

With our Datacenter Proxies, a proxy rotator can aid in this procedure. If you are looking for a way to change your IP address continuously, our proxy rotator is a perfect solution. Our residential proxies do not need a proxy rotator and are self-rotating. 

However, if you are proxies by other providers you may need a tech person on your team. This person would have to correctly configure the proxy server, automate IP rotation and monitor the procedure.


Now you know what benefits a combination of proxies and IP rotation provide, and the purpose it serves. If you are indeed carrying out data scraping and web crawling tasks, we highly recommend implementing a high-quality proxy rotation solution to increase your success rates and protect your proxy pool infrastructure.

People also ask

Why is it essential to rotate proxies?

Websites employ various anti-scraping measures to block bot-like activity. Rotating proxies are essential to imitate organic user behavior in order to operate undetected on websites.

What are the most common mistakes with proxies and IP rotation?

The most common mistake comes from incorrectly configuring the process itself, and consequently overusing particular proxies, leading to bans due to bot-like activity.

Does a rotating proxy provide higher success rates when it comes to web scraping?

Yes. With correct proxy rotation, you can bypass restrictions and implement your web scraping project ideas without issues.

Is IP rotation legal?

Rotating proxies can provide an extra level of security and anonymity as the requests you send to servers are initiated from various IP addresses, often from unrelated geo-locations. Proxies may be legal when they are used without breaching any laws. However, you should get professional legal advice regarding your specific case.

About the author

Lukas Motiejunas

Lead Account Manager

Lukas Motiejunas is a Lead Account Manager at Oxylabs, and he places a strong personal interest in the market research field. Mainly, in the merge of business sector and digital tools utilization to distinguish the most effective practices to carry out automated market research operations. So if you have any questions relating to market research, he’s your guy to answer them. Lukas believes that he has a hidden talent to be a great chef, although rumor has it, he uses the smoke alarm as a timer.

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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  • What is IP address rotation?

  • What is a proxy rotation?

  • Why rotate proxies?

  • Methods used to rotate IP addresses

  • Conclusion

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