Shared proxy means that the proxy service provider is offering your IPs that are not exclusive to you, and other users of the same provider may have used the IP just before you got it.
The benefit of shared proxies is that they cost less than exclusive ones (also called private proxies or dedicated IPs) , and if they are used properly they can be very valuable.
Shared Proxy Types
Getting familiar with your options will help you choose the right one for you and by that saving money and maximizing the chance to get successful responses, whether you browse the web manually or send the requests automatically via code / api / crawler / bot / proxy manager / etc.
In the category of shared IPs you can find 2 main categories, with some sub-categories in each.
Data Center Shared IPs
Data centers are servers owned by a company that holds large amounts of serial IPs, and by serial I mean that they have ‘blocks’ of IPs with consecutive numbers, such as 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 -> 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11 and so on.
They are relatively easily detectable as proxy IPs rather than real users, so you may miss the point of having a proxy. The first main reason it happens is that some data-centers are listed and tracing the source of the IPs give them away. Another reason is that requests from IPs with similar subnet (net.net.subnet.node) are typical for data-centers and extremely unlikely to happen with real visitors.
They are usually inexpensive and they are stable, meaning that you can hold a long session without losing your IP.
Residential Shared IPs
Different proxy providers get their residential IPs in different ways, some legit and some not-that-legit.
They are relatively expensive and they’re less stable than data-center IPs, since the person who’s IP is being used may decide to turn off his device or so on.
They are the IPs of real end-user devices, which means that being used correctly they can give you several benefits:
- View data on the web via proxy like a real user – it’s a big deal because with data-center you can be getting inaccurate data without even knowing it.
- View the web from very specific geolocations – while data-centers’ geolocations are quite limited, some of the proxy providers offer in every country in the world.
- Some web destinations (especially social networks) put much effort to block requests from IPs that they recognize as not being operated by a human that acts like a “legit” user of their service. Residential IPs critically improve the chance that your requests will be successful for those websites.
How to get results and save money with shared IPs
If we sort the types of IPs by price, it would usually look like this:
- Data-center, shared IPs => Lowest price
- Data-center, exclusive IPs
- Residential, shared IPs
- Residential, exclusive IPs per domain => Most expensive (only a few providers offer this)
The key to using them correctly is to keep in mind that cheap doesn’t mean “bad”, and expensive doesn’t mean “good”. And finally we get to the bottom line of this article…
Know what IPs you need according to these two factors:
- Your operation (use case)
- Your destination (website)
So here’s an example of how to choose the IP type based on these factors – If you create online accounts on a global site, then you need to keep long sessions (data-center better for that) and you don’t care about geo location. So what you probably need is the cheapest shared data-center proxy. Good for you!
If for example you create accounts on a popular social network so there’s no chance you’ll be allowed to do so with data-center IPs, and you’ll have to use residential IPs.