What are Datacenter Proxies? Explained
Updated on
June 7, 2024
Proxy 101

What are Datacenter Proxies? Explained

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Datacenter proxies are intermediaries between a client and a server. These proxy servers assign users with IP addresses not affiliated with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and come from third-party cloud service providers. The biggest advantage of datacenter proxies – they allow for complete anonymity while accessing the web.

Read on to find out more useful information on datacenter proxies.

How do datacenter proxies work?

As already mentioned, a datacenter proxy works as an intermediate, forwarding your requests to websites and gathering the required data on your behalf. Alternatively, a proxy may already have the needed data stored in a cache, eliminating the necessity of communicating with the target website.

How datacenter proxies work?

Forward vs. reverse proxy

Datacenter proxies can also be differentiated by the way they are used. For instance, a forward proxy allows users to access pages without revealing their identity. It also allows users to send a high volume of client requests to the target server. In contrast, a reverse proxy server handles requests from clients to the server. Reverse proxies can be used as protection for websites by hiding important or sensitive information from those trying to access them. It may also be used for load balancing and it’s commonly used in content delivery networks for efficient content caching and serving.

Datacenter proxies are used more often as forward proxies since most datacenter proxy users are looking for a high volume of datacenter proxies to imitate client behavior in order to send client requests. Also, these proxies do not specialize in handling large amounts of bandwidth, typically their specialty is in high IP range, IP rotation and integration to tools used for web scraping or price monitoring.

What is a datacenter IP address?

A datacenter IP address is an IP address assigned to a server located in a datacenter, typically owned by hosting and cloud companies. These IP addresses are typically used to handle large amounts of internet traffic, offer stability, and access to target websites without restrictions.

How are datacenter proxy servers created?

The process of creating datacenter proxy servers involves configuring software and hardware. First, a high-performance data center with a set of servers is established. Secondly, these servers are interconnected through a sophisticated network infrastructure. This way, they can communicate with one another and exchange data efficiently. Afterwards, a specific proxy server software is installed and configured on these servers. This allows them to mediate between client devices and target websites or online services. Lastly, final touches are made: adjusting for load balancing and ensuring optimal distribution of traffic across the server cluster.

What companies create datacenter proxies?

Datacenter proxies come from secondary corporations, such as datacenter, hosting and cloud hosting services. These companies set up and manage a network of servers to offer high-quality proxy solutions for specific purposes. These companies also can offer services such as data management, data storage, networking solutions and hosting.

What are datacenter proxies used for?

Some of the most popular use cases for datacenter proxies include the following:

What are datacenter proxies used for?

Scraping public website data

Datacenter proxies are most commonly used in web scraping, which is a process of extracting public data from websites. Proxy servers are used in web scraping tools in order to assist in avoiding IP blocks, enhancing anonymity, accessing location-specific content, and ensuring higher public data collection speed.

Some of the most popular web scraping frameworks include Beautiful Soup, Selenium, Scrapy, Puppeteer and Octoparse. Such frameworks, combined with datacenter proxies, help perform public data gathering at scale efficiently.

SEO monitoring

Datacenter proxies are also very commonly used for SEO monitoring tasks, including bypassing various obstacles (IP blocks, CAPTCHAs, rate limiting) implemented by search engines to prevent scraping.

Some prominent SEO monitoring use cases in which datacenter proxies can be of great use include competitor analysis, rank tracking, keyword research, technical SEO analysis, geo-restricted content analysis and many more.

Price monitoring

As the name suggests, price monitoring is the process of tracking the prices of products or services to get insights into competitors and their strategies at scale, as well as understanding the market overall. E-commerce, hospitality, travel, and other businesses perform price monitoring with the help of datacenter proxies. By successfully bypassing IP address blocks and CAPTCHAs, datacenter proxies help gather accurate public web data and, eventually, make well-informed pricing decisions, perform pricing and revenue optimization, as well as reprice products and services based on trends or market demands.

Accessing geo-restricted content 

Geo-restricted content refers to information limited to a specific geographic location based on certain regulations, legal agreements, and other reasons. Datacenter proxies are very useful in such instances as they successfully bypass geo-restrictions and grant access to the needed data from anywhere in the world. Datacenter proxies have the capacity to bypass geo-restrictions since the proxy controlling user can select the country to connect to. Then, using scraping tools or browser proxies, user may connect to the selected country in order to scrape or browser local content. Webshare offers more than 40 locations to connect to, giving you access to unlock the majority of content worldwide.

App testing and deployment

Datacenter proxies also help with app deployment, which is the process of making an application available on a specific platform, such as a mobile device. Proxies come in handy at a stage when the app has to interact with external resources, ensuring that this specific application has good performance and is compatible across various locations and network conditions.

During app testing, proxies can be used to test localized applications and their functionality. This may include testing localized content restrictions, automated content serving based on location and other location-sensitive functions. Proxies can also be used for parallel testing, meaning that each client during the test can have its own IP address instead of a single shared one.

Purchasing limited products

One of the most popular use cases of datacenter proxies is the purchase of limited supply products. Due to restricted availability and high demand, some products, such as luxury fashion items, sneakers, art pieces, vintage products, or concert tickets, can be tough to purchase. So, datacenter proxies help by allowing users to bypass store enforced limitations such as purchase cart size limits or the amount of purchases allowed for one user. Datacenter proxies can be used to automate these tasks at scale when time is extremely limited due to product demand and many purchase requests have to be sent during a short period of time. Those limitations are achieved technically by IP blocks, rate limiting, geo-restrictions, and other networking technology. 

Social media account management

Datacenter proxies can also be of great use in social media account management. They add an extra level of security which eventually protects your identity and hides your actual IP address. Additionally, proxies help bypass IP blocks, provide geo-targeting capabilities, and even allow the tracking of competitors’ social media accounts anonymously. Datacenter proxies can also be used for social media automation using tools and libraries such as Selenium or Puppeteer respectively.

What are the types of datacenter proxies?

As it was already mentioned above, there’s a great deal of confusion regarding the different types of datacenter as the user’s choice of proxy primarily depends on their needs and use cases. However, the most common differentiators of datacenter proxies are the following:

Rotating or static IP address

While a static proxy allows access to the website from one specific IP address, a rotating proxy gives users access to an entire pool of different IP addresses. This way, you can change your IP address with every new request or after a specific period of time. Though more expensive, buying rotating proxies is a safer choice for large-scale web scraping as they decrease the likelihood of being detected and blocked by the target website.

Dedicated or shared IP address

Dedicated datacenter proxies are available exclusively to one user, while shared datacenter proxies can be used by many at the same time. Dedicated IPs are fast and much more secure than shared ones; thus, it may seem like the choice here is obvious. However, shared IPs have a huge advantage – cost-efficiency, which means they are more suitable for businesses, individuals on a budget and when a large IP pool is needed for network operations.

SOCKS5 or HTTP/HTTPS protocols 

SOCKS5 and HTTP/HTTPS are internet protocols, and datacenter proxies assigned to these protocols are specifically used for SOCKS5 or HTTP/HTTPS connections, respectively. As with all other types of proxies, the decision of which to use will depend on the use case. While SOCKS5 are excellent for downloading and transferring data in large amounts, HTTP/HTTPS proxies offer secure web browsing.

How to get datacenter proxies?

There are a number of datacenter proxy providers, so to make the right choice, it would be wise to do some research. Once you’ve selected the provider, choose an appropriate plan for your needs. After a successful payment, you’ll most often get access to your proxy service dashboard. Using the dashboard and information provided there you will be ready to begin your journey whatever it may be - scraping, app testing or social media management.

How to use datacenter proxies?

After the purchasing step is completed, you’ll receive necessary information to make your first request (for example, authentication credentials and links to documentation). Following the given information, configure your proxies and begin your web scraping. 

How to configure datacenter proxies?

The configuration of proxies is performed by inputting the IP, port and credentials (username and password) provided by your proxy provider into the tool of your choice. Then, it’s best to double-check if your configuration was successful by visiting an IP-checking website. For detailed configuration guides, please refer to Proxy Configuration in our Help section.

How to know if you should use datacenter proxies? 

When choosing whether to use datacenter or residential proxies (learn more here on what is a residential proxy), the most important question is whether IP address origin matters to you. A few other aspects you should consider include your budget constraints and operation scope. Below you can find more detailed explanations of the mentioned aspects.

Evaluate if the IP address source is important 

Understanding whether an IP address source is residential or a datacenter can play a huge role in defining the outcome of your scraping tasks. IP addresses coming from datacenters are usually suitable when your priority is high speed and IP address shielding. However, when security is more of a concern, and the risk of blocking has to be decreased, it’s better to opt for an IP address attached to real, physical devices.

Calculate your budget

If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution, datacenter proxies are definitely your go-to choice. While being cheaper than residential proxy servers, datacenter IPs are not inferior to them in quality, performance, and speed if purchased from a trustworthy provider. 

Determine your project scope and goals

How long is your web scraping project going to last? Do you plan to perform small-scale or large-scale operations? How complex is your project? Does it require you to access public web data from a variety of geographical locations? These are just a few of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on a proxy type. 

Remember that while datacenter proxies are suitable for both small and large-scale web scraping projects and are great for long-term initiatives due to their affordable price, residential proxy servers are a safer choice to imitate organic user behavior and bypass IP blocks, as well as other website restrictions.

What are the alternatives to datacenter proxies?

The most common alternative to purchasing datacenter proxies is buying residential proxies. These proxy servers use real IP addresses from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), making them much harder to detect as they’re attached to real, physical devices. This advantage makes them a more suitable choice for web scraping websites that have advanced network security. Also, residential proxies are better used for the collection of identity-sensitive public information. Some common use cases of residential proxies include review monitoring, travel fare aggregation, ad verification, anti-phishing, etc.

How should you select your datacenter proxy provider?

After selecting the type of proxy you need, it’s time to choose the provider. Do proper research and purchase proxies only from legitimate and trustworthy proxy providers like Webshare. Learn more about a variety of our features, such as dedicated, SOCKS5, rotating, and private proxies, to find the best option for your specific needs.

Webshare lets you start off with 10 free datacenter proxies without needing to enter your credit card details! Use this offer to get a better idea of whether these proxies will work for your case. We also provide extensive API documentation to ensure your setup process goes smoothly.

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