Why Are There No Cheap Residential Proxies?

Residential proxies are IP addresses associated with real people and real devices. As compared to datacenter proxies, residential proxies look more legitimate and are less likely to be banned from websites. If you are in the business of data scraping, then you probably already know all of this and understand the benefits of using a residential proxy over a data center proxy.

You have probably also discovered – to your utter dismay – that residential proxies are far more expensive than datacenter proxies. Today, we discuss why this is the case, let you know why a high-quality residential IP address is worth the expense and why you should avoid cheap residential proxies. Feel free to scroll through the table of contents above if there some specific piece of information that you are looking for.

Why is it so Difficult to Find a Cheap Residential Proxy?

Why is it so Difficult to Find a Cheap Residential Proxy?

The answer to this question lies in the very nature of residential proxies. These kinds of proxy IP addresses come from Internet Service Providers – like AT&T and Verizon – and are designated to physical residences. They are associated with devices that are used in people’s homes. If you are reading this blog post from a laptop connected to your home Wi-Fi, then you are probably using a residential IP address.

So, residential proxy IP addresses belong to real people. For this simple reason, they are more difficult to get a hold of. For proxy providers to ethically obtain residential proxies that they can sell to you, they have to sign contracts with the owners of these addresses. Usually, these companies compensate the IP owners for giving them access to their IP addresses. This makes residential proxies expensive to obtain ethically. Keep the qualifier used here – “ethically”- in mind. We’ll come back to it later.

Datacenter IP addresses, on the other hand, are more common and cheaper to buy because companies do not need to bargain with real people to get them. These IP addresses are produced and managed by data centers, hence the name “data center proxy”. They are not tied to physical residences or associated with ISPs.

Residential proxies are also more expensive because of their inherent value. As compared to datacenter proxies, they have a much wider variety of applications, are more secure, and can guarantee higher rates of success during processes such as web scraping.

Is it Possible to Find a Free Residential Proxy?

Is it Possible to Find a Free Residential Proxy?

The straightforward answer to this question is yes. As compared to other types of proxies, it’s a bit difficult to find free or cheap residential proxies but it is absolutely possible.

People offer free access to residential proxy IPs for various reasons. For some, it’s just a hobby. Others run free residential proxies in pursuit of an ideal e.g. the belief that every person should have unrestricted access to the internet.

Most people give out residential IP proxy addresses free as a tactic to gain revenue. They offer free and paid versions. But the free version might come with a lot of restrictions and ads. Eventually, some users that like the service – and want to get rid of the annoying ads and restrictions – will become paying customers.

There are also people that offer free residential proxy IPs for criminal activities. They make it seem like they are simply offering you a service that allows you to improve your anonymity and online security. But, with their motives, the opposite happens.  The proxies provide them with a means of performing malicious acts such as stealing passwords and introducing malware into the devices of unsuspecting victims.

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Trust Free or Cheap Residential Proxies

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Trust Free or Cheap Residential Proxies

In general, free proxy services are not advisable. But, you should be especially wary of free residential proxies. Here are 5 reasons why:

1.    Unethical sourcing

Considering how expensive it is to ethically source residential proxy IP addresses, it goes without saying that quite a lot of free residential proxies are unethically sourced.

Most of the time, the owners of such IP addresses are not aware that their IP addresses are being used as proxies. Sometimes, without knowing, owners sign over their rights to the IP address by signing some long unrelated document. In other instances, bad actors gain access to residential IP addresses via malware. Ironically, some free proxy providers get residential IP addresses by hijacking the IP addresses of their users without letting them know.

While the issue of unethical sourcing is not limited to only free service providers, it is more common with them. And if you decide to use a free proxy IP address, it is important to keep in mind you are likely affiliating yourself with ethically biased individuals and organizations.

2.    Security threats

As mentioned above, some people provide free residential IP addresses with the intention of performing cybercrime. The access you grant them by using their services can be used to access and even alter your private data.

An analysis of 25, 443 free proxy servers revealed that up to 9% modified the JavaScript and as much as 8% modified the HTML of traffic that went through them. While this was possibly for harmless reasons e.g. inserting ads, it could also have been for malicious reasons.

Even in cases where the providers have good intentions, they usually don’t invest in security and essentially let the proxies run on a trust system with the hope that no one will attempt to hack and steal data. But, of course, bad actors are always happy to exploit such vulnerabilities and they sometimes join free proxy services to get access to and hack the IP addresses of their users.

3.    Slower speeds with a cheap residential proxy

One of the drawbacks of residential proxies as compared to datacenter proxies is the fact that they are typically slower. Most paid providers find ways to offset this flaw to improve their users’ experiences. A free provider is unlikely to go the extra mile to make such improvements. And worse, free services tend to be used by many people at the same time – simply because they are free. As such, the activities of other people using the same residential proxy IP address might slow down network speeds.

4.    Potential bans

Since free proxies are publicly available and tend to be used by many people, there is a high likelihood that someone who used the address in the past has gotten it banned from websites you want to access. Or, you might start successfully using the IP address and then someone else will do something suspicious with it and get it banned from a particular website.

Finding replacements for free residential IPs is hard. As compared to datacenter proxies, residential proxies are fairly uncommon. And, as mentioned above, free ones are hard to come by.

5.    Annoying Ads

Assuming that a free provider observes ethics, they will need funds to source for residential IPs. On top of that, proxy servers require lots of bandwidth – and bandwidth doesn’t come cheap. As such, the large majority of free proxies depend on advertising for funds.

Sometimes, ads are inserted into a page and might seem like they have been vetted by the site. But, quite often, they are not. Apart from the fact that they can simply be annoying, some ads might add malicious JavaScript to a trusted page and pose a security threat.

Where Can You Find the Cheapest Residential Proxies That Are Ethically Sourced?

Where Can You Find the Cheapest Residential Proxies That Are Ethically Sourced?

At Rayobyte, we offer the most competitive prices for our proxy IP addresses. In addition to this, we offer unlimited bandwidth so that you never have to worry about hidden costs and extra fees. If your IP address ever gets blocked or stops working, you can look forward to automatic replacements – at no extra cost! And, with our bulk pricing options, you can buy more and spend less.

Try out our residential proxies for prices as low as $2/GB/month. Aside from the relatively low prices we offer for high quality, here are a few other reasons you should work with Rayobyte:

High ethical standards

All of our residential proxies are gotten from individuals who are well-oriented to what giving us access to their IP address entails. They are told exactly what they’re getting into when they sign a contract with us and they have the liberty to control who uses their connection and for what reasons. In a bid to adhere to the highest ethical standards, we strictly vet all users of our residential proxies to ensure that put our proxies to ethical use.


We strongly frown upon malicious activity and place limits on use cases to protect our users. So, when you work with us, you can be sure that you are fully secured while using our residential proxies.


We offer a wide variety of proxies and protocols. Whether you are looking for the versatility offered by a cheap SOCKS5 rotating residential proxy or simply looking to improve your company’s security with a static residential proxy, we’ve got you covered!

Residential Proxies are Worth The Expense

Residential Proxies are Worth The Expense

Obtaining residential IP addresses is not easy and, consequently, finding cheap residential proxies is difficult. But when it comes to the process of data scraping, residential proxies are a game-changer. If your company depends on constantly scraping tons of data, residential proxies are a worthy investment that will benefit you both in the short and long term. And, with the right provider, you can enjoy all the benefits residential proxies offer at an affordable price.

The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.

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