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What are mobile proxies and how do they work

A mobile proxy acts as an intermediary server between the user and the target resource, operating on a mobile operator's SIM card. It receives the user's request, assigns it a new IP address, and then forwards it to the destination server. To the requested resource, it appears as though the user accessing the mobile proxy is connecting from a device with a 3G/4G/5G internet connection.

How do mobile proxies work

Mobile proxies use the dynamic IP addresses of mobile operators, allowing for more efficient use of mobile networks where IP addresses are limited. As a device moves between networks, it gets a new IP address from the available pool, while the previous IP is reassigned to another user.

The process of changing IP addresses is known as mobile proxy rotation. Users can configure this rotation either by time or on demand using a special link. This feature is particularly useful for tasks such as:

  • Automated Testing: Rotation enables successful multi-threaded testing of web services or applications;
  • SEO Optimization: Dynamically changing IP addresses allows for backlink placement, data parsing, and SERP testing without triggering blocks or CAPTCHAs;
  • Traffic Arbitrage: Rotation helps prevent blocks when posting ads, creating, and warming up accounts;
  • SMM Marketing: Proxies provide access to social networks that are blocked in certain regions and enable the management of multiple accounts.

Using static IPs for such activities would require a large pool of addresses and rotation configured in specialized software. Mobile proxies offer a more cost-effective and user-friendly solution. By purchasing just one IP, users gain access to a pool of mobile proxies with addresses that periodically rotate, thanks to the unique architecture of mobile networks.

Furthermore, link rotation increases the number of IP addresses available for tasks. For instance, setting up rotation every 5 minutes provides 12 IP addresses per hour. Using a link for rotation every 1 minute generates 60 IP addresses, enhancing the versatility of mobile proxies for various online activities.

Differences between mobile and other types of proxies

The distinctions between data center IPv4 and IPv6 proxies, ISP proxies, residential proxies, and mobile proxies lie in their operational principles, trust levels with web security systems, and cost. Let's examine each type in more detail to understand the differences.

Data center IPv4 and IPv6 Proxies

These IP addresses are hosted on servers located in data centers and are static, meaning the assigned IP address remains constant until manually changed by the user. IPv4 is widely supported by websites, whereas IPv6 has limited compatibility, functioning with specific resources like Facebook, YouTube, and Google. A critical aspect of data center proxies is their trust indicator. All IPs on the same server share the same geolocation, unassociated with genuine users, making them appear suspicious to web security systems. This increases the risk of blocks and CAPTCHAs when using IPv4 or IPv6 proxies.

ISP proxies

ISP proxies are provided by internet service providers and reside on their servers. They have a high trust indicator as they are initially designed for actual users of a specific provider and are registered in regional internet registry databases. Security systems perceive requests from these IPs as coming from genuine users, significantly reducing the likelihood of blocking. ISP proxies are static and offer faster and more stable data transmission than IPv4 or IPv6 proxies, resulting in higher costs.

Residential proxies

Residential proxies have IP addresses belonging to real users and are linked to specific geolocations, avoiding suspicion from web security systems. As the IP is owned by an actual user, the buyer can select a proxy from any globally network-accessible location. These proxies are dynamic and differ fundamentally from server or ISP proxies. The key feature of residential proxies is that upon purchase, users configure a list of IPs in the desired location and set a rotation interval. Payment for residential IPs is typically based on used traffic, unlike other proxy types where payment is per address.

Comparing mobile proxies with other types

To understand how mobile proxies differ from other types, let's examine a comparative table based on their main characteristics.

Characteristics IPv4/IPv6 ISP Residential Mobile
IP location Datacenter Provider servers Real user's PC

Mobile device

IP rotation No No Yes Yes
Trust level Medium Above average High High
Risk of blocking Above average Medium Excluded Excluded
Payment model Per piece/bundles Per piece/bundles By the amount of traffic Per piece/bundles
CAPTCHA triggering Medium Low Excluded Excluded
Support for HTTP/S, SOCKS5 protocols Yes Yes Yes Yes

From this comparison, it's evident that data center IPv4/IPv6 proxies are more prone to blocking and may end up on blacklists, a risk that is mitigated with mobile proxies. ISP proxies, while having a high trust indicator, are static and rely on the internet provider's network, distinguishing them from mobile proxies. Both residential and mobile proxies operate similarly, but residential proxies lack the ability to be changed via a link, unlike mobile proxies.

Advantages of using mobile proxies

The functionality of mobile proxies offers several benefits:

  • Resistant to Blocking: Since one IP address can be shared by multiple subscribers, blocking one user would mean losing other potential visitors to web resources;
  • Unlimited Traffic Option: Some mobile proxies offer unlimited traffic, allowing unrestricted use for the duration of the subscription;
  • Automatic IP Rotation: IP addresses from the pool change automatically, eliminating the need for manual setup or switching between proxies;
  • Ideal for Account Creation: Mobile proxies are suitable for securely creating multiple accounts, helping to bypass restrictions on the number of accounts per IP address;
  • Link-Based Rotation: This feature meets the user's needs, regardless of the number of IP addresses required.

Furthermore, mobile proxies can be more cost-effective than data center IPv4 or ISP proxies when a large number of IP addresses are needed. For instance, acquiring 100 different Australian IP addresses might cost $121 with data center proxies, making each proxy $1.21. In contrast, purchasing one Australian mobile proxy for $90 could provide access to 100 IP addresses from the pool, reducing the cost per IP to $0.9.

Disadvantages of mobile proxies

While mobile proxies offer several benefits, their specific operational characteristics limit their suitability for certain tasks. The main drawbacks include:

  • Lower Speed: Mobile proxies typically offer speeds up to 30 MB/s, which is slower than other types of proxies;
  • Dependence on Mobile Operator: The performance of mobile proxies is tied to the reliability of the mobile operator. Any issues on the operator's side can impact the quality of the proxy service;
  • Lack of Static IP Addresses: Mobile proxies do not offer static IP addresses, which are necessary for certain applications.

As a result, mobile proxies are not ideal for tasks that require a static IP address, such as remote access or web server hosting. Additionally, for users who only need a few IP addresses for simpler purposes, ISP or IPv4/IPv6 proxies may be more cost-effective.

In conclusion, if your needs include frequent automatic IP address changes, high traffic consumption, or sending numerous requests to the end server, mobile proxies are recommended. Beyond their ability to bypass regional restrictions and conceal real user data, they provide unparalleled protection against blocking and enable timely IP address changes. This makes them a superior choice over other proxy types when a large number of IP addresses are required.