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What are residential VPNs and residential IPs?

Would you share your IP address with someone you don’t know? While most VPNs use their network of servers to provide new IPs, residential VPNs work differently. They don’t provide anything new. Instead, they invite users like you to share a piece of your traffic and your IP address with others. Still not clear? Don’t worry — we’ll explain!

What are residential VPNs and residential IPs?

What is a residential IP address?

A residential IP is a type of IP address assigned to internet users by their internet service provider to be used in a residential area. For example, if you check out NordVPN’s IP tool, it would give you your residential IP.

What is a residential VPN and how does it work?

A residential VPN is a virtual private network service routing the user’s internet traffic through residential IP addresses that are different from the user’s true IP address. In other words, it’s a network where people agree to share the IP address given by the internet service (ISP) provider and assigned to the user’s location. This allows residential VPN users to connect to the internet using real IP addresses around the world and unblock websites as well as access video content bound to a certain location.

Residential VPNs are regarded as extremely safe because they don’t use data centers, which can be breached. However, despite residential VPNs working as peer-to-peer networks, they are still run by for-profit companies that have their own terms of service. So you still have to trust them to keep your IP address and all your internet traffic safe.

Differences between residential proxies and VPNs

You may already know some things about VPN services such as NordVPN. A VPN protects your privacy by rerouting your traffic through a server you choose and can change at any time. While NordVPN keeps no logs about your digital activities, other VPNs may decide to keep your information — and that data can later be sold or stolen. What about residential proxies (or residential VPNs)?

Like we already mentioned, the difference is in the source of the IP. Residential proxies don’t use data centers and thousands of servers. Instead, they ask internet service providers (ISPs) and people themselves to share their existing IPs.

Also, residential VPNs are much harder to block. Since they use IPs that people own and agree to share, residential IP addresses are less likely to be blocklisted. But while these services often emphasize anonymity as a benefit, residential VPN services are not much different from traditional VPNs in that regard. Privacy tools may provide a high level of anonymity, but due to various means of advanced tracking across the internet, neither a residential proxy nor a traditional VPN service can provide 100% anonymity.

VPNs and residential proxies share some similarities. Both can offer fast connection, unlimited bandwidth, and privacy. That’s why the majority of the differences between these VPN types will be brand related, such as how much the service costs, how fast your connection will be, and how many devices you can connect to. Traditional VPNs may also offer advanced features and protection against threats.

Differences between residential and datacenter VPNs

Since we’ve covered residential VPNs, let’s take a second to understand what datacenter VPNs are and what they do. Datacenter VPNs are just like traditional VPNs and rely on servers located around the world or in the cloud. But datacenter VPNs are slightly more business orientated.

So, just like traditional VPNs, the source of the IP is the main difference between residential VPNs and datacenter VPNs. Other differences include price and security. Datacenter VPNs may be cheaper than residential VPNs because you can buy them in bulk and still control all aspects of security. On the other hand, residential IPs are shared between the users, so these VPN services have limited control over what the users can do with someone else’s IP.

Does NordVPN offer residential IPs?

No, NordVPN doesn’t offer a residential IP. However, you can get a dedicated IP, an IP address assigned to only you that provides you with the same benefits as a residential IP. Currently, we offer dedicated IPs in the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Australia, Sweden, and Italy.

If you’re looking for a free alternative to a residential IP, you can also try Meshnet. It’s a personal virtual network you can create out of 10 internal and up to 50 external devices. Moreover, it can act as a VPN service because you can reroute traffic through any linked device.

Is a residential VPN legal?

Yes, residential VPNs are legal, but just like with other VPN services, it’s what you do online that matters. If you sign up to use a residential VPN, you have to agree to join the network —- share your IP and some of your traffic. But if people used your residential IP for illegal activities, your ISP would be able to see that and, likely, hold you accountable.

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