Residential VPN 101

9 min

Residential VPNs are all the rage these days. We’ve said that before, but the statement seems fitting as an introduction to this article. From helping users bypass geofences to protecting their privacy online, residential VPNs have been proving their mettle for quite some time now. Today, residential IPs get high demand from across the board of users, including corporates.

But if you have been out of the loop, don’t worry. This primer on residential VPNs will give you a complete picture of the technology. The what, the how, the why – everything that will help you understand what’s the fuss about residential VPNs and how you can utilize them to your advantage.

This complete guide on residential VPNs will answer all your burning questions about this latest type of virtual private network. That includes how it works, why it is better, how it unblocks sites, and why it’s so popular these days.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a Residential VPN?

residential VPN is software that makes you anonymous online by cloaking your IP address with a residential IP that has originated from a real ISP. In comparison, traditional VPNs route your traffic through server or data center IPs. These are both less effective in cloaking your web location and more prone to VPN blocking.

residential VPN does a better job at hiding your IP address and making you appear like a real user for the websites that you visit. This effect is largely missing in traditional VPNs as server IPs are easier to make out as proxies or artificial IPs. Websites today are more clever in identifying who visits them and where they are coming from.

Several companies, including TuxlerVPN, offer residential VPN as a service. Both free and paid VPNs are available, with the latter offering unlimited bandwidth, better speed, and more locations. Tuxler is available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Windows, and Mac.

How Does a Residential VPN Work?

Before we understand how a residential VPN works, let’s first refresh our memory on how VPNs generally work

When you connect to a virtual private network, it routes or moves all your traffic via a distant server. For example, you may be surfing the web from Colorado, United States, but the VPN server may be located in Taiwan.

The VPN software first moves your traffic to this server located in Taiwan and then to the destination (website), wherever it is located. As a result, your destination assumes that it received the ping from a Taiwan IP address and not your internet connection location, i.e., your home. Thereby effectively hiding your IP address.

Some VPNs also encrypt your web traffic. This makes it difficult for anyone tracking you to access and survey your traffic and its content. In other words, with encryption, no one can tell what websites you visit or what files you download. This is why you should always get a VPN that offers both IP cloaking and encryption. That is the bare minimum.

Coming back to residential VPNs, the major difference lies in the type of IP address that is assigned to you during the routing process. Remember the server in Taiwan? Well, in a residential VPN, the IP address that replaces your own is a residential IP. This can be from any available location that you choose.

Therefore, although the IP address changes here, your destination (website) continues to believe that the ping came from a real user and not from a server as in the case of traditional VPNs.

What Are Residential IPs?

Residential IPs are IP addresses that originate from a real internet service provider (ISP). Their main trait is that they are attached to a physical residential address. In other words, the IP address of your house’s main broadband is considered to be a residential IP.

Residential VPNs have a network of residential IPs from which IPs are usually auto-assigned to users. One common method is an IP pool where residential IP addresses are exchanged between users.

For example, when a user signs up for a free residential VPN, they agree to pledge their IP address in return for another. This pledge adds their residential IP to a pool that is filled by similar pledges by other users. A residential VPN provider then oversees this exchange so that users can route their traffic through distant IP addresses to browse the web anonymously or unblock a streaming site.

There are other ways that VPN companies acquire 100% and true residential IPs. However, getting such IPs is not an easy task.

Can You Buy Residential IPs?

No, you cannot get residential IPs as an over-the-counter retail purchase other than the IP that is assigned to you when you purchase an internet connection. This is because IP addresses are heavily regulated in the telecom industry. Not to mention, they are in scarce supply. ISPs cannot simply dole out IP addresses to customers as otherwise, they’ll need to register each sale and its rationale.

This is another reason why residential VPNs have gained popularity over the years. The only way to get residential IPs is via a VPN provider.

However, if you have the means and a valid reason why you need such domestic IPs for personal or corporate use, you could still go behind them. We have discussed this briefly in our article about buying residential IPs.

How Do Residential IPs Bypass Geofence?

In networking, residential IPs are considered high-quality IP addresses. This is because they are attached to a physical residential address and are provided by real ISPs. These two qualities separate them from server IPs and proxies, which are generally considered shady.

It is assumed that web activity from a residential IP is devoid of fraudulence and spam, making it look more believable in the eyes of websites. 

Therefore, when you go anonymous through a residential VPN, your traffic enjoys a free pass on the world wide web. Websites do not block or scrutinize you because you’re pinging from a residential IP. The same is true if you don’t use a VPN. The reason why you can freely visit all websites from your home internet connection also has to do with this same reason. However, this may not be the case for all countries.

These characteristics of a residential IP are what help it easily bypass a geofence. Here’s an example:

Assume you are surfing the web from London and you want to access a Japanese website. Unfortunately, the website is only accessible to netizens within Japan. This means anyone visiting the website from outside Japan cannot access it. This is the case with almost all geo-blocked sites in the world.

What can you do? Simple – use a VPN to route your traffic through a Japanese IP address. 

When you use a Japanese residential IP address, say using TuxlerVPN, the website in question regards you as a user from Japan and not from London. Your web request (to access the website) is tunneled through the Japanese residential IP address before it is passed to the website. The website detects the Japanese residential IP address as 100% real, thereby not blocking you.

On the other hand, if you were to use a generic VPN, the website can still block you as it may detect your IP as being attached to a VPN server. We’ve written about VPN blocking before, which is an anathema for the VPN industry but which residential VPNs have so far been impervious to. 

What Are Residential Proxies?

residential proxy is a system that replaces your IP address with a residential IP. It routes your web traffic through a residential IP to make your web location look different from your original. The major difference between a proxy and a VPN is that the former lacks encryption, making it a less popular option as a privacy tool.

Moreover, it’s hard to vet a residential proxy before purchasing it. Of course, there are ways to verify if your IP address is residential. So, you’ll need to buy from reputable proxy sellers to get the real deal.

If you’re only looking to tackle a website geofence without spending much, residential proxies may be a good choice.

Key Features of a Residential VPN

By now, you might have a fair idea about the benefits of using a residential VPN. But to make it clearer, here are the key features that make residential VPNs stand out.

  • Get 100% residential IP addresses
  • Bypass website geo-restrictions easily
  • Avoid active web surveillance
  • Set up across devices (and in browsers too)
  • Option to buy a dedicated residential IP
  • Options for free and paid versions

Some of these features are also present in traditional VPNs, which brings out the one true highlight of residential VPNs: 100% residential IP for website unblocking. This is one reason why TuxlerVPN is known as a master website unblocker.

That brings us to another question: what makes a residential VPN better?

How is a Residential VPN Better Than a Traditional VPN?

As we’ve noted above, a residential VPN ideally offers 100% true residential IP addresses. This helps you bypass website geofences more effectively than when you use a generic VPN. In other words, the odds of unblocking a website using a residential VPN are higher.

Why you may ask? Simply because of the nature of residential IPs and how they are perceived by web platforms. To reiterate, residential IP addresses make you look like a genuine user as opposed to VPN server IPs. Since residential VPNs can tunnel your web traffic through such believable, domestic IP addresses, they are more effective in unblocking geography-based IP filters and other blacklists.

Residential VPNs are also simple products, unlike their peers. Most such VPNs exist solely as a means to unblock websites and let you access the free web. Other VPNs offer additional features to justify a higher price. Some of those features may not be exactly useful.

Are Residential VPNs Safe?

Yes. Like traditional VPNs, residential VPNs are also safe to use. As a privacy tool, the encryption and tunneling actions of VPNs together protect you from online surveillance.

Just make sure that you buy a VPN service from a reputable provider. Due to the sudden popularity of residential VPNs, there has been a spurt in players who claim to offer 100% true residential service. 

As for pledging your IP address in return for another residential IP address, the risk of being incriminated is too low. We’ve discussed this in detail before where we summarized how residential IP sharing is a non-issue. As long as you do not partake in illegal activities online, using a residential VPN for personal and commercial purposes is 100% safe.

How to Choose a Good Residential VPN?

While the core purpose or action of a residential VPN is the same as any VPN, you should compare different providers to get the best service. Overchoice is a menace these days and you’ll find tens of different residential VPN providers pushing their services to you.

How to choose the best? According to us, the secret lies in the reputation of the VPN provider. All online products – and not just VPNs – can be rated based on how they’re generally perceived. For instance, likely, you’ve already heard of or read about TuxlerVPN as a premium residential VPN provider. That itself is a sign of a good service provider.

Things to Look for in a Good Residential VPN Company

However, if you’re someone who likes to research before you buy and does not depend on general perception, here are some tips. Always check the:

  • Number of available residential IP locations
  • Bandwidth and speed promise
  • App user interface
  • Option for paid VPN

If you’re already a VPN user, you know that generic VPNs have a lot of extra features such as split tunneling, automatic server selection, and P2P support. With residential VPNs, you don’t have to worry about these bells and whistles.

Just focus on the three main parameters listed above and you will have yourself a decent residential VPN service. The last point is important if you do not wish to share your residential IP address. That way, you can enjoy the residential VPN service without any risk of someone else committing an illegal activity while being routed via your IP address.

Using a Residential VPN

Residential VPNs can be used in the following ways:

  • As a mobile app (Android, iOS)
  • As a standalone desktop app (Windows, macOS, Linux)
  • As a browser extension (Firefox, Chrome)

The advantage here is that most providers have the same functions and features across all three types. This may not be the case with generic VPNs, many of which do not have a standalone browser plugin.

Residential VPN FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about residential VPNs.

What is a static residential IP?

static residential IP address is a type of IP that is assigned to a particular user or device. In the past, broadband service providers used to assign static IPs to their users when installing a new connection to prevent hijacking of that connection. That way, only the assigned user can use the service. Notably, this used to work for cabled connections. 

What are the disadvantages of a residential VPN?

If you use a free residential VPN, the only disadvantage is that you have to share your IP address with the IP pool. This can be avoided if you pay for your VPN.

How to verify if my VPN IP is residential?

Simply go to a WHOIS IP finder and check your IP address. If you see an ISP’s name in the WHOIS data, you can confirm that your VPN IP is residential. Otherwise, it will show a server or VPN provider’s name.

Can I buy actual residential IP addresses?

Technically, yes, you can attempt to buy a residential IP address. But you’ll need to show why, in addition to having an infrastructure (like a server) to justify the purchase. In most probability, you’ll be denied a sale as IP addresses are governed by more than one regulatory entity. Read more to understand the specifics of owning a residential IP address.

Can I make a residential VPN of my own?

Yes, but you’ll need huge amounts of money to create a system that can manage and maintain the private network. Even if you attempt to build one for your use, you’ll need to jump through several hoops to gather all the resources. And it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll jump through all of them successfully. Having said that, you can start your VPN if you have the means.

Does residential IP provide 100% anonymity?

100% anonymity is now a myth as even VPNs can be compromised. Moreover, when you use a VPN, your ISP and other entities like the government can still know that you’re behind a private tunnel. They can use advanced systems to track you. However, this is limited to high-profile cybercriminals. 

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