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Oct 09 22:49:13, 2022

What Is a Mobile Proxy? | Onlinesim

People use proxies to avoid blocking, and mobile proxies are the best for this purpose. Let's see why.

What Is a Mobile Proxy? What Is the Difference Between Mobile Proxies and Other Subtypes?

Mobile proxies are a type of residential proxies. The difference is that they connect through cellular networks (3G or 4G).

Mobile proxies have several unique features:

Resistance to blocking. The number of IPv4 addresses is limited. This problem affects all internet providers but especially mobile service providers. They entered the market later than internet service providers when most IPv4 addresses had already been taken.

To get around this limitation, a technology called CGNAT was developed. Mobile service providers use CGNAT to connect users to their network (Internet service providers use it, too, but less often).

CGNAT works like this: internet service providers allocate private IP addresses to users. Then these IPs are translated to public IP addresses, with one public address assigned to a pool of private IPs. As a result, several users of phone carriers leverage the same public IP address. More information on this technology is detailed in RFC 6888.

Search engines and social media take into account this feature. Suppose an IP address is included in the IP pool of a mobile network operator, and numerous requests come from it. If this is the case, It certainly will not get blocked immediately, and there is a good chance it will never get blocked because hundreds and thousands of users may utilize this address. That is why mobile proxy blocking is much less common than that of a datacenter proxy.

Mobile proxies have a very high level of trust, which makes them less likely to get blocked.

Rotation. A cellular network is not stable. If a user disconnects from the internet for a long time, a proxy provider will assign another IP address next time (a new IP address will correspond to the user's city). That is why you can not get a static IP address from a mobile proxy provider, but you can get access to an IP pool in the same location. 

Lower speed. The speed of a mobile network (even 4G/LTE) is lower than a broadband connection speed, hence, a mobile proxy speed is lower.

Pricing. Mobile proxies are harder to set up, which is why the price is higher (more on that below).

​Type of proxy​
​Device​
​Risk of ban
​Rotation​
​Speed​
​Price​
Datacenter proxy
Servers at data centers
High
Forced
High
Low
Residential proxy
Computers and laptops connected to home networks
Low
Forced or organic
Medium
Medium
Mobile proxy
Cell phones and tablets connected to mobile network
Low
Forced or organic
Low
High

How Are Mobile Proxies Set up?

There are two ways to create mobile proxies:

SDK. Proxy providers negotiate with developers of phone apps and websites and insert a special code (SDK) afterward. So when a user downloads an app, their device becomes a proxy server. The developers earn money, and their users get free access to a premium account or other benefits.

A huge proxy provider Bright Data works exactly this way. The company says its program "Bright SDK" is ethical because it implies the full consent of peers, limited use of device resources, and data protection.

A notice for users being connected to the Bright SDK, source brightdata.com

This method allows building huge and diverse mobile networks. But the problem with connection may occur as the IP source can go offline at any time. 

Mobile proxy farms. Another way to make mobile proxies is to create a "farm" of devices connected to the cellular network. It can be cell phones (usually old Android models) but more often modems. You can set up a network after SIM cards of 3G and 4G Internet providers are installed in modems and connected to the computer via USB hubs.

Example of a mobile farm, source mobileproxy.space

Such farms are often small and limited to one or a few locations, but they have predictable performance and rotation time.

What Are Mobile Proxies Used for?

You can use mobile proxies for the same purposes as any other proxy: anonymity, access to blocked sites, and data collection. But there are cases in which mobile proxies are a better choice than any other proxies.

✔️ Managing multiple social media accounts. Facebook*, Instagram*, and other social media do not allow users to have more than five profiles on one device. Mobile proxies help get around this limitation. You can connect to proxy servers coming from different locations and create additional accounts.

✔️ Social media or mobile website scraping. Social media does not allow not only creating multiple accounts but also automated data collection. Your address will be blocked if many requests come from the same IP address. The exception is IP addresses included in the pool of the mobile provider.

✔️ Mobile SERP (Search Engine Results Page) parsing. Search engines optimize SERP for mobile devices. If you want to scrape SERP data, mobile proxies are preferable.

✔️ Ad verification and app testing. When running ad campaigns, you want to make sure that everything works as it should. For example, you need to ensure that you target your ads to desirable locations and with the right settings.

✔️ Bypassing spam filters. For example, mobile proxies are used to automate the process of copping sneakers (sneaker bots).

❌ SERP scraping. Mobile proxies are less suitable for gathering massive amounts of information because they are expensive and not as fast as datacenter or resident proxies.

What to Look out for When Choosing a Proxy Provider?

  • Location and provider. Check the IP country and the provider's network you will be connected to. Is it possible to change these settings once you are connected?
  • IP rotation. They can be time-based or per request.
  • Proxy network size. The math is simple: the larger the proxy pool, the more reliable the service.
  • Shared or private. Check the number of users sharing the same proxy and how resources and risks are distributed between them.
  • Traffic restrictions. Check how much data you can transfer through a proxy.
  • Check if there is an API and its type (request proxies, change IP, see logs, unsubscribe)
  • HTTP and SOCKS support.

Why Do Mobile Proxies Get Blocked?

Mobile proxies are some of the most reliable proxies on the market. Even so, they do not guarantee full protection against IP blocking.

For example, you could still get blocked if you use a proxy to manage multiple social media accounts. Why is it happening?

  • You sign into different accounts from different IPs but from the same browser. Social media websites analyze so-called browser fingerprints; if it is the same for several accounts, you will get blocked.
  • You are connecting to proxy servers located far from each other. For example, you logged into your account from London; ten minutes later — from Sydney. Social media websites will consider it as a suspicious activity. To avoid these problems, use proxies from one location.
  • A proxy provider does not effectively hide your real IP address, and IP leakage happens. To prevent this, you need to test providers.
If a proxy provider offers a free trial, try it. This way, you can see whether a proxy hides your IP and is suitable for your needs.

* — restricted in Russia