What Is an IP Rotation? – Beginner’s Guide

ip rotation proxy network

IP rotation explained shortly: an IP rotation is an act of switching proxy IP addresses. Essentially, it involves replacing the current IP address you’re using for another. This can be performed manually or set to occur at regular or random intervals. IP rotation is a key part of many modern marketing and data collection processes.

Read on for an explanation of what proxies are, the most common types of proxies, and how businesses use IP rotation to support their work processes. 

What is a Proxy?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of proxies and IP rotation, let’s step back and review what an IP address is.

“An IP address is the unique address of your computer. When you request data from a website, your computer tells it your IP address so the site knows where to send the data to”

A web proxy serves as a middleman between you and the web. Normally, your computer communicates directly with the web site you’re accessing. This means the website knows your IP address and the location of your computer. However, when you use a proxy, you tell the proxy what data you want from the website.

The proxy makes the request to the server, receives the data, then relays it back to you. Thus, the proxy’s IP address effectively becomes your new identity when browsing online. Since the website only ever communicates with the proxy, it has no way of knowing it’s actually you asking for the data.

Proxies are most commonly used to ensure online anonymity, as explained above, but they can also be used to circumvent web access restrictions. For example, if a website is blocked in your country, you can use a proxy to gain access to it.

Some proxy providers also allow you to choose the location of the proxy you’re connecting through. Many websites have several versions of their pages that they serve to users based on their location. This allows you to see the web as if you were accessing the internet from that place in the world.  Accessing Yahoo from Indonesia would show you the web page in Indonesian and display news relevant to that country.

The Types of Proxy

The two most common types of proxy are data center proxies and residential proxies.

Data center proxies are specialized proxy servers that have their own dedicated line to the internet. This means that, unlike your home or office connection, data center proxies don’t connect to the internet through an internet service provider (ISP).

In contrast, residential proxies do connect to the internet through an ISP-assigned IP address. Since IP addresses from residential proxies are associated with an ISP, they run through a physical landline connection.

Since data centers aren’t associated with an ISP, social media platforms tend to be quicker to flag data center addresses for suspicious activity.

How Businesses Use Proxies

There are many ways that businesses use proxies, but here we’ll focus on how it’s used in social media and fare aggregation.

Proxies for Marketing

Marketing teams use special software called social media bots to generate buzz around a brand or product.  Each bot is assigned its own social media account, and it’s programmed to like share certain posts or like certain comments. More complex bots can even write comments on company pages.

Technically, you could run your social media bots without the use of a proxy, but they wouldn’t last long. Social media sites have special measures in place that prevent the use of these tools by tracing them back to their source. If an irregular number of accounts are associated with the same IP address, the address is flagged or even banned. Proxies let you get around this by assigning a unique address for each of your social media bots.

Proxies and Aggregator Services

Aggregator services collect a specific kind of data from the internet and serve it to users in a format that’s easy to digest. You’ve likely used a travel aggregator service to book plane tickets or reserve a hotel room. These businesses use web scrapers, specialized tools built to automate the extraction of data.

These web scrapers grab ticket and hotel prices from travel agencies and airline or hotel websites then store them in a database on the aggregator’s servers. The aggregator allows the user to compare the data in its users to get the best prices for a specific date. To ensure their prices are always up-to-date, they keep their web scrapers running around the clock gathering data.

Much like in the case of social media bots, websites also have special methods for detecting web scrapers. If the site detects an abnormal amount of requests from a single address, that IP address may be flagged or banned. Aggregators use proxies to ensure their scrapers don’t appear to be accessing these websites from the same location.

IP Rotation Explained…

Both social media bots and web scrapers use proxies to appear as unique individual users. But assigning a unique proxy to each bot or scraper can cost a lot of money! Some of the biggest aggregator services and marketing teams can deploy dozens or even hundreds of bots and scrapers so the price of individual dedicated proxy addresses really adds up. This is where IP rotation comes in.

“IP rotation is the process of swapping your current proxy address for another. By regularly switching IP addresses, you make it even harder for websites to trace automated online activity back to you.”

Social media bots must each have their own unique IP address, but they don’t necessarily have to be running simultaneously. Businesses use rotating IP addresses to switch them up for each of their bots. A bot could log in through one proxy address, like a post and comment on a product, then logout.

The IP would then be rotated and another bot could log in and conduct its tasks. You get the same result as renting multiple dedicated IP addresses at a much lower cost.

Similarly, rotating IPs can be used to ensure web scrapers never have the opportunity to detect suspicious activity in the first place. The proxy service can rotate IPs at regular intervals so your web scraper never has the same IP address for long.

Conclusion

Proxies serve as intermediaries for all your online transactions. They assign a special proxy IP address to your connection; this proxy IP effectively becomes your new online identity. IP rotation is the process of switching out a proxy address for another. This allows you to constantly switch identities as you conduct your tasks. Businesses use proxies and IP rotation to gain marketing insights and collect the data critical to their work.

Also, Read Things to Protect your Business Reputation

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