Static vs Rotating Proxies: what's the difference?

Julia Smith
Julia Smith
Community manager @ SOAX07 April, 2022

When working with web scraping and other online data-driven projects there are so many choices to make: for example, what type of proxies to use, what proxy provider to go with, and should you opt for free or paid options? In this article, we’ll explore in detail another important aspect: static vs rotating proxy. We’ll look at what static and rotating proxies are, what is the difference between them, and in which situations each one would be a better fit, thus making some of the choices easier for you.

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Whilst proxies in general provide a buffer between the user’s device and the website there are two major ways how that is done: through static and rotating proxies. Let’s look at both of those individually.

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What is a Static Proxy?

In a nutshell, static proxies provide users with a fixed IP address for as long as it’s needed. Such static proxy servers are typically assigned by datacenters or Internet Service Providers (ISP) directly and do not involve end-user devices as a middleman. That results in good connectivity, fast speed, and constant availability. Usually, static proxies come as a list of several different IP addresses to choose from and to connect through individually. So all the websites that have been accessed over time will get the same IP address.

What is a Rotating Proxy?

Rotating proxies, on the contrary, is a type of proxy server that allows changing IP addresses as often as needed and does that automatically. It facilitates the assignment of a new IP address from the available pool. The pattern of the IP rotation can be different, e.g. with every new request, after a particular period of time or with each device reboot. With every IP address rotation, user’s access will be treated by the host server as a new visitor.

What is the Difference Between Static and Rotating Proxies?

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Now that we know what static and rotating proxies are, let’s do a comparison between them feature by feature.

  • Format:

Static proxies: users receive the list with IP addresses.

Rotating proxies: users are connected to a backconnect proxy server. That in turn links them up with the load balancing server which assigns the IP addresses best suited for their needs. That allows using multiple IPs without the need to adjust them manually.

  • Performance:

Static proxies: solid. Such proxies usually have fast and reliable internet connections and they don’t involve any other actors as a middleman.

Rotating proxies: varying. Whilst rotating datacenter proxies are more stable, using them means putting all the eggs in one basket. If the IP address is treated as suspicious by the host, it might be blocked and that would pause all the work on the tasks at hand. Residential and mobile IP addresses might be slightly less stable as there is a third party involved. However, given that rotating proxies allow access to the whole pool of IP addresses, if there are any issues with one address, the user will be seamlessly assigned to the next one. Furthermore, residential and mobile proxies are seen as less suspicious for the hosts as they are associated with the real end-users. That means they get blocked less and thus are more reliable at the end.

  • IP rotation:

Static proxies: no rotation. Users always have the same IP address while their real IPs are hidden from the server.

Rotating proxies: automatic rotation. Users always have different IP addresses in line with proxy’s rotation pattern (e.g., with every request or in a certain period of time)

  • Price:

Static proxies: set per IP address. Tend to be more expensive as they are more difficult to set up and maintain their continuous operations.

Rotating proxies: set dependent on port or traffic used. The more traffic users use or the more IP addresses they have an access to at the same time, the more they pay.

  • Stability:

Static proxies: high. Have an almost perfect score for their uptime. Provide a more stable connection for geolocation-dependant services.

Rotating proxies: individual IPs might experience some downtime. That’s when the collective power of an  IP pool comes into action. If there is an issue with one IP, automatic rotation will connect you through another proxy.

  • Flexibility:

Static proxies: limited. Once the parameters such as location are set, it’s difficult to change those.

Rotating proxies: high. The pattern of IP addresses rotation, their location, and the number of IPs available to users can be easily adjusted.

  • Anonymity:

Static proxies: limited. Proxy service will hide the user’s real IP address. But with static proxies clients are connected through one specific IP address, so their activities can be traced.

Rotating proxies: high. User’s IP addresses are changing often which makes it difficult to retrace their activities.

When to Use Rotating Proxies?

As rotating proxies offer better anonymity with a vast pool of available IP addresses they are much more suitable for web scraping and gathering large amounts of data from the web. Using such proxies helps with avoiding IP blocks and allows being unidentified by the website hosts.

When to Use Static Proxies?

Static proxies create a stable connection and are good for using geolocation-specific services. They are useful for keeping user’s real identity hidden while managing multiple accounts on social media, performing tasks on the Internet that require fulfilling several steps in a row, like online shopping, or continuous work on classified sites.

Conclusion

Both static and rotating proxies will help in keeping anonymity and provide an additional layer of security while working online. Each has its benefits and limitations which make them better suited for particular tasks. If you are not entirely sure what is more suitable for you, please reach out to SOAX support team and we will help you make an informed choice tailored to your needs.