What are Mobile Proxies?

  • Mar 15, 2024, 11:15 PM
  • 6 minutes

Proxies are used to avoid blocking. Mobile proxies are the best at protecting against blocking. Let's see why.

What are mobile proxies and how are they different from others

Mobile proxies are a type of residential proxies. They are different in that they are connected to the internet through a cellular network (3G or 4G/LTE).

Mobile proxies have several features.

Resistance to blocking. The number of IPv4 addresses is limited. This problem affects all internet providers, but mobile providers in particular. They entered the market later than home internet providers, and by that time, most of the IPv4 address blocks had been allocated. 

To bypass this limitation, the technology called CGNAT was developed. Mobile operators use it to connect subscribers to the network (home internet providers also use it, but much less frequently).

The concept of CGNAT is described in detail in RFC 6888. To simplify, it works like this: each subscriber in the provider's internal network is assigned a private IP address, then the private addresses are converted to public addresses, with one public address assigned to a group of private addresses. 

As a result, at any given time, there are multiple mobile operator subscribers on one public IP address.

This feature is taken into account by search engines and social networks. If an IP address is part of a mobile provider's address pool and receives a large number of requests, it is not immediately blocked or not blocked at all - after all, hundreds and thousands of subscribers can be hidden behind a single address. Therefore, mobile proxies are blocked much less frequently than server proxies - this is their key advantage.

Mobile proxies are the most reliable proxies on the market when it comes to blocking.

Rotation. Mobile connectivity is not stable. If a subscriber is disconnected from the network for a long time, the provider assigns them a different IP address from its pool upon the next connection (the new address will correspond to the city where the subscriber is located). Therefore, when connecting to a mobile proxy, it is not possible to obtain a static IP address, but it is possible to access a pool of IP addresses from a single location.

Low connection speed. The internet access speed via mobile network (even via 4G/LTE network) is lower than the speed of broadband access. Consequently, the speed of a mobile proxy's operation will be lower.

Cost. Setting up mobile proxies is more complex than setting up others, so they are more expensive. More about this below.

Proxy Type
Blocking Probability
Servers in data centers
On demand
Computers and laptops in home networks. Or servers connected through home networks
On demand and organic
Phones and tablets in mobile networks
On demand and organic

How mobile proxies are organized

There are two main ways to organize mobile proxies. You can buy access to a proxy connected via SDK or to a mobile farm.

SDK. Proxy providers negotiate with mobile app and website developers. They embed special code (SDK) into the applications, and when a user installs this application, their device becomes a proxy server. In return, developers receive monetary compensation, and users of their applications get free access to a premium account or other privileges.

For example, this is how the large proxy provider Bright Data operates. The company calls its program Bright SDK ethical, as it implies full user consent, limited use of the device resources that become a proxy server, and personal data security.

This method allows you to create large and distributed mobile networks around the world. However, such proxies may have stability issues, as SDK participants can turn off their devices at any time.

Mobile farms. Another way to organize mobile proxies is to create a "farm" of devices connected to the cellular network. These can be mobile phones (usually outdated models on Android), but more often modems are used. SIM cards from 3G and 4G internet providers are installed in the modems, which are then connected to the computer via USB hubs and configured for network access.

Such farms are often small and limited to one or a few locations. However, they have predictable performance and rotation time. Private proxies are often of this type.

You can even buy and set up a mobile farm at home, and if you have network administration skills, you can purchase components and build the system yourself.

What are mobile proxies used for?

Mobile proxies can be used for the same tasks as any other proxy servers: anonymity, access to blocked websites, data scraping. But there are situations where mobile proxies are more suitable than others.

✔️ Managing multiple social media accounts. You can connect proxies from different locations and create additional accounts from them.

✔️ Scraping social networks or mobile websites. Social networks not only prohibit creating multiple accounts, but also automated data scraping. If there are many requests from a single IP address, it will be blocked. Unless it is an address belonging to a mobile provider's pool.

✔️ Mobile search engine scraping. Search engines adapt their results for users accessing from mobile devices. If you need to study the specifics of such search results, mobile proxies are the best choice for this task.

✔️ Testing advertising campaigns and app testing. When launching ads targeting mobile users, it is sometimes necessary to ensure that everything works correctly: ads are displayed in the desired location and with the necessary settings.

Mobile proxies will also be useful here, as well as for testing mobile websites and applications.✔️ Bypassing anti-spam protection. For example, mobile proxies are used for automated purchasing of limited sneaker collections using a sneaker bot.❌ Scraping regular search results. Mobile proxies are expensive and do not work as fast as server or residential proxies. Therefore, they are less suitable for mass data collection.

What to consider when choosing a proxy

Why mobile proxies are subject to blocking

Mobile proxies are one of the most reliable proxies on the market. But even they do not guarantee 100% protection against blocking.For example, if you use proxies to manage multiple social media accounts, you can still be blocked. Why this can happen:If the proxy provider offers a free trial period, use it before purchasing the proxy. This way you can make sure that the provider actually hides your IP address and is suitable for your tasks.Warning for users who are connected to Bright SDK, source and operator - from which country or countries and through which provider's network you will connect to target sites. Providers in Russia usually separate the service: one tariff within the country, another abroad. Switching "on the fly" is not always possible.Rotation of IP addresses - only on request or also by time.Size of device/IP address pool - the larger, the more reliable the service.Shared or private channel - how many users will be on one proxy; how resources and risks will be distributed among them.Traffic restrictions - the amount of information you will be able to pass through the proxy.Is there an API and what is it (usually provides the ability to request proxies, change IP, view logs, cancel subscription).Is there support for HTTP and SOCKS.You connect to different accounts from different IP addresses, but from the same browser; social networks analyze the so-called browser fingerprint and if it matches in multiple accounts, this is a reason for blocking.You connect to one account from IP addresses corresponding to remote locations from each other - if you just logged into the account from London and 10 minutes later - from Sydney, the social network will consider this behavior suspicious; to avoid problems, set up a connection from one location.The provider poorly hides your real IP address and it leaks (unfortunately, this happens); testing the provider helps prevent this.

Try our mobile proxies

In OnlineProxy you will find mobile proxies from all over the world with daily billing from $0.7 and IP rotation. Proxies are great for work tasks. We guarantee quality or refund money.

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