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Would you ever share your personal IP address with strangers from around the world? Well, if you decide to use a residential VPN (Virtual Private Network), you might just have to. Follow along to learn all about the benefits and disadvantages of using a residential VPN service.

Table of contents

    What is a residential VPN?

    A residential VPN is a VPN service that routes your traffic through residential IP addresses instead of a VPN server, as with regular VPN services. This is typically done on a peer-to-peer (P2P) basis, meaning that other users share their own IP in exchange for access to the IP addresses of other users. 

    Residential VPN services are considered secure because they don’t use data centers, which can be breached. And since you always get a residential IP address from an ISP (Internet Service Provider), it rarely causes suspicions to services that ban or restrict VPN use. 

    On the downside, residential VPNs are often slower and less reliable than regular VPN services, all while being more expensive. On top of that, if someone on the residential VPN network uses your IP and breaches some Terms of Service or other agreements, you may end up being unable to access those services on your own home network.

    What is a residential IP address?

    A residential IP address is the IP address assigned by ISPs to internet users, typically those living in residential areas. For example, if you check your IP address without an active VPN connection, you’ll see the address assigned to you by your ISP, which is your residential IP. 

    Internet service providers link user activity history to such IPs, making them more credible. As a result, you’ll have fewer issues accessing various websites and services with a residential VPN compared to some other VPN providers.

    How does a residential VPN work?

    A residential VPN routes your traffic through a residential IP address that is different from your actual IP. Some residential VPN services may own their IP network, but typically, users agree to share their own IP address in exchange for access to residential IPs that belong to other users.

    This eliminates the need for a VPN server since devices owned by peers communicate directly to create a connection that changes your actual IP address and protects your traffic. Essentially, every device within the network acts as a VPN server.

    You agree to become a part of such a network by accepting the User Agreement or the Terms and Conditions when you sign up to use a service. So, if you don’t want to be sharing your IP with other users, make sure you read everything thoroughly before you start using a residential VPN.

    That said, there’s not much that’s inherently wrong with peer-to-peer networks as long as you can trust the service provider to protect you. The only downsides are that your connection speed is likely to suffer more than it does with a regular VPN and that you don’t know what other users are doing when connected to your IP address.

    What is the difference between a regular VPN and a residential VPN?

    The key difference between a residential VPN and a regular VPN service is the source of the IP that they assign you. Residential VPNs use a P2P network and route your traffic through a residential IP owned by another user. Regular VPN providers use servers specifically designed to handle and route VPN traffic.

    Premium VPN providers such as Surfhark optimize their entire infrastructures for a fast and reliable connection. Meanwhile, a P2P network utilizes an infrastructure where any peer-owned device can act as a server — the results for connection and reliability can differ massively from one connection to the next.

    That said, both premium VPNs and residential VPNs tend to offer unlimited bandwidth and are capable of maintaining good connection speeds. It’s just that you’re more likely to get the same results every time with a premium VPN provider.

    Residential VPNs do have the advantage of their IP addresses being more credible. Therefore, users experience fewer blocks and restrictions on average. The difference is mostly evident when you compare it to free VPNs since premium VPN providers tend to invest heavily in improving user experience, and the difference in accessibility isn’t that big.

    Does Surfshark provide residential IPs?

    No, Surfshark does not provide residential IP addresses. Like most big players in the VPN industry, Surfshark routes user traffic through VPN servers and owns its entire infrastructure instead of relying on a P2P network.

    If you want to combine the benefits of Surfshark with the perks that residential VPNs offer, you should consider getting a dedicated IP from Surfshark. A dedicated IP address ensures that you can always connect to the VPN with the same IP address. As a result, your traffic will look just as credible as it would from your own residential IP address.

    Should you get a residential VPN?

    At the end of the day, what really matters is whether or not a residential VPN is a good choice for you. If you’re a fan of peer-to-peer networks, it offers a good alternative to traditional VPNs, with the potential for good speeds and unrestricted internet access.

    That said, there’s a reason why traditional VPN services have their place firmly set at the top of the industry ladder. Things like industry-leading encryption, vast server infrastructures, modern VPN protocols, and loads of additional features can only be offered by premium VPNs, so if you want the best overall VPN experience, there’s only one choice to make.

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    What is the difference between a residential IP address and a dedicated IP address?

    A residential IP address is an IP address that is assigned to you by your ISP. In some cases, residential IPs can be used to create residential proxies or even form peer-to-peer VPN services. A dedicated IP is an IP address outside of your physical location that is assigned by a VPN service provider. 

    Should I really use a VPN at home?

    Yes, you should use a VPN whenever you’re online, even when you’re using your home network. Being at home doesn’t make you immune to snooping, data collection, or hacker attacks. But you can protect yourself by making sure you’re always connected to a VPN.

    How do I get a VPN with a residential IP?

    To get a VPN that offers residential IP addresses, you need to look for a residential VPN provider. Such providers typically have a peer-to-peer network, and your traffic is routed through it instead of a VPN server. As a result, you get a residential IP address whenever you connect to a VPN.