What is a Residential VPN?

What is a residential VPN and why should you prefer them over other VPNs?

August 8, 2022

A residential VPN is a virtual private network that routes a user’s internet activity through residential IP addresses, different from the user’s actual IP location, actually assigned by internet service providers (ISP) in a specific area. 

A simple example would be: Michelle, an avid tv-show binge-watcher from Chicago,  wants to watch BBC iPlayer’s original content available only to users with UK residential IP addresses. However, because Michelle’s ISP, probably Comcast or Verizon, is a US-based residential IP address, she would be unable to log in. Unless, of course, she was using a residential VPN service, such as Mysterium VPN. 

A residential VPN would benefit Michelle by blocking her actual IP address and assigning her a verified and unique UK-based residential IP address, allowing her to appear as if she were a UK resident local browsing on iPlayer and enjoying its content. 

Residential VPNs are regarded as the most safe VPN types due to their high anonymity and emphasis on dedicated and verified IP addresses per user, unlike VPN services depending on larger data centers. 

What is a Residential IP Address?

As mentioned above, what is a residential IP address? A residential IP is a singular IP address assigned to internet users by their respective internet service providers - unique and verified to that specific user’s ‘home’ and location. You can find your IP address with a quick “what’s my IP search” online. 

Residential IP addresses have precise details and information about the user, usually compiled from the user’s previous internet activity by their internet service provider (another reason to use a VPN). Details provided by residential IP addresses ensure better credibility and cloaking than other generic VPNs to websites that limit access to their content depending on geographical restrictions. 

In comparison, a data center-based VPN will give a data center IP connected to a cloud service provider, not backed by a local/regional ISP. Therefore, connecting to and trying to access geo-blocked content using a data center IP address is more complex due to the lower trustworthiness and guarantee in terms of locality.

How Does a Residential VPN Work?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems form the essence of residential VPN services. Users agree to be a part of a residential VPN pool by sharing their own internet connection and IP address with the provider in exchange for using a verified IP address from anywhere in the world. 

In a peer-to-peer system, you plug into a global network of nodes run by people voluntarily. Servers worldwide combine their traffic and communicate using a peer-to-peer network. P2P networks (and P2P software) allow two devices (and therefore, two people) to communicate directly, without necessitating a third party to ensure it happens. In a P2P network, every device acts as a server to connect to the internet. Combined with blockchain technology, these servers can then act as VPNs. All servers are paid for providing the VPN service and keeping the network powered and safe. 

Mysterium VPN has a similar structure for its decentralized residential VPN service. Peer-to-peer infrastructure transforms the traditional role of a server. A web user is both a server and a client instead of a node. (The user’s computer or device technically acts as the node.)  

Currently, with Mysterium VPN, you can access over 5000 nodes (i.e., residential IP addresses) from over 100 countries. 

Why You Should Use a Residential VPN

In addition to the increased safety and anonymity that residential VPNs provide over others, residential VPNs come most handy when trying to access geo-restricted content. For example, suppose you’re a heavy consumer of online content. In that case, whether it be sports, music, tv show, or movie, the chances that you will run into some type of geo-block when trying to access content is high, especially on video and audio streaming applications. 

Spotify, Pandora, HBO, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, BritBox, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix are just some of the many streaming platforms limiting their service to their consumers based on geographic locations. 

When talking about unrestricting content, although we first think of tv shows, movies, and streaming services, the scope is much larger. For example, sports tournaments like the FIFA World Cup, the NBA, the Olympics, and Formula 1 differ in availability across borders. What may be streamed free in one country might require a certain subscription to a broadcast network or cable service. 

Television broadcasters and streaming services are not the only platforms that limit content based on geographic location, although they are the most popular. You may not notice it, but many social media sites, such as Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube, also offer creators the option to limit content accessibility via geography. 

Using a residential VPN allows you to easily bypass all of these restrictions and access content without concern for location-based restrictions. 

How a Mysterium VPN Unblocks Content

As mentioned above, Mysterium VPN directly assists you in unblocking content wherever you are. 

We are a peer-to-peer network, meaning that we reroute your internet activity, not through servers, but nodes offered up by our community members. Users with unused network traffic can sell their internet to the Mysterium marketplace as a node. Mysterium VPN users can then purchase these nodes safely, privately, and anonymously to access the internet.

Using active residential IPs to establish your connection makes it much harder for connections to be discovered and shut down. Likewise, it’s that much easier for you to access your favorite content wherever you are. 

In addition, Mysterium VPN prides itself on being a pay-as-you-go VPN with no contracts, subscriptions, or locked-in costs. You only need to switch it on and pay for the minutes you plan on using. We also have an added layer of security through our pay-in cryptocurrency option, where you can use digital money that’s as untraceable and uncensorable as your browsing habits.

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