Rotating Proxies 101: Definition, Benefits, and Setup

Rotating proxies isn’t very difficult to understand, but there are a few technical aspects you should know before purchasing them. With the right tools, any proxy can be made into a rotating one. But first, let’s dig deeper into what rotating proxies are and why you might need them.

At its most basic, a proxy is a device, usually a data server, PC, or smartphone, that routes the traffic of other devices. While doing so, it changes the IP address and geographical information of the original network request. Such proxies are called anonymous, while proxies that don’t disguise the sender are called transparent.

Rotation comes in as a way to use multiple IP addresses by switching back and forth between them. Simply put, it’s the process of changing proxy IPs every set period or for different tasks.

Such rotation can happen on a private pool of your own IP addresses or while sharing the IPs with other users. It isn’t necessary to have a physical device behind each IP for rotation to happen.

Datacenter proxies, for example, are run virtually on powerful servers. One server can house hundreds of IP addresses used as proxy servers. Providers often share them between users and rotate the IPs to distribute the load. In such cases, only one device is used to create multiple IPs for proxy rotation.

Residential and mobile proxies are a bit different. Each IP is tied to a physical device with a connection to the Internet verified by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Rotating residential IPs might slow them down since you must connect to a new household device every time.

But the performance of rotating proxies also depends on your setup and use cases. A general rule of thumb here is that the more flexibility you have in setting up your own rotation rules, the better performance you’ll get.

Ideally, you want to set up your own rotation with a private premium proxy pool. It’s much more expensive, so many resort to rotation from providers. In such cases, it’s important to figure out whether you’ll have sticky sessions when rotation isn’t forced on you.

Benefits of Rotating Proxy Servers

Proxy providers like to generalize their advantages because it’s a cost-effective type for them. The benefits of proxy rotation should be taken with a grain of salt since it depends on how it’s set up. There are four main pros used for promotion.

  • Increases IP address legitimacy
  • May lower the costs
  • Increased security
  • Type diversification

IP legitimacy refers to how likely the proxy connection is to be blocked or restricted by means like CAPATCHAs. Switching IPs makes it more difficult for websites to target them. Of course, there are use cases, like social media management, where proxy rotation might have the opposite effect.


If rotating proxies are shared between users, the bandwidth can be better distributed, which allows them to lower their prices. You can also lower the price of your private proxies by mixing in some unlimited bandwidth ones. However, you’ll need multiple proxies, which is more expensive by default.

Websites and ISPs can still track you if you are using only one proxy. Hackers can also disrupt your connection when it’s easy to know what IPs you are using. Rotating IPs makes it more challenging to target your connection, serving as an additional layer of protection.

Some tasks are better accomplished with residential or mobile proxies, others with datacenter ones. A mixed pool on rotation can increase your chances of success and help you test different approaches more easily.

Three Ways to Rotate Proxies

In-built Rotation From Provider

Most providers selling rotating proxies have dashboards where you can tinker with rotation. Usually, you have a choice of type, location, and rotation periods. It’s almost a standard to have proxies rotating for every thirty-minute session. While it’s enough for most tasks, you should never settle for options without longer, sticky sessions.

The main drawback of such a rotation type is that you have little customization options. You can’t mix different types and brands of proxies or choose to have IP addresses assigned for certain tasks. If your only use case is web browsing, then third-party add-ons can solve it quite easily.

Browser Extensions

Some proxy providers offer their own browser extensions that are compatible with popular browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari. However, it’s rarely recommended to use them since you are likely to have difficulties when adding proxies from other providers.

That’s why open-source extensions are the best option.

Add-ons like SwitchyOmega or Bp Proxy Switcher give users an easy way to add various proxies and assign them to different rotation settings. You can manage time periods or separate proxy usage between tabs. Many plugins also support PAC scripts for a more in-depth rotation.

Other Proxy Rotation Software

There are many other ways to rotate proxies, depending on why you use proxies. For example, many web scraping software solutions have built-in proxy switchers that will rotate your proxies depending on the parameters set. If you are using a custom Python scraper, such rotation isn’t difficult to implement.


Other proxy software, such as anti-detect browsers or social media management tools, also have proxy rotation functions. Rotation settings and sticky sessions are crucial for the success of the tasks you’ll do with them. It’s better to set up a rotation with them than on your provider’s dashboard.

More powerful proxy clients, like Proxifier, can allow you not just to create proxy rotation. With them, any software can run on proxy servers. Some advanced settings will also allow you to make proxy chains to create layers of proxy routing.

Final Words

As with most things in modern tech, the more you understand, the more complicated it gets. We have only scratched the surface here. Depending on your project and tools, you can configure your proxy pool in a much more advanced way. This article is just a beginning.