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Best 9 Residential Proxies Providers of 2019
Competition is good, but it also creates confusion – especially if you’re new to proxies. After all, residential proxies can be a pricey investment, and it’s natural to want the best bang for your buck. I’ve created this guide to help you make the right choice.
- Fast and reliable proxies
- Great value for the price
- Worldwide coverage
- 24/7 customer support
- No SOCKS proxies
Best Residential Proxy Service #1 – Smartproxy
While new to the market, Smartproxy has quickly claimed the top place among residential proxy providers. Unlike the other market leaders, Luminati and Oxylabs, Smartproxy targets small and medium businesses.
Still, the company manages to offer 10M+ performant residential proxies, which is impressive considering their low prices. Throw in 24/7 customer support, and you’ve got yourself a great deal. Just don’t expect to receive things like a dedicated account manager – Smartproxy is all about self-service.
If you decide on Smartproxy, you’ll be looking at plans that start from as little as $75/monthly. The pricing is traffic-based, with unlimited connections. A nice touch is that you don’t have to upgrade the plan if you go past the limit – you can just pay for extra traffic per GB. The most popular option is Starter, offering 20GB for $200 ($10/GB).
You’ll be able to get your money back within 3 days if you’re unhappy with the service.
- Cheapest monthly plan is $180 for 100 proxies
- 1,5M+ dedicated proxies in 100+ locations
- Unlimited bandwidth and concurrent sessions
- Premium 24/7 client support
Oxylabs ranks a very close second. With 32 million IPs in 195 locations around the globe, easy integration, and a dedicated account manager, the company provides a very compelling package that few can equal.
The proxies are not just for show, too – we’ve tested them to be great performers. No wonder Oxylabs is one of the market leaders. That said, it mainly targets the big fish, which is reflected in the pricing plans.
Oxylabs offers traffic-based plans with unlimited connections that start from $600 for 50GB, or $12/GB. As with all proxy providers, the more traffic you buy, the cheaper it will get: the Enterprise plan pushes the price down to $5/GB. Their most popular option is Pro: 100GB for $900 ($9/GB).
The company offers a 7-day free trial for businesses and a 3-day money-back guarantee for individuals.
- Huge number of IPs
- Many locations around the world
- 24/7 professional support
- Proxies could perform better for the price
- Confusing pricing plans
As the largest player in the market, Luminati has much to offer: over 35M fast residential proxies, professional support, and all the bells and whistles you could want. That said, the quality of their residential IPs has fallen behind the other leaders, and its pricing plans might cause confusion. As a result, I’ve placed the company fourth, despite their overall strengths. Still, Luminati remains among the top choices, especially for more demanding enterprise customers.
Frankly, Luminati lets you min-max the pricing so much it’s hard to give a baseline for comparison. Do you want shared or private residential proxies? What are your traffic requirements (there’s a slider for that)? Will you need city-level targeting? If so, be prepared to pay almost twice as much per GB.
The good thing is that you get a generous 7-day free trial.
- Reliable workhorse proxies
- Worldwide coverage with many cities
- Dedicated support agent
- Somewhat expensive
- Limited number of IPs
The fourth in the list Geosurf is all about quality over quantity. The company has mere 2M residential IPs – which is nothing compared to its competitors – but all of them are really good. The proxies are advertised to cover every country and city in the world. You can also expect a dedicated customer support agent. I’m just a little concerned that covering all these locations with relatively few IPs might stretch Geosurf thin if there’s any load.
Should you choose Geosurf, you’d be paying from $450/month for 38GB. Their most popular plan is Pro: 90GB for $900 – so you’d be charged a little more compared to the main competitors. There are no connection or location limits.
Oxylabs offers a free trial (even though this information was buried deep within the website).
- Decent speed and performance
- No third party computers utilized
- Dedicated account manager
- No city-level targeting
- Proxies not as fast as advertised
Netnut takes pride in its special proxy technology that should make its IPs FAST (that’s their main selling point) and hard to block. It’s achieved by routing traffic through ISPs instead of end users’ devices. In reality, our tests show both the speed and performance to be decent, but not the best. As the company doesn’t seem to stand out in other ways, I’ve placed it in the middle of the pack. Netnut seems not to disclose how many IPs they have or where they are located, only stating that they are highly scalable and all around the world.
If you opt for Netnut, their plans start from 300$ for 20GB ($15/GB). The most popular option is Professional which will give you 100GB for $700. There are no plans with unlimited traffic. Overall, their pricing is pretty decent looking at the competition.
The company gives you 7 days to try out its services.
- Fast proxies
- Unlimited traffic
- Great 24/7 support
- Proxies could be more reliable
- Can get expensive for longer tasks
Rsocks offers over 1M residential proxies. They are are fast, though not always reliable. What distinguishes the company is its great customer support and the pricing model: instead of charging per traffic used, their packages are time-based. Which means you can access residential proxies very cheaply for quick tasks. Unfortunately, all their plans come with a limited number of connections.
If you choose Rsocks, finding the right plan can be either very simple or very hard. The company conveniently offers themed packages for countries and websites, such as EU, Twitch, or Youtube. But there’s over 20 of them, and each includes various factors to take into consideration. Do you know how often you want updates, how many threads, or IPs?
At least they let you evaluate each plan for free.
- Very fast proxies
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Lackluster customer support
- Small proxy pool
- Little to no location targeting
The highlight of Storm Proxies is blazing speed that doesn’t sacrifice performance. But the company’s proxy pool of 40K is tiny compared to competitors and it covers only US and EU IPs. (Which countries? Who knows.) What about Australian proxies, or those in Canada or Brazil? You’re out of luck. Also, you can only reach the customer support via a contact form.
If you go with Storm Proxies, you’ll be looking at plans that start from $19. Even the smallest plan has no bandwidth limits. The trade-off comes in the form of ports and IPs; no matter the plan, you’ll only get 40 thousands of addresses. If you’re okay with this, Storm Proxies can be relatively light on your wallet.
In case you’re unhappy with their services, there’s a 48-hour money-back guarantee.
- Large number of proxies
- Unlimited traffic
- 24/7 customer support
- Slow and unreliable proxies
- Website doesn’t inspire confidence
At first sight The Proxy Store impresses with 30M of residential IPs and unlimited traffic plans. Sadly, the real-world experience disappoints: the proxies are slow and often time out. Some other things cause concern, too: the company’s blog hasn’t been updated in three years, while the coupon on the home page still says ‘2018’. Is everything OK, guys?
Because The Proxy Store doesn’t limit bandwidth, limitations come in the form of threads, proxy pool size, and locations. The pricing starts at $97/month, and the most popular plan goes for $297. Due to the company’s business model, it’s not easy to compare it with the competitors – you’ll have to consider your needs.
You can get a free trial by contacting their customer support.
- Large proxy pool
- Worldwide locations with city-level targeting
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Slow and unreliable proxies
- Lackluster customer support
On the bright side: a huge proxy pool with 26M IPs and unlimited bandwidth to make use of it. On the not-so-bright side: slow proxies full of connection errors, no city-level targeting. Oh, and customer support that fails to reply within 24 hours. Proceed with caution.
Microleaves has plans starting from $250 and going up to $50,000 for the most demanding users. The only limitation is the number of ports you can access. Note that you might not be able to use geo-targeting or work with certain websites (such as Facebook, Youtube, or Amazon) unless you buy one of their Special plans. Naturally, at extra cost.
There’s a 2-day free trial for you to try Microleaves out.
What is a Residential Proxy?
A residential proxy is a type of proxy that gives you an IP address issued by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). It not only hides your IP from websites but also makes it look like a real private user is accessing them. This is where the name ‘residential’ comes from. Since traffic from such sources looks organic, it hardly causes any suspicion.
How Do Residential Proxies Work?
Residential proxy networks get their IP addresses from real users. This is usually done via various apps: instead of paying for them or watching ads, users are given the choice to share their internet with others. There are full-on dedicated products whose main purpose is to borrow IPs in exchange for money, such as Honeygain. Reputable providers make sure to get their proxies through a legitimate channel, with users’ knowledge and consent; this is what separates them from botnet software.
Whenever you send a request to a website, it gets routed through another user’s IP address in the process. Let’s say you want to post some classifieds on Craigslist. Without a proxy, you’ll soon run into limits and won’t be able to add any more things. Multiple residential proxies will allow you to efficiently multiply the number of your listings – and all of them will look as if they came from real users. Convenient.
What Is Possible with a Residential IP Proxy?
Residential proxies are mostly used for:
- Online anonymity
- Market research
- Fare aggregation
- Avoiding ad fraud
- Pricing analytics
- Limited item copping
- Multiple account management
You may also want to check out our guide on residential proxy use cases by Chris.
What Is the Difference Between Residential and Datacenter Proxies?
As the name suggests, datacenter proxies are issued by servers stored in data centers. Unlike residential proxies, they do not originate from an ISP and are not associated with a real device. This comes with some benefits, but also serious drawbacks.
The two main benefits of datacenter proxies are their speed and price. Because one server is able to produce many IPs, they are markedly cheaper. Such proxies also tend to be faster. As such, they are great for things like market research and automation of data scraping tasks. However, it is painfully obvious for websites that your IP comes from a server, and this makes datacenter proxies an easy target for blocking.
Residential proxies are pricier and might not be as fast. But they have one huge advantage: the IPs come from real users, making it very hard for websites to detect and block them. Because of this, residential proxies are the safer option, used for more challenging tasks, such as price copping or social media management.
How to Check if a Proxy Is Datacenter or Residential?
I’m not sure how aware you are about this, but an IP address gives away a lot of info. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why proxies and VPNs are so appealing, as they make your presence online anonymous. If you know someone’s IP, you’ll be able to estimate their region, country, and sometimes even city.
But the most relevant parameter for us encoded in an IP address is not the location – it’s the ISP. That’s right, you can check where the address originated and even the website of its creator. Using this information, you can track down the IP address to its source: if it comes from an ISP, your proxy is most likely residential; otherwise, it belongs to a data center.
How to Get Residential Proxies?
You can get residential proxies from any of the providers covered above. While some perform better than others, all of them will do the job. And if you decide on a proxy service that’s not on the list, just make sure it’s reputable – and don’t pick a free one.
What Is the Difference Between Rotating and Sticky Proxies?
Residential proxies can be of two kinds: either rotating or sticky.
Rotating proxies change IPs with each new request. You enter a website – one IP; reload it or open a link – new IP address. This type works very well for hiding your IP address, and it can be safely used in the majority of cases. You will also often hear them called backconnect proxies – the term explains the method how these proxies rotate, and there’s little difference between the two.
Sticky proxies keep the same IP address up to a certain period of time, usually 10 minutes. Why ‘up to’? Because residential proxies borrow IP addresses from real users – so there’s no guarantee that the provider will be able to keep the address for that long. If the user turns off the device, disconnects it from Wi-Fi, or similar, the IP is lost. Sticky residential IPs are used when you need longer sessions, such as when copping sneakers.
There’s also a third kind called static residential proxies. They work the same as datacenter proxies, but they originate from an ISP. As a result, static proxies combine the benefits and protection of residential proxies with the speed of datacenter IPs. However, they will cost you an arm and a leg compared to the other types.
What’s Wrong with Free Proxies?
Free proxies might seem like a good bargain , especially if your needs are small. But are you ready to face the risks? Consider this:
If a proxy network is free, it’s likely that many other people are using it. This will make the proxies slow and crowded, and your experience is unlikely to be good. Free stuff is also prone to abuse, and your IP addresses may quickly become useless. If a network is not crowded, either it’s very new, relatively unknown or – let’s be realistic here – terrible for the task.
Also, and this is very important, by using a proxy you open yourself up for potential abuse. In the best-case scenario, free proxies can embed data into sites you visit, such as ads that wouldn’t normally be there. In the worst case, they can fully log your internet usage or even infect your computer with malware. After all, they need to make money somehow; and if you’re not the customer, then you’re the product.
I’m not trying to scaremonger you, but always be very careful when using a free proxy.
How Do You Test Proxy Providers?
Chris and I have developed a comprehensive methodology for testing proxy providers. It consists of two parts – general factors and performance – and takes into account a wide range of different criteria, such as proxy pool size, customer support, ping times, and so on. Naturally, we adapt the test for different use cases. Read more about how we test proxies.
Here’s a quick recap of why you should choose residential proxies:
- Coming from an ISP and not a data center, they help simulate organic users
- Great choice for market research
- Unmatched for fare aggregation websites
- Perfect for businesses to avoid ad frauds
- Add To Cart function rarely fails
- Almost unblockable
What should never be forgotten is that we only talk here about legitimate, trustworthy proxy providers. If you still make a choice to get free/low rated proxies – don’t expect great results.