The Best Proxy Server Providers of 2021

how to pick a proxy provider

Over the last few years, the proxy market has greatly expanded. Now, proxies aren’t only used for shady practices such as black hat SEO. Instead, they benefit many areas of expertise. For instance, individuals use proxy servers to access geo-restricted content, overcome website blocks, improve privacy, buy limited edition items or simply to change their IP address. Meanwhile, businesses take advantage of web scraping, data aggregation, market research, SEO monitoring, and many other use cases.

However, it’s quite hard to choose a trustworthy proxy service with so many companies on the market. Anything could lie beneath unrealistic marketing slogans, from unethically sourced IP addresses to false promises about how many IP addresses provider controls.

So, how do you know what you’re getting? Most people read the reviews to get an honest opinion of each providers’ products. However, this process is resource-intensive. To save you both time and money, we used our expertise in the market to test the most prominent proxy server providers. Keep in mind that we didn’t test all types of proxies they offer. Instead, we focused primarily on residential proxies.

Here’s what we’ve found out:

The Best Proxy Server Providers of 2021 – Quick Summary:

  1. Smartproxy – the best value provider.
  2. Oxylabs – the best premium provider.
  3. Bright Data – the best proxy ecosystem.
  4. SOAX – stable proxies with granular location targeting.
  5. NetNut – well-performing proxies for a wide range of customers. 
  6. GeoSurf – a small but premium quality IP network.
  7. PacketStream – very affordable residential proxies.
  8. Storm Proxies – rotating IPs with unlimited bandwidth. 

How We Tested Proxies

Since there are no industry standards set on how you should test residential proxies, we used our technical knowledge and experience to create our own. The result is two main tests: a performance test and a manual analysis. The performance test looked into each provider’s proxy pool size, quality, success rate, and other aspects.

But that’s not all. To make the most of our testing, we also looked at how the residential proxy servers performed with popular verticals, such as SEO monitoring or sneaker shopping. We finished the performance evaluation with stress testing.

Meanwhile, the manual analysis dwelled into features, user experience, price, and customer services. We compiled all of the data to the only and most extensive Proxy Market Research.

Why We’ve Tested Only Paid Proxy Providers

We won’t be looking at best free proxy servers. Why? Let’s face it: free proxy servers are terrible for anything beyond the most basic tasks. Are you interesting in hiding your IP address and browsing the web anonymously? Don’t use free proxy server that can track your every move. Unprotected web proxy server can steal your data or inject ads into websites you visit. On top of that, they’ll be slow and often already blocked or abused.

None of the proxy providers in our list are free. Heck, aside from Smartproxy, PacketStream and Storm Proxies, the best anonymous proxy services aren’t even cheap! That’s because good service costs money, and we’re looking at the best the proxy server market has to offer.

The Best Proxy Providers Today

1. Smartproxy

The best value provider.

smartproxy home page

Smartproxy is definitely a smart choice. Let’s break down everything this provider has to offer.

First of all, Smartproxy has one of the larger proxy pools in the market, which consists of 40M IPs from real devices. In our tests, over 63% of 2 million requests returned unique IPs, which is the highest number of all providers we tested. Not to mention that almost all of them are ISP and mobile IP addresses.

Also, we were pleasantly surprised by Smartproxy’s near-perfect connection success rate and a response rate of less than 1 second. Undeniably, that’s premium quality performance.

However, Smartproxy doesn’t fall into the premium provider category, and that has a lot to do with its pricing model. To provide bang for your buck, Smartproxy had to cut on on some features, so don’t be surprised by the lack of SOCKS5 support and slightly fewer targeting options. The company has its focus elsewhere, which is providing great customer support and excellent user experience.

Features:

  • 40 million peer-to-peer residential IPs
  • 195 locations with country and city targeting
  • Rotation every request, 10, 30 mins
  • Unlimited concurrent connections
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • API & browser extension
  • Extensive documentation
  • Award-winning 24/7 support

Pricing:

Starts from $75/5 GB ($15/GB). 3-day refund available.

Smartproxy Coupon

Use the code Proxyway to get a 20% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Smartproxy review for more information and performance tests.


2. Oxylabs

The best premium provider.

Oxylabs is a premium residential proxy provider. The company was founded in 2015 and now owns the largest – 100M – residential IP network.

But Oxylabs doesn’t only focus on quantity. Both quality and performance are its most prominent features. Our tests showed that its proxy pool consists of mostly landline and mobile IP addresses, delivering over 62% of unique IPs during our tests. These IPs demonstrated a nearly perfect success rate, enviable stability, and a fast response rate as well.

But what makes Oxylabs a truly premium provider is the wide arsenal of tools, like its Next-Gen Residential Proxies, which extract and parse data using cutting-edge AI & ML technology. And, let’s not forget the benefits of having a dedicated account manager to help you with whatever query you have. It only shows how the company values its customers.

However, to reap the most benefits of the services Oxylabs offers, you will need a large budget. So, if you’re a proxy newbie or looking to use proxies for personal purposes, Oxylabs’ pricing may not be ideal.

Features:

  • 100M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN targeting
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions up to 30 mins
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Public API
  • Extensive documentation
  • 24/7 live support, dedicated account manager

Pricing:

Starts from $300/20 GB ($15/GB). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Oxylabs Coupon

Use the code Proxyway15 to get a 15% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Oxylabs review for more information and performance tests.


3. Bright Data

The best proxy ecosystem.

bright data residential proxies page

Bright Data, formerly known as Luminati, is one of the largest premium proxy suppliers today. When it comes to performance, this provider has it all figured out. Expect an almost perfect success rate, excellent response time, and stability. Its large, 72 million pool consists mostly of landline and mobile IPs, many of which are online at any given time.

Bright Data puts its powerful infrastructure to good use, offering a variety of tools that either build upon of help make better use of it. It offers a very extensive API, browser extension, and an open source proxy manager. If managing proxies isn’t your thing, you can get Data Unblocker, which returns results with a 100% success rate. The best thing is that you can spend however much you want, without committing to monthly plans.

However, if you’re just a beginner, Bright Data’s services may be too powerful and intimidating for you, as they demand technical knowledge. We often point out the high price when we talk about premium providers, and Bright Data is not an exception. Its services are expensive, and the pricing model may be a bit confusing to some.

Features:

  • 72M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • HTTP, HTTPS & SOCKS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN and carrier targeting
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • API, browser extension & proxy manager
  • Extensive documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $500/40GB ($12.5/GB). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Visit Bright Data
Read the Bright Data review for more information and performance tests.


4. SOAX

Stable proxies with granular location targeting.

soax residential proxies page

SOAX is a relatively new provider, established in 2019. However, it already has a lot to offer. The company owns a residential proxy pool with 8.5M IPs. In our tests, over 36% of the IPs from nearly 2 million requests were unique, and 83% came from either landline or mobile devices.

Though the proxies were pretty slow, we were otherwise pleasantly surprised by SOAX’s performance. Its success rate (98%) rivaled the market leaders, and the server proved very stable. But the most distinguishing thing about SOAX is how flexible its proxies are. You can choose from a wide range of rotation settings and target the IPs up to a city and ASN level ouf of the box.

Features:

  • 8.5M rotating residential IPs
  • HTTP(S) over SOCKS5
  • Global locations with country, city, ASN targeting
  • Rotation from 90s to as long as available (with custom options)
  • Concurrent requests limited by plan
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • API
  • 24/7 live chat support

Pricing:

From $75 for 5GB ($15/GB) and 600 ports. 3-day trial for $1.99 available.

Visit SOAX
Read the SOAX review for more information and performance tests.


5. NetNut

Well-performing proxies for a wide range of customers.

netnut home page

NetNut is best known for its static residential proxies, which are leased directly from internet service providers. The company caters to various use cases, such as search intelligence, price comparison, general web scraping, and sneaker copping, among others. Recently, it introduced new proxy types and expanded its plans to include even the smallest customers by offering pricing plans with as little as 1GB of traffic.

NetNut’s proxy pool consists of 10M IPs, and the 1.8M requests we made returned almost 50% unique IPs. While the success rate wasn’t very impressive, 84% is still a pretty good number. The proxies were among the faster ones we’ve tried.

NeNut’s main downside comes in the form of user experience: the documentation is limited, the dashboard clunky, and it’s sometimes hard to find the necessary information without contacting the customer service.

Features:

  • 10M peer-to-peer and static residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • 50 countries, city and state targeting in the US
  • Rotation every request or keep the same IP
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • API, browser extension
  • Mediocre documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing: 

Starts from $20/1 GB ($1/GB). 7-day free trial available.

Visit NetNut
Read the NetNut review for more information and performance tests.


6. GeoSurf

A small but premium quality IP network.

geosurf residential page

GeoSurf has been on the residential proxy market for a very long time. Even though several newer companies have outgrown it, GeoSurf remains in the game. Its biggest strength lies in granular location coverage: you can target thousands of cities all over the world. That’s why, GeoSurf has been a go-to provider for ad intelligence and localization companies.

However, GeoSurf IP pool is pretty small, and during our tests, only a moderate percentage of residential proxies was available. That said, over 90% came from landline or mobile devices, with a pretty good success rate and speed.

GeoSurf is one of the more expensive providers. Still, its pool of residential addresses remains very well maintained and available for anyone seeking premium proxies.

Features:

  • 2.5M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions for 1/10/30 mins
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • API, browser extension
  • Extensive documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $450/38 GB ($11.85/GB). Demo session available.

Visit GeoSurf
Read the GeoSurf review for more information and performance tests.


7. PacketStream

Very affordable residential proxies.

packetstream home page

PacketStream has been on the market for several years following its very promising start. The provider offers a small but decent pool of 7M IPs and has a great performance. We managed to get a 95% success rate and a response time of less than 2 seconds during testing. The only thing worth noting is that we found much fewer unique IPs than could be expected from the 7 million IP network. This means you can quickly start getting duplicate proxies.

What distinguishes PacketStream is the unbelievably low price. It buys bandwidth directly from people and then resells it to customers. This lets PacketStream offer IPs for as little as $1/GB with a pay-as-you-go model, making it a very strong budget option.

Features:

  • 7M rotating residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Global locations with country targeting
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions until available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • User:pass authentication
  • Email support

Pricing:

Starts from $50/50GB ($1/GB). Free trial available.

Visit PacketStream
Read the PacketStream review for more information and performance tests.


8. Storm Proxies

Rotating IPs with unlimited bandwidth.

storm proxies residential page

Storm Proxies is a small, budget provider. It offers a pool of 200,000 rotating proxies with multiple locations to choose from. When it comes to the performance – we have to be honest – we weren’t impressed. The success rate was by far the lowest out of the providers tested (68%), and we received relatively few unique IPs.

But performance isn’t really Storm Proxies’ main selling points. Rather, it’s an affordable an easy to use service with unlimited bandwidth. The latter point makes up for many of the shortcomings.

Features:

  • 70,000 rotating residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • US and EU locations
  • Rotation every request, 5, or 15 minutes
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $19/1 port. 24-hour free trial available.

Visit Storm Proxies
Read the Storm Proxies review for more information and performance tests.

Most Popular Proxy Types and Use Cases

  • The most common proxy types are datacenter and residential proxies. The former come from cloud hosting companies, while the latter are sourced from real users.
  • Proxies can be private, which means that the IP belongs to one user or a particular domain. On the contrary, shared proxies are available to a handful of different users. There are also rotating proxies that automatically fetch you IPs from a pool of addresses. For those who need diversity, SOCKS5 proxies can handle almost any protocol, program, or type of traffic.
  • Ad verification proxies can help track misplaced ads, check their redirection paths, and check whether they appear in the right location.
  • SEO proxies are commonly used to track ranks, research keywords, analyze competitors, and perform site audits. Since search engines are tough to scrape, there are specialized proxies to tackle the task, such as Google scraping proxies and Yandex proxies.
  • Web scraping proxies make sure you won’t get blocked when you scrape various targets. They are fast, anonymous, and hard to detect. If you’re using a bot, make sure to get ScrapeBox proxies to go with it. These proxies are used to increase your scraping success rates.
  • Sneaker proxies help to overcome strict anti-botting measures imposed by various popular sneaker stores.
  • Social media proxies differ according to each popular platform. Twitter proxies are used to either unblock Twitter in countries where the government blocks it or to manage multiple accounts. Instagram proxies are usually mobile or at least residential, and they will protect you from getting banned when you’re working with multiple accounts. Facebook proxies provide you with an opportunity to unblock, manage multiple accounts, and scrape Facebook. Pinterest proxies are verified to work with Pinterest platform, so you will scrape or pin without getting blocked. Youtube proxies allow you to access geo-restricted content, automate and scrape YouTube.
  • Another popular use case is e-commerce. Amazon proxies offer a fast and reliable way to scrape reviews and product listings, perform market research and boost your e-commerce business. Craigslist proxies let you scrape its postings or post multiple ads yourself to various locations and without blocks.

Frequently Asked Questions about Best Proxy Providers

What Is the Best Proxy Server to Use?

There are many types of proxies and you should pick according to your needs. However, for most purposes, such as sneaker copping or web scraping, we recommend using residential proxies. They are fast, stable and will help you avoid blacklists by keeping you anonymous.

What Is the Best Premium Proxy Service?

After our extensive testing, we can recommend Oxylabs as the best premium proxy service. The company owns the largest proxy pool to date, demonstrates impressive quality and performance of its IPs, and offers many perks, such as a variety of tools and features and a dedicated account manager

What Is the Fastest Proxy?

If speed is your top concern we recommend using data center proxies. However, this type of proxy can be easily detected by most secure websites and can get you blacklisted. To avoid this, we suggest using residential proxies.

3 comments

  1. T. on May 25, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Hey! What is the cheapest proxy provider that offers decent quality? I want to try scraping couple of websites, and since I’m not a tech guy, I don’t want to spend a fortune on a thing that might not even work out (the scraping part) .

    • Chris Becker on May 26, 2021 at 6:49 am

      It depends on the website and how much data you’re going to scrape. If the website doesn’t have sophisticated bot protection, and you need a moderate amount of data, you can try Smartproxy’s datacenter proxies. Alternatively, you can try Storm Proxies.

  2. Surano on August 2, 2021 at 6:33 am

    thanks for the article! smartproxy might offer the best cheap proxies in terms of quality, speed and IP pool size but they are not the cheapest… i still don’t get how packetstream is able to offer $1/GB

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