Smartproxy vs. Bright Data (Luminati): A Comparison
Smartproxy and Bright Data are some of the largest proxy providers in the market. Bright Data remains a market leader with a variety of features and proxy types. Smartproxy, on the other hand, focuses on delivering value with its rotating proxies. Let’s see how the two compare, and which would be a better choice for you.
Smartproxy vs Bright Data (Luminati): General Information
|Target audience||Small to mid businesses||Small to large businesses|
|Awards||Editor’s Choice (2019, 2020) Best Customer Support (2020) Best Value Provider (2021)||Best Proxy Ecosystem (2020, 2021)|
Smartproxy is a relatively young provider, with a team spread across the globe. Bright Data has been in business longer, though still not as long as companies like GeoSurf.
Smartproxy’s target audience is hustlers and small businesses. This is evident from its focus on use cases like sneakers and Instagram, as well as approachable pricing plans. Bright Data, on the other hand, tries to cover a wide range of customers. But in the end, it focuses on a highly technical audience working at enterprises.
We like Smartproxy and don’t hide it: it’s won an award every year, either for value services or great customer support. Bright Data excels in its proxy management and data collection tools.
Smartproxy vs Bright Data (Luminati): Services
Bright Data offers more IP types and data collection tools.
|Datacenter proxies||Shared||Shared, dedicated|
|Residential proxies||Rotating||Rotating, static|
|Proxy APIs||Search Engine Proxies||Data Unblocker, Search Engine Crawler|
|Web scraping tools||✖||Data Collector|
|Other||X Browser, browser extension, proxy generator||Proxy Manager, chrome extension|
Considering purely proxies, Smartproxy offers two types: shared datacenter and peer-to-peer residential IPs. Bright Data has more options, including dedicated datacenter, static residential proxies, and a separate pool of mobile IPs.
Proxies aside, both providers have proxy APIs. These are proxy networks equipped with web scraping logic that return data with a 100% success rate. Smartproxy’s tool targets Google, while Bright Data covers not only search engines but also other websites.
They also offer extensions for simplifying proxy use on a browser. Smartproxy’s supports Firefox as well as Chrome; Bright Data’s is exclusively Chrome.
Unlike Smartproxy, Bright Data has a web scraping tool. Data Collector is a customizable web scraping framework with web scraping templates, a visual interface for building the parsing logic, and the ability to edit the underlying code by hand.
Finally, Smartproxy’s products include an anonymous browser. It plays around the provider’s strengths by allowing its audience to create multiple browser profiles. The main use case here is probably account management.
Smartproxy is much cheaper than Bright Data, no matter which option you choose.
|Unlockables||More sub-users, whitelisted IPs||City/ASN targeting, IP cooldown, exclusive proxies|
|Trial/refund||3-day refund||7-day trial, 3-day refund|
Smartproxy’s pricing model charges by bandwidth, unless you’re scraping Google. Bright Data is also bandwidth-first for the same proxy types, as usual for rotating IPs.
Smartproxy offers recurring monthly plans: in other words, you buy traffic in advance. If you run out but don’t want to upgrade the plan, there’s an option to buy extra gigabytes for the same rate. Bright Data bases its pricing on a pay-as-you-go model that becomes more affordable after reaching a certain commitment level.
Comparing the prices, Smartproxy is significantly cheaper. It doesn’t matter if you buy the datacenter or residential IPs – you’ll still be paying less. The difference becomes especially painful if you need advanced features like city-level targeting, or if you’re buying in small quantities. Here’s a comparison table for the residential IPs:
|Smartproxy||Bright Data||Bright Data (city targeting)|
Rotating Residential Proxies
Both providers are pretty stacked, perform amazingly well, and have a great uptime.
Rotating residential proxies are Smartproxy’s main product. They used to headline Bright Data as well, but lately it’s been moving toward proxy-based data collection tools instead.
|Advertised monthly IPs||40,000,000||72,000,000|
|Locations||Every country & most cities||Every country & city|
Feature-wise, both Smartproxy and Bright Data are pretty stacked. You’ll have a wide choice of locations, flexible rotation settings, and unlimited connection requests. The only difference is that Smartproxy can’t give you ASN targeting and the SOCKS5 protocol.
A few words about sub-users: Bright Data allows creating hundreds of them (called Zones) out of the box. However, you’re officially not allowed to resell, so this limits their usefulness. Smartproxy’s sub-user count is limited, even if you buy extra slots. To remove the limit, you’ll have to get different, reseller plans.
We made 100,000 connection requests per day for three weeks. We used a high rotation setting and a global endpoint.
|Unique IPs||1,224,255 (63.62%)||1,082,528 (51.04%)|
Smartproxy gave us more unique IPs, though both providers evidently have large proxy pools.
We checked the proxies we received in an IP database.
|Landline or mobile||93.33%||92.55%|
Both providers had a similar share of IPs from residential devices. These are no doubt good quality proxies – or at least residential, as advertised.
Bright Data strictly filters out IPv4 addresses, while Smartproxy is more lenient in this regard.
We targeted Cloudflare’s US server. It’s an unbiased target that shows how well the proxy server works.
|Smartproxy||Bright Data||Other providers|
Both Smartproxy and Bright Data had over 99% success rate. With a well-configured web scraper, you should have very few issues using either proxies. Here are some results with real targets, using our own web scraping script. We ran 6,000 requests each:
|Smartproxy||Bright Data||Other providers|
Once again, our target was located in the US.
|Smartproxy||Bright Data||Other providers|
|Response time (avg.)||0.97 s||1.18 s||2.21 s|
|Response time (median)||0.57 s||0.66 s||1.34 s|
Smartproxy’s IPs are exceptionally fast, both compared to Bright Data and the market average. Results with other locations might differ, depending on the providers’ load balancing servers there.
We ran 500 connection requests per second to see how well the proxy servers handle load.
|Response time (avg.)||1.10 s||1.40 s|
Neither Smartproxy, nor Bright Data had issues dealing with this much load. Smartproxy’s success rate decreased more, but it remained notably faster.
Bright Data has publicly available uptime statistics. Smartproxy, unfortunately, doesn’t.
According to the image, Bright Data’s residential proxies are functional nearly 100% of the time. It took a highly hyped sneaker release (April 28) to impact their performance.
We also did our own tests to measure stability. The table below shows how much the proxy servers fluctuate during regular use (standard deviation), and how often they were above the instability threshold (3 x standard deviation) throughout three weeks of constant monitoring:
Smartproxy’s success rate fluctuates a bit more, though at 1% it’s barely noticeable. Overall, both providers were extremely stable.
Bright Data is more customizable but also much harder to use.
|Management tools||Browser extension, proxy generator||Chrome extension, Proxy Manager|
Smartproxy and Bright Data vet new customers, so they require passing a KYC check. Bright Data’s is very conspicuous: for residential proxies, you have to give away your personal information, proof of employment, and sometimes hop on a video call. Smartproxy vets clients during the registration process. It’s possible to buy and start using proxies without being disturbed.
Both providers support self-service and have the dashboards to support it. No matter which one you choose, you’ll be able to authenticate, buy a plan, and monitor your usage statistics.
That said, Smartproxy is significantly easier to use in general. To set up the proxies, there’s a simple widget that lets you filter the IPs and then export them in multiple formats. This includes location and rotation settings. The whole process takes a few minutes tops.
Bright Data has a widget too, but it’s tailored for developers. And while you can choose a country, city, or where DNS is resolved – and get dynamic code examples – even basic things like rotation intervals require installing Bright Data’s Proxy Manager software.
Once you do, Bright Data becomes significantly more flexible. But to unlock that flexibility, there’ll be a steep learning curve to go through.
Great documentation on both sides, better live support by Smartproxy.
|Response time||Less than 1 min. via chat||25 min. via chat|
Both providers have excellent documentation. It covers general questions, the services, configuration and integration instructions. Smartproxy and Bright Data even provide tips for optimal use of their proxy networks. Naturally, Bright Data has a bigger need for documentation, as its infrastructure is so complex.
If you need live support, it’s available 24/7 and reachable via live chat. We prefer Smartproxy, as its agents respond almost instantly and are generally competent at what they do.
As a premium provider, Bright Data assigns its customers with an account manager. Smartproxy does so as well, but only if you buy one of the larger plans.
Overall, we give Smartproxy the upper hand in this area – it’s not without reason that this provider is famous for its customer service.
Smartproxy vs Bright Data (Luminati): Conclusion
Right, so which proxy provider is better? As always, it depends.
Bright Data is much more flexible, both talking about features and proxy types. But it’s also significantly more expensive and complex to use.
So, what should you do? The best approach would be to look at Smartproxy and see if it has the features you need for your use case. The performance difference is negligible, but the savings will be big.
If not, go with Bright Data instead. You will pay more, but you’ll certainly get what you want.