How to Test Proxies
Our proxy testing procedure explained.
If you checked out our blog, you must wonder how do we test proxies and give scores to various providers. Well, the truth is that we’re looking at the whole bunch of different factors, such as pool size, pricing, supported proxy protocols, and more. In this article, I’ll walk you through our testing process and explain why certain factors are important. If you are just looking for the top tier proxy providers – Adam and I conducted extremely elaborate proxy market research for 2019.
Note: Although there are many online checkers that let you scan proxies, they actually do only one thing – allow you to check which proxies are working and which ones are not. However, these checkers are only relevant if you’re using free proxies, which I wouldn’t advise you to do whatsoever. If you’re buying proxies from legitimate providers, they usually give you only working IP addresses, and if some of them are down, you can ask for a replacement.
So, without further ado, let’s see how do we test proxies and which factors come into play everytime we’re trying out a new proxy provider.
10 criteria for proxy test
- Pool size
- Customer support
If a provider offers unlimited traffic, it usually means that their infrastructure is poor and you should expect lots of server errors and timeouts. With so many errors, unlimited traffic proxies are much slower and unstable. However, if speed is not your priority, you can still use such proxies as they are typically cheaper.
When it comes to pricing, the most common practice is to charge per traffic (usually, per GB). Some proxy providers charge per request, but it’s quite rare because for many providers, especially if it’s a residential proxy provider, traffic is essential. Why? Well, because most residential proxies come from real people’s phones and that’s why providers are trying to control how much traffic is going through these IP addresses. Otherwise, proxy users might start abusing them.
Pricing also can depend on how many endpoints, threads or authorized IPs a user wants. Various additional features can also increase the price because they add extra value to the service.
As to IP pool’s size, if a provider has a big pool, it means that they can offer proxies from various locations. It’s great for you as a customer because you can not only choose countries and cities that you actually need but also expect fewer blocks.
Also, the higher number of IP addresses indicates that a provider has more subnets.
Locations are closely related to the pool’s size. Providers that offer thousands or sometimes millions of IPs, usually provide a country and city-level targeting too. In some cases, having an option to choose proxies from specific locations, is essential. For example, if you want to avoid Craigslist’s geo-blocks or get local data from Google (check the Best Google Proxy: Results That Change Everything). However, some smaller providers don’t let customers choose the location of a proxy.
When choosing a proxy provider, it’s important to learn what proxy setup you’ll receive. Will you get access to a dashboard? Will you receive a list of IPs? Whatever the answer is, keep in mind that the setup determines what you as a customer will have to do before starting to use newly bought proxies.
The two most common authorization methods are whitelisted IPs and credentials. The first option – whitelisted IPs – is much more common. However, some proxy providers increase the price of the proxies if you want to have more than one whitelisted IP.
Depending on your needs, additional proxy features such as the sorting option can be absolutely necessary. You might need to filter IPs by country, city, provider, mobile carrier or postcode. A proxy provider that can offer this should definitely be on top of your list. By the way, providers that are selling proxies with unlimited traffic usually can’t offer any filtering options.
If a proxy provider has a dashboard where you can see your usage statistics, change credentials or buy more proxies, it means that you won’t be wasting time contacting and dealing with provider’s customer support. Having a dashboard is definitely a plus for any proxy provider. Therefore, when evaluating various sellers, we usually pay a lot of attention to this factor.
What I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes good customer support is more important than price. There is no such a thing as a perfect proxy provider; therefore when problems will arise, you want to be sure that your provider will be there to assist you. So, I recommend settling for nothing less than 24/7 customer support.
Analyzing the factors mentioned above is only one part of the job. The next step is to put proxies into action.
So, how do we test proxies? First, we check the speed. We’re using the free FOGLDN Proxy Tester for this task because it allows getting accurate ping times to any website in the world. During the test, we’re pinging the nike.com website because this site requires the highest speed from any proxies. If speed is something that is important for you, then pay close attention to the results of this test.
Next, we test the overall performance of proxies by gradually increasing the number of concurrent connections to reach proxies limits. This way we put proxies on a huge load and can discover the number of connections that guarantees the best performance. For this test, we use a testing script that we’ve written ourselves. It sends HTTP requests to the most popular targets such as Ali Express, Amazon, Booking.com, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Wayfair, and Yandex, allowing us to check proxy performance thoroughly. Once we finish running the script, we aggregate results into four main categories and calculate the average response time and median per target.
- Success 200 – shows if a provider’s infrastructure works properly, if proxies aren’t blocked and, in general, if it’s possible to access required websites using proxies.
- Connection error – shows the quality of the infrastructure. Usually, providers that offer unlimited traffic has a higher number of connection errors.
- Timeout – shows the speed and reliability of the infrastructure. We’re using 30-second timeouts.
- Blocked – shows if proxies are blocked by the target website’s server.
So, to sum up, we rate proxies by evaluating two categories: general factors and performance. The final score is an average of all these factors. We understand that other proxy reviewers may have different ways of testing proxies, which is why our ratings can differ from other websites. However, we’re using the same testing method for each proxy provider, so you can trust us to provide the most honest comparisons.
We provide these ratings so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to choosing proxies and proxy providers. Now, go ahead and check which proxies proved to be the best ones!