If you ended up here, chances are that you were digging for proxy providers and compared them at least once. You probably notice that their prices vary significantly – from zero to hundreds of bucks for proxies. Why is the price range so wide?
The answer is that plenty of factors make the proxy experience smoother besides the widely advertised features. Since I joined Smartproxy, I have been digging around on proxy-related topics. I’ve learned that even if the price carries weight for a reason, the best value doesn’t always mean the highest price. Not to confuse you too much, I’ll try to explain what factors are sometimes left underestimated while choosing a proxy buddy for serious long-term projects.
The Real Proxy Game-Changers
There’s quite a list of things that define the real value of a proxy provider and its service. So, let’s dig into what you shouldn’t overlook while choosing your proxy partner.
Pool Size is the Key
You probably already noticed that proxy providers’ pools differ greatly from several thousand to millions of IP addresses. Talking about residential proxies, their pool size is not fixed since the IP suppliers hop on and off their devices’ networks. That’s why the real-time number of IPs could be a bit smaller than advertised. What does it mean for you?
Let’s say you don’t feel a need to have that big a proxy pool. So, you choose a cheaper provider with only a couple of thousand IPs. But here’s what you get:
Firstly, fewer IPs = fewer locations to target. If your project requires you to reach a specific country or even city, chances are that you’ll find fewer suitable geo-locations for you. Cheaper providers usually have limited ability to choose your target. Secondly, they tend to have more abused proxies, which could be laggy or blacklisted by the website. If speed is essential for your project’s success, cheap and small proxy pools are not ones to rely on.
Response Time and Other Performance Indicators for the Win
Proxies should be able to keep up with your needs, so better don’t underestimate those factors, especially if you’re using proxies for some automation. Every delayed second adds up, and the overall result cannot be satisfying enough. Response and success rate, uptime, and bandwidth allowance are major factors to your project’s success, so you have to consider that super cheap proxy services can be less flexible.
If you want to be adventurous and trade your security for free proxies, you can get anything but successful proxy work. By trusting free providers, you risk installing malware on your device or disclosing some personal information you usually don’t give to your providers. In the best-case scenario, they will be super sluggish due to a tremendous number of users accessing them simultaneously.
Live Customer Support Is One of the Top Priorities
If you’re serious about your proxy project, you may not want to write long emails explaining your tech issue and then a few hours for a response. And, trust me, different things come up even for proxy profs. In this case, it’s great to have some human touch nearby that you can trust to answer your questions 24/7 quickly and effectively. While round-the-clock customer support is becoming a necessity instead of a “cool thing to have,” not all providers invest in it, so before committing to one, think if there’ll be someone to help you in trouble.
While looking for a long-term proxy buddy, you can test if support is as caring and helpful as advertised in two ways. Check the mighty Trustpilot for reviews or contact support with some questions about the service and see for yourself how smooth the conversation goes.
Some providers (including Smartproxy, of course) tie every user with dedicated account managers who have more knowledge about your specific case and can help you more effectively.
Service Quality Ensures a Trouble-Free Experience
Proxies are not equal to other proxies in terms of features offered. Before choosing anything, you should consider what IPs or session types are available, whether connections and threads are limited, what the documentation and setup look like, etc. Aside from that, you can check which add-ons the provider has (such as a browser extension or similar tools) because they can simplify your work by sticking to a single provider’s solutions.
In a Nutshell
Choosing the right proxy provider could be frustrating but you can narrow your research considerably if you know what kind of features sum up on a more professional proxy service.
Don’t forget the old but golden rule “buy cheap, buy twice” and better pick a proxy server powerful enough for smooth work. A great thing is that many providers offer either a money-back option or a free trial, so you can test your chosen provider before committing and see if you click. And if you’re not into subscriptions, bigger proxies providers give you a chance to pay only for the used traffic with the Pay As You Go option.