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Proxy Market Research 2022

For four years running, Proxy Market Research remains the largest – and only! – in-depth evaluation of the leading proxy services. Though focused on technical benchmarks, the research gives a complete overview of the providers, along with a glimpse into the broader state of the market. It can benefit anyone using or considering a proxy service, whether you’re an individual in need of proxies, a business, or a proxy seller looking to improve your products. 

This year’s research covers 11 providers. These include companies like Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy, which constitute the lion’s share of the market, together with smaller services like IPRoyal and PacketStream. We aim to make as broad a representation as possible while keeping the scale manageable. 

Compared to the previous year, the 2022 edition makes a few changes. First, it benchmarks more products: not only residential, but also dedicated datacenter and mobile proxies – even several web scrapers. Second, it puts greater emphasis on individual country pools to more accurately evaluate the proxy networks. And finally, it comes as a web page (and not a .pdf!) to make the content more interactive. For those who want it, a .pdf version will be available at a later date. 

Key Findings

Market Trends

  • Datacenter and residential proxies remain the most popular proxy types, with 95% of use. But proxy-based APIs are quickly picking up the pace.
  • Businesses mostly buy proxies to collect data from e-commerce and travel websites, monitor their marketing performance on search engines, and help with their ad efforts.
  • Last year brought many small mobile proxy shops, while sneaker scalping experienced a major hit due to fewer releases and tightening security.
  • Providers released five new bandwidth sharing apps in effort to source IPs more transparently.
  • Providers are still fighting in court over the right to provide residential proxy services.

General Evaluation

  • You can find the evaluation graph here.

Dedicated Datacenter Proxies

  • Most datacenter proxy services charge for IPs, while giving unlimited traffic and connection requests. Bright Data uses the most imaginative pricing model, which also includes the number of available domains, gigabytes, and even ability to target cities.
  • Some providers demand up to 60% more for proxies outside of the US.
  • Datacenter IPs are fast: they reached popular targets 2-3 times faster than residential addresses (1.75 response time on average). However, they also got blocked more, especially on targets like Amazon and Craigslist.
  • IPRoyal’s proxies were the fastest, while Blazing SEO and Oxylabs displayed the best overall success rates.
  • All in all, Blazing SEO has the most balanced service, while Oxylabs should appeal to premium customers. 

Residential Proxies

  • Residential proxy services can be pretty clearly segmented into cheap, mid-level, and premium. The cheapest providers cost up to 10 times less than the premium ones.
  • Nearly all providers are able to connect with over 90% success rate. Real performance differences manifest in response time, which depends on IP location. The fastest providers are three times faster than the slowest ones.
  • Pool size is another differentiating criterion that very much favors the premium providers. Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy had IP pools that were both larger and better balanced than most competitors.
  • Nowadays it’s easy to find companies with over 100 locations, city targeting, and flexible rotation options. ASN targeting, however, remains a rare premium feature, and more than half of the participants fail to support SOCKS5.
  • Residential proxy services still run on traffic-based subscriptions, and paying as you go is relatively rare.
  • Overall, Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy remain the best residential proxy providers. 

Mobile Proxies

  • Peer-to-peer mobile proxy services are few and far between compared to services that use dedicated devices.
  • They’re significantly more expensive than residential IPs ($42.50 vs $13.64 at 5 GBs of data) but the differences between providers are not as pronounced. The dominant pricing model is traffic-based subscription.
  • With one exception, the proxy networks have nearly perfect success rates but connect half as fast as residential addresses. Oxylabs is the exception: its proxies outperformed 7 residential (!) proxy services.
  • Mobile proxy pools are generally smaller. But the marketing numbers can’t always be trusted: SOAX had more unique IPs than Bright Data despite having half the advertised pool. Oxylabs won the comparison by a large margin.
  • Blazing SEO uses a unique model that constantly rotates dedicated devices. It performed poorly due to being a beta service but generated a large number of IPs over time with a limited number of devices. This shows interesting opportunities for web scraping tasks that value IP uniqueness over speed.
  • Overall, Oxylabs convincingly displayed the best results in most categories but price. 

Proxy-Based APIs

  • Proxy-based APIs add web scraping logic onto proxy networks to retrieve data with 100% success. Providers like Bright Data and Oxylabs have made them the only way to access certain protected websites.
  • We based our tests on Google Search and chose the APIs accordingly.
  • Such services charge for successfully retrieved data; at $100, they cost around $3.18 per 1,000 requests. Blazing SEO is the most affordable option.
  • Bright Data’s tool showed impressive performance: with an average response time of 3.92 seconds, it outpaced the competitors by two to four times.
  • Three out of the four participants could parse most aspects of Google Search, two were able to function asynchronously, and only one had CSV support.
  • Overall, Bright Data and Oxylabs have the best proxy-based APIs for scraping Google. 

User Experience

  • The majority of the providers offer self-service, and two thirds have implemented a wallet functionality to reduce needless transactions. 
  • Most have straightforward proxy setup procedures but skimp on data visualization. NetNut and Bright Data have implemented the most detailed usage graphs. 
  • Providers tend to restrict their account management APIs for regular users, limiting its accessibility to resellers.
  • Bright Data, Oxylabs, Smartproxy, and GeoSurf have the most detailed documentation about their services. It includes integration instructions, FAQs, code samples, and even white papers. 
  • Support by chat is much faster than over email, but only seven out of the 11 providers support it. The difference between the fastest and slowest average response exceeded 12 hours. 
  • Overall, we consider Smartproxy to have the best overall user experience. Bright Data left us with a good impression, too. 

Classification of Proxy Servers

proxy generally means a substitute. It’s a server standing between two devices on a network that captures and routes connection requests through itself. 

This research concerns proxy servers that are forward and highly anonymous. Forward means that the proxy server reroutes connection requests leaving a device, as opposed to reverse proxies that intercept requests reaching a website. The latter are used for a whole different set of tasks like load balancing. Highly anonymous refers to servers that hide the IP address and location of the user, disclosing only the identifying information of the proxy server.

Such proxy servers are most frequently categorized by their origin. The four main types are datacenter, residential, ISP, and mobile proxies. Lately, it also makes increasing sense to include proxy-based APIs which build upon individual proxy networks. 

Datacenter proxies
IPs that are associated with web hosting providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Hetzner. They run on fast and highly stable connections with unlimited bandwidth. These characteristics, along with a relatively low price, made datacenter proxies a popular choice for most tasks. However, they’re simple to identify by websites that monitor traffic, which has rendered them increasingly ineffective in recent years.
Residential proxies
IPs that are associated with consumer internet service providers (ISPs). They route traffic through computers, phones, and other home devices connected to Wi-Fi. Residential proxies form highly dynamic networks that can reach millions of addresses. They’re costlier and base the pricing on traffic. At the same time, they’re very hard to detect and scale nearly limitlessly, which makes them preferred when targeting protected websites.
ISP proxies
Also called static residential proxies, these IPs attempt to combine the qualities of the first two types. They're hosted on servers in data centers but announced by consumer ISPs. In other words, they make it possible to have fast and stable connections that are nearly as hard to detect as residential addresses. ISP proxies have found the most success in scalping limited edition sneakers, where they power shopping bots.
Mobile proxies
They resemble residential addresses, only associated with mobile carriers instead of landline ISPs. Mobile proxies can send traffic via the devices of residential users or run on dedicated USB dongle farms. Generally, this is the most effective proxy type, as it takes advantage of the IPv4 shortage – carriers are forced to split one IP address among hundreds of users. However, it also costs the most.
Proxy-Based APIs
These tools build upon proxy networks, usually a combination of datacenter and residential proxies. Their aim is to offload work from the user by outfitting the proxies with web scraping capabilities. The APIs take care of IP rotation, browser fingerprinting, and sometimes data parsing to return data with a 100% success rate. They're becoming increasingly popular for scraping complex targets like Google or Amazon.
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Use Cases

From improving anonymity to collecting huge amounts of data, proxy servers have many uses. We don’t pretend to know all of them – especially all the black-hat schemes that still haunt the web. Nonetheless, we decided to list some of the main business applications, together with the proxy types we believe work well for them. As always, advice like this should be treated as guidelines and might not always hold water when faced with individual circumstances.

Vertical Use Case Description Preferred proxy type
E-Commerce Price comparison Businesses use proxies to monitor and compare prices – either for internal purposes or providing aggregation services Datacenter or proxy-based API, then residential
Product demand and trends Companies analyze data points like top products and customer reviews to make decisions
Keyword research Amazon agencies and internal employees optimize products for ranking on e-commerce search engines
Account management Businesses control multiple accounts on e-commerce platforms to avoid restrictions and diversify risk Mobile or ISP, then residential
Vertical Use Case Description Preferred proxy type
Reselling Sneaker reselling Sneakerheads buy limited edition shoes in bulk and resell them on secondary marketplaces Residential or ISP
NFT reselling Hustlers scan NFT marketplaces for rare items, buy them using automated bots
Retail reselling Hustlers buy consoles, GPUs, trading cards, and other in-demand products in bulk and resell them on secondary marketplaces
Vertical Use Case Description Preferred proxy type
Digital marketing Search intelligence SEO tools & agencies use proxies to research keywords, run technical audits, track local search rankings and link building efforts Proxy-based API or residential
Ad testing Marketing agencies scrape ads on search engines to provide insights about their effectiveness and use
Ad verification Ad verification companies prevent ads from misplacement, check their redirection paths, and test how they appear in localized contexts Residential or mobile
Vertical Use Case Description Preferred proxy type
Social media Social media intelligence Marketers collect data about trending topics, search for influencers, and perform sentiment analyses Mobile, then ISP or residential
Multiple account management Social media agencies control multiple accounts on behalf of their clients, while marketers create accounts to increase reach
Vertical Use Case Description Preferred proxy type
Travel and hospitality Market intelligence Companies monitor the popularity of hotels and flight locations, track their availability and pricing changes Residential, then datacenter
Price comparison Platforms aggregate the flight and hotel prices of leading websites
Vertical Use Case Description Preferred proxy type
HR Listing aggregation Job search platforms aggregate listings from multiple websites to present them in one place Proxy-based API, residential or datacenter
Background check Companies check both employers and employees for their backgrounds, reviews, and other useful information
Web testing Load testing Developers emulate traffic to see how websites can withstand high loads and edge cases Datacenter or residential
Localization testing Developers and localization experts ensure that content is correctly displayed to visitors from relevant locations Residential or mobile, then datacenter
Data-as-a-service Datasets Companies or developers collect and sell data on a project basis (e. g. Zyte's data sets) Varies by project
Brand protection Intellectual property protection Companies scan the web for unlicensed intellectual property use and counterfeits Proxy-based API, datacenter or residential
Minimum advertised price monitoring Companies scan the web for partners that violate minimum pricing agreements
Cybersecurity Email protection Companies check all the outgoing and incoming emails to detect potential fraudulent attempts Datacenter

Market Trends

Let’s review where the market headed in 2021. This year, we identified four noteworthy developments. The section also includes some first-hand proxy server usage trends. The latter are possible thanks to our partnership with Bright Data, which generously provided the information and allowed us to make it public. We’d like to thank the provider for that.

Proxy Server Usage Trends (in Partnership with Bright Data)

  • Datacenter and residential addresses remain by far the most popular proxy types. Whether in the form of proxy networks or Web Unlocker, a proxy-based API, they take 95% of proxy usage. Despite the buzz, mobile and ISP proxies are still used for a narrow range of tasks, at least among Bright Data’s clientele.
  • The proxy server market continues grow fast. The use of datacenter traffic increased by 60%, and residential proxies grew by 70% in 2021. It shows that more companies are finding value in collecting data and using it to make informed decisions.
  • Proxy-based APIs are starting to play an increasingly important role. The signs were already there last year, but it seems that proxy-based APIs are now gaining real momentum:
    • Web Unlocker increased its revenue by 60% by only running 10% more traffic. It shows that Bright Data and other providers are able to continuously optimize the tools through machine learning and basic trial-and-error.
    • Search Engine Crawler, an API for scraping search engines, increased its traffic by 800%.
  • Four major use cases constitute two thirds of all proxy use:
 

Explosion of Dongle-Based Mobile Proxy Services

Dongle-based mobile proxies are USB sticks with SIM cards inside them. With the help of special software (or a clever script), each stick turns into its own proxy server. Compared to peer-to-peer proxy networks, this arrangement gives more control over individual IPs, with longer uptime and on-demand rotation. And most importantly – it removes traffic limits, thanks to unlimited plans offered by mobile carriers.

Dongle-based mobile proxies aren’t new – the oldest services date back to 2018. However, it wasn’t until 2021 that this type of service really exploded. A quick scroll through BlackHatWorld, a wildly popular online forum, shows nearly 20 new providers that entered the market in 2021.   

blackhatworld mobile proxies
Some of the many freshly-baked mobile proxy providers on the BlackHatWorld marketplace.

This number is all the more staggering considering that few of these services resell proxies (at least we’re inclined to think so). The whole gist is that you can set up the mobile proxies at home; the process is well documented, and even one device can potentially cover hundreds of IPs over time. A company called Proxidize further simplifies things, offering a plug-and-play solution that doesn’t require coding skills. According to the website, it’s served over 1,000 clients since launch. 

The demand is driven by multiple account managers that need stable high-quality IPs for social media and e-commerce platforms. Some of the providers we spoke with have turned their hustles into million dollar businesses. But at the same time, out of the 20 newcomers, 5 have already closed. The proxy market juggernauts aren’t too keen (or hurried) on introducing dongle-based proxies either, at least so far. 

Hard Times for the Sneaker Scalping Business

The last few years were generous for sneaker scalpers: money good and morale high. Minor setbacks – such as Nike’s SNKRS app becoming realistically unbottable – were offset by plentiful bounties from Yeezy Supply and Footsites. Even Supreme didn’t take security seriously yet. 

In the process, sneakerheads popularized the category of ISP proxies by adapting its strengths for the niche. At first, this proxy type emulated the business model of residential proxies: it sold access to a pool IPs limited by traffic. Botters introduced IP-based plans without traffic limits, which displaced increasingly ineffective datacenter proxies. 

The high continued well into 2021, reaching its apex in late spring. But then it took on a downward course. Without prying into internal data of proxy providers, we have two sources to tell the story: bot prices and Google search demand. Both show a sharp decrease starting with mid-summer:

market research sneaker decline
Left: search volume of ISP proxy-related terms. Right: price changes of Ganesh, a popular sneaker bot (sources: Google Ads, Botbroker).

What happened? An interview with a sneaker reseller breaks down the reasons well. First, Yeezy Supply started running dry with increasingly few coveted releases. Second, Foot Locker transitioned to online raffles, which broke major bots and made mass-purchases complicated. The third mentioned reason is dubious: US businesses like StockX and Venmo now have to report sales over $600 to the IRS, which makes it harder for small-time hustlers to avoid taxes.

By the end of 2021, many sneakerheads had turned away from reselling shoes in favor of more profitable avenues: consoles, GPUs, and NFTs. They’re still more desirable, but not without questions of their own (be it stock levels for consoles, Ethereum’s transition to proof of stake for GPUs, or simply hype in the case of NFTs). Sneakers should rebound once the bots adjust and drops return; but the glory days are probably over, and part of the community will stick with NFTs and other cash-cows while they’re so profitable. 

A Proxyware App for Everyone

Proxyware bandwidth sharing apps offer people to rent out their IP in exchange for money. This way, they effectively become proxies, bolstering the networks of residential and mobile proxy providers. For each gigabyte of data transferred via their network, users earn up to a dollar (usually $.10-30), which they can spend on anything they desire, such as paying the Netflix bill.

Proxyware apps are a sought-after way to source IPs. While not without blemishes, this method ensures both explicit consent and compensation for the user. Proxy providers can then brag about their ethicality, which is becoming a serious selling point. They also decrease reliance on shady in-app SDKs that tend to get purged from mobile stores often enough to cause a headache.

Before 2021, the market had two major proxyware apps: Honeygain and PacketStream. At the end of the year, the number had more than tripled, with at least seven apps now on the market. Most of them are operated by major proxy providers wishing to jump onto the passive income train. This means more competition, more IP overlap (people have several apps installed at once), and hopefully, better conditions for the sharers. 

proxyware apps year comparison

The Legal Battles Continue

The proxy server industry is still in legal turmoil, with Bright Data trying to enforce patents against its biggest competitors. We know of three ongoing disputes; two carry on from earlier, while the third started mid 2021. 

The first conflict involves Bright Data and GeoSurf. It began in late 2018 over alleged illegal use of trade secrets and patent infringement. Publicly, the lawsuit culminated in mid-2021 with a settlement. Bright Data promptly issued a public release that GeoSurf would give up proxy services and transfer its clients over. So far, this hasn’t happened. We asked GeoSurf for comment and were told that the US court has stopped any enforcement activity and GeoSurf is free to continue operating in full (while moving forward with its appeal process)

The second conflict takes place between Bright Data and Oxylabs, once again over alleged patent infringement. The dispute is in its fourth year now, with three out of five cases (so far) open. In 2021, the parties managed to resolve one case, and a jury awarded Bright Data $7.5 million in another. Oxylabs stoked the fire by filing a retaliatory lawsuit of its own in early 2022… again over patents. It looks like the dispute won’t end for a while (you can find its full timeline here). Until then, both parties conduct business as usual. 

The third conflict began in the summer of 2020, between Bright Data and NetNut. As is tradition, the former sued its competitor over patents, more specifically, the datacenter proxy technology. The case ended in late 2021 by settlement, but there are more in progress: one initiated by Bright Data over residential proxies in summer 2021, and one filed by NetNut this March. 

To reiterate our question from last year: What’s at stake? The outcome of these cases will decide whether Bright Data will have the power to quash any competitor that threatens its leadership with similar services. It may choose not to do so, but the mere ability will have chilling effects if it materializes. Even now, providers like SOAX deliberately exclude proxies in Texas where the litigation takes place to avoid getting entangled.

soax no texas
Note the text in parentheses. Source: soax.com

Participants

This year’s research includes 11 proxy services. Together they take the lion’s share of the proxy server market – especially in the areas of residential proxies and proxy-based web scraping APIs. 

Many of these companies have appeared in our previous researches, so it’s possible to track their progress over time. Some, like RSocks and Shifter, rejoin after a year’s pause. Others – more specifically, Blazing SEO and IPRoyal – participate for the first time.

A powerhouse of datacenter proxies trying to become a one-stop-shop for any data collection professional. Since 2021, Blazing SEO offers all major proxy types, along with a general-purpose web scraper. Though it can’t stand toe-to-toe with the largest players in all areas yet, Blazing SEO is on the right track.

  • Country: United States
  • Founded: 2016
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential, ISP, mobile
  • Tools: SEO, e-commerce, and general-purpose web scraper

Bright Data logo

Backed by equity fund EMK Capital, Bright Data is a juggernaut that offers all-inclusive proxy services anywhere in the world. The provider targets business customers and Fortune 500 companies, positions itself as an ethical proxy service, and has built a strong ecosystem of data collection tools around its proxy networks. Bright Data fights as fiercely in court as it does in the market.

  • Country: Israel
  • Founded: 2014
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential, ISP, mobile
  • Tools: proxy manager, browser extension for proxy management & web scraping, search engine scraper, general-purpose scraping API, no-code data collector, data sets

A subsidiary of ad intelligence company BiScience, GeoSurf is a market veteran known for its premium residential proxy IPs and a VPN service. Despite being small, the provider’s reach covers over 1,000 locations. This has historically made GeoSurf a go-to place for ad intelligence and localization companies. Lately, it’s been looking stagnant, probably due to the drawn-out dispute with Bright Data.

  • Country: Israel
  • Founded: 2009
  • Proxy networks: residential, ISP
  • Tools: browser extension

A new company that has quickly made a name for itself with affordable services and a bandwidth-sharing app. In this, IPRoyal resembles PacketStream. But it offers more versatility and is much more actively involved in promoting the project, especially among niche communities (such as sneakerheads). For now, IPRoyal focuses on the lower end of the market.

  • Country: Lithuania
  • Founded: 2021
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential, ISP, mobile
  • Tools: browser extension, Google scraper

netnut-logo

A subsidiary of Safe-T group and one more company from Israel. Originally the major provider of ISP proxies, the company now sells three rotating proxy networks to cover more ground. Despite offering affordable plans, NetNut primarily targets enterprises with data collection needs and proxy resellers. It also actively participates in the sneakerhead niche via its daughter company Chi Proxies.

  • Country: Israel
  • Founded: 2018
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential, ISP
  • Tools: browser extension, scraping API

Oxylabs logo

The contender for the first place, Oxylabs controls both the largest datacenter and residential IP networks today. Like Bright Data, it offers an arsenal of features and tools for extracting data from the web, some based on cutting edge AI & ML technology. Oxylabs targets mid-to-large businesses, wooing them with SLAs, insurance, and personalized support.

  • Country: Lithuania
  • Founded: 2015
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential, ISP, mobile
  • Tools: browser & Android extension, proxy-based API, search engine, e-commerce, and general-purpose web scrapers

One of the first bandwidth-sharing marketplaces, PacketStream has been a strong budget option and reseller’s choice for several years now. However, it’s experienced few changes since 2019, which has allowed competitors to mimic the provider’s business model and reduce the price gap. Still, PacketStream’s value proposition remains strong enough to continue drawing in new clients.

  • Country: United States
  • Founded: 2018
  • Proxy networks: residential
  • Tools: –

rsocks-logo

A reseller, RSocks mixes and matches the proxy networks of others to create new value propositions for customers. It’s known for large, periodically updating proxy lists without traffic limits, dozens of pricing plans that focus on specific requirements, and a questionable sense of business ethics. Overall, RSocks is a respectable force among individual and small business clients.

  • Country: Russia
  • Founded: 2016
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential, mobile
  • Tools: proxy checker

The third major player beside Bright Data and Oxylabs, Smartproxy found its fame by offering a highly balanced rotating proxy service. Though considered a premium provider, Smartproxy emphasizes value and ease of use: it offers top-shelf quality while cutting fringe features to reduce the price. Recently, the company has been building tools to capture more value from its proxy networks.

  • Country: International
  • Founded: 2018 
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential
  • Tools: proxy generator, browser extensions for proxy management & web scraping, search engine scraper, antidetect browser

A long-standing proxy provider, Shifter has built its clientele by solving the major limitation of residential IP networks – traffic limits, basing the pricing on ports instead. It targets business clients and resellers that can afford paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for increasingly unlimited access. Before the rebrand in 2020, Shifter’s previous name Microleaves was associated with intrusive online adware.

  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Founded: 2015
  • Proxy networks: datacenter, residential
  • Tools: 

Another relative newcomer, SOAX sells residential and mobile IPs to small & medium businesses. It successfully debuted in our research last year and seems to have gained a comfortable foothold in the market since. SOAX differentiates itself by pairing a robust proxy network with premium features (like ASN targeting) out of the box.

  • Country: UK
  • Founded: 2019
  • Proxy networks: residential, mobile
  • Tools: –

Methodology

We first reached out to providers asking if they wanted to take part. Out of the 11 participants, 10 voluntarily gave access to their services; PacketStream failed to respond, so we used the funds we had on the platform from previous tests.  

To evaluate the providers, we applied both automated performance tests and manual analysis.

The testing took place during February and March of 2022.

Services Tested

This year’s research has a bigger scope compared to previous editions. It includes not only residential proxies but other services as well: dedicated datacenter, pool-based mobile proxies, and proxy-based APIs.

Participants Dedicated Datacenter Residential Mobile Proxy-Based API
Blazing SEO
Bright Data
GeoSurf
IPRoyal
NetNut
Oxylabs
PacketStream
RSocks
Smartproxy
Shifter
SOAX

Testing Methodology

We ran automated performance tests using a custom web scraping script. It makes connection requests to specified websites and stores the results in a database. The server that made the requests was located in Germany. 

The main target for proxy pool tests was Cloudflare’s CDN-CGI Trace tool which pings the closest available Cloudflare server. The website doesn’t block IPs and is always available, letting us get accurate information about a proxy provider’s infrastructure. Benchmarks with popular data collection targets used a modified version of the same script outfitted with user agents and other web scraping logic. 

We enriched the output with data from MaxMind and other IP databases. This added data points like IP location, ASN, type, and whether the IPs are known as proxies. 

To test the connection speed of proxies, we ran them through the DigitalOcean speed test.  

The manual analysis involved collecting information about the providers’ features, user experience, pricing, and other details by hand. 

Evaluation Methodology

To evaluate the providers, we distinguished categories that we deemed relevant for that proxy type, such as proxy pool, performance, or price. We then identified aspects within those categories – for example, number of unique IPs under pool size – and weighted them. Finally, we gave providers in each category a score from 0 to 5 based on their results.

The purpose of the evaluation methodology is to allow a quick comparison of the providers. We believe that the scores accomplish this task well. Still, some find the evaluation opinionated or the criteria too rigid (a pitfall of most standardized comparisons). In such cases, there’s always hard data to fall back on.

General Evaluation

Here’s our evaluation of the participants based on the different services they provide. For your convenience, we’ve divided them into categories by price.

Hover on provider names to highlight, click to filter.

Hover on provider names to highlight, click to filter.

Hover on provider names to highlight, click to filter.

Hover on provider names to highlight, click to filter.

Dedicated Datacenter Proxies

Approachable price, reliable performance, and availability typically make datacenter proxies the first choice for proxy server users. They can be shared among several people, and it even makes sense to talk about rotating datacenter proxy pools. But in general, businesses prefer addresses dedicated to one user, as it ensures full control over the IPs. 

It’s both easy and hard to test datacenter proxies. Easy because you get a finite number of addresses – they either work with websites or don’t. Hard because the same set of IPs may not perform the same on different websites, and some providers, especially premium ones, hand-pick addresses for particular uses.

Still, that didn’t stop us from trying out dedicated datacenter proxy services. You’ll find this section divided into three parts (click on them to expand): 

Dedicated datacenter proxies have the best raw specifications out of all proxy types: fastest connection, highest stability, and best performance under load per IP address. At the same time, they struggle the hardest against websites that monitor IP reputation. Using one won’t necessarily get you blocked; but the threshold will be much lower and further modified by factors like ASN (company that owns the IP) and usage history.

We modeled our benchmarks around three questions:

  1. What’s the success rate with popular targets?
  2. How fast are the proxies to establish a connection?
  3. Does an IP database identify them as proxies?
 
  • Proxies: 100 US IPs
  • Requests: ~1,500 each target
  • Targets: AliExpress, Amazon, Booking, Craigslist, Homedepot, Indeed, Walmart
  • Proxies: 100 US IPs
  • Requests: ~1,500 each
  • Targets: AliExpress, Amazon, Booking, Craigslist, Homedepot, Indeed, Walmart

AliExpress

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.59
Bright Data 99.87% 0.13% 0.00% 1.94
IPRoyal 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.99
Oxylabs 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.40
Smartproxy 99.30% 0.07% 0.00% 1.77

Amazon

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 93.86% 1.28% 4.86% 2.58
Bright Data 70.36% 2.08% 27.55% 2.86
IPRoyal 77.14% 0.20% 22.66% 2.20
Oxylabs 95.43% 2.52% 2.05% 2.61
Smartproxy 95.85% 0.80% 3.35% 2.62

Craigslist

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.66
Bright Data 57.26% 0.20% 42.54% 2.35
IPRoyal 99.93% 0.07% 0.00% 1.12
Oxylabs 99.94% 0.06% 0.00% 1.16
Smartproxy 73.12% 0.00% 26.88% 1.56

Home Depot

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.94% 0.06% 0.00% 1.15
Bright Data 84.89% 0.00% 15.11% 1.56
IPRoyal 98.99% 0.00% 1.01% 0.85
Oxylabs 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.99
Smartproxy 98.93% 0.00% 1.07% 1.09

Walmart

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.41% 0.46% 0.13% 1.35
Bright Data 99.87% 0.13% 0.00% 1.94
IPRoyal 99.94% 0.06% 0.00% 1.07
Oxylabs 99.68% 0.32% 0.00% 1.03
Smartproxy 99.87% 0.07% 0.00% 1.30

Booking

Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2.61
Bright Data 99.87% 0.13% 0.00% 3.68
IPRoyal 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2.41
Oxylabs 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2.27
Smartproxy 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2.70

Indeed

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.33
Bright Data 63.33% 36.67% 0.00% 2.09
IPRoyal 80.49% 19.51% 0.00% 1.10
Oxylabs 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.18
Smartproxy 76.28% 23.72% 0.00% 1.44
Provider Avg. Download Speed (Mbps)
Blazing SEO 112.29
Bright Data 31.57
IPRoyal 121.46
Oxylabs 127.27
Smartproxy 115.57
  • Proxies: 100 US IPs
  • Database: ipapi.com
wdt_ID Provider Hosting Proxy
1 Blazing SEO 0,00 45,00
2 Bright Data 65,00 22,00
3 IPRoyal 0,00 100,00
4 Oxylabs 100,00 0,00
5 Smartproxy 51,00 24,00

Blazing SEO and Oxylabs aced the tests, others encountered some issues. Our assortment of websites revolved around e-commerce, which is a popular use case for datacenter IPs. Overall, the providers gave us good proxies. Others found targets like Amazon and Craigslist a challenge: for example, Smartproxy had 27% and Bright Data 42% of their IPs blocked on Craigslist.

Otherwise, the proxies had very few connection errors. Indeed.com was an exception, but that’s probably the website’s way of blocking unwanted addresses.

Datacenter proxies are fast, but not equally so. Overall, it took the datacenter proxies an average of 1.75 seconds to reach their destination. This is significantly faster than residential or mobile IPs. IPRoyal’s connection proved to be the fastest, and Bright Data’s slowest. In some cases (see: Craigslist) the latter connected half as fast. Maybe the server hosting the IPs was under more load, or simply slower.

Dedicated datacenter proxies easily reach 100 Mbps speeds. At least four out of the five providers did. Bright Data was several times slower, but its proxies should be fine for streaming video or downloading large files.

Proxy detection status had little impact on the results (or we used a wrong IP database). We ran each proxy through the ipapi database to check if they had been identified as hosting or proxy IPs. However, even when they were, that didn’t seem to have an impact on the results: Blazing SEO did very well despite a half of its IPs appearing as proxies. So, either the databases that our target websites use had different data (which is likely), or the targets decided not to block IPs based on this data point alone.

Like all proxy types, dedicated datacenter proxies are about location coverage, protocols, and authentication options. But they also involve specific features that are less relevant for residential or mobile IPs. 

For one, dedicated datacenter proxies come in finite static lists. Clients don’t expect them to rotate, but they do ask for the ability to refresh blocked addresses. Second, these proxies are marketed as unlimited: carrying no limitations on threads, traffic, and domains (aside from blacklisted websites).

Participants Countries Country selection City selection
Blazing SEO 29 One per plan Assigned randomly
Bright Data 95 Multiple per plan
IPRoyal 6 One per plan ✅ (only Chicago/LA)
Oxylabs 88 As agreed with provider
Smartproxy 1 (US) One per plan
Participants HTTP(S) SOCKS5
Blazing SEO
Bright Data
IPRoyal
Oxylabs
Smartproxy
Participants Credentials IP whitelisting
Blazing SEO
Bright Data
IPRoyal
Oxylabs
Smartproxy
Participants IP replacement
Blazing SEO Free monthly + individual IPs
Bright Data Paid
IPRoyal Free monthly
Oxylabs 20% free per quarter, then paid
Smartproxy Free monthly
Participants Domains Threads Traffic
Blazing SEO Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bright Data One free / more or unlimited for extra fee Unlimited Limited / unlimited for extra fee
IPRoyal Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Oxylabs Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Smartproxy Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

For location variety go with Bright Data or Oxylabs. Both providers allow selecting the most countries, several locations per plan, and even particular cities. Bright Data’s system is the most comfortable, as it supports self-service; Oxylabs requires talking with an account manager. Blazing SEO allows choosing cities in the dashboard if the location supports it.

Getting SOCKS5 proxies won’t be a problem. Four out of the five participants offer the protocol as an option. It works great for datacenter addresses, as they have high throughput and no traffic limits. Smartproxy promises to introduce the feature soon™.

Premium providers are stingy about replacing blocked IPs. Bright Data charges for each replacement, while Oxylabs has a threshold how many IPs clients can burn. IPRoyal and Smartproxy, both of which target smaller clients, can replace the whole proxy list monthly, no questions asked. Blazing SEO is highly flexible in that you can change individual IPs you don’t like.

Most services are truly unlimited – Bright Data’s can be if you shell out the cash. Four out of the five providers deliver impose no limits on traffic, threads, or domains clients can access. Bright Data does, but it also has an option to remove them. As we’ll see, limitations make a part of the provider’s business model.

Datacenter proxy services are usually straightforward about pricing: buy a set number of IPs, pay per unit, use them to your heart’s content. But that’s not always the case. One provider we’ve tried allows customizing nearly everything, from traffic to threads, refreshes, and even connection quality. There’s a lot of room for variations, even if the market chooses not to apply them. 

Let’s have a look at what strategies the participants choose and how they position themselves.

Participants Model Duration Upsells Location Pricing
Blazing SEO Pay per IP Monthly, yearly More IP replacements Non-US IPs cost up to 75% more
Bright Data Monthly, yearly More domains, more traffic, IP replacements, city targeting All locales cost the same
IPRoyal Monthly All locales cost the same
Oxylabs Monthly, yearly More IP replacements Non-US IPs cost up to 66% more
Smartproxy Monthly, yearly
Participants 10 IPs 50 IPs 100 IPs 250 IPs 1,000 IPs
Blazing SEO $2/IP $2/IP $1.7/IP $1.7/IP $1.5/IP
Bright Data (1 domain, 5 GB/IP) $1.5/IP $1.5/IP $1.5/IP $1.2/IP $1/IP
Bright Data (all domains, unlimited traffic) $3.8/IP $3.8/IP $3.24/IP $3.2/IP $2.55/IP
IPRoyal $1.5/IP $1.4/IP $1.3/IP
Oxylabs $1.8/IP $1.5/IP
Smartproxy $1.46/IP $1.35/IP $1.3/IP $1.2/IP
Average $2.2/IP $2.03/IP $1.82/IP $1.85/IP $1.56/IP
Provider Trial Refund Both
Blazing SEO
Bright Data
IPRoyal
Oxylabs
Smartproxy

All participants have straightforward pricing models – except for Bright Data. The company’s pricing structure is as much customizable as it’s complex. Clients can choose the number of domains they want to access, enter their traffic needs, and enable the ability to target particular cities. Naturally. each feature bloats the price, to the point where a barebones configuration costs 2-3 times less than the full one.

Some providers charge more for non-US proxies. Blazing SEO and Oxylabs are a case in point – their proxies outside of the US are 50% or more expensive, based on the location. The others don’t follow this practice.

Each participants positions itself differently:

  • IPRoyal goes cheap and targets smaller clients – while you can buy more than 100 IPs in the dashboard, the price per IP remains the same.
  • Smartproxy also targets bargain hunters; but its plans start higher up and continue scaling to thousands of IPs.
  • Blazing SEO tries to capture all potential customers with broad plans and mid-level prices that scale rather slowly.
  • Bright Data aims for a wide range of clients as well but does so through customizability. It ends up favoring better-paying users that can better rates by committing to spend set amounts.
  • Oxylabs makes itself approachable to premium clients only with plans that start from $180.


Overall, IPRoyal and Smartproxy can be treated as affordable providers, Blazing SEO as a mid-level provider, and Oxylabs as a premium one. It’s hard to position Bright Data; but, giving its proxies the same features as the competitors makes it the most expensive option (at least when buying US IPs).

Here’s our evaluation of the providers based on the aspects covered:

All in all, IPRoyal and Smartproxy are value-oriented providers. They compensate for limited features – mostly in terms of location targeting – with lower prices. This makes the providers a bargain for clients that are content with the limitations, and a less suitable choice for those that need more. Smartproxy seems to scale better of the two.

Blazing SEO’s graph is highly balanced, and we believe that to be the case. The provider offers a respectable number of locations and features, prices that aren’t the lowest but cover the whole range, and great performance.

Bright Data and Oxylabs steer toward the premium end of the scale. Both have an impressive number of features, and both cost above average. Overall, Bright Data provides more customization options, which come at a price. It’s just a little unnerving that the proxies we received were outperformed even by the entry-level providers. Oxylabs performed very well, as expected from a premium service.

Residential Proxies

Residential proxies are a second popular option for proxy servers. They’re used when datacenter IPs can’t access targets due to IP reputation checks, or when granular location targeting is needed. With the web becoming more gated and geographically tailored, this covers more use cases with each passing year.

Our residential proxy evaluation is perhaps the most complete out of the four services. First, because it includes all the largest providers (truth be told, our selection procedure was designed around this proxy type); and second, because we’ve had several years to refine the methodology.

You’ll find this section divided into four parts (click on them to expand):

Residential IP pools are in constant flux – their availability changes hourly, as proxy peers connect and disconnect their devices from the network. It’s very hard to capture such a pool’s size over time, so the numbers that providers advertise are monthly averages at best. They’re often inflated for marketing purposes and always change from one month to the other.

At the same time, a residential proxy network’s size is the most important criterion in choosing a service. No matter how good the performance is or how many features they can get, clients will always prioritize having enough unique IPs in locations they care about.

Our residential proxy pools tests measure:

  1. How many unique IPs the providers have globally.
  2. How many unique IPs they control in seven high-value locations.
  3. What percentage of those IPs is really residential.
Provider Monthly IPs
Blazing SEO 10,000,000
Bright Data 72,000,000
GeoSurf 3,700,000
IPRoyal 2,000,000
NetNut 20,000,000
Oxylabs 100,000,000
PacketStream 7,000,000
RSocks 8,000,000
Smartproxy 40,000,000
Shifter 30,000,000
SOAX 5,000,000
  • Locations: All
  • Requests: 1,000,000 over 18 days
  • Locations: US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Canada, Australia
  • Requests: 300,000 each over 14 days; CA, AU – 50,000 each over 7 days


Hover to see numbers, click on country labels to filter.

IPs that the IP2Location database treats as belonging to a landline and/or mobile internet service provider. If not, the IP can be commercial or educational, but most often datacenter.

Provider Global US UK DE FR RU CA AU
Blazing SEO 97.86% 93.36% 97.31% 96.99% 94.53% 98.66% 100.00% 81.82%
Bright Data 97.83% 99.21% 98.80% 98.30% 95.12% 97.76% 98.78% 98.78%
GeoSurf 93.53% 78.78% 85.89% 93.06% 87.24% 92.88% 88.66% 92.59%
IPRoyal 95.98% 89.34% 96.42% 91.13% 95.86% 98.33% 99.15% 96.35%
NetNut 86.19% 67.26% 96.78% 92.87% 93.70% 93.62% 97.43% 91.38%
Oxylabs 95.81% 94.23% 95.47% 95.53% 95.92% 96.78% 95.34% 97.55%
PacketStream 95.85% 89.37% 96.61% 91.24% 95.01% 98.28% 99.23% 96.66%
RSocks 91.53% 96.93% 96.03% 97.29% 97.75% 93.32% 95.02% 98.11%
Smartproxy 95.34% 95.13% 97.31% 95.33% 96.43% 96.27% 97.02% 97.84%
Shifter 94.98% 81.97% 81.52%
SOAX 91.78% 95.54% 94.44% 94.76% 93.40% 92.60% 93.39% 94.77%

Some advertised proxy networks are 20 and more times larger compared to smaller competitors. With 100 million monthly IPs, Oxylabs controls the largest residential proxy pool in theory. Compared to GeoSurf’s 3.5 million IPs, the difference is gigantic.

Providers with the largest IP pools can back their claims; the others – not always. In our tests, Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy returned 2-20 times more unique IPs than the competition. NetNut also performed well. However, providers like PacketStream and RSocks could barely beat GeoSurf despite advertising several times more IPs.

Shifter and especially Blazing SEO were the furthest from their claims. We can understand Blazing SEO, as it’s a barely out-of-beta service. Shifter, however, underperformed.

A large proxy pool doesn’t guarantee IPs in high-value locations. Not always, at least. Providers with the most IPs overall also performed well with specific country pools. PacketStream, RSocks, and SOAX, on the other hand, had a disproportionate number of Russian addresses and few US or European proxies. GeoSurf overperformed in comparison.

Furthermore, PacketStream and IPRoyal had nearly identical results. We don’t want to jump to conclusions, but the evidence strongly suggests reselling.

Unfortunately, the number of ports we received from Shifter simply wasn’t enough to complete these tests on time.

Most providers really offer residential addresses – but some tend to cheat. Proxies in the US were the worst offenders. Over 30% of NetNut’s IPs were classified as datacenter; the provider likely added its ISP proxies into the pool. GeoSurf surprised with over 15% datacenter (and 5% educational) IPs, which is uncharacteristic for this provider and something we didn’t expect. Shifter also had a fair share of datacenter proxies mixed in – be it the US or UK.

The residential proxy performance benchmarks answer four questions:

  1. How reliably the proxy infrastructure can connect to a target (success rate).
  2. How long it takes to establish a connection (response time).
  3. How well the infrastructure handles load (stress test).
  4. How these results translate to popular targets like Google and Amazon.


The first two were made together with the proxy pool tests; their scale makes the benchmarks highly dependable and resistant to outliers. However, the target tests shouldn’t be taken for granted: we made much fewer connection requests, and the results depend on the web scraping setup.

  • Target: Cloudflare
  • Locations: Global
  • Requests: 1,000,000

Year over Year

  • Target: Cloudflare
  • Locations: Global
  • Requests: 1,000,000

Year over Year

  • Target: Cloudflare
  • Locations: US, UK, DE, FR, RU, CA, AU
  • Requests: 300,000 each
Provider US UK DE FR RU CA AU
Blazing SEO 1.65 1.77 1.64 2.17 2.14 1.20 2.11
Bright Data 1.30 0.72 0.74 0.73 0.99 1.45 1.72
GeoSurf 2.25 2.35 2.18 2.47 2.70 2.89 2.89
IPRoyal 3.11 1.55 1.70 1.85 1.35 1.32 2.50
NetNut 0.86 1.05 1.02 1.35 2.09 1.39 2.08
Oxylabs 1.09 0.50 0.50 0.60 1.25 0.93 1.70
PacketStream 3.08 1.59 1.75 1.74 1.36 1.39 2.63
RSocks 2.18 1.73 2.85 2.36 1.36 1.51 2.88
Smartproxy 1.14 0.60 0.61 0.66 1.33 1.67 1.67
Shifter 1.37 0.83
SOAX 1.92 1.68 2.79 2.16 1.40 1.56 2.69
  • Requests per second: 300
  • Duration: 5 minutes
  • Total requests: 150,000 each

10 Out of 11 providers are able to achieve over 90% success rate. This shows that nowadays proxy companies have robust infrastructure. Only RSocks dropped the ball, which is strange considering that we recently tested the same pool and got nearly a 99% success rate. But the scope was smaller (250k vs 1 million connection requests), and maybe things have changed since then.

This year, it’s hard to single out a leader, as Blazing SEO, Bright Data, Oxylabs, Smartproxy, and SOAX all linger around the 99% mark.

Response time depends on IP location and differs up to 3 times between providers. The average response time across the board was around 1.9 seconds. Oxylabs and Bright Data are the obvious speed kings: the former was up to three times faster compared to IPRoyal and PacketStream. Smartproxy and NetNut are close behind. The others gravitate around 2-2.5 seconds.

The response time for individual countries suggests where the providers have their load balancing servers. For example, NetNut was very speedy in the US but not so much in Russia. RSocks and SOAX – the other way around. Bright Data and Oxylabs were amazingly fast in Europe, especially Oxylabs with a 0.5 s response time (!) in the UK. However, it’s hard to explain PacketStream’s sluggishness in the US, as it’s an America-based provider.

NetNut’s and SOAX’s results have improved over year, PacketStream’s declined. Compared to the year before, SOAX has made the biggest improvement in response time and NetNut in success rate. Team SOAX told us they were running constant routing experiments, but we didn’t expect the change to be this notable (3.69 -> 2.34 seconds). For some reason, PacketStream’s success rate has markedly declined – maybe because of high network load.

Most providers can handle running hundreds of requests per second. This year, our stress test didn’t tell much: it failed to make a dent in all but one proxy network. PacketStream’s success rate suffered, but that might have coincided with outside causes. That said, the test did have an impact on response time. Most providers saw it increase, but GeoSurf and SOAX performed even faster than they had otherwise.

  • Location: US
  • Targets: AliExpress, Amazon, Bing, Booking, Craigslist, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Walmart, Yahoo
  • Requests: ~1,000 each
  • Location: US
  • Targets: AliExpress, Amazon, Bing, Booking, Craigslist, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Walmart, Yahoo
  • Requests: ~1,000 each

AliExpress

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.59
Bright Data 99.87% 0.13% 0.00% 1.94
IPRoyal 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.99
Oxylabs 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.40
Smartproxy 99.30% 0.07% 0.00% 1.77

Amazon

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 93.86% 1.28% 4.86% 2.58
Bright Data 70.36% 2.08% 27.55% 2.86
IPRoyal 77.14% 0.20% 22.66% 2.20
Oxylabs 95.43% 2.52% 2.05% 2.61
Smartproxy 95.85% 0.80% 3.35% 2.62

Craigslist

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.66
Bright Data 57.26% 0.20% 42.54% 2.35
IPRoyal 99.93% 0.07% 0.00% 1.12
Oxylabs 99.94% 0.06% 0.00% 1.16
Smartproxy 73.12% 0.00% 26.88% 1.56

Walmart

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.41% 0.46% 0.13% 1.35
Bright Data 99.87% 0.13% 0.00% 1.94
IPRoyal 99.94% 0.06% 0.00% 1.07
Oxylabs 99.68% 0.32% 0.00% 1.03
Smartproxy 99.87% 0.07% 0.00% 1.30

Google

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 96.23% 1.29% 2.48% 3.42
Bright Data
GeoSurf 93.76% 3.17% 3.07% 3.28
IPRoyal 92.99% 1.75% 5.26% 4.73
NetNut 1.21% 98.79% 0.00% 2.17
Oxylabs
PacketStream 56.02% 24.44% 19.54% 2.58
RSocks 89.05% 10.95% 0.00% 3.20
Smartproxy 92.95% 2.63% 4.42% 1.52
Shifter 71.70% 5.34% 22.96% 2.34
SOAX 98.95% 0.57% 0.48% 3.20

Bing

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.27% 0.73% 0.00% 2.92
Bright Data 97.29% 2.71% 0.00% 4.25
GeoSurf 96.50% 3.50% 0.00% 3.27
IPRoyal 98.36% 1.64% 0.00% 4.65
NetNut 87.00% 13.00% 0.00% 5.70
Oxylabs 99.49% 0.51% 0.00% 2.03
PacketStream 91.51% 8.49% 0.00% 3.64
RSocks 92.83% 7.17% 0.00% 2.73
Smartproxy 97.39% 2.61% 0.00% 1.39
Shifter 95.00% 4.94% 0.00% 2.04
SOAX 99.00% 0.62% 0.00% 2.59

Yahoo

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.53% 0.47% 2.61
Bright Data 99.45% 0.55% 3.91
GeoSurf 96.99% 3.00% 3.12
IPRoyal 98.31% 1.69% 4.06
NetNut 90.47% 9.52% 5.46
Oxylabs 99.07% 0.92% 2.46
PacketStream 91.98% 8.02% 4.05
RSocks 88.71% 11.29% 2.90
Smartproxy 99.35% 0.65% 1.62
Shifter 94.95% 5.05% 2.20
SOAX 99.62% 0.38% 2.72

Facebook

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.10% 0.90% 0.00% 3.54
Bright Data 99.13% 0.87% 0.00% 4.03
GeoSurf 96.03% 3.97% 0.38% 4.18
IPRoyal 96.66% 3.34% 0.00% 5.62
NetNut 87.75% 12.25% 0.00% 4.36
Oxylabs 97.97% 2.03% 0.24% 2.55
PacketStream 88.00% 12.00% 0.00% 5.25
RSocks 90.08% 9.92% 0.39% 3.62
Smartproxy 96.74% 3.26% 0.00% 2.05
Shifter 95.12% 4.88% 0.00% 2.81
SOAX 99.31% 0.69% 0.00% 2.97

Instagram

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 99.44% 0.38% 0.19% 3.67
Bright Data 99.16% 0.84% 0.00% 4.70
GeoSurf 94.71% 4.09% 1.21% 4.43
IPRoyal 88.85% 7.01% 4.14% 5.46
NetNut 87.34% 11.54% 1.13% 4.99
Oxylabs 96.32% 2.62% 1.06% 2.97
PacketStream 80.66% 15.40% 3.94% 5.65
RSocks 88.30% 8.26% 3.44% 3.88
Smartproxy 94.27% 3.05% 2.68% 1.98
Shifter 93.51% 5.83% 0.67% 2.98
SOAX 97.20% 1.78% 1.03% 3.43

Booking

Provider Success Rate Errors Blocks Response Time
Blazing SEO 97.89% 2.11% 0.00% 5.18
Bright Data 74.07% 25.93% 0.00% 13.48
GeoSurf 95.85% 9.39% 0.00% 4.98
IPRoyal 97.46% 2.54% 0.00% 6.46
NetNut 81.85% 18.15% 0.00% 9.27
Oxylabs 99.29% 0.71% 0.00% 3.73
PacketStream 92.88% 7.12% 0.00% 5.19
RSocks 91.92% 8.08% 0.00% 4.65
Smartproxy 99.73% 0.27% 0.00% 2.97
Shifter 94.73% 5.27% 0.00% 3.95
SOAX 99.13% 0.87% 0.00% 4.41

Residential IPs rarely get blocked – unless it’s Amazon or Google. The majority of requests failed due to connection errors, primarily timeouts. Our 30 second timeout threshold is pretty strict, but providers like Oxylabs and SOAX didn’t seem to care. However, it did have a noticeable impact on PacketStream, RSocks, and especially NetNut.

The two hardest targets were Google and Amazon. They caused the largest number of blocks in the form of fake 200 codes (Amazon) and 429 CAPTCHAs (Google). For some reason, NetNut’s results were catastrophic with Google, where only 1% of the requests reached the target. We even double checked if targeting Google was allowed. It was. Craigslist caused issues for IPRoyal, and providers faced some blocks by Instagram; otherwise, all did well.

Smartproxy performed the best with popular websites. The provider had shown strong results already in our general benchmarks. But for some reason, it did particularly well with target tests: the success rate remained high and the response time beat all other competitors.

Bright Data gave us a proxy-based API instead, which didn’t always work out. The provider insisted that we use Web Unlocker which adds extra web scraping features onto the proxy network. It was obviously optimized for websites like Amazon but slowed to a crawl against Walmart and Craigslist. This reduced the overall response time by a lot. On the other hand, Bright Data was the only provider with zero blocks. So maybe its strengths would have shown better on a larger scale.

A provider’s features determine how well the proxy network can adapt to particular needs of the user. If an IP pool includes addresses from Italy, but provides no method to target them, this will make it impossible to track keywords reliably or test an application in that location. If the proxy IPs have inconvenient rotation options, it will require extra development effort to customize them as needed. You get the drift.

By features, we primarily mean the following functionality:

  1. Location coverage and the ability to filter them.
  2. IP rotation options that either enable the famous unlimited scaling of residential IPs or allow creating sticky sessions.
  3. Supported protocols, namely HTTP(S) and SOCKS5.
  4. Authentication options like username and password, as well as creating sub-users.
Provider Available Countries Country filter State filter City filter ASN filter
Blazing SEO 100+
Bright Data 150+ ✅ (paid) ✅ (paid)
GeoSurf 150+
IPRoyal 137
NetNut 150+
Oxylabs 150+ ✅ (paid)
PacketStream 129
RSocks 150+
Smartproxy 150+
Shifter 150+ ✅ (paid) ✅ (paid)
SOAX 150+
Provider Every request Sticky session Time intervals
Blazing SEO As long as available
Bright Data Customizable with Proxy Manager
GeoSurf 1 min, 10 mins, 30 mins
IPRoyal 1 second - 24 hours
NetNut As long as available
Oxylabs 10 mins, 30 mins
PacketStream As long as available
RSocks 15 mins
Smartproxy 1 min, 10 mins, 30 mins
Shifter 5-60 mins
SOAX 90-600 sec
Provider HTTP(S) SOCKS5
Blazing SEO
Bright Data
GeoSurf
IPRoyal
NetNut
Oxylabs
PacketStream
RSocks
Smartproxy
Shifter
SOAX
Provider Credentials IP Whitelisting Sub-Users
Blazing SEO Resellers only
Bright Data ✅ (50, more paid)
GeoSurf
IPRoyal Resellers only
NetNut ✅ (bigger plans) ✅ (unlimited)
Oxylabs ✅ (up to 3)
PacketStream Resellers only
RSocks
Smartproxy ✅ (up to 5 for non-reseller plans)
Shifter Resellers only
SOAX Resellers only
  • Does not allow reselling: Bright Data, GeoSurf, RSocks
  • Allows reselling: everyone else

150+ countries and city targeting are becoming a standard, ASN filtering remains a luxury. Most providers offers country-level out of the box. Only Shifter has this functionality as an upsell (in 2022!). City targeting has become a commodity as well. ASN filtering, however, is a different matter. Out of the few providers that offer it, only SOAX does so for free. Bright Data, on the other hand, charges double (!) the regular price.

The question whether to allow filtering ASNs is as much political as it’s technical. Small proxy pools simply don’t have enough IPs to ensure a good user experience. Providers realize that and are cautious. It could also be the case of protecting the proxy network.

Everyone supports sticky sessions, some less flexible than others. There are three approaches: as long as available (PacketStream, NetNut), fixed time intervals (Oxylabs, Smartproxy), or highly customizable (SOAX, IPRoyal). Newer providers tend to prefer the third approach. We’ve also seen proxy sellers that force rotation after a specific amount of requests, but none of the participants practice this (except maybe for Bright Data with its Proxy Manager).

On the other hand, rotation on every connection request is almost universal. Shifter’s method is the most limiting, as it charges for ports and only rotates IPs every five minutes. It caused us to omit some of the tests because even with a $10,000 plan, we couldn’t complete them on time.

Nearly half of the providers still don’t have SOCKS5. More particularly, five out of 11 providers allow connecting via HTTP(S) only. It’s interesting that most of them are older companies; we could assume they either haven’t found the need to implement SOCKS5 or decided against it after calculating the benefits and risks. Newer providers think otherwise: they both support SOCKS5 and make it easily accessible (unlike Bright Data, which requires additional software to enable the functionality).

Both authentication methods are common, sub-users come with reseller plans. Only PacketStream fails to support IP whitelisting. Shifter and RSocks have it the other way around: that’s the only authentication method they offer. Knowing that it’s not ideal for users with dynamic IPs, both have implemented workarounds. Shifter gives 100 whitelist slots hoping that they’ll be enough, while RSocks has built a piece of software that periodically re-authenticates the address.

Providers aren’t keen on allowing sub-users for their regular clients. The ones that do mostly serve premium customers that are likely to need proxies for multiple projects. Having separate users helps to keep their traffic use and expenses clear.

Resellers are welcome. Eight out of 11 participants support reselling or have white-label programs. Three don’t, but their reasons differ. Whereas Bright Data has an explicit no-reselling policy, RSocks probably can’t resell because it’s already a reseller and the source forbids it. And GeoSurf, to our knowledge, simply doesn’t allow it.