NetNut is a premium proxy provider, established in 2017 in Israel. Somewhere along the road, it was acquired by a cybersecurity company Safe-T group. NetNut offers datacenter and residential IPs for clients that want to protect their brands, conduct business intelligence, cop sneakers, or do some plain-ole web scraping.
We could wrap up the introduction here and move on with the review, if not for one interesting fact: NetNut is the largest provider of static residential proxies. These IP addresses come straight from ISPs and not end users, which gives them the speed and stability of datacenter IPs. At the same time, they’re as hard to detect as residential proxies – websites will see your scraper as any regular Joe from Cincinnati or wherever you decide to locate it.
And while NetNut is no longer the only provider of static residential proxies, it remains unique.
How? Well, NetNut uses the services of another company called DiviNetworks. It’s effectively a bandwidth-sharing business; but instead of buying traffic from people, Divi does so with internet service providers. This allows NetNut to get IP spaces with prior usage history. You might even be using them in parallel with end users. As a result, NetNut’s proxies should be harder to block than other static residential IPs which often come unused.
Historically, NetNut always aimed at clients with large needs: social media marketers, search engine scrapers, and sneaker resellers. This is no longer the case. In January 2021, the provider foreshadowed changes by launching a free VPN; a month later, NetNut strengthened its lineup with datacenter and peer-to-peer residential proxies. At the same time, it greatly expanded the pricing plans to include entry customers.
So, while NetNut remains a premium-first provider, it now covers a much wider range of users and use cases. For that, the company received our Contender of the Year award. We’ll see where NetNut’s ambitions will lead it in the future.
But enough theorizing. How do NetNut’s proxies work now, and where does the orange squirrel stand compared to other top residential proxy providers? Let’s find out.
- Static residential proxies
- Good performance
- Dedicated support
- Generous free trial
- Not beginner friendly
- Expensive smaller plans
- Feature lock
- Proxy types: Datacenter (shared), residential (rotating,static)
- Protocols: HTTP(S)
- Locations: 150+ countries
- Audience: Hustlers to enterprises (favoring the latter)
- Resellers: Yes
- Extras: API, browser extension
- Support: 24/7, account manager
- Pricing: From $20/1GB ($20/GB)
- Payment options: PayPal, Credit Card
- Trial: 7 days
NetNut Proxy Networks
NetNut controls three proxy networks: shared datacenter IPs, peer-to-peer residential proxies, and its signature static residential proxies. NetNut also has a proxy-based web scraping API but does very little to advertise it.
As things usually go with these proxy types, datacenter IPs are best for running small-scale projects with unprotected websites. Rotating residential proxies support more locations and are harder to detect. Static residential IPs work well with protected targets when you need a consistent identity.
Barebones service for simple web scraping.
NetNut’s most approachable service is its network of datacenter proxies. This is a pool of 50,000 shared IPs from cloud hosting providers. They rotate automatically, which makes the service very attractive for scraping unprotected websites; however, the only available location is the US.
Static Residential Proxies
Limited locations, unlimited session time.
NetNut advertises around 1 million static residential proxies. While their number has actually decreased throughout the year, NetNut remains among the largest vendors of such IPs.
The static residential proxies cover a little over 30 locations, primarily the US and Europe. This is okay for most use cases, though if you want IPs in Africa or smaller South American countries, we recommend NetNut’s rotating residential proxies. You can target cities and states, but only in the US. Otherwise, you’re left with country-level precision.
The proxies use backconnect gateway servers. Because they’re static, they don’t have to rely on end-users and their devices. Instead, the server can hold the same IP indefinitely. Rotation every request is available, though you’ll have to set up custom sticky sessions manually.
NetNut emphasizes that you can use its proxies with all websites, including search engines. This is a welcome approach in times where other providers are starting to require whitelists or shepherd clients toward specialized scraping tools (especially for Google). If you have a particular target in mind, you can ask NetNut for dedicated proxies to use with that website.
Rotating Residential Proxies
Many locations to choose from.
NetNut’s rotating residential proxy network includes between 10-20 million monthly IPs. We can’t know precisely as such IPs come and go – and because NetNut provides conflicting information in different sources.
In any case, the residential proxies cover more than 150 countries, and we had a chance to verify it ourselves. You can target the countries individually.
NetNut provides little information about their rotation settings. But it seems like you can either rotate the IPs every request or create a session to keep the IP until it becomes unavailable.
Managed proxy tool for retrieving data without fail.
NetNut’s best kept secret is its proxy API. The API functions as a managed data retrieval tool, much like Zyte’s Smart Proxy Manager or Bright Data’s Unblocker. Instead of connecting to websites via proxies, here you send a request to NetNut’s API, and it retrieves the information for you. As a result, you should get data with a 100% success rate.
NetNut’s API requires specifying a country and target website. It can also take other parameters like headers and cookies. By default, it retrieves data in .HTML, though .JSON is also an option.
It’s interesting that you can get the results not only via open connection, but also to your specified URL once the job is done. This allows selecting multiple URLs to scrape.
The API is actually not a separate product: it comes included with the more expensive plans. Overall, it’s a pretty useful – but not very polished – proxy API.
Starts off expensive, scales well.
NetNut uses a traffic-based pricing model. You can choose from a wide variety of plans, each having a set amount of gigabytes assigned to it. Custom plans are also available if the options on display aren’t enough for you.
Compared to other residential proxy providers, NetNut leans toward the expensive end of the pricing scale. This is especially true for the entry plans, which start from $25 (static) or $20 (rotating) for 1 GB of data. That said, they do scale well and start getting pretty attractive from 250 GBs and up.
The datacenter proxies are much more affordable, but only relative to NetNut’s residential proxies. They start from $20 for 20 GBs of traffic ($1/GB) and reach $500 for 1 TB ($0.5/GB). Competitors like Smartproxy and Bright Data offer better rates; the one thing that helps NetNut is a relatively low entry threshold.
You can also opt to pay by requests. This model targets customers with very big needs, and it starts from $7,500 per month. Paying for successful requests makes the most sense when you’re scraping large web pages.
Plans differ not only by traffic but also features. For instance, the smallest option won’t give you Skype support, IP whitelisting, or API access. You can unlock them by shelling out more money.
Overall, NetNut’s pricing scheme works in your favor if you have larger needs, but it faces tough competition for smaller projects and tasks. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why the company devotes so much space to resellers on its homepage.
NetNut Performance Tests
Fast – but not always residential – proxies.
We tested NetNut’s residential proxies for this year’s Proxy Market Research. This involved making more than 2 million connection requests over a period of three weeks. Our main target was a Cloudflare server in the US. Results with individual websites might differ, depending on your web scraper configuration and other factors.
We expected to receive access to the static residential proxies, but it looks like what we received was a mixed pool of static and peer-to-peer IPs.
In any case, the results were good but not perfect.
84.29% of the requests we made managed to successfully reached Cloudlare’s server. It’s not a great result, considering that Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Luminati all exceeded 99%. The most frequent cause for failure was timeouts (11.1%). This was curious considering that the IPs were otherwise pretty fast, with an 1.4s average response time.
When we put the proxy server under 500 requests per second, the success rate change very little. However, the response time more than doubled (2.9s). This is pretty alarming, as we had no such issues the last time we tested NetNut.
The proxy pool itself was divisive. Even though 99.9% of the proxies used the IPv4 protocol, only 58.7% came from residential users. A whopping 35.8% were identified as datacenter addresses, which doesn’t bode well for the IP reputation. I assume it’s because NetNut had some static IPs mixed in, and those are known to come from small, regional ISPs.
Over three weeks, the proxy server was very stable. That said, the average success rate fluctuation during general use was nearly 5%, which is pretty high compared to other premium providers.
How to Use NetNut
Limited self-service, stats-rich dashboard.
To create an account with NetNut, you no longer have to fill in forms and wait to be contacted on Skype. After a recent update, you can simply complete a 3-step process and register by yourself.
In the process, you’ll need to enter your full name, username, email address, password, and use case.
NetNut imposes a KYC check based on the proxy type. The datacenter IPs have no KYC, meaning that you can start using them almost immediately and without contact. To activate the residential proxies, you’ll have to fill in a form with your use case and some identifying information. This is to prevent abuse and protect the proxy peers.
NetNut’s dashboard is a mixed bag. Some parts are very fleshed out, while others are lacking or missing altogether.
In the dashboard, you’ll be able to track your usage stats, invoices, see active plans and buy new ones. You’ll also be able to set up a proxy server, even if the process is somewhat convoluted and unintuitive. Finally, there are some links to integration instructions, a list of available countries, and a form to contact support.
NetNut seems to pay particular attention to statistics: you’ll find several pages dedicated to tracking your proxy use visually and even an API for programmatic access. They are able to show your proxy use by sub-user, domain, country, and even display the encountered error codes.
The dashboard also includes instructions for proxy setup. They showcase some basic hostname:port configurations and API code samples for popular programming languages. However, the examples are all static, so they’re not very comfortable to use. Some information, like the list of available cities, is missing altogether, making you play a guessing game. NetNut could learn a thing or two from Smartproxy or PacketStream in this regard.
NetNut’s proxies use backconnect servers. This means that instead of a proxy list, you get one address that accesses the provider’s proxy pool and automatically rotates IPs in the back end. NetNut has special addresses for Google, Instagram, and sneaker sites.
To specify a particular location, you simply add a string to the username with the country code. Sticky sessions have their own string where you assign a session ID. There’s no option to select gateways that would rotate the IPs automatically after some time.
All in all, I found NetNut to be very stingy when it comes to information, and the user experience could really be improved with better documentation. Maybe I’m saying this just because I’m so used to self-service, but I found myself grasping for information more than I would’ve liked to.
Lackluster documentation, tiered support.
NetNut has historically had issues with presenting information. Despite the provider’s best efforts, many of them remain unsolved.
That’s not to say that NetNut has no documentation: there is a rather lengthy FAQ and integration guidelines with major tools. However, if you want to find out if non-resellers can create sub-users, how to target cities, the rotation options of the residential IPs, or how the scraping API works, you’ll have to dig deep or give up and write to NetNut directly. At times this can be frustrating.
That said, NetNut seems to have finally started prioritizing user experience, so hopefully things will change soon.
Customers with smaller plans can reach NetNut by email only. If you have bought a larger plan, NetNut will give you a dedicated account manager. This way, most of the communication is done via Skype.
When I registered for a free trial, one of NetNut’s managers messaged me after 15 minutes or so. He immediately enabled my test account and provided me with instructions. They usually create a separate chat for active users and respond quite quickly.
However, that’s only during the working hours. I found the email support to be significantly slower: on average, it took them more than an hour to respond. This isn’t ideal for emergencies.
So, what can I say about NetNut? Quite a few positive things, actually.
The little squirrel packs a punch. Its residential proxies are stable and perform well. The speeds, while not quite as fast as advertised, still manage to compete with the market leaders. Being able to keep the same residential IP for however long you want is an underestimated bonus.
Proxies aside, improvements are needed. This applies especially to the user experience side of things: documentation is lacking, setup instructions unfriendly, and customer support limited to Skype. That’s not to say the support is bad – quite the opposite, actually. But the whole interaction with NetNut feels like it hasn’t been perfected yet.
Of course, NetNut is still a young provider. It’s only a matter of time until it streamlines things. Even now, it’s a terrific choice for scraping, market research, even social media automation – especially if you use thousands of gigabytes of data. Scale and flexibility are NetNut’s strong points, and they’re not to be underestimated.
All in all, NetNut is not quite the highest tier provider just yet, but it’s surely getting there.