Smartproxy is an international proxy provider established in 2018. It offers two rotating proxy networks, dedicated datacenter proxies, and several web scraping tools.
I consider Smartproxy to be a general-purpose mid-range provider. This means two things: 1) it tries to cover all use cases, from web scraping to sneaker copping and social media management; 2) it charges prices that are at or slightly below the industry average – cheaper than the premium providers but still requiring some commitment.
Does this make Smartproxy mediocre? Not exactly. Instead, it manages to hit a sweet spot where the services remain accessible but ensure much of the same experience as Bright Data or Oxylabs. And by saying that I mean it: the provider displayed some of the best results in our tests, both in performance and pool size.
Smartproxy tries to further sweeten the deal by working hard on user experience. It has detailed documentation, convenient proxy management tools, and some of the best customer service on the market. You also get free apps like an antidetect browser or a visual web scraper. All in all, the complete package is so good that we gave the company the Best Value Provider award.
So is Smartproxy perfect, then? Also no. It fails to cover services like mobile and ISP proxies, which have become favorites in certain niches. And the products it does offer may lack advanced features like ASN targeting for residential proxies, or more locations in the case of datacenter IPs. But for many use cases, Smartproxy really is one of the best choices you can make.
In this review, I’ll try to show you what exactly makes Smartproxy such a catch.
- Fast and reliable proxies
- Great value
- Useful tools
- 24/7 customer service
- No SOCKS5 protocol
- No mobile or ISP proxies
- Datacenter IPs lack locations
- Proxy networks: Datacenter (rotating, dedicated), residential
- Web scrapers: SERP Scraping API, visual web scraper
- Locations: Worldwide
- Audience: SMBs to enterprises
- Extras: API, browser extension, anonymous browser
- Support: 24/7 via live chat or email
- Payment options: PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin
- Trial: 3-day refund
Smartproxy was founded in 2018 by “a group of four international entrepreneurs”. It started out in reaction to premium proxy providers like Luminati and GeoSurf, which were only accessible to business customers and had cumbersome onboarding procedures.
The company first resold addresses from others. Nowadays, it has a diverse pool that combines proxies from various sources. According to Smartproxy, they’re carefully vetted, but the provider doesn’t go into much detail about the topic.
Smartproxy built its business on residential and rotating datacenter proxies. At the time, they managed to fill a gap between premium providers and cheap yet mediocre services like Storm Proxies. The IPs performed well while costing less than the high-end counterparts. It also helped that Smartproxy heavily invested into customer experience: quality documentation, responsive support, and user-friendly interface.
This, along with some targeted marketing efforts, allowed Smartproxy to quickly sweep up many of the sneakerheads, Instagram managers, and small-time scrapers that were looking for affordable residential addresses. While its website is still heavily oriented towards these audiences, the company has been gradually expanding its reach.
Today, Smartproxy can be considered one of the largest proxy providers, probably the third after Bright Data and Oxylabs. Rotating proxies remain the backbone of its service, but there are now more products to choose from (like dedicated proxies and a web scraper), with plans to introduce mobile and ISP proxies in the future.
Smartproxy Proxy Networks
Smartproxy’s main product is its rotating proxy networks. You can choose from datacenter or residential addresses. Both let you access large pools of IPs through gateway servers.
If you’d prefer proxies that are static and not shared (rotating IPs are always shared), Smartproxy also offers dedicated datacenter addresses. These IPs come from the US and enjoy the usual benefits of dedicated addresses, namely unlimited traffic and concurrent connection requests.
A large pool of IPs from real people’s devices.
Rotating residential proxies is Smartproxy’s flagship service made for accessing strict websites. It comprises a pool of 40 million monthly IPs borrowed from real people’s devices. To give you some context, this is among the larger proxy networks on the market, at least looking at advertised numbers.
The service supports granular filtering options: you can get IPs from any country, state, or city. The rotation options include not only every connection request but also 1, 10, and 30 minute thresholds. It’s convenient compared to services like PacketStream, where your only option for sticky sessions is to keep the same IP as long as it remains available.
As is often the case with residential proxies, the service is limited only by your traffic allowance. As long as you have some, you can make as many connection requests as you like. Missing are SOCKS5 support and ASN targeting, but these proxies should be more than enough for most tasks.
Smartproxy’s residential proxies used to have the highest starting price out of the provider’s three proxy networks, but now you can pay as you go. It’s not cheap compared to the providers like PacketStream but beats most premium and mid-range alternatives. So, these residential IPs can be a viable choice for small projects that need quality addresses.
To avoid getting stuck between pricing tiers, Smartproxy allows topping up each plan at the same rate per gigabyte. This is limited to 80% of the plan’s worth, at which point it makes sense to simply buy a bigger plan.
The proxies can be a solid option for large projects, as well. Smartproxy scales very competitively into hundreds of gigabytes, and some premium options fail to catch up even at a terabyte of data.
We tested Smartproxy’s residential proxies for 2022 Proxy Market Research. They were among the best performers out of 11 participants, whether in pool size, success rate, or response time. In terms of overall performance, they rival Bright Data and Oxylabs, which form the highest tier of providers.
Throughout the testing period, we received a large number of unique IPs, both using the global gateway and particular country pools. For example, 300,000 connection requests via the US gateway gave us over 160 thousand addresses, while providers like IPRoyal or RSocks had around 10,000. Even in locations like Canada and Australia we managed to get over 18,000 IPs when many others struggled to muster a few thousand.
While testing the proxy infrastructure, we successfully connected nearly 99% of the time. The response time was around twice lower compared to most mid-range and cheap competitors.
The results translated well to real-world targets like Google and Amazon: Smartproxy retained a ~98% success rate, and it even managed to reach Amazon in fewer than two seconds on average.
Rotating Datacenter Proxies
Affordable service for simple web scraping.
Rotating datacenter proxies are Smartproxy’s entry-level option. They’re made for cost-efficient web scraping when your target doesn’t care about IP reputation or precise location targeting. Their pool consists of 100,000 addresses – you get full access via a gateway server.
You can use these proxies with few limitations other than traffic. This separates Smartproxy from providers like Storm Proxies that base their pricing on threads or ports. Coupled with the fact that the IPs can rotate on every connection request (alternatively, every 30 minutes), it means you’ll be able to scrape fast.
However, the location targeting options are pretty basic. While you can filter proxies by US, European, or random addresses, there’s no way to select a particular state, city – or, in the case of European addresses, country.
The plans start from $30 for 50 GBs of data. The entry threshold is pretty high, but it translates to only $0.7/GB. In comparison, NetNut starts from $20, but you’d have to pay hundreds to reach the same rate per gigabyte. It’s a similar case with Oxylabs. So it’s safe to say that the pricing is highly affordable.
You can top up without getting a new plan, but that will cost you more per gigabyte than the going price (always $0.7/GB).
Dedicated Datacenter Proxies
American IPs you alone use during the subscription period.
These are datacenter proxies you don’t have to share with others. They take the form of IP lists where you buy access to a limited number of proxy servers. Such proxies work great for projects that require full control over the IP address or predictable usage history. They’re also the only option in Smartproxy’s line-up that doesn’t meter traffic use.
The dedicated proxies currently all come from the US. Smartproxy claims it controls 400,000 IP addresses, so they should be able to scale well. At the moment, you can’t target particular states or cities.
Like many other dedicated datacenter services, this one has no limits on bandwidth or the number of connection requests you can make at once. Furthermore, the proxies are static, as you get direct access to the proxy server. You can keep the same IPs indefinitely or replace them during the next billing period; at this time, there’s no way to change individual addresses.
Overall, aside from limited locations, the service is fully featured. The main missing feature is the ability to use the SOCKS5 protocol.
The dedicated proxies are Smartproxy’s most accessible service. The plans start from $40 – which isn’t that low, but it beats most premium providers. For this price, you get 20 IPs ($2/IP), or around the market average. In comparison, Bright Data’s basic configuration (with limited traffic and domains) would cost $1.5/IP, while Blazing SEO charges $2 at this level.
The bigger plans continue to scale well and remain more affordable than the premium competitors even at 1,000 IPs.
We tested 100 IPs. The proxies performed well, and we had few issues accessing strict websites like Amazon. The only targets that caused more challenges were Craigslist and Indeed, which means that some of the IPs had been blacklisted there.
Their response time was fast (Amazon took 2.62 seconds to open on average), and the connection quality was enough to stream even 4K videos. Overall, these are good proxies.
Web Scrapers & Other Tools
Proxies aside, Smartproxy offers several other tools. The first two are meant for web scraping: either manually using your mouse or via a powerful API. The third is a web browser that allows creating multiple profiles with different fingerprints.
SERP Scraping API
An API (and more) for scraping search engines (and more).
As the name suggest, SERP Scraping API is a tool for collecting data from search engine results pages (SERPs). Like all similar APIs, it allows sending requests to Smartproxy’s endpoint and retrieving structured data 100% of the time. Smartproxy takes care of proxy rotation, web scraping logic, and data parsing on its end.
SERP Scraping API is best suited for Google: it can parse all elements of web search and even other properties like Shopping and News. That said, it supports more search engines and even several e-commerce stores like Amazon. If you don’t need data parsing, SERP Scraping API accepts and attempts to scrape any URL.
The tool can integrate as an API or a proxy server. In any case, it returns results over open connection. Alternatively, it’s possible to use SERP Scraping API via templates on Smartproxy’s dashboard. While they only cover the search pages of Google and Amazon, you don’t need any coding experience and get to schedule delivery or get data in .CSV.
Finally, if you have an active SERP API subscription, Smart Scraper gains the ability to schedule requests. That seems to be the only extra feature for now – things like location targeting remain unavailable.
SERP Scraping API starts from $100, which might be pretty steep for light users. However, its rate is competitive and beats most premium services. The plans scale well, and Smartproxy will have no issues working even with enterprise clients.
As with the provider’s proxy networks, you can top up the plan without upgrading. Curiously, it’s the only service that offers a trial instead of a refund.
With a timeout of 150 seconds, Smartproxy’s SERP Scraping API retrieved data from Google without fail. It took fewer than eight seconds on average, so even a much stricter timeout threshold wouldn’t have impacted the success rate much. The output was neatly parsed and included advanced SERP features like the local pack and carousel.
All in all, the tool’s performance was on par with premium services.
A browser extension for point-and-click data collection.
Smart Scraper is a free extension for Chrome-based browsers. At its basic form, the tool is available to anyone, even without a Smartproxy subscription. It allows you to select, structure, and download data from most web pages using only your mouse.
Working with Smart Scraper is easy. After you click a button called Start Scraping, the extension will start highlighting elements you hover on. Once you select the one you need, it will automatically extract all related elements and put them in a column. New click – new column. Once you’re done, you can name the columns and then download the data in either .JSON or .CSV.
A tool for creating multiple unrelated online profiles.
Another interesting tool is X-Browser. It allows creating multiple browser profiles with different fingerprints, so that websites can’t link those profiles to one another or your device. Such tools are called antidetect browsers, and they’re often used to manage multiple social media or ad accounts.
Unlike some other alternatives like Multilogin, X-Browser is mostly meant for individual use. It lacks collaborative features like profile sharing or user permissions. Otherwise, the tool is fully-featured.
One neat thing is that Smartproxy treats X-Browser as an add-on rather than a separate service. In other words, it comes for free with a residential proxy subscription. Considering that similar browsers can charge hundreds of dollars, and that X-Browser allows creating unlimited profiles, it’s a pretty good deal.
How to Use Smartproxy
All of Smartproxy’s products can be bought through self-service. Smartproxy does have a KYC procedure, but you only need to interact with someone if you trigger the provider’s safeguards. Otherwise, it’s enough to answer some basic questions during registration.
Smartproxy’s dashboard includes all the necessary functionality to manage proxies yourself. You can:
- add money to the Smartproxy wallet,
- buy and upgrade plans,
- authorize access to proxies,
- set up the proxy server,
- create sub-users,
- track your traffic use,
- and contact customer support.
Most of the controls are separated by service. For example, rotating datacenter and residential proxies have separate screens for monitoring data use and authorizing access.
There are introductory tutorials and guidance all around to help you get acquainted. However, it doesn’t feel overbearing.
Smartproxy provides visual graphs in the dashboard where you can see how much traffic or requests you’ve expended. You can filter the graphs by sub-user or date. The timeframes are 24 hours, week, month, or custom.
Alternatively, you can fetch traffic expenditure statistics using an API call.
The proxy setup is pretty straightforward:
- Create a user or whitelist an IP address.
- Use a convenient widget to filter the proxy servers you need. The widget asks you to choose your preferred authentication method, IP location, rotation time (every request, 1, 10, 30 minutes), and output format (endpoint:port or HTTP).
- Select how many endpoints you want to generate. Endpoints are gateway addresses that you can use instead of regular proxy IPs. Once you’re done, you can copy the list to the clipboard, export it into .csv or .txt.
In the case of dedicated proxies, the procedure is even simpler: Step 2 gives you a list of addresses which you can copy to your software. There is no Step 3.
Overall, the setup procedure is well thought out. My only larger annoyance is that the widget doesn’t allow choosing from a list of sub-users. It only provides empty fields for entering a username and password by hand.
Smartproxy offers a fleshed-out API for controlling proxies programmatically. The API is available for every user, not only resellers. Its functions include creating and managing sub-users, setting traffic limits, viewing usage reports and subscription status, and filtering available endpoints.
To make your life easier, the API provides handy code examples in several major programming languages.
If you need proxies on your web browser, Smartproxy provides browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. They work only with residential proxy plans. In the settings, you can choose a country, whether you want the proxies to be sticky or rotate, and authorize them either with a whitelisted IP or user:pass credentials.
Smartproxy has got the documentation part down. You’ll find a plethora of instructions covering various aspects of the service:
- a detailed start guide that explains all the concepts and features,
- an FAQ divided into multiple sections by topics,
- integration guides for major bots and automation tools,
- and configuration guides for web browsers and operating systems.
There’s also a separate hub for technical documentation with tips & tricks, code samples, and troubleshooting.
For SERP Scraping API users, Smartproxy has an interactive playground to try out the service.
Smartproxy’s customer service is available round the clock via email or live chat. The main language is English, though the support can also speak Chinese – and, of course, other languages via Google Translate.
Whenever we’ve had to interact with the support agents, we received quick (think nearly instant) and competent responses. In 2020, we even gave Smartproxy an award to acknowledge its customer service. It remains excellent to this day and can be considered one of the provider’s strongest points.
Smartproxy really has struck something great. The company has responsive customer support, performant proxies, and everything set up for convenient self-service.
To be fair, compared to something like Bright Data, Oxylabs, or Geosurf, it’s nothing special. But this is without considering Smartproxy’s final ace – it somehow manages to achieve all this while keeping prices very competitive.
Of course, not everything is perfect. Some corners had to be cut, and here you won’t find things like SOCKS proxies or ASN filtering.
But that’s the whole point of Smartproxy: the company focuses on the functionality that is good enough for the majority of users at the expense of some nice-to-have or niche features. And it is damn good at that.
Based on my experience with Smartproxy, I can recommend it to anyone looking for a great residential proxy provider.
Oxylabs is like a premium version of Smartproxy. It controls a significantly larger IP pool, and you can get specialized APIs that simplify web scraping.
Bright Data is another strong option with more features and powerful proxy management tools. It also sells proxy-based web scraping APIs and even complete data sets.