Let’s explore a winning approach to address this evergreen topic once and for all.
In recent years, data collection has become an increasingly important business need. Because of this, dozens of proxy providers have sprung up, and navigating this sea of different offerings is now more complex than ever.
In this guide, you will gain valuable insights into the key elements to consider when comparing proxy companies. Whether you are a business professional, researcher, or web enthusiast, understanding these elements will help you make an informed decision.
In detail, here you will see:
- 7 aspects to consider when selecting a proxy service
- What to avoid when picking proxy providers
7 Aspects to Consider When Selecting a Proxy Service
Let’s dig into the most important tips to follow when choosing a reliable provider that is right for you.
1. Make Sure the Offer Includes the Types of Proxies You Need
Proxy services generally provide different proxies. Each of them serves different purposes and offers unique benefits, so you have to find the right one/ones for your specific use case. The pros and cons of the four most common types of proxy servers are:
👍 IPs coming from datacenters around the world.
👍 Cheap and fast, representing an ideal solution for web scraping, data mining, and accessing geo-restricted content.
👎 More likely to be detected and blocked due to their non-residential nature.
👍 IPs coming from real residential devices.
👍 High level of anonymity, meaning they are valuable for social media management, ad verification, and accessing location-restricted content.
👎 Slower and more expensive than datacenter proxies.
👍 IPs provided by Internet Service Providers.
👍 Faster than residential proxies and more reliable than datacenter IPs, making them suitable for web browsing, SEO monitoring, and market research.
👎 Usually far less IPs available than datacenter proxies.
👍 IPs coming from real mobile devices.
👍 Useful for mobile app testing, mobile ad verification, and accessing mobile-specific content.
👎 More expensive than other types of proxies.
To learn more, take a look at our in-depth guide on proxy IP types.
Before making a decision, it is crucial to evaluate factors such as cost, speed, detection resilience, and compatibility with your target sites or apps. Once defined your specific requirements, choose a provider that offers the types of proxies that meet your needs.
2. Evaluate the Proxy Network’s Size, IP Pool, and Infrastructure
Proxy network size refers to the number of servers and devices a service controls. A larger network means more options available for customers and a reduced possibility of overcrowding and performance issues. It also implies a higher level of anonymity, since a larger pool of IPs means a lower chance of assigning the same IP twice.
In detail, IP pool refers to the range of unique IP addresses the proxy company offers. An extensive and geographically well-distributed IP pool allows for better rotation and distribution of addresses, reducing the risk of detection and blocking. Plus, it provides access to location-specific content and helps to bypass restrictions. A good provider usually controls millions of IPs.
The infrastructure the provider relies on is another critical aspect to consider. A robust and well-maintained infrastructure ensures stability, uptime, and fast connection speeds. The service should have multiple server locations strategically placed to provide coverage and access to proxies in various regions.
These factors play a significant role in determining the flexibility of the proxy experience you are buying.
Inspecting the pricing structure offered by the vendor is essential to ensure that it is in line with your budget and needs. There are several types of offers used in this industry. To make an informed decision, you must first understand them.
These services may charge:
- Based on the amount of data transferred: Typically measured in gigabytes (GBs), this model is perfect for users who have predictable data usage patterns or want to pay only for the data they consume.
- Per proxy: You pay to gain access to an individual proxy.
- Per use case: Plans including a set of features for a specific use case, such as social media scraping, web scraping, or SEO monitoring.
Horizontally, services also offer subscription-based models where you pay a fixed fee on a monthly or yearly basis for gaining access to get a particular level of service. Typically, subscriptions come with additional benefits, such as priority support or premium features.
Regardless of the pricing model, look for companies that offer a free trial. This way, you can test the service before committing to a paid plan, ensuring it meets your requirements. Additionally, a refund policy provides further peace of mind, letting you get your money back if you are not satisfied.
4. Verify the Provider’s Performance and Availability
A reliable proxy service must prioritize high availability and uptime. This means that their infrastructure is robust, with redundant systems to minimize downtime and advanced downtime monitoring technologies. Look for vendors with a proven track record of reliability, as this directly affects the effectiveness of your processes.
To evaluate performance, take advantage of the free trial to run some tests. Consider connection speed, response time, and success rate. Also, do not forget to take a look at customer reviews and feedback to gain valuable insights into other users’ experiences.
Another aspect to consider is scalability. Determine whether the proxy vendor can handle varying traffic volume without compromising performance. Providers with advanced networks are better equipped to handle increased amounts of requests and maintain optimal performance.
5. Ensure That the Features and Tools Provided Match Your Needs
The best providers of proxies usually come with a wide offer of features and tools. These include:
- Automatic IP rotation: Change the exit IP address at regular intervals or according to the number of requests.
- Location filtering: Select servers from specific geographic countries or cities for accessing region-restricted content or performing localized testing.
- Authentication methods: Username and password, HTTP header authentication, or IP whitelisting to ensure private access to proxies.
- Proxy management tools: An easy-to-use dashboard or desktop app for managing and monitoring your proxy usage, accessing usage statistics, and controlling settings.
- Scraping APIs: Seamlessly integrate proxies into existing systems, applications, and scripts in any programming language.
- Browser Extensions: Enable easy switching between proxies, toggling IP rotation settings, and managing sessions while navigating in the browser.
- Scraping libraries and tools: IDEs, packages, and technologies to help you with web crawling and data scraping.
Remember that the importance of these elements depends on your specific needs. Consider factors such as the nature of your project, desired level of anonymity, geographic targeting requirements, and security considerations. The proxy vendor adopted must suit your objectives.
6. Stress the Customer Service
Place a strong emphasis on the quality of customer service provided. If a proxy stops working, a residential IP gets banned, or something goes wrong, you need to fix the problem as soon as possible. Reliable customer service can greatly improve your overall experience and help you avoid headaches and frustrations.
Prefer providers that guarantee prompt issue resolution. Emergencies can occur at any time, and responsive customer 24/7 support ensures that those problems are addressed quickly. This minimizes downtime and ensures uninterrupted access to proxies.
Direct access to live chat, e-mail, or dedicated account managers is also valuable. These channels allow you to quickly communicate your concerns, receive immediate assistance, and benefit from support tailored to your specific demands.
Technical expertise is another key aspect. A reliable proxy service provider should have a skilled support team that can guide you through proxy setup, configuration, and troubleshooting. Their experience ensures that you can effectively overcome any technical issue that may arise.
Lastly, a top-notch proxy provider will keep you informed about service updates, maintenance schedules, or any potential service interruptions. This proactive communication allows you to stay well-informed about changes that might affect your plan or activities.
7. Prioritize Security, Privacy, and Ethics
Make sure that the service provider operates transparently, prioritizing security, privacy, and ethical aspects. These factors are critical to safeguarding your data, protecting your brand reputation, and enabling responsible use of the proxy.
In particular, they must implement robust security measures to protect your data from unauthorized access and leaks. To verify that, look for secure authentication methods and data encryption during transmission.
Similarly, the best proxies in the market are against illicit activities and ban users who engage in unethical practices. Reviews, testimonials, and case studies will highlight their commitment to confidentiality and data protection.
What to Avoid When Picking Proxy Providers
When selecting a proxy, mind these pitfalls:
- Avoid free services: Free proxies often come with limitations, poor performance, and privacy concerns.
- Avoid providers with less than 99% of uptime/availability: Unreliable providers can disrupt your workflow and hinder your applications.
- Avoid providers that are not willing to answer your questions: The provider should be available to answer any queries even before purchasing a plan.
- Avoid sticking with a vendor you do not like: If the service does not meet your needs, explore other options.
- Avoid solutions involved in illegal activities: Trustworthy provider requires KYC (Know Your Customer) verification, ensuring the integrity of their user base.
In this article, you learned that choosing the right proxy solution requires careful consideration of several factors. These include network size, pricing, performance, features, customer service, and security.
There are dozens of vendors online, each with different characteristics. Going through them all might take months. Plus, not all of them offer a free trial, so it can also cost you money. Save energy and budget with Bright Data!
Bright Data stands out as the best proxy provider, serving over 20,000 customers and fortune 500 companies, due to its commitment to meeting the key requirements presented here. It offers a wide range of proxy types:
- Datacenter proxies – Over 770,000 datacenter IPs
- Residential proxies – Over 72M residential IPs
- ISP proxies – Over 700,000 ISP IPs
- Mobile proxies – Over 7M mobile IPs
In addition, its features include IP rotation, location filtering, scraping APIs, a proxy manager, browser extension, and SDK. This makes it a good option for any use case.
With one of the largest worldwide networks and IP pools, Bright Data ensures high availability, reliability, and optimal performance. Their customer support is available 24/7 through different channels and has been awarded as one of the best in the market. Also, they prioritize ethics, implementing KYC measures and adhering to privacy regulations.
Overall, Bright Data excels in all aspects discussed in this guide, making it one of the best proxy providers available.