Online privacy is more important than ever in this day and age when so many people want to get their hands on your data. Pretty much every major corporation collects data, which is then often used for advertising purposes or sold to third-party companies. On rare occasions, malicious actors might use your data and browsing habits for more nefarious purposes. Either way, it always pays to take some precautions when you’re online, and that’s where a residential proxy service can come in handy.
There are plenty of services like that to choose from nowadays and, unfortunately, not all of them work as good as you might expect. That’s why I took the time to personally test some of the most popular ones to see which of them actually hold up. Before we delve into the services themselves, however, let’s talk a bit about why these types of services are so useful and why you should consider downloading one as soon as possible.
How Residential Proxy Services Work
Proxy services can be used for a wide variety of purposes. For example, they allow you to watch YouTube videos that might be blocked in your country, create multiple accounts on the same website using different IPs, download content from torrent sites, or simply hide your identity while browsing websites that you consider suspicious. Market researchers and web scrapers also greatly benefit from using a proxy.
Needless to say, these types of services are very useful. But how do they work? Just as their name suggests, proxy servers act sort of like a buffer zone between a personal computer and the internet. Regular (or dedicated) proxy servers are linked to data centers, which tend to draw a fair amount of suspicion from anybody who decides to look into your online activity more closely. That’s because these types of servers use static IPs, so you’re basically logging in from the same location every time.
Residential proxy servers, on the other hand, connect to residential IPs. This is the type of IP that is assigned to your household when you sign a contract with an internet service provider. Residential IPs look a lot less suspicious as anyone who is trying to track you will identify you as a real person, rather than some type of bot piggy-backing off a data center server. A lot of residential proxy services also allow you to rotate your IPs. IP rotations can occur every few minutes, automatically whenever you start a new session, or manually whenever you need a new identity. Different services offer different methods of IP rotating.
Residential Proxies vs VPNs
If you’re already somewhat familiar with online security you’ve probably noticed by now that there are a few similarities between proxy servers and VPNs. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a different type of service that works based on a pretty similar principle. Namely, a VPN acts as a middleman between your machine and the internet and makes it appear like your online activities are originating from a different location.
As far as the differences are concerned, there are two important ones that you need to keep in mind. First off, residential proxy services are used for single applications, such as a web browser, online video game or BitTorrent client. Meanwhile, VPNs are able to hide all the traffic coming from your computer, which allows you to better mask your online activities. The second main difference is that connections through a VPN are encrypted while those via proxy servers are not.
In theory, this would make VPNs overall better than proxy servers, however, the situation is a bit more nuanced than that. VPNs tend to be more expensive while also eating up some of your machine’s resources like bandwidth and processing power. Proxy services, on the other hand, will not have any significant impact on your computer’s performance and you can find a lot of free options out there, though the best ones will still cost you. In short, there are pros and cons to each type of service but they both have their uses.
Top 10 Residential Proxy Services in 2019
Luminati is the world’s biggest provider of proxy servers in 2019. The company boasts a very impressive network of over 35 million residential IP addresses spread strategically across major cities around the globe. Luminati takes great pride from the fact that it offers an ethical proxy network that serves a large amount of Fortune 500 enterprises. The company offers a very simple set up process that allows users to install the service and connect to any of its servers in mere minutes. But that’s not all, it also allows unlimited concurrent sessions and access to their own open-sourced proxy manager that provides users with unlimited amount of ports, all this for free.
One of the main reasons why Luminati managed to become so successful is because the company uses a very ingenious strategy to secure residential IPs directly from homeowners. By using Luminati’s SDK, developers are able to monetize their apps while expanding the proxies network. Your resources are shared with Luminati and by doing so, your IP becomes part of the company’s network. This system ensures that Luminati’s pool of IPs come from actual homeowners, which makes them a lot more unlikely to be blocked or blacklisted.
- Exclusive IPs
- 24/7 Support
- 99.99% Uptime
Free Trial Available on Request
Luminati’s only downside is its prices, which are mainly aimed at enterprises rather than individual users. The cheapest package will set you back $500 per month ($12.5/GB) and includes 40 GB of traffic. The company also offers mobile proxies starting at $500 per month along with datacenter proxies and static residential proxies, which feature a “pay as you go” system rather than a monthly commitment. If you feel like $500/mo might be a bit expensive, don’t worry because Luminati offers a free trial so you can test its services and decide for yourself if they’re worth the asking price.
Smartproxy is another big service provider that some of you may be familiar with as they have been on the rise lately. Despite being a younger provider compared to some of the other entries on this list, the company already has a solid worldwide network of over 10 million residential IPs. Smartproxy has very low ban rates and allows users to target IPs from specific countries or even cities. Among other things, the company also lets you use an unlimited number of concurrent connections and threads at any given time.
All the residential IPs used by Smartproxy come from real devices and do not share a subnetwork, which is one of the main reasons behind the low ban rates. Smartproxy uses a couple of different methods of rotating IPs, one of which allows users to request a new IP every session. In addition, there’s also a sticky IP feature that lets you use the same IP for up to 10 minutes before you are assigned a new one. Smartproxy is particularly good for web scrapers but you can use the residential proxy service for a wide variety of other purposes, including social media marketing, SEO, crawling, and more.
Packages for Every Type of Customers
As far as the pricing is concerned, the cheapest package will cost you $75 per month ($15/GB) and includes up to 5 GB of traffic. The company also has a number of pricier monthly plans, including a couple aimed at big enterprises. There is no free trial here, however, the company does have a 3-day money-back guarantee. That’s not a particularly impressive refund policy but it does give you enough time to check out the service and decide whether or not you want to stick with it for the long haul.
Established back in 2012, Microleaves is another provider that boasts a massive network of residential IPs. The company offers amazing speeds of up to 1 GB/s, 99.99% uptime guarantee, and unlimited bandwidth. That last part is particularly important to mention because a lot of providers do impose a bandwidth limit on their customers. However, this type of freedom comes at a cost as each of the company’s monthly plans only includes a fixed number of proxies you can work with.
Microleaves offers three different types of packages – shared HTTP proxies, dedicated HTTP proxies, and backconnect proxies. All shared proxies feature non-sequential IPs and are all located in the US, which can be a pro or a con depending on each user’s specific needs. The cheapest shared package costs $30 per month but only includes 10 proxies. On the high end of things, you can get up to 300 shared proxies for $600 per month. A nice thing about Microleaves is that the company offers an instant scaling feature so you can add more proxies on the fly.
Different Proxies that can Handle the Same Job
Private dedicated proxies are similar to their shared counterparts but cost a bit more. For $25 per month, you only get access to 5 dedicated proxies while $500 per month will buy you 100 of them. Meanwhile, backconnect proxy packages come with a lot more features and prices to match. These proxies are by far the most secure and reliable, however, the cheapest package goes for $250 per month. You only get 25 backconnect residential proxies for that price but there are plenty of other packages to choose from should you happen to need more.
4. Storm Proxies
StormProxies is another great option that has the advantage of being extremely affordable compared to many of its peers. The downside is that the company’s network only features a pool of around 40K residential IPs, all of which are based in the US and EU. Although the pool is relatively small, the proxies are 100% legit and the IPs rotate every 5 minutes so the ban rate is extremely low. Just like Microleaves, StormProxies offers unlimited bandwidth and its network is highly optimized so performance will not be an issue here.
StormProxies is a very straightforward service that offers automatic delivery so you’ll be ready to start browsing anonymously pretty much immediately after purchasing a proxy package. This makes StormProxies one of the most user-friendly residential proxy services around. Big companies can also get a fair amount of use out of it but at this stage, I would primarily recommend the service to individual users. That’s because, among other things, each proxy package is limited to 1 IP so you can only use the ports on a single computer.
Cheap Proxies that are Fast and Reliable
If you don’t see that as an issue, you’ll be happy to know that you can get a very good deal by signing up with StormProxies. Its cheapest residential IP backconnect package starts at only $50 per month and includes 5 ports. At most, you can expect to pay $300/mo for 50 ports, which translates to just $6 per port. In addition, StormProxies also offers dedicated private proxies and reverse rotating proxies. These packages come with three types of proxies – fresh IP with every HTTP request, 3 minutes proxies, and 15 minutes proxies.
Oxylabs is a relatively new player on the scene but don’t let its young age fool you because the company has already amassed a pool of over 30 million residential IPs. The company’s services are primarily used by web scrapers and companies looking to engage in large-scale web data collection. That said, Oxylabs offers great support for a wide variety of other online activities, such as ad verification, travel fare aggregation, SEO monitoring, market research, sales intelligence, and many more.
Oxylabs promises zero captchas and zero IP blocking along with city-level targeting for those who use its residential proxy services. Customers are also granted access to an unlimited amount of concurrent sessions and a very handy adjustable session control feature. Moreover, the company has a solid IP rotation system and its customer support agents are always helpful and quick to reply. The prices aren’t exactly cheap but you can sign up for a 7-day free trial to test out the service and see if it works for you.
Corporate Level Packages Available
The basic residential proxy package costs $12 per GB and comes with 50 GB of traffic included. That translates to a minimum monthly commitment of $600. Oxylabs also has Pro and Enterprise plans that go for $900 and $5,000 per month, respectively. Big corporations that need at least 10 TB of monthly traffic can contact the company in order to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal. If you’re in need of additional services, it’s worth mentioning that Oxylabs also offers data center proxies, static residential proxies, and real-time crawlers, among other things.
If you’re looking for premium residential proxy servers I recommend checking out Geosurf. The company has a pool of over 2 million unique IPs spread across 130 geolocations around the world. The IPs are based on a highly secure P2P network, which ensures high anonymity and low block rates. Geosurf primarily targets enterprises with its services so expect the prices to be a bit higher than average. That said, you do get what you pay for here.
Geosurf provides users with full access to its entire pool of residential IPs and includes a few nice features that are very useful for data collectors. The company designed its services to be coder-friendly, with its API featuring code example snippets in every common programming language. Another nice feature of Geosurf is its IP rotation system that allows users to send an unlimited number of requests through its pool of verified and unblocked IPs.
A Wider Variety of Options
Residential proxy packages start at $450 per month and include 38 GB of traffic. Customers can add extra traffic without upgrading to a more expensive plan at a rate of $12 per additional GB. If you do need more data right off the bat, there are a few other packages to choose from, including one that comes with a whopping 2 TB of traffic. In addition to residential proxy services, Geosurf offers a few more products, including ad verification proxies, Instagram proxies, VPNs, and more.
NetNut was established just a couple of years ago so the company is still attempting to make a name for itself in this market. At the moment, the provider is trying to stand out by focusing exclusively on residential proxy services. As a result, NetNut doesn’t offer any other products and pours all its resources into making its existing proxy packages more appealing. The company also uses another interesting strategy for attracting customers, which comes in the form of a reseller program that members can use to create and manage sub-users.
Unlike other providers, NetNut doesn’t use a P2P network, opting instead for DiViNetworks to power its service. The company allows users to choose between a static IP and a rotating IP that assigns a new address on every new browser session. NetNut claims that its residential proxies are search engine-proof and that all IPs are pre-verified to ensure maximum speed and success rate. That said, NetNut’s block rates seem a bit higher when compared to some of its competitors, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Cheap Monthly Plans and a 7-day Trial
As far as the pricing is concerned, you’re not going to get a great price per GB, however, the monthly commitment is lower than those of other companies. The absolute cheapest plan will set you back $15 per GB with 20 GB of traffic included, so that’s a minimum monthly commitment of $300. There are four more tiers to choose from, along with a Master Plus package designed for big enterprises. This plan doesn’t have a specific plan so it’s up to each company to get in touch with NetNut and negotiate a deal. If you want to check out the service before you commit to a purchase, you can take advantage of a 7-day free trial.
8. Anubis Proxies
Anubis is a name that many of you might not be familiar with because the company is pretty new to the scene. But even though the company is relatively new, the people behind it clearly know what they’re doing because they set up a pretty solid operation here. Anubis offers a pool of over 10 million worldwide IPs you can work with, including 3 million that are based in the US. The company includes unlimited bandwidth with all packages along with API access, automatic setup, and support for multiple protocols, such as HTTP/s, SOCKS4 and SOCKS 5.
Anubis offers four different proxy packages to choose from. The company doesn’t charge per GB of traffic usage but rather by the number of proxy ports included with each package. For example, a basic package containing 25 backconnect proxy ports will set you back $250 per month. The services offered by Anubis scale really nicely and you can get up to 10,000 such ports if you can afford the price.
Special Geotargeted Proxy Packages
Meanwhile, Anubis also offers special backconnect proxy packages starting at $250 per month for 10 ports. The difference between the special and the basic version of these proxies is that the special ones allow you to target a specific country while the basic variant will assign you random IPs from around the world. If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, you may want to go for a shared proxy package, which starts at $30 per month (10 ports) or a dedicated proxy package that costs $25 per month (5 ports).
9. Blazing Proxies
If you’re looking for fast speeds, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than Blazing Proxies. The company definitely lives up to its name and can deliver extremely fast speeds thanks to its 1 GB/s dedicated network lines. On the flipside, Blazing Proxies has a much smaller pool of IPs at its disposal compared to the other companies to this list. More specifically, the pool consists of only 8,000 IPs spread across 9 different countries, including the US, UK, Germany, and Japan.
In terms of features, you can expect instant delivery, unlimited bandwidth and threads, support for multiple protocols, clean IPs, and more. An interesting thing to note about Blazing Proxies is that the company allows customers to request free automatic IP replacements if they happen to come across a bad IP. There’s also a 2-day free trial up for grabs for those who want to test the service before deciding if they should subscribe or not.
Very Affordable Proxies for People Starting Out
Blazing Proxies offers three proxy packages to choose from – Rotating, Dedicated, and Semi-dedicated. Semi-dedicated are essentially just shared proxies and will only cost you $2.5 per month for 5 proxies. A dedicated package will set you back $6/mo for 5 proxies while rotating IP packages cost $11/mo for 5 ports. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many proxies you can add to your package and you can benefit from discounts for up to 20% off by subscribing for several months in advance.
10. Scraper API
This service is a bit different than the others found on this list but I wanted to mention it regardless just because I’m sure some people will find it very useful. Just as its name indicates, this is a tool designed with web scraping in mind and aims to simplify that process as much as possible. Scraper API does this by handling browsers, proxies and CAPTCHAs so users can easily retrieve raw HTML from pretty much any website out there with just a simple API call.
Scraper API is fully customizable and does all the heavy lifting for you by managing your requests through a pool of 20 million IP addresses spread across 12 geo-locations. The pool is composed of a mixture of datacenter, mobile and residential proxies in order to greatly decrease instances of block or banned IPs. All packages come with rotating IPs and you can get started with 1000 free API calls with no credit card required. Scraper API also offers a 7-day no strings attached refund policy.
A Monthly Subscription for Access to the API
Signing up with Scraper API will set you back $29 per month for the basic package, which includes 10 concurrent requests and 250,000 API calls. The cheapest package doesn’t feature geo-targeting and only includes standard proxies. If you’re an advanced user, you could go for the $249 Business package instead. This plan comes with 50 concurrent requests, 3 million API calls, expanded geotargeting, premium proxy access, JS rendering, and priority email support.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Residential Proxies Work?
Residential proxies are similar to other types of proxy services in the sense that they act as an intermediary between you and the internet. Proxies reroute internet traffic via an outside server and change the IP of your web requests along the way. This allows you to remain anonymous while browsing the internet.
Can You Buy Residential Proxies?
You can definitely buy residential proxies and there are plenty of options to choose from. Using such a service will allow you to mask your real IP in order to protect your identity or avoid getting banned by certain websites.
What is a Rotating Proxy?
True to its name, a rotating proxy gives the user a brand new IP every time they initiate a new web request. Some services that use this system assign a new IP address every few minutes in order to decrease the chances of being tracked or blocked.
How to Use a Residential Proxy
Residential proxies can be used on pretty much any smart device and work in conjunction with most types of applications, including web browsers, BitTorrent clients, video game launchers, and more. For more detailed information and instructions on how to properly set up a proxy be sure to visit this page.
Are Residential Proxies Cost-Effective?
Some of these services can be a bit expensive, however, there are a number of proxies that are quite affordable or even free in some instances. As far as the more expensive ones are concerned, they can definitely be cost-effective for businesses or individuals who use proxies to generate revenue and get a good return on their investment.
What’s the Difference Between Data Center and Residential Proxies?
Datacenter proxy services use IPs that are stored on servers located in data centers. These services are usually more affordable because they use static IPs, which makes it easier to track and block. Meanwhile, residential proxies only use IP addresses of real end-users. Residential proxies tend to be more expensive, however, they are indistinguishable from regular household IPs and are therefore much harder to identify as proxies.
The Best Residential Proxy Provider
Figuring out the differences between residential proxies, dedicated proxies, VPNs and other similar services can be somewhat confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with any of those terms. However, you don’t really need to know a lot about this topic in order to understand why these types of services are so helpful. Residential proxy services, in particular, can come in handy in a wide variety of situations and are useful to both newcomers and veterans alike.