Many small businesses and freelancers require multiple IP addresses for one reason or another. That’s where proxies come in. While VPNs provide you with a single IP address for the duration of your connection, proxies provide you with hundreds or even thousands of IPs. If you’re looking to do competitor analysis, price research or SEO work, proxies are an essential weapon in your tech arsenal.
While there are hundreds of proxy providers out there, the reality is that there are only a handful really worth considering.
This helpful guide will outline the best proxy providers, explain why you might want proxies, and also answer some of the most common questions from people looking for a reliable proxy service. If you’re in a rush, you can see our quick summary of top recommendations below.
What is the best Proxy in 2023:
- SmartProxy: The best proxy provider in 2023. Great customers looking for easy access to over 40 million residential IPv4 addresses in 190+ countries. Provides city-level targeting. Pay As You Go plans available.
- Oxylabs: The largest proxy company on the planet. Provides a wide choice of options, including residential, mobile, and server center IPs.
- Rampage Retail: A proxy reseller that provides access to all the mainstream providers at the wholesale prices, including Oxylabs and Smartproxies in return for a small monthly subscription.
- NetNut: Provides access to over 20 million real end-user residential rotating IPs.
- Packetstream: Provides access to real end-user residential IPs at extremely affordable rates per GB.
The truth is that 99 percent of proxy providers are, in fact, resellers. The legitimate providers (the ones who own and maintain their network of IPs) are usually expensive… seriously expensive.
The best proxy services in 2023
Our team of experts assess each proxy provider before recommending it to our readers. The below reviews will tell you everything you need to know about each service.
Here’s a list of the best proxies in 2023:
SmartProxy is our top recommendation thanks to its diverse high-quality IP pool and ease of use with Pay As You Go subscriptions.
SmartProxy was launched in 2018. It provides access to rotating proxies, shared proxies, HTTP Proxies, anonymous proxies, back connect proxies, and IPv4 Proxies. This means, whether you are a startup, an SMB, or even a Fortune 500 company, it has something for everybody.
When it comes to residential proxies, SmartProxy has options in all 40 US states and in 190 cities worldwide. In total, it has over 40 million residential proxies to pick from, and those are real device IPs, which is good if you want to access websites and services while appearing to be a genuine home web user.
Pay As You Go plans start at $12 per GB. Subscriptions starting from $80 per month for 8GB of data ($10 per GB). If you invest $400 per month, you will drop the cost of using residential proxies to just $8 per GB, which is one of the lowest costs you will find when buying directly from a provider.
You can also opt to rent dedicated data center (DC) proxies. The best thing about these data center IPs is that they have no traffic throughput limitations, so you can use them as much as you want. The downside is that many services easily detect them as ‘proxies’ and so they become altogether less useful if the IP is blocked.
The quality of SmartProxy’s IP pools is unparalleled and works for every use case, from SEO to scraping.
SmartProxy offers a number of free tools with their subscriptions, including a Chrome extension, an address generator and a multi-profile management tool, making it easy to start using their products.
Oxylabs is probably the largest and best-known provider around. It provides access to the widest possible selection of proxies located in most countries and cities around the world. This allows you to get residential, data center, or even mobile IPs depending on your needs.
Best of all, Oxylabs has around 100 million residential IPs. This makes it perfect for online automation tasks. As a result, you can use Oxylabs for SEO, competitor analysis, price comparisons etc. with ease.
With Oxylabs, you can opt to rent access to either shared or dedicated IPs. In terms of options, static non-rotating residential proxies are available in addition to standard rotating IPs. Oxylabs rents these IPs directly from Internet Service Providers around the globe. The static IPs support the SOCKS5 protocol, but standard rotating IPs do not. The advantage of rotating IPs is that they change after every request, minimising the chances of your IPs being blocked.
Gaining access to Oxylabs used to be impossible for small and medium businesses. However, they have recently attempted to broaden their reach with pay as you go plans. However, at $15 per GB, it’s one of the more expensive ways to enter the market. A subscription of $600 per month will bring that price down to $10 per GB and $800 per month will take you down to $8 per GB.
3. Rampage Retail
Rampage Retail is a little bit different in that it’s a reseller rather than a provider. It offers users access to all the major proxy companies including the two above in return for a £20 ($24) subscription fee. That means you can access pricing usually reserved for enterprise users without hundreds of dollars of monthly commitments.
Rampage Retail holds multiple enterprise accounts with a wide selection of leading proxy providers. The more proxy data you use, the cheaper the proxies generally get and Rampage passes these costs directly onto users in return for a small subscription fee.
For example, instead of paying $800 per month for OxyLabs at $8 per GB, you can access the same pricing using your subscription.
Rampage Retail also offers a ready-made dashboard to generate proxies from each provider so if you’re not a technical user, you can generate proxies without messing around with APIs.
NetNut is a proxy provider based in Tel Aviv, Israel. It provides access to genuine residential IPs provided to customers via real end-user devices. These rotating residential IPs allow you to evade CAPTCHAs and ensure that IPs do not become blacklisted.
NetNut rotates the proxies you use each session and can be seamlessly integrated into any browser. The benefit of NetNut’s rotating IP Proxy Network is that you can access any web page or online service while appearing to be an ordinary home web user. This makes it useful for a wide range of use cases, including SEO monitoring, ad verification, price comparison, or brand protection exercises.
In addition to real rotating IPs provided by end-user devices, you have the option to pay for static residential IPs acquired from ISPs. These do not involve any end users, which may be preferable depending on your specific venture. A benefit of a static ISP-procured IP address is that you can use the same IP address for a lengthier period. It also gives you single-hop connectivity with excellent speeds.
The only real downside with NetNut is that you do not get city or state-level proxy selection options unless you subscribe for the semi-pro plan and above. This means that you will have to spend $1625 or above per month to use NetNut to access IPs in specific locations. If picking your residential IPs by country will suffice for your specific needs, you can opt to pay as little as $300 per month for 20 gigabytes of data.
PacketStream was launched in 2018 and is based in the United States. It provides its subscribers with access to a residential proxy network that consists of genuine user-provided IP addresses.
The benefit of this system is that PacketStream users can access websites and services while appearing to be a real home internet user. This gives you the ability to access resources without worrying about IP blocks.
PacketStream gains access to these residential IPs by paying consumers around the world to be “packeters”. This means that consumers can earn around 10 cents per GB of bandwidth that they provide to the service.
The benefit of how PacketStream works is that internet users can get access to residential IPs at the relatively low cost of just $1 per GB of data that passes through the proxy. This makes PacketStream one of the cheapest ways to start leveraging a proxy.
The big potential drawback is that the speed of the proxy will depend on the speed of the end-users’ internet connection. This could mean that speeds differ between sessions and across the different IPs you leverage.
Proxy Providers FAQs
Is it legal to use proxies?
Yes, it is legal to use a proxy service for a wide number of tasks. That said, it is possible to use a proxy to carry out malicious activities. Of course, any product can be abused. Malicious activity is against the terms of service of all the proxy providers we have listed in this article and users found to be using proxies for malicious purposes will be banned from the service.
Even some legitimate uses for proxies such as data analysis and scraping can cause very serious gray areas. We are not legal experts and we suggest you research your use case carefully to ensure it is legal in your region.
What is a residential proxy?
A proxy is a middle-man server that stands between you and websites or internet services. When you connect to the proxy, your home or business’ IP address is concealed and you (or the product/script/service you are using) appear instead to be in the location of the proxy.
Residential proxies are IPs that belong to real residential users who have agreed to lease some of their bandwidth to the proxy provider. The proxy user essentially piggybacks on this residential IP.
The benefit of residential proxies is that they allow users to access almost any websites or services without being flagged as proxy. If the IP is flagged, it's simply rotated with another IP until one is found that works.
The drawbacks are twofold. First, you pay for the data that passes through the proxy. Using OxyLabs as an example, 1GB of data costs $15. This is fine if you are doing small projects. But if your project is data intensive, the costs can quickly rack up. That's why it's important to get the best possible price per GB when looking for a residential proxy provider.
The other downside is speed. Some proxy providers are much (much) faster than others, but even then, you're only going to be as fast as your host. So if you're looking for raw speed, data center proxies might be a better solution.
What is a data center proxy?
Data center proxies are just that - IPs rented from a data center. They have benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is that they offer unlimited data throughput. You can use an IP for one megabyte's worth of activity or one terabyte. It doesn't matter. You are renting the IP for a period of time - say a day, a week or a month. They are also almost always faster than residential proxies.
The downside is that you can't change your IP like you can with residential IPs. So if you happen to get blocked, the IP is essentially useless and you're stuck with it for the period you rented it from the provider for.
Data center proxies are much easier to detect and block because the IP ranges can easily be spotted and blacklisted.