5 Best Proxies in 2024 — For Scraping, Sneaker Bots & More
- Proxy vs VPN
- Types of Proxies
- Best Proxies — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)
- IPVanish — SOCKS5 Proxy, Plus a VPN
- Oxylabs — 100M+ Residential IPs Make It Great for Marketing and Web Scraping
- Bright Data — Servers Worldwide to Help Establish A Global Business Presence
- Smartproxy — Fast, Location-Targeted Sneaker Proxies
- NetNut — Good for Accessing Sites and Services
- Quick Comparison Table: Best Proxies Features
- Tips on Choosing the Best Proxy
- FAQs on the Best Proxies
- Get the Best Proxy in Minutes
Many proxies get blocklisted quickly, perform slowly, need more security, or have limited networks. Whether you need to use them for business, data scraping, sneaker botting, or SEO marketing, finding an infallible, reliable provider is difficult but crucial. I tested many proxies and compiled a list of versatile providers suitable for all these tasks.
The proxies I selected perform well, are safe, and fast. I chose services with large networks, lots of IPs, and good customer service. I recommend checking out Oxylabs if you're looking for a proxy. It has an extensive proxy pool, which is invaluable if you’re looking for efficiency and scalability.
However, a VPN with a bonus proxy offers more benefits. IPVanish includes a free SOCKS5 proxy, and it's better value than most proxy plans. So, you get the best of both worlds.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best Proxies in 2024
- IPVanish — A 2-in-1 option as you get a SOCKS5 proxy and a fully featured VPN.
- Oxylabs — A huge network of residential proxies, including static and rotating IPs.
- BrightData — Has a global proxy network to help you target any specific location.
- Smartproxy — Fast speeds, so you don’t miss that limited-edition sneaker launch.
- NetNut — Rotates its IPs automatically to avoid detection and getting blocked.
Proxy vs VPN
Proxies and VPNs are popular for online anonymity and speed but have slightly different primary purposes. Let's dive into the core differences and advantages each offers:
|Proxies are generally faster because it doesn’t encrypt your traffic
|All VPNs reduce your speed as they send your data through an encrypted tunnel
|Doesn't offer encryption, potentially compromising your data
|Gives you robust encryption for better data security and online anonymity
|Provides a plethora of IP addresses, granting flexibility
|Changes your IP address with servers worldwide
|Ease of use
|You need to manually configure it, so it requires some technical knowledge
|Uses apps that you can download and use immediately
|Usually much more expensive than a VPN
|Affordable, especially using long-term plans
Types of Proxies
When considering a proxy type, it’s important to assess your requirements. For example, residential proxies are more reliable for tasks that require high anonymity, data center proxies offer speed, while mobile proxies blend both aspects perfectly for specific use cases. Here’s a full breakdown of each proxy type:
- Residential proxies. These originate from real households, mimicking genuine user behavior and thereby reducing the chances of getting blocked.
- Shared. Used by multiple clients simultaneously, they provide a diversified set of IPs. They're cost-effective, but with shared resources, they may not always offer peak performance.
- Semi-dedicated. These are the middle ground between the private and shared proxies, where the IP is shared between up to 3 users.
- Static/private. These are exclusively designated for one user for a prolonged period. They ensure a consistent IP, which means websites are less likely to flag or block them.
- Data center proxies. These are provided by third-party data centers. Although they can deliver fast speeds and are easier to obtain in bulk, their distinct pattern might make them easier for some websites to detect and block.
- Mobile proxies. Directly connected to mobile devices, these utilize IP addresses from cellular networks. They're perfect for tasks requiring high anonymity as they're the least likely to be detected, closely imitating the behavior of everyday mobile users.
Best Proxies — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)
|Use either its SOCKS5 proxy or the full VPN service depending on your needs
|7 days for iOS and Android. A 30-day money-back guarantee for any device
IPVanish is a premium VPN with military-grade security features to protect your online privacy. Like a proxy, it also alters your IP address, but unlike proxies, it encrypts your data so no one knows what you're doing online. However, this does lower your internet speed — although testing servers near me decreased my average download speed by only 7%, from 125.2Mbps to 116.77MBPS. Still, its SOCKS5 proxy is a great alternative if you don't want to sacrifice any speed.
Its dedicated SOCKS5 proxy servers offer reliability and flexibility. Compared to other proxy types, SOCKS5 stands out because it works well with most programs, protocols, and traffic types. It's suited to any online activity, from general browsing to torrenting. Because SOCKS5 doesn't rewrite your data packet headers, there are fewer errors, like mislabeling data or sending traffic to the wrong location.
SOCKS5 proxies are impressively fast, making it ideal for P2P traffic, allowing faster download speeds by handling smaller data packets efficiently. This made it a favorite choice when trying uTorrent, Deluge, and other BT clients. On the downside, proxies are only available in 30 locations. However, its VPN service spans 75 countries.
IPVanish offers three subscription options, but a long-term plan is the cheapest and provides 3 months of service for free. You also get unlimited device connections and round-the-clock live chat support.
- Easy to use. If you're aiming for seamless management, the proxy is directly configurable within its VPN app. I found the process straightforward, and I was connected and ready to torrent in just a few minutes.
- Verified no-logs policy. IPVanish prioritizes your privacy with its stringent no-logs policy. This means that when you connect through its service, it doesn't record or store your data.
- Scramble feature. Conceals your online activity by scrambling it, so no one knows you're using a VPN. This is beneficial on restricted networks, like schools, work, and public libraries.
- Apps for various platforms. It works across multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, catering to diverse needs. With these apps readily available, you can swiftly establish a connection from virtually any device without manually configuring the proxy settings.
2. Oxylabs — 100M+ Residential IPs Make It Great for Marketing and Web Scraping
|Vast network of residential proxies for successful data gathering
|HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5
|7 days for mobile and ISP proxy servers
Oxylabs provides an extensive network, spanning over 102 million IPs in 195 countries. This is ideal for web scraping, given the diversity in data sources. It also provides a 7-day free trial for its scraper APIs, so you can try it out before you pay. I only needed to pay for successful results while testing it.
It also offers a variety of proxy types — residential, datacenter, and mobile IP proxies. The choice will depend on your specific needs: residential IPs give you more legitimacy, datacenter IPs are faster, and mobile IPs offer a high anonymity level.
You get access to both static and rotating IPs, as well as SOCKS5 support. Static IPs are great for tasks requiring a consistent identity, as they maintain the same address. Rotating IPs change their address periodically, ideal for web scraping and avoiding rate limits and blocklists.
One drawback is that Oxylabs comes with limited bandwidth and can get expensive. This means you'll need to manage your data usage effectively and factor the cost into your operational expenses. Despite this, its wealth of features and reliability makes it a worthwhile investment. Plus, some self-service plans offer a limited 3-day refund period if you don't like it.
- Scraper APIs. These simplify the data extraction process. It controls the proxy rotation and session management for you, ensuring smooth scraping activities. The scraper APIs are available for SERP, e-Commerce, and real estate.
- Web Crawler. By using Oxylabs' Web Crawler, you don't need to write any code; it does the heavy lifting, giving you more time to analyze the collected data.
- Scheduler. You can set times for specific scraping tasks, and it does the rest. I found this especially handy when needing up-to-date data without manually initiating the process.
- Custom Parser. This feature is designed to filter and organize the fetched data as per your requirements. The Custom Parser saves you the extra steps of cleaning and sorting the data after extraction, making the entire process more efficient.
3. Bright Data — Servers Worldwide to Help Establish A Global Business Presence
|Vast network that even offers servers in small towns
|HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5
|7 days for registered companies
Bright Data allows you to target any specific country, city, carrier, or ASN. This can be useful for local businesses, especially if you’re in a place that’s usually overlooked by proxies and VPNs. Like Oxylabs, it also provides residential, ISP, mobile, and datacenter proxies. This wide variety gives an option for any task.
I can recommend Bright Data for conducting international operations, as its privacy practices comply with data protection laws. In addition, it supports multiple protocols, including SOCKS5, expanding your options for secure data transmission.
A minor con is that Bright Data is more challenging to set up, but the user interface is clean, and I found its dashboard straightforward to use. A quick walkthrough guide is available to help you familiarize yourself with the services offered.
There are a variety of plans available, depending on the proxy type you choose. I liked that there’s a pay-as-you-go model as well, so I could pay only for the amount of traffic I needed to test the service. This approach to pricing caters to varying budgets and needs, aligning with different operational scopes.
- Scraping browser. This dedicated browser is optimized for tasks that involve data extraction. It's intuitive to use and streamlines the scraping process.
- Proxy Manager. This ensures your scraping activities remain undetected, effectively reducing blockages. In my tests, I observed fewer CAPTCHAs when using this feature.
- Datasets. With Datasets, you can store, manage, and export data effortlessly. I found it particularly beneficial for projects where structured data collection was paramount.
- Access to real-time SERP SPI data. Bright Data gives you access to all the major engines, including Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, Baidu, Yahoo, and Naver.
|Datacenter proxies with 0.3s average speed
|HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5
|None, but a 14-day money-back guarantee
Smartproxy offers fast datacenter proxies, with a remarkable 99.99% uptime. This means fewer interruptions, especially during time-sensitive tasks like trying to secure limited-edition sneakers during a release. In my tests, Smartproxy showed good speeds with low latency, even on long-distance servers.
Like Oxylabs, Smartproxy has a selection of scraper APIs, including some specialized for SERP, social media, and e-commerce. A free trial is available for all scrapers, and I didn’t need to enter my payment details to activate it. The site unblocker feature is another notable inclusion. It helps you gather data from any website, even ones that are usually hard to access.
Apart from datacenter proxies, it provides residential, mobile, static, and dedicated proxy types. These diverse options cater to different needs, from online anonymity to consistent identification. It’s worth noting that the residential proxies have the best coverage and most IPs available.
When it comes to pricing, Smartproxy's various options make it confusing, especially for first-time users. However, it allows you to pay per IP or GB. Monthly plans are also available, offering options that best fit your usage and budgetary requirements.
- Address Generator. This allows you to generate endpoint URLs for specific locations or use-cases. During my tests, it quickly adapted to different tasks by providing tailor-made proxy addresses.
- X Browser. It’s tailored for private browsing using Smartproxy's network. This eliminates fingerprinting risks, making your scraping and browsing activities almost undetectable. My experience with the X Browser revealed a noticeable increase in task success rates due to reduced blockages.
- Firefox add-on. By installing the Firefox add-on, you can quickly toggle between proxies without diving deep into settings.
|ISP-level IP rotation makes your traffic difficult to detect and block
|HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS5
NetNut boasts a massive collection of 52M+ auto-rotating proxies. This is a handy feature when an IP is detected and blocklisted. Instead of the connection breaking, it swiftly replaces the IP, allowing uninterrupted access. I tested if NetNut can access websites that are known for blocking VPNs. While there are VPNs that gave me much better results, NetNut still showed a decent performance.
Additionally, NetNut provides over 1 million residential proxies. It still has a long way to go to match Oxylabs in this regard, but its IPs are sourced from premium ISPs. Its association with DiviNetworks, having partnerships with over 100 global carriers, gave me confidence. Additionally, it offers precise geo-targeting capabilities, so you can specify any country or city.
I had decent speeds with NetNut. Thanks to its bandwidth capacity of 100Gbit/s and a 99.9% uptime, I rarely faced connectivity issues.
It's worth noting that accessing location-specific IPs can be quite costly. However, it allows unlimited simultaneous connections, so you only need one account for your entire company.
- Static residential proxies. These blend the reliability of datacenter proxies with the authenticity of residential IPs. This means you get a stable connection without frequent IP rotations, making it ideal for tasks requiring consistent IP addresses.
- Datacenter proxies. Renowned for their speed and reliability, these proxies are sourced from stable infrastructures, minimizing downtime.
- Mobile IPs. These IPs from NetNut emulate real mobile connections, granting access to mobile-focused content and services.
Quick Comparison Table: Best Proxies Features
To help you choose the best proxy service for you (or your company), I compiled a table of the most relevant features for a quick comparison.
Tips on Choosing the Best Proxy
To identify the top proxies, I conducted extensive research and tests following a specific set of criteria. Here’s a breakdown to guide you in making an informed decision.
- IP pool. An extensive IP pool reduces the risk of blocklisting. I checked for providers with multiple IPs, ensuring better access and reduced downtime. I also examined how frequently they refresh their IPs and their global spread.
- Fast speed. Time is money. Faster proxies mean quicker data retrieval and seamless browsing. Look for providers boasting high-speed servers and minimum lag.
- Type of proxies offered. Diversity matters. The best providers offer a range of proxies, from residential to datacenter, catering to various needs.
- Customer support. Efficient support can be a lifesaver. I reached out to different services to gauge their response time and expertise.
- Easy to use. A user-friendly interface and setup are crucial for both beginners and seasoned users. I personally tested platforms to understand their onboarding process and interface navigation.
- Free trial or money-back guarantee. Value for money is key. The best proxies offer competitive prices coupled with a money-back guarantee or free trial, ensuring you're not stuck with a service that doesn't meet expectations.
FAQs on the Best Proxies
Is it legal to use proxies?
Yes, using proxies is generally legal. Proxies act as intermediaries that route your internet traffic through a different server, masking your IP address. There are different types of proxies suitable for various activities.
However, what you do while using a proxy determines its legality. Using proxies for malicious purposes, like hacking or distributing illegal content, is illegal. It's important to always respect terms of service, copyright laws, and other regulations.
Are proxies safe?
Proxies can be safe if sourced from reputable providers. However, free or low-quality proxies can expose you to security risks, including data breaches or malicious attacks. It's crucial to opt for trusted proxy providers, check reviews, and always remain cautious when sharing sensitive data.
Should I use a proxy or a VPN?
This depends on your needs. Both proxies and VPNs hide your IP address, but VPNs typically provide a higher level of encryption and security. Some VPNs offer access to proxy servers, so you get the best of both worlds. If you're looking for basic geo-spoofing or web scraping, a proxy might suffice. However, for more secure tasks, such as torrenting, a VPN is a better option.
Can I use a free proxy server?
You can, but it's not advisable. Free proxies often come with risks such as compromised security, slow speeds, and inconsistent uptime. In some cases, malicious entities might operate them, collecting user data without consent. If privacy and performance are priorities, it's wise to consider a reputable proxy service. The oneslisted offer free trials and money-back guarantees.
Which type of proxy should I use?
The type of proxy you should use depends on your specific needs. Always consider your task and select the proxy type that aligns best with your requirements. If you want to mimic a regular user, a residential proxy is ideal. Datacenter proxies offer speed and are good for bulk tasks. Mobile proxies are suitable for simulating mobile users, while static or dedicated proxies provide a consistent IP address.
Get the Best Proxy in Minutes
Only some proxy providers deliver the speed and reliability you need. Choosing the right one for your specific requirements can significantly streamline your operations and save you time and money.
In my thorough evaluations, Oxylabs stands out as the top proxy provider. Still, a premium VPN, like IPVanish, with a built-in proxy is my top recommendation for maximum security without sacrificing speed. It offers versatility with SOCKS5 and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To summarize, these are the best proxies for 2024...
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