Guide to Finding The Best Proxies For Web Scraping?
This proxy comparison tool is designed to make it easier for you to compare and find the best proxy plans for your particular use case.
It allows you to compare the price, features, reviews of each proxy plan in one place before making your decision.
You can compare the 4 major types of proxies (datacenter, residential, ISP, and mobile proxies) along with other criteria like:
- Integration: What integration options do each proxy provider provide.
- Billing: Does the proxy provider only offer monthly subscriptions or do they offer pay-as-you-go plans.
All of these can be important factors when making a decision about which proxy provider you would like to integrate with.
So to help you make the best decision, we will go through the most important factors you need to consider when choosing a proxy provider.
Types of Proxy Solutions
There are over 500 different proxy providers selling proxy solutions for web scraping, account automation, botting, etc. who offer various types of proxy solutions to meet different customer needs, so things can be a bit confusing.
However, broadly speaking proxy solutions can be grouped into 3 types:
- Proxy Lists
- Rotating Proxy Pools
- Smart Proxy Solutions
We will go through each of them in detail.
The oldest and purest type of proxy solution are proxy lists. Here proxy providers sell you a list of proxy IP addresses (normally datacenter IP addresses) that you can integrate into your web scrapers.
Typically, after you have subscribed to a proxy list plan, you can download a list of proxy IP addresses that will look something like this:
Once you have this list, then you need to configure your web scraper or bot to rotate through these IP addresses and us a different one with each request.
This proxy solution works, however, it requires you to build a proxy rotation and management layer that will:
- Rotate through the proxies in the proxy list.
- Select a fresh one for each request.
- Log and remove a proxy from the list when a IP address has been banned/blocked by the website.
- Unblock any blocked requests by solving any CAPTHCA or anti-bot challenges that the website has triggered.
With this approach you will also need to manage your own request headers & user-agents to reduce the chances of your scraper being detected.
Depending on the website you are trying to scrape building a proxy management layer that gives your reliable results could be pretty straightforward for simple websites.
However, for more difficult websites like Google, Amazon, Instagram, etc. building a reliable proxy manangement layer can be a pain in the a**.
To plus side to this approach, is that it is often the cheapest option available. Most providers impose no usage limits on the proxies in your list so you can process large amounts of requests with them very cheaply.
Proxy Lists Summary
Pros: Cheapest proxy plans, cost efficient for very large scale web scraping.
Cons: Hardest to setup and maintain. Unless, the websites being scraped has very lax anti-scraping countermeasures you will have to spend large amounts of time tweaking & debugging bans.
Most Suitable For: Developers where cost is a massive concern, and want the cheapest possible solution. When scraping very easy websites or if scraping at very large volumes (over 100M pages per month).
Pricing: Typically, you pay per IP address.
Proxy Type: Datacenter IP addresses.
Examples Proxy Providers: WebShare
Rotating Proxy Pools
Once upon a time, all proxy providers gave you lists of proxy IPs when you purchased a plan with them.
However, today most of the big proxy providers don't sell individual proxy IPs anymore. Instead they give you access to a proxy endpoint that you send your requests to, and they handle proxy rotation & selection on their end.
zproxy.lum-superproxy.io:22225 # Bright Data
pr.oxylabs.io:7777 # Oxylabs
gw.ntnt.io:5959 # Netnut
Rotating proxies through a single endpoint are the most common proxy type when using residential & mobile proxies. However, a lot of proxy providers are now only offering the datacenter proxies through single endpoint rotating proxy pools as well.
This single proxy endpoint approach makes it much easier to integrate proxies into your web scrapers, as they proxy provider is in charge of rotating the proxy IPs, removing dead IP addresses, and unblocking banned IPs.
The downside to this approach from a user perspective is that proxy providers normally charge based on data bandwidth you send through the proxy pool.
Paying per GB consumed, typically works out more expensive than purchasing a list of proxy IP addresses for yourself.
Not only are you paying for retrieving the data from the page, you are also paying for retrieving any ban or anti-bot pages.
So when using a proxy solution where you are paying based on bandwidth used, you should also look at the proxy's success rate along with the price per GB.
As if the proxy's success rate is low, then you will end up paying for a lot of bad data.
Another thing to consider with these rotating proxy pools when using a headless browser is that you are paying to download a lot of extra files, images and files you probably don't need.
So if you need a proxy solution for your Selenium, Puppeteer, or Playwright scraper then you should configure it to only download the content you actually need, and ideally use a proxy that doesn't charge based on bandwidth used.
Rotating Proxy Pools Summary
Pros: Easier to integrate and manage than proxy lists, and able to access residential & mobile proxy pools.
Cons: Oftentimes more expensive than buying proxy lists as you pay for data usage. Need to manage your own headers and user agents.
Most Suitable For: Developers who are scraping more difficult websites with residential and mobile proxies, or who want very scalable proxy infrastructures.
Pricing: Pay per GB of bandwidth consumed.
Proxy Type: Datacenter, residential & mobile IP addresses.
Examples Proxy Providers: Bright Data, Oxylabs, Smartproxy, IPRoyal and NetNut.
Smart Proxy Solutions
The newest type of proxy solution on the market are smart proxies that aim to manage your entire proxy infrastructure for you.
Here, you simply send them the URL you want to scrape and they will handle everything for you:
- Proxy rotation & selection
- Header selection & optimization
- Ban page & CAPTCHA detection
- Automatic retries
So you can focus on parsing the data from the HTML response, and using the scraped data in your applications.
A lot of smart proxy providers even offer advanced functionality that you can enable by simply adding a flag to the request, including:
- Geotargeting: Country level IP geotargeting to bypass geogated content.
- Residential & Mobile Proxies: Using residential or mobile proxies if you are scraping more difficult websites.
- Sticky Sessions: Sticky sessions so you can use the same IP address for multiple requests.
These smart proxies have made scraping difficult websites like Google, Amazon, and Walmart, much easier for developers who don't have the time or desire to build their own proxy & header management systems.
In terms of pricing they are positioned in the middle of the market.
With smart proxy solutions, you typically pay per successful request. So you only pay when the proxy provider is able to successfully get the page you want.
Using a smart proxy API will be more expensive that using proxy lists, and maybe more expensive than using rotating datacenter proxy pools (depending on the proxy provider), however, they are generally work out much cheaper than using residential or mobile proxies.
Typically, you can get residential & mobile proxy level performance at a fraction of the cost with Smart Proxy Solutions.
Smart Proxies Summary
Pros: Very easy to integrate and use versus proxy lists and rotating proxy pools. Get very good performance at a fraction of the cost as residential or mobile proxies. Only pay for successful responses.
Cons: More expensive than buying proxy lists. Can get expensive at very large scales.
Most Suitable For: Developers who want a very easy to use proxy solution, or who are scraping difficult websites and want a cheaper option than using residential and mobile proxies.
Pricing: Only pay per successful request.
Proxy Type: Datacenter, residential & mobile IP addresses.
Examples Proxy Providers: ScrapeOps, ScraperAPI, or Scrapingbee.