Residential proxies are a very powerful tool for online businesses, internet marketer, or even anyone who are just looking to unblock certain sites. Yet, what are their advantages over regular proxies? Do we really need them? And if yes, which of these residential proxies should I get?
Why use Residential Proxies for social scraping?
Social Platform Challenges
- Heavy anti-scraping measures make large-scale automated scraping difficult
- Scrapers must appear like organic users to avoid detection
- Frequent API changes and limited public data require creative scraping approaches
- Robust API but usage limits require staying under thresholds
- Also employs anti-scraping tactics and access restrictions
- Highly restrictive data access policies and technical barriers
- User demographics, psychographics, interests, and usage habits potentially available
- Network connections and engagement metrics
- Publicly accessible data still limited compared to full private profiles
Risks and Downsides
- Terms of service violations and legal issues
- IP blocks, bot detection, and incomplete data
- Unethical implications around privacy and consent
In this ultimate guide, you will find answers to those questions, along with our reviews for six of the best residential proxy providers available in the market today.
Let us begin.
What Are Residential Proxies?
Before we can properly explain the concept of residential proxies, we have to first define two things:
- What is a proxy in the first place
- The concept of your residential/home network
A proxy, in a networking sense, is a program that functions as a “middleman” between the user’s device (a client device) to a website or another server. So, it is the proxy program that actually interacts with the website and not your device.
The main benefit of this is that the website or server does not directly interact with your device. This can improve your network security, help monitor online activities, and can also improve the performance of your network.
Your residential network, on the other hand, typically involves your ISP (Internet Service Provider) providing a dedicated IP address that is attached to a physical location that is your house’s address. So, technically if someone (a hacker, for instance) knows this residential IP address, they can know your physical location and possibly other information.
The problem is, many websites and service providers geo-lock their content so we can only access it from certain countries or regions.
This is where residential proxies come in.
A residential proxy is technically a proxy program that acts as an intermediary between your device and the website/service provider, but what’s unique is that the residential proxies use an IP address provided by ISP, not a data center, much like a genuine residential network.
So, with a residential proxy, you can be anonymous online while you can also still access these geo-locked sites. Below we will further discuss the benefits of residential proxies.
Benefits of Residential Proxies
Here are several benefits of using a proper residential proxy:
1. Protects your online privacy
Residential proxies use fully legitimate IP addresses that come from actual ISPs and will point to a real physical address. When using it, it’s harder to identify that you are even using a proxy. This is why a residential proxy is the best for anonymous browsing.
2. Improved security
Using a residential proxy is significantly safer than using traditional shared proxies. It’s no secret that many shared and especially free proxies are abused and compromised and can expose your device to spams, malicious websites, hackers, and ransomware attacks.
3. Not blocked on geo-locked websites
Since residential proxies actually display authentic regional IP addresses, they are less likely to get blocked than shared proxies. A residential proxy can be helpful in areas where the internet is censored, and useful for sites that only show its content to users in specific locations.
4. Great for data scraping
Residential proxies are commonly used by marketers to scrape data from platforms like eBay or Amazon since they utilize legitimate IP addresses that are harder to detect.
5. Better performance and speed
High-quality residential proxies are much more reliable than other proxy types and rarely experience timeouts and connection errors. This is why a residential proxy is typically much faster and smoother than other proxies.
Potential Usage of Residential Proxies
Residential proxies are more legitimate and reliable compared to other types of proxies, and we can use them for various browsing purposes. Here are some common uses you can consider:
Web scraping is an internet marketing activity that is really important today especially to perform competitive analysis. A web scraping software will extract data from multiple pages of websites based on our preference, but the thing is, these web scraping programs are often blocked by many sites. This is where a residential proxy can help, especially those that offer the ability to rotate the IPs continuously, so we can scrape large websites like LinkedIn or Facebook undetected.
A very common use, especially for marketers, is to check and verify whether ads are displayed on our site properly, so we can also block suspicious ads. Competitors may display malicious ads on our site to damage our brand reputation.
Accessing sneaker and ticket sites
Ticket sites are sneaker sites are often tightly monitored, since many people are looking to take advantage of price differences between sites. Residential proxies are more legitimate and less prone to blacklisting by these popular shoe and ticket sites.
There are sneaker proxies and ticket proxies available in the market today, but they are generally overrated and residential proxies would be much more reliable.
Social media marketing
Simply put, residential proxies allow us to create multiple social media accounts on one platform and we can have an easier time in managing all of them,
Market Price Monitoring
Residential proxies allow us to better leverage analytics and sales intelligence solutions to monitor market price updates in real-time.
For example, a residential proxy will allow us to use different sales intelligence tools on one platform, so we can monitor prices, compare data, and perform better analysis to come up with the most ideal price for your product.
Top 6 Residential Proxies in 2023
Below we will review 6 of the best residential proxy providers. Keep in mind, however, that this list is in no particular order, and we will discuss our top pick after these reviews, further below.
Let us begin with the first one.
Smartproxy is a premium residential proxy provider with the main highlight being its fairly affordable price (starting at $75/month). They have more than 10 million residential IPs from 195+ locations, which is not as big as Luminati (Now brightdata), but still a massive database.
Here are some of the key features of Smartproxy.
- More than 10 million IP addresses. Great level of anonymity, security, and reliability. You’ll virtually never connect to a website with the same IP address twice.
- Real residential IPs with 99% uptime, high-speed and very reliable
- 24/7 professional customer support via email and live chat
- Geo-targeting to avoid restrictions and blocks in any country
- Best performing and most popular IPv4 protocol supports HTTPS proxies
- Unlimited parallel connections for maximum speed
- Rotating and sticky IP sessions, you can keep one IP of 10 minutes or rotate your IP using the whole pool for each connection
- Track and limit proxy usage with sub-users
- Three-day money-back warranty
- Micro: $75/month, 5GB included ($15/GB)
- Starter: $200/month, 20GB included ($10/GB)
- Regular: $400/month, 50GB included ($8/GB)
- Advanced: $600/month, 100GB included ($6/GB)
Smartproxy’s main highlight, especially when compared to Luminati, is its affordability in its initial investment, starting from just $75/month. So, this can be a great choice if you are looking for a residential proxy provider with a limited budget.
A pretty decent set of features: you get more than 10 million IP addresses covering 195+ locations including 8 major cities, and great session control features where we can rotate our IP for up to 10 minutes sticky sessions.
2. Luminati （Now Brightdata）
Luminati is one of the most prominent residential proxy providers with over 40 million IPs in their residential network and has been around since 2014. Luminati also offers datacenter IPs and mobile IP proxies, so you get more versatility in using your proxy IP depending on your needs.
Here are the key features of Luminati we can consider.
- A wide selection of IP Locations: you are able to select various types of IPs and from almost any country. You have great flexibility to control your “location” while browsing or making any online purchase.
- Any type of proxies: you can use datacenter IPs, residential IPs, and mobile IPs. Versatile for any purposes and any budget levels.
- Improved speed and performance: Luminati’s infrastructures allow an unlimited number of parallel requests to speed up network performance
- 99.9% network uptime: highest possible average network uptime, you can control it in user CP.
- 24/7 professional support: 24/7/365 customer service provided by professional engineers and developers
- Luminati proxy manager: A very intuitive and powerful proxy manager, can efficiently control your proxies with various features.
Note: These prices are only for Luminati’s (dynamic) residential proxies, Luminati also provides data center, static residential, and mobile proxies with different pricing plans.
- Starter: $500/month (40 GBs included) or $12.50 per GB
- Production: $1,000/month (100 GBs included) or $10 per GB
- Plus: $3,400/month (400 GBs included) or $8.50 per GB
- High Volume: $6,000/month (1TB included) or $6.00 per GB
- Enterprise: $30,000/month (10TBs included) or $3.00 per GB
Luminati is certainly among the best residential proxy providers available in the market today for various reasons. It is very reliable and you can select between a massive number of residential IPs from various locations and regions. One of the largest residential IP database with more than 40 million IP selections.
It also offers a really intuitive and powerful proxy manager where you can control the various aspects of the proxy quite easily. Very flexible pricing to suit various needs, although the starting price is relatively expensive at $500/month.
Generous 7-day free trial period and there’s also the promise to refund your money within 3 days of purchase. Overall, a really good residential proxy choice: expensive, but well worth the money.
Oxylabs actually specializes in website crawling and data extraction, and so has more than 2 million dedicated proxies and 60+ million residential proxies. You can get residential IPs from more than 180 countries that support HTTP, HTTPs and SOCKS 4/5 protocols.
Here are the key features of Oxylabs residential proxies.
- 60M+ residential IP pool, 100% anonymity, covering a wide range of countries and cities to choose from.
- Avoid IP blocking
- Unlimited concurrent sessions for maximum speed
- Compatible with scraping bots, various session control features
- HTTP, HTTPS, and SOCKS protocols supported.
- Datacenter and residential IPs available
Note: These prices are only for Oxylabs residential proxies, Oxylabs also provides data center proxies with different pricing plans.
- Entry: $300/month, 20 GB included ($15/GB)
- Advanced: $600/month, 50 GB included ($12/GB)
- Pro: $900/month, 100 GB included ($9/GB)
- Enterprise: $5,000/month, 1 TB included ($5/GB)
Relatively more affordable than Luminati with a pretty decent residential IP pool (more than 60 million). Luminati, however, offers better overall performance with its powerful proxy manager app, but Oxylabs is also a very good overall choice.
Great 7-day free trial period with pretty overall features, and great 24/7 customer support. Over 60 million residential IPs in its database.
Overall, a great residential proxy provider that is more affordable than Luminati with pretty decent set of features.
GeoSurf provides residential proxies that are available in 130+ countries. The plans offered are relatively expensive, but each user is provided with unlimited IPs with every request, which is a really good feature for anonymity.
Here are the key features of Geosurf:
- Over 2 million clean residential IPs in its database, with proxy masking to ensure anonymity
- Coder-friendly API, compatible with every common programming languages
- 130 geo locations, including U.S. Canada, Thailand, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and more.
- 24/7 customer support from designated customer success managers via email, Skype, or phone
- Full access to IPs without limitations and plans, unlimited connections, threads, and countries
- Detailed usage statistics to monitor and optimize your data collection process
- Sticky IPs to have a predefined time on the session, and to maintain persistence time
- Dedicated sticky residential IPs to countries like the US, UK, France, Thailand, India, etc.
- Starter: $450/month, 38GB, $12 per additional GB
- Professional: $900/month, 90GB, $10 per additional GB
- Plus: $2,000, 250GB, $8 per additional GB
- Enterprise: contact for price
Geosurf offers a pretty high price tag compared to others on this list except for Luminati. However, they also offer a really good overall service.
Great customer support team that is available 24/7 although the email support is sometimes slow, unlimited connections, threads, and locations with each plan. You can also upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time, and even cancel your plan at any time.
Great overall features with great performance, quite expensive but worth the price. Luminati has a better proxy manager, but Geosurf’s is easier to use. Performance-wise, they are quite similar to each other.
Stormproxies is a relatively new player in the residential proxy market, only been around since 2016. However, it quickly gained popularity mainly due to its very affordable price tag while offering fast proxies with unlimited bandwidth.
Here are the key features of Stromproxies.
- Unlimited bandwidth, no hidden costs, no limits on bandwidth
- Premium 24/7 support by email with less than 24-hours resolve time
- IP rotation every 5 minutes
- Anonymous residential proxies to make sure your actual IP remain hidden
- Dedicated static IP for certain purposes, useful for services that require stable IP
- Instant purchase, you can use the residential proxies as soon as you make your purchase
- Strict restrictions on torrents, hacking and other illegal activity.
Note: These prices are only for Stormproxies’s rotating residential proxies, Stormproxies also provides other types of proxies with different pricing plans.
- 5 Ports Residential Proxies: $50
- 10 Ports Residential Proxies: $90
- 20 Ports Residential Proxies: $160
- 50 Ports Residential Proxies: $300
The main highlight of Stormproxies is its affordability. It’s the cheapest in this list with the cheapest plan being just $50/month. However, the catch of this affordable price is that it has one of the smallest IP pools with just over 2 million of residential IPs. As a result of this small number of IPs, it also has limited geographical coverage and limited geo-targeting options.
Stormproxies doesn’t offer any free trial, but there’s a 24-hour no-hassle money-back guarantee, which should be sufficient enough.
Pretty decent overall performance. It doesn’t offer any breakthrough features but a decent option if you are looking for affordability.
Shifter (formerly Microleaves) also offers residential proxies with unlimited bandwidth. It’s important to note that Shifter named their residential proxies as “backconnect proxies”, so you shouldn’t be confused when you visit Shifter’s website.
Here are the key features of Shifter:
- Unlimited Bandwidth, no hidden and extra costs
- 3-day money-back guarantee
- One of the largest residential IP database with over 26 million residential IP address
- Shifter claims to have the entire world covered
- Instant access after purchase
- HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS 4 and 5 support
- Basic Backconnect residential proxies: 25 proxies for $249.98- 5,000 proxies for $49,999.98
- Special Backconnect residential proxies: 10 proxies for $249.99-4,000 proxies for $79,999,98
Note: Special Backconnect proxies offer extra features like the ability to Geo-Target exact location of your residential IPs and can connect to blocked websites that are unavailable on Basic Backconnect proxies including Youtube, Ticketmaster, Yandex, Outlook, Apple, GMX, Inbox, MyWay, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Zoho, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, Skype, Wikipedia, and more.
Basic Backconnect assigns a random residential IP address and restricts access to high-demand sites listed above.
Like Stormproxies, Shifter (previously Microleaves) offers residential proxies with unlimited bandwidth. Shifter’s plans are relatively more expensive than Stormproxies, however, with their cheapest plan being $249.98 for 25 ports. Shifter also offers a three-day money-back guarantee. Good overall pricing and no hidden costs whatsoever.
Performance-wise, it is pretty decent. Shifter performs terribly on some websites and their Bais Backconnect plan restricts your access to high-demand sites. However, it also performs pretty well on other sites. Overall, we can say Shifter offers a so-so performance. It has a lot more residential IPs in its pool compared to Stormproxies (26+ million vs 2 million)
Shifter is a good choice if affordability is your main concern. If you want unlimited bandwidth, in our opinion Shifter is the better pick than Stormproxies due to its bigger IP pool.
What To Consider Before Buying Residential Proxies
We have reviewed our top 6 residential proxy providers available in the market, and we have also discussed their pros and cons and our verdict. However, if you are still unsure of which residential proxy to get, here are some important factors you may consider:
As we can see, residential proxies aren’t cheap, and the cheapest we’ve reviewed above still costs $50/month (Stormproxies). Yet, you can compare different pricing schemes offered by different providers to ensure you are getting the best value.
Some services offer unlimited bandwidth and charge by the number of ports, while some others will charge essentially per GBs. Figure out your needs, and you should try to find out the most affordable service that can cater to these needs
In general, try to find a residential proxy that offers an IP location that is closer to your “real” location. Some geo locations might be consistently flagged by your various websites. Check the websites you frequent if they blacklist some countries, and choose an appropriate provider.
Reliability and Security
You’d want a reliable residential proxy that is also secure. Different providers will offer different security-related features, different uptime rates, and different overall reliability. Obviously the more reliable and secure a residential proxy is, the more expensive it usually will be.
Again, the faster the residential proxy is, the more expensive it should be (if not, you’re getting a bargain). Depending on your purpose of using the residential proxy, speed may or may not be a priority for you.
Specific Use Case
Depending on your purpose of using the residential proxy, you might also consider the following factors:
- Compatibility with your Existing Tools: There are certain tools like marketing automation solutions, SEO tools, and so on that might not be compatible with certain residential proxies.
- Site Unblocking: Different residential proxies might be able to access a specific geo-locked site but not the others.
We have come to the end of our discussion, and let’s now find out the absolute best of all the residential proxies we have reviewed. As you can see from the verdicts, this will be a difficult choice for us, since each of them offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
The Luminati should be the overall best regarding its quality. However, the pricing scheme might not be for everyone. With that being said, SmartProxy is slightly more affordable while offering just a slightly less overall value.
However, are products presented are great residential proxy providers with their own advantages and disadvantages.
We hope you’ve gathered enough information from this buying guide, and can make a better purchase decision with what we’ve shared.