Come in now to discover the differences and similarities between Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy. After reading this article, you should have an idea of the best pick for you.
There are many proxy providers in the market that offers residential proxies – and these numerous options will confuse you. In many cases, they offer the same features and appeal to the same audience. However, if you look into them deeply, there are differences between them that matter and could shape your buying decision for the best.
The top providers in the residential proxy service market are Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy. These providers are on top of the list of proxy recommendations. If you are in a dilemma on which to choose, this article has been written for you.
In this article, we would be comparing Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy in many aspects such as IP pool size, location coverage, and geo-targeting, performance in terms of speed, stability, reliability, and scalability.
We will also look into what they offer in terms of free trials, refunds, IP rotation systems, KYC requirements, and extra tools provided. Before going into the details, look at the table below to see an overview of Bright Data vs. Oxylabs vs. Smartproxy.
Overview of Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy
Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxyare not entirely different. They do have similarities, and one of the major similarities is that all of the 3 providers offer their residential proxies with limited bandwidth – and priced based on bandwidth. Another similarity is that all of the providers get their IPs via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks and rotate IPs for their customers. Aside from these and a few others, there are a good number of differences that actually make a difference to the average proxy user, and these would be discussed.
Bright Data has positioned itself as the market leader while Oxylabs is contending that with it. Oxylabs has the largest advertised proxy pool, while Bright Data is regarded as the best provider in the market. Smartproxy, on the other hand, is also a premium provider that appeals both to the small marketer and big marketers alike.
One thing you will come to like about this service is that even though it appeals to small marketers, it has proven to be a strong contender to both Bright Data and Oxylabs. In fact, some would rank it as the number one in terms of performance.
|Provider||Proxy Pool Size||Countries Supported||Geo-targeted Options||Request Success Rate||Speed||Minimum Package Pricing||IP Protocol Supported||High Rotating proxies||Session Proxies||Ease of Use|
|Bright Data||72+ million||All countries||Country/ state / city||99%||1.2 secs||$300 for 20GB||HTTPS + SOCKS||Yes||Up to 30 minutes||Full self-service but complicated|
|Oxylabs||100+ million||All countries||Country/ state / city||87%||0.98 sec||$300 for 20GB||HTTPS + SOCKS||Yes||Up to 30 minutes||Need an account manager to help you out – no full self-service|
|Smartproxy||40+ million||All countries||Country + 8 cities||99%||0.97||$75 for 5GB||HTTPS only||Yes||1 min / 10 min / 30 min||Full self-service and easy to setup and use|
IP Pool Size and Source
One of the features that residential proxy users look out for is the size of a proxy pool. While not many cares to know about the source of IPs they use, the source is also important and reveals to us whether the provider is ethical or unethical.
One thing you need to know about the IP pool size of proxy providers is that they are just stated. In reality, the actual number of active IPs in their pool is quite less, and we do not have any means of knowing the truth.
Bright Data, formerly known as the Luminati Networks, has one of the largest proxy pools in the market, and according to the information available on its website, it prides itself as the largest proxy pool in the market with over 72 million IP addresses in its pool.
The IP addresses in the Bright Data pool are sourced via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, with a bulk of them coming from Hola VPN users. Hola VPN is a free VPN that requires users to allow their device resources to be used as proxies.
If you are to go by the advertised number of IP addresses in a residential proxy pool, then Oxylabs has the largest proxy pool in the market with over 100 million IP addresses. Just like Bright Data, its IPs are gotten via P2P networks. However, Oxylabs has been found to engage in unethical practices. It has been discovered that Oxylabs proxy network is powered by embedded codes in popular applications that forcefully convert the devices of those that installed the software into proxy server infrastructure without their knowledge.
Some of the embedded codes include CoffeeService, genericexitnode, winnerbot, and ENservice, among others. Some of the applications these are embedded in include VL Video Player IPTV, Toolbarstudio, 3D Wallpaper Parallax 2018, among many others.
Smartproxy has the smallest proxy pool on the list but still one of the largest in the market. Currently, Smartproxy has over 40 million IP addresses in its pool. It IPs are also gotten from P2P networks. However, there are insinuations that Smartproxy makes use of the IP pool of other premium providers.
Location Coverage and Geo-Targeting
The Internet is increasingly becoming localized and just using high-quality IP addresses is not enough – the geolocation of the IP address will determine if you can use it to access certain content or not. So how do these 3 providers stand in this regard? Generally, the location coverage of the 3 providers can be said to be excellent but let take a look at the details.
In terms of location coverage and geo-targeting, Bright Data and Oxylabs can be said to be the same. Both have support for all countries around the world and also have support for all states and most cities. For this reason, they have support for not only country-level targeting but also state-level and city-level. This makes them perfect for tasks that require state-level and city-level targeting.
Smartproxy also has got good location coverage. In fact, according to the information on its website, it has proxies from over 195 countries across the world – which means all countries are supported. However, in terms of city support, only 8 cities are supported. This means that while country-level targeting can provide you IPs from all countries in the world, you can only use city-level targeting for 8 cities around the world. For most proxy users, this is not a problem, except you need IPs from selected cities.
Performance (Speed, Scalability, Reliability, and Stability)
Except you are going for cheap proxies that are powered by low-quality machines, you would have high hopes in terms of performance. You will not only be interested in the fact that a proxy service works, but you will also be interested in its speed, reliability, stability, and scalability.
Being the 3 best providers in the market, let take a look at how each of Bright Data, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy stands in terms of performance.
When it comes to the aspect of performance, then there is no other way to describe Bright Data than being a powerhouse. It is an excellent performer, and almost all of the requests send via their proxy servers were successful. Their requests did not only go through in most cases (99%), the response time was also impressive – about 1.2 seconds.
Interestingly, we send hundreds of requests within a second to see if it will impact the performance in any way, but there was no meaningful impact. Bright Data has an excellent uptime which is around 99%.
Oxylabs is taunted by many as a high-quality provider with high-performing proxies that work. While their proxies work for many users, there are also a good number of users that complained about their proxies being blocked. We did send hundreds of thousands of requests, and to be frank, a sizable amount of the requests were unsuccessful because the IPs were already banned.
For requests that were successful, the response time was quite impressive (0.98 seconds) and even edged that of Bright Data. One issue we find uninteresting about Oxylabs is that a sizable number of the IP addresses in its pool are IPv6n proxies which might not be what many proxy users are looking for.
So far, Smartproxy has proven to be the best proxy provider in the residential proxy market in terms of performance. It might interest you to know that the response time for Smartproxy is 0.97 seconds, which makes it the fastest residential proxy service in the market. How about the requests' success rate?
Well, it is at loggerhead with Bright Data as over 99% of requests we send via its servers were successful. Even when we increase the number of requests in a second, the success rate remains fairly the same, and response time increased only slightly. This service is quite reliable, stable, and quite predictable.
IP Rotation System and Session Management
The 3 services are rotating proxies, but how often do each change the IP address assigned to its users? Generally, changing IP address would mean creating a new session, and if you want to maintain a session on a platform, you are better off maintaining the same IP address – else, you will be sniffed out as a bot. One peculiar thing we noticed about the 3 providers is that unique IPs after sending hundreds of thousands of requests were below 60%.
Bright Data and Oxylabs have the best IP rotation systems in the rotating residential proxy market. They have support for high rotating proxies that changes IP address after every request. This is perfect for tasks that need IP changed too frequently in other to hide IP footprint, such as in the case of web scraping.
The services also have support for session proxies that maintain an IP address for a period of time before changing it. Currently, you can maintain sessions for up to 30 minutes with their service. The timing is up to you, and it can be argued that they have the best session management system in the market.
Smartproxy proxies are also some of the best in terms of IP rotation and session management. This service, just like the above, also has high rotating proxies that change IP addresses after every request. It also has support for time-based rotation in the case of session ports. The supported time periods include 1 minute, 10 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Pricing – Including Free Trial and Refund Policy
There is no doubt that pricing plays an integral part of one buying decision, and rach of the proxy providers discussed try as much as possible to remain competitive, but we still have a winner after all. In this section, we would not just be looking at the pricing; we would also be looking at other aspects, including free trial and refund policy. Bear in mind; all providers' pricing is based on bandwidth usage.
These two have been at loggerhead for a while now, with each trying to remain competitive. However, both are regarded as expensive, and the service for marketers with a good budget. In the past, the minimum monetary requirement for Bright Data is $500, while that of Oxylabs is $600. However, in other to remain competitive and accommodate small marketers but now have their smallest plan as a $300 plan with 20GB – a sign they are highly competing. If you are to look at the price per GB for these providers for their other packages, you will also see that price is almost the same.
In terms of the free trial, new users of Bright Data are entitled to a 7-days free trial and 3-days money-back guarantee. For Oxylabs, the same conditions (7-days trial, 3-days refund) areapplicable. So in terms of pricing, free trial, and refund policy, the duo of Bright Data and Oxylabs are the same.
Smartproxy is the most affordable to small marketers because of two reasons. The first reason is that the price per GB is quite lower, and the second reason is they have a minimum monetary commitment compared to Bright Data and Oxylabs.
All you need to get started with Smartproxy is $75, and that will give you 5GB at a price of $15 per GB. If you are to go for their $200 plan, you will get 20GB which brings down the price per GB to $10. This is quite cheaper compared to the others that same 20GB is $300 – $100 cheaper.
According to the information on the Smartproxy website, they do not offer free trials due to abuse of the free trial plan in the past. However, this does not mean they are not offered completely. If you are registering as a business or company, you can contact their support and request for trial version. In the case of refund policy, you have up to 3 days to ask for a refund if the service does not work for you. After 3 days, you lose your right to ask for a refund.
Ease of Use – And KYC Requirement
How easy is using proxies from each of the three providers? While this question might not be necessary for experienced users, the same can’t be said for inexperienced users, and it could be the reason a user becomes frustrated. Let take a look at how these 3 services stand.
There is no doubt; Bright Data has put a lot of effort into providing the most advanced proxy service in the market with a good number of tools and features to make proxy management easy from the dashboard. Bright Data is fully a self-service provider, and all of the things you require can be done from the dashboard without the help of their support team.
But this has made it complex and complicated. In fact, for many of the tasks, inexperienced users would need to read the guide in other to carry them out. Another barrier of usage is the tedious KYC requirement where a user has to verify his identity before he can use the service.
Oxylabs also has the requirement of KYC that users must meet in other to make use of their service. In terms of usage, Oxylabs can be said to be somehow easy and not so easy. The self-service option is quite limited, and many tasks would require you to talk to an assigned account manager to get them done for you.
Smartproxyis the easiest to use among the three. The service has been made to be easy to use, and all of the tasks you need to carry out, from adding funds to your account to paying for packages and generating proxy endpoints, can be carried out from the dashboard. It has been developed as a self-service dashboard. When it comes to KYC requirements, this is not mandatory for all users.
We have gotten to the end of the article, and the above are the major differences between them. The only major difference not mentioned in the article is IP protocol which Bright Data and Oxylabs support both HTTPS and SOCKS – Smartproxy supports only HTTP(S) proxies.
As per our recommendations, Bright Data and Smartproxy are recommended – Oxylabs is out of our recommendation. Bright Data is the recommended provider, but if you cannot afford it, then Smartproxy is recommended as it is cheaper and the best Bright Data alternative.