Top 5 Rotating and Residential Proxies for Web Scraping

23 March 2021 | 12 min read

There are a lot of different proxy types you can use for web scraping, like residential proxies or data center proxies. A residential IP is an IP address that belongs to a real user, with a real Internet Service Provider (ISP). These IPs enable web requests to be seen as a real users, and are much less likely to be blocked by third party websites.

A data center proxy is similar to a residential proxy except residential proxies are more trusted by websites. Data center proxies are the most common proxies available and it leads to one of the drawbacks of data center proxies: some websites can detect when you’re using a data center proxy and are more likely to block those IP addresses because many of them are used by bots.

This is why residential proxies are a good choice. Since residential proxies provide IP addresses attached to real addresses, they are the least likely to be banned. This makes it easier to use a web scraper on different sites without getting blocked.

To add even more anonymity to your activities, look for rotating residential proxy services. A rotating residential proxy will change or rotate your proxy for each request you make. This gives you extra protection from getting blocked by websites because your IP address is never the exact same.

Rotating residential proxies accomplish this through back-connecting. Each time the IP address of the proxy is rotated, you get a static IP address to connect to and the back-end handles the actual rotation. This way, you don’t have to update the proxy details every time the IP address updates.

Residential proxy providers get these home address based IP addresses in a number of ways. There are peer-to-peer (P2P) market places that people monetise their bandwidth. There are also developers that monetize their apps using SDKs that use mobile device IP addresses instead of ads (with the user’s consent of course). One example is the Luminati SDK. Another option residential proxy providers have is to rent unused bandwidth from different ISPs through networks like Divi+. Those kind of ISP proxies are very interesting if you need residential IPs reputation and date center network speed.

This gives you an anonymous way to do web scraping, online shopping, internet marketing research, and a number of other activities, without worrying about your IP address getting blocked from a website. Now that you have some background on how rotating residential proxies work, it's time to compare the top five proxy providers.

Using rotating proxies with your favorite HTTP client is really easy, you can take a look on how to set up the Python Requests package with proxies.

1) ScrapingBee

ScrapingBee homepage

ScrapingBee is a web scraping API and we also have many features like JavaScript rendering so you can web scrape on single page applications built on React, Vue, or Angular. Unlike many of the other top proxy providers, ScrapingBee measures your usage by request, not by the amount of bandwidth you use. So you never have any ambiguity in how much you're able to run your bots and web scrapers.

You can even start with 1000 free API calls to test out how well it will work for you. You'll be able to test out how sending your requests with our service works compared to some of the others on this list and you won’t need a credit card to get started. This is a great way to see how ScrapingBee can help with things like search engine optimization (SEO) research.

You’ll be able to scrape competitor sites for keywords and see how that can aid your ad campaigns or content creation. It can also be used for things like backlink checking or keyword monitoring. This also makes it easier to scrape search engine results because you can get around rate limits. If you work in growth hacking, things like lead generation can be tricky and avoiding rate limits is one of the ways ScrapingBee can help you find useful information, like emails.

One of the biggest advantages of using ScrapingBee is that it is cheaper than the alternatives in the list below. You can find a cost comparison table for all of the proxy providers in the conclusion and also a link to our cost comparison tool. Another huge advantage of using ScrapingBee is that it renders JavaScript generated websites. This can be very expensive and hard because there is a need for developers to maintain headless Chrome instances and these pages can be large, which requires a lot of bandwidth.

There are tutorials for how to get started with web scraping in different programming languages like, JavaScript, Python, C#, and others on our site. There is some good documentation about how to use the ScrapingBee API that explains the different parameters and has code examples of how they are used. You'll also have access to great support if you have questions.

2) Luminati

Luminati homepage

Luminati is a rotating residential proxy provider with over 72 million IP addresses from around the world. While they have more offerings than any other proxy provider on the market, they are the most expensive proxy provider. They also have a number of other proxy types you could use. There are data center proxies which share IP addresses across pools of users. These are some of the cheaper proxies if you have a tight budget. Remember that data center proxy IP addresses can end up on blocked lists for a number of websites.

Static residential proxies are available as well. These are proxies that give you a specific IP address that your requests are sent from. The IP address isn't rotated out, so you'll have consistency with the IP address you use. This is a good option if you are looking for something for personal use.

If you want to monetize your app without using ads, Luminati has a mobile SDK you can use. You’ll give Luminati access to your users’ bandwidth instead of displaying ads. They are one of the more prominent proxy providers that offer an SDK like this.

Luminati charges based on bandwidth for most of their proxy types. You will want to keep an eye on your billing to avoid any unexpected large charges. There are a few specific use cases Luminati is well known for include collecting stock market data, web data extraction, and brand protection.

They have proxies all over the world. They have a network status monitor so you can see when there are any outages and track them over time. There are webinars that will help you get started using your proxies. They also have features like random header generation and preset configuration for proxy manipulation.

3) Oxylabs

Oxylabs homepage

Oxylabs provides data center proxies, static residential proxies, rotating residential proxies, and next-generation proxies that use machine learning to help with efficient web scraping. They have over 100 million IP addresses around the world. You can even get a dedicated account manager with certain packages and 24/7 live support if you have any questions.

You can choose any of the proxy types to work with and the packages vary pretty widely. Oxylabs offers their packages on a monthly basis by bandwidth amount. They have a dashboard that lets users see their usage statistics and to manage their account.

They have additional options that are included at no additional cost, regardless of the package you choose. Things like advice on target scraping, 10 whitelisted IP addresses, 3 sub-users, and more are available in Oxylabs packages. With their residential proxies, you won't have to worry about CAPTCHAs slowing down your bots.

With their residential proxies, you can get unlimited concurrent sessions, they have session control so that you can adjust the sessions to fit your needs, and you don't have to worry about your IP address getting blocked. Their proxies have been used for things like travel fare aggregation, intellectual property protection, and SEO monitoring. They are also one of the few proxy providers that offer a proxy optimized by machine learning.

You will find a number of resources to help you get up and running with these proxies. There is documentation for all of the proxy types they offer so that you can use it for your market research. Oxylabs even has an enterprise tier that you can use to get a custom built solution. Although they have a lot of offerings, their service is also one of the more expensive ones among the competitors.

4) Smartproxy

Smartproxy homepage

Smartproxy provides different kinds of proxy services such as rotating residential proxies, data center proxies, and search engine proxies. They also offer additional tools like a Google Chrome proxy extension, a Firefox proxy add-on, and a proxy address generator. You will have access to 24 hour support if you have questions or run into issues.

You will be able to web scrape any number of websites. One use case Smartproxy points out is tracking rare or new sneakers. It's one of the proxy providers used by sneaker heads to find the best deals. It's also used to test ads across different continents.

The pricing options they have available are on the monthly basis and they adhere to specific traffic limits. You have a certain amount of bandwidth that you won't be able to go over so make sure you're monitoring your usage. Smartproxy has a dashboard that you can use to track your proxy usage by sub-user. You really have to watch your usage with them. It can be really easy to go over your bandwidth and generate a large bill.

Some other ways users have taken advantage of the different proxies include web scraping, affiliate testing, social media research, and retail research. You will find documentation for the Smartproxy API in multiple programming languages. They also have a lot of added features like, geo-targeting and sticky sessions.

Their top proxy locations are Germany, the United Kingdom, India, the United States, Japan, and Canada. Smartproxy is one of the providers that also allows reselling. You can whitelist up to five IP addresses. This is something else you need to watch for. There are certain configurations you may have to handle that change how efficient your proxy usage is.

5) Crawlera

Crawlera homepage

Crawlera is now known as Zyte Smart Proxy Manager. It's a little different than the others because it doesn't quite specify the type of proxy they use. They do offer IP address rotation to help protect you from getting blocked. One of their most popular services is Scrapy.

Scrapy is an open source framework that lets you extract the data you want from websites. It's written in Python so it can run on Linux, Mac, and Windows. That means you can automate your web scraping on your own server for more control and customization. They also offer Scrapy Cloud.

This is a way for you to host your Scrapy spiders. You are still able to migrate your Scrapy code to another platform if you decide you don't want to stay with Scrapy Cloud. It even comes with Splash headless browser integration.

Splash is another tool offered by Zyte. It's a headless browser they designed for web scraping. This tool helps with websites that are rendered with JavaScript frameworks like, React or Angular. You can simulate user behavior with Lua scripts to get more accurate data.

Zyte offers a number of tools that give you the power to get detailed information from the websites you are trying to scrape. They offer monthly plans that are based on the number of requests you need to make. Residential proxies are an add-on for some of the packages and they have 24 hour support 5 days a week. One drawback is that while Zyte offers all of these tools, each tool has a different monthly fee which can add up quickly.

Final thoughts

The top five proxy providers listed above use ethically sourced residential proxy pools for their services. Even if you choose a different proxy provider, make sure that they ethically source residential proxies. There are some that may offer lower prices, but they put your activities at risk of being stored somewhere or being used in ways you don't approve.

If you are looking for a residential proxy provider that is cost effective, consider ScrapingBee. They are one of the few providers that charges by requests per month instead of bandwidth per month. This helps you keep your billing more consistent because you have unlimited bandwidth.

All of the top 4 providers have IP addresses all over the world. With ScrapingBee, you get over 100k IP addresses and unlimited bandwidth compared to Luminati's, Oxylabs', and SmartProxy's offer of a set amount of bandwidth. ScrapingBee only charges you for successful requests whereas Luminati charges for every byte you use. If you don't want to bother with proxy zones and whitelisting websites, ScrapingBee lets you use the proxy through simple API calls.

Most rotating residential proxy providers don't have a tool that can handle single page applications rendered by JavaScript frameworks like, React, Angular, and Vue. ScrapingBee replaces the need for you to manage multiple headless browsers to scrape important websites. It even allows you to execute small actions on web pages like, clicking buttons or closing pop-ups.

When you decide to select a proxy provider, make sure you understand the kinds of proxies they use and how they source IP addresses. Some of the most secure proxies are rotating residential proxies because they give you the IP address of a real home address. Some of the more cost effective proxies are data center proxies, although there is a higher chance of you getting blocked from many websites.

Also make sure that you understand how the charges to your account will work. Some of the proxy providers charge based on bandwidth and that can lead to wild swings in monthly charges without careful monitoring. If you compare the cost for 100,000 requests with JavaScript rendered pages, you'll see the cost difference between providers. Keep in mind that the average web page is 2MB now. You can see a quick comparison between providers with this tool from ScrapingBee.

You can find below the cost per provider for 100k requests per month assuming 2 MB per request, so 200GB total.

Provider Number of IPs Geolocation Success rate Minimum commitment Price per GB Price*
Luminati 72M 200 95% $500/mo $17.50 $2000/mo
SmartProxy 40M 195+ 92% $75/mo $15 $2000/mo
Oxylabs 100M 187 94% $300/mo $15 $2250/mo
Crawlera Unknown Unknown Unknown $999/mo Unknown Unknown
ScrapingBee 20M 190 96% $29/mo Per request $249/mo

*Costs per provider for 100k requests per month assuming 2 MB per request, to 200GB total.

Don't forget about the hidden costs associated with proxies. With Luminati, Oxylabs, and Smartproxy, you'll have to handle the server cost associated with the headless Chrome instance runs. They need a dedicated CPU and about 1 GB of RAM and that can get expensive. Plus you have to factor in the developer time to set all of this up.

image description
Kevin Sahin

Kevin worked in the web scraping industry for 10 years before co-founding ScrapingBee. He is also the author of the Java Web Scraping Handbook.