With websites and apps tracking and monitoring literally everything you do, the internet is becoming less and less private every day. As such, many users are looking for ways to preserve their privacy.
Fortunately, there are alternate solutions to web surfing that can help you retain your privacy. I know you probably thinking of A VPN. Well…..you guessed wrong! One solution is through a proxy service that masks your IP address from websites and apps.
While there are many proxy service providers in the market, only a handful stand out. One of them is Bright Data. Founded in 2014, Bright Data is a household name that is recognized for its reinvention of the residential proxy domain through the provision of powerful, automated data collection solutions that deliver reliable, mission-critical online data to all.
Up until recently, the Israeli-based company went by the name Luminati Networks. However, due to an outcry concerning the persistent negative connotations surrounding their former name, the company decided to rebrand to Bright Data.
Despite the name controversies, this Israeli proxy provider has risen through the ranks over the years, to become one of the leading proxy networks in the market thanks to its huge pool of proxies, features, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, as well as its steadfastness in promoting the ethical acquisition and use of proxies.
But even with all these features, Bright Data is not good for everyone. For one, the company has a very strict KYC (Know Your Client) procedure. What’s more, the company has its sight laser-focused on corporates making their proxies overly expensive, hence locking out regular small-time scrappers, Instagram hustlers, and sneakerheads. And this is where cheaper proxy providers come in.
In this review, we look at the pros and cons of Bright Data as well as its services, plans, performance, ease of use, and customer support. So, without further ado let’s get started.
1. Bright Data Proxy Offerings
As one of the world’s most trusted and reliable residential proxy services, Bright Data offers nearly every kind of proxy network available and a variety of solutions for internet users.
In the proxy network category, Bright Data offers 4 types of proxies. Notably, datacenter proxies, residential proxies, ISP proxies, and Mobile proxies which we’ll quickly break down in this section.
Aside from the proxies, Bright Data also offers a full suite of innovative and specialized proxy-based tools for website unlocking, search engine crawling, and proxy management.
- 72,000,000+ IPs Around the world
- Proxy types: residential (rotating and static), datacenter (shared, dedicated), and mobile
- HTTP(S), SOCK5 proxy protocols
- 99% Network uptime
- Limitless rotation
- Unlimited concurrent requests
- Up to 500 sub-users
- Several payment options including credit card, wire transfer, and PayPal
- Strong and reliable proxy connections (99.99% network uptime)
- 24/7 customer support
- A huge pool of proxies
- Unlimited concurrent sessions
- Powerful proxy controls
- 7-day free trial
- Limited bandwidth
- High-price tariff proxies
- Bright Data’s KYC (Know Your Client) procedure is a bit overwhelming
Datacenter proxies, also known as remote servers, are alternative IP addresses that mask your original one. These proxies do not come from a real ISP but are instead sourced from datacenter servers. For a better understanding, datacenters are corporations like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and others that provide cloud services.
However, one thing you need to note is that datacenters provide datacenter IPs to many at the same time – meaning multiple users will be connecting concurrently with you. This makes them cheaper and less secure than non-shared datacenter proxies.
That said, Bright Data offers one of the most advanced datacenter proxy network that includes both shared and dedicated IPs. According to the information available on Bright Data’s website, the Israeli company claims to have a proxy pool of over 770K datacenter IPs spread around the world.
What’s more, the IPs are spread across 3K+ subnets to help minimize traffic as well as increase network performance. And just like you’d expect, their datacenter proxies support all the popular protocols including HTTPS and SOCK5 protocols to ensure that you don’t have any trouble when scrapping the web.
In terms of flexibility, Bright Data offers its datacenter customers a number of options. For example, they offer you the option to choose shared IPs from a proxy pool of 20,000 IPs and choose to pay per usage or pay per IP.
A residential proxy is a legitimate IP address provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to their clients. Residential proxies are associated with a physical location and provide the highest level of anonymity as well as the lowest blocking rate than any other type of proxy.
That being said, Residential proxies are Bright Data’s specialty. Since its inception, Bright Data has managed to amass one of the biggest proxy pools in the market after Oxylabs. Today, the company boasts over 72 million rotating residential IPs around the world.
According to Bright Data, these IPs are bought or leased from real ISPs for commercial use and consist of real residential IPs to ensure that all your data connection requests appear to be coming from an actual physical location making them highly effective and undetectable when used ethically.
And just like Bright Data offers flexibility with its datacenter proxies, it also offers the same with its residential IPs. For example, you can choose between Shared IPs and Exclusive IPs. With shared IPs, you can tap into a pool of millions of residential IPs allowing you to target different locations, ASNs, and mobile carriers worldwide. Exclusive IPs on the other hand give you access to a set of residential IPs solely meant for your web scrapping needs and domain targeting.
As for security, Bright Data residential proxies are encrypted. They support all main protocols, that is; HTTP, HTTPS & SOCKS5 protocols.
ISP proxies are hosted on servers in datacenters and given IP addresses by an ISP’s network circuit. Technically speaking, these IPs appear as real residential IPs but not from real devices. This gives ISP proxies an added benefit against bans on a large scale.
That said, Bright Data offers one of the most sophisticated ISP proxy networks in the industry with a pool of over 110,000 static residential IPs distributed all around the world.
According to the company, these IPs are assigned by ISPs and leased to them and they do not have connection limits. In fact, bright data encourages making as many requests as possible for satisfactory results.
Mobile proxies represent a portable device (such as a smartphone) that has an internet connection via mobile data. These proxies mask your IP address by replacing it with that of the device you’re using.
One thing about mobile proxies is that they are very authentic and they operate by rotating IP addresses where traffic is forwarded through several connected mobile devices on a 3G or 4G network.
However, since mobile proxies are less used than PC proxies, very few proxy providers offer them –and Bright Data is one of those providers. With a proxy pool of a whopping 7M+ residential mobile IPs distributed around the world, this company undoubtedly boasts the largest real-peer 3G/4G IPs in the industry. You can check our list for the best mobile proxies here.
While a huge proxy pool is an added advantage to Bright Data’s mobile proxy service, one thing that interested us was that you can select ASN and carrier targeting as well as send concurrent requests without limitations. Also, you can these proxies are secure and support all main protocols including SOCK5. However, you’ll need to use Bright Data’s Proxy Manager to enable SOCK5.
2. Bright Data’s Proxy-Based Tools
As aforementioned, Bright Data also offers specialized proxy-based tools for several use cases such as price comparison, data aggregation, and SEO monitoring. These tools include the Web Unlocker and the Search Engine Crawler.
Just as its name suggests, the tool is used to bypass block requests that can sometimes occur when trying to access a website via a proxy network. The great thing about this tool is that it only requires you to send a single unblock request to the target website and the Bright Data team of proxy experts will do the heavy lifting for you. Other tools similar to Bright Data’s Web Unlocker include Oxylabs’ Next-Gen Residential Proxies and Zyte’s Smart Proxy Manager.
Search Engine Crawler
The Search Engine Crawler is a SERP API that builds on Bright Data’s proxy network. The tool allows you to access and collect real user results for any keyword on all major search engines with unparalleled accuracy. And since the tool is highly customizable, it supports a wide variety of customized parameters such as geo-specific targeting, results displayed per page, and the type of request.
Aside from the two proxy-based tools, Bright Data provides other tools to make your data scrapping tasks appear seamless. One of these tools is the Proxy Manager, which is an advanced open-source piece of software that comes with a lot of useful features.
The manager comes with a built-in data collection tool, and the ability to create rules for automated rotation of IPs, limit requests and filter specific URLs in order to reduce traffic. You also gain access to real-time metrics and the ability to increase the cost-effectiveness of your proxies by using waterfall routing.
Another fantastic tool is the Proxy Browser Extension. The extension can be used to target specific geo-locations and edit your settings on the fly. In some ways, the extension works like a more streamlined version of the proxy manager.
Although a bit more limited in its capabilities, the extension can be installed on multiple machines, which is great for situations when you want to distribute the workload or make it more difficult for potential snoopers to track your location. Another nice feature is the addition of an incognito mode that can be used to avoid data collection by malicious entities.
3. Bright Data Pricing
In the previous section, we talked about numerous tools and products available in Bright Data’s store. From rotating residential proxies, datacenter (shared and dedicated) proxies, ISP proxies, Mobile proxies, or the Data Unblocker tool kit—there is something for every web surfing purpose.
But like all good things, Bright Data’s offerings don’t come cheap and cost way above the industry average. This is most likely because its services are primarily aimed at big businesses (the fortune 500 companies). A factor that has locked out regular small-time data scrappers from using their services.
That notwithstanding, Bright Data’s pricing model is credit-based. Meaning that for you to purchase proxies or use the service, you need to load funds into your account and pay as you go. Also, the plans have a monthly minimum commitment that can be paid for depending on usage. But if you want to save a few extra bucks as well as reduce constant service interruptions because of unpaid monthly bills you can opt for yearly commitments.
Extra Costs for Extra Features
What’s more, Bright Data is not outrightly upfront when it comes to the base price. This becomes most apparent when residential proxies are considered. For instance, enabling ASN or city targeting will cost twice as much, making the displayed price not match the actual price. As such, you’ll need to use their pricing calculator. We loved Oxylab’s straightforwardness.
That said, it’s already clear that Bright Data’s plans are laser-focused on big business. And given that they are best known for residential proxies, the absolute minimum commitment you’ll be paying for the cheapest rotating residential proxy plan is $500 per month. In return, you’ll be looking at a price of $12.50 per GB of usage. The cost however decreases as you move up the ladder.
The rest of the plans also attract a minimum monthly minimum commitment fee of $500. Users can however opt for the pay-as-you-go model with all these plans particularly if they are not looking to do heavy web scrapping or are tight on budget. You can check Bright Data’s proxy infrastructure pricing here.
Note however that if you are looking to can test drive Bright Data’s services, the company offers a 3-day refund and you can also get a 7-day trial if you’re representing a business.
4. Performance and Network Coverage
The company has servers in various locations which allow for fast loading speeds and a better browsing experience. From our tests, we found that their proxy network’s response time was double that of a normal SEO proxy on the market. Our goal was to see how quickly it responded to servers in the US and found an average response time of fewer than 2 seconds.
In addition to being fast, Bright Data’s residential network is also extremely large. In fact, it’s often touted as the biggest network in the world, and with good reason. The residential network alone consists of well over 72 million rotating IP addresses. On top of that, Bright Data also has 7M+ mobile IPs, 770K datacenter IPs, and 110K+ static residential IPs.
Far Reach for All Proxy Networks
The company offers truly global coverage as you can get IPs in pretty much every country and major city across the globe. Many of the IPs can be found in key markets like the US, UK, Canada, India, Germany, France, and Australia, though there’s no shortage of addresses in smaller countries as well. In total, the residential and mobile networks cover 195 countries. While still impressive, the datacenter network only includes about 85 countries while the dedicated residential network only covers 25 countries.
Interestingly enough, even though Bright Data doesn’t offer dedicated sneaker proxies, the network performs remarkably well on certain shoe sites like Nike. That said, coping sneakers is a bit of a gray area so it might be best to avoid engaging in that practice while using Bright Data proxies due to the company’s strong stance on ethical business practices. You can, however, confidently use the network for data scraping, as well as ad verification, website testing, SEO research, and more.
5. Customer Support
Bright Data has an incredible amount of customer support channels you can reach them at. While most companies settle for one or two channels, Bright has four or five, along with a number of social media pages.
The main channels are phone, email, and live chat but you can also reach out to a representative via Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp, and WebQQ. The company’s contact page features multiple phone numbers and email addresses you can use depending on the exact nature of your problem or inquiry.
As far as self-help options are concerned, there’s an entire section of Bright Data’s website dedicated to useful resources, including webinars, case studies, testimonials, and of course, and F.A.Q. section.
Among other things, you can also find a learning hub and a blog on the official website. In addition, the company also has a YouTube channel where it frequently posts videos related to its services. There aren’t as many tutorials as I expected on the channel but you can definitely find a few useful videos nevertheless.
All in all, there is clearly no shortage of options for users in need of technical assistance or information about Bright Data and its network. The support agents themselves are always friendly and happy to help, however, we recommend not contacting them via email.
From our experience, email support is not a priority at Bright Data so it may take a while for them to reply if you send them a message. Instead, try reaching them directly via phone or live chat if you need help with an urgent problem.
Strict KYC Procedure
Since we’re talking about customer support, we do need to mention that Bright Data uses a system that some might find annoying. However, this system is essential for keeping the network clean. The system in question requires every registered user to fill out a KYC (Know Your Customer) form before using the network. The form needs to be filled out with a lot of personal information and must be accompanied by a photo of a valid government-issued ID.
Although it’s a bit of a hassle, this system discourages users from engaging in illegal activities while using the network. So, if you plan on using coupon codes to save a few bucks, make sure to first fill out the KYC form and then get in touch with Bight Data because each individual account must be approved manually by a company representative.
6. Navigation and Ease of Use
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Bright Data is how well put together its website is. Some people might not be interested in that aspect but we think first impressions are important and it helps to have a site that looks good while still being intuitive and easy to navigate.
We especially appreciate that Bright Data has an entire section dedicated to use cases that explains how and when its various services can come in handy. This is very useful because a lot of people who look into these services don’t know much about them so instead of going to Wikipedia to find information about proxies, you can simply use Bright Data’s website instead.
7. Additional Features
In terms of features that are more specific to each type of network, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that datacenter proxies come with a cooling period for each IP, which is a guaranteed amount of the time the IP in question was not used to target the website you want to access.
Meanwhile, with rotating residential and mobile packages, users can choose whether they want to work with shared or exclusive IPs. The static residential network has this feature as well while also offering users the ability to use IPs that are entirely exclusive or just exclusive for certain domains.
Overall, we found Bright Data to not be lacking in the features department. If you’re not new to proxy networks, you probably noticed that some of the features we covered are not exclusive to Bright Data.
However, there are a few that are quite unique to the company. We found the automated unblocking software to be particularly useful and, of course, it never hurts to be able to use unlimited concurrent sessions or to access as many geo-locations as you want.
Bright Data – Is it the Best Proxy Provider for your Web Scrapping Needs?
Bright Data is without a doubt one of the most reliable providers of proxy services out there. The company doesn’t disappoint in any department as it offers excellent performance, lots of useful features, and a very impressive proxy network that spans the entire globe. There’s not a whole lot to complain about the customer support either.
Although the email support could be a bit faster, there are plenty of other channels to choose from along with a good variety of self-help resources. As such, we never felt the need to contact support because the service is solid and easy to use but if you do need to get in touch with an agent, make sure to do it over the phone or live chat.
The only thing that makes Bright Data difficult to recommend to some people is the price. As a premium proxy provider, the company charges quite a premium for its services. The investment is well worth it – of course, if you can afford it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There a Way of Knowing How Many IPs are Available per Country?
Bright Data readily displays the number of IPs available in every country on its official website. If you want to look up this information simply go to the ‘Locations’ section of the website and select the country you’re interested in.
What is a Waterfall Routing?
This is a method used by Bright Data to increase the success rate of requests by automatically passing them from the data-center network to the residential network and then to the mobile network.
What’s the Difference between Residential and Datacenter Proxies?
Residential proxies are IP addresses of real end-users that are very hard to track due to their rotating nature. Meanwhile, datacenter proxies are sequential IPs that come from datacenters owned by various organizations, as opposed to residential IPs which are owned by internet service providers or mobile carriers and are assigned to regular consumers.
What’s the Difference between Shared and Exclusive IPs?
Just as their name suggests, shared IPs can be used by multiple customers. Exclusive IPs, on the other hand, are only assigned to a single user. Exclusive IPs are more reliable but they also tend to cost a bit more depending on which of the four networks you’re using.
Can I Refresh My IPs?
Residential and mobile proxies will refresh your IPs at regular intervals so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself. If you’re using datacenter proxies, however, you will need to refresh your IPs manually and there’s a cost associated with doing so, which varies depending on whether you’re using dedicated or shared IPs.
Where Does Bright Data Get All its IPs?
In the case of datacenter and dedicated residential IPs, the answer is pretty obvious as these addresses come either from datacenters or internet service providers. As far as the other networks are concerned, the IPs come from Bright Data’s SDK. The software was designed to act as an alternative for users who are tired of having to deal with video advertisements while their playing games and using apps. In order to avoid those annoyances, users can simply opt-in to the company’s network in exchange for an ad-free experience.
However, it’s important to note that only certain apps integrate with the Bright Data SDK but that number is constantly growing as Bright Data pays application vendors a monthly fee for each user that opts in. This is a win-win situation for everybody, including the users because Bright Data uses their devices as proxy nodes only when they have enough battery power and a stable internet connection, preferably via Wi-Fi.
What is Bright Data’s Refund Policy?
At the time of this writing, Bright Data does not offer any sort of refunds. However, the company does offer a 7-day free trial for the residential proxy network that allows users to test the service before signing up.
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