PacketStream Review – Buy Cheap Proxies and Potentially Earn a Small Income on the Side
PacketStream is a relatively new provider of residential proxies, having been established back in 2018. Despite its young age, however, the network quickly managed to make a name for itself thanks to its rather unique peer-to-peer business model. Although there are plenty of other residential proxy services out there that let you buy IP addresses at reasonable prices, very few of them let you rent out your own IP for cash at the same time.
The ones that do offer this extra service, are often not upfront about how your IP is going to be used. Or, even worse, some companies try to trick you into renting out your IP address without offering you anything substantial in return. With PacketStream you don’t have to worry about any funny business because the provider is straightforward about how everything works. As an added bonus, you don’t have to jump through any crazy hoops to start selling your bandwidth because the service is very easy to use.
If you’re looking to buy rather than sell, you may find PacketStream’s network a bit underwhelming compared to those of major providers like Bright Data (formerly Luminati) or Oxylabs. PacketStream has a pool of around 7 million IP addresses, most of which come from landline or mobile connections. The network is fairly small all things considered but, on the bright side, these are all real rotating proxies that you can access for very cheap.
PacketStream Pros and Cons
- Cheap entry prices;
- Global proxies network;
- Easy to use;
- Good performance;
- Allows you to both buy and sell bandwidth;
- Free trial credits.
- No city-level targeting;
- Doesn’t support SOCKS5 protocol;
- Relatively small network;
- Lackluster customer support;
- Potential security concerns for sellers.
There are a number of pros and cons to keep in mind before signing up with PacketStream regardless of whether you want to buy proxies or sell your bandwidth. Let’s break this PacketStream review into two main sections, one for each scenario.
Buy Residential Proxies at PacketStream
PacketStream is difficult to recommend for large companies given the small pool of proxies found in the network. This is a peer-to-peer network with people opting in and out all the time, so you can expect the aforementioned number of 7 million addresses to fluctuate based on how many users are selling their bandwidth at any given time. Those sorts of fluctuations aren’t ideal for big businesses but they won’t affect your performance if you’re a small company or individual.
Speaking of things that may or may not impact your performance, PacketStream lets you target specific countries, and there are well over 100 of them to choose from, but city-level targeting is not available. Similarly, the company supports both HTTP and HTTPS protocols but SOCKS5 isn’t an option.
The lack of city targeting and SOCKS5 can limit how much use you’ll get out of the proxies. Of course, it all depends on what you’re planning to do with them. You won’t need those types of features to bypass geographic content restrictions or do some price comparisons, but it would be useful to have them if you want to engage in something like sneaker copping. Another drawback worth noting is the inability to whitelist IPs, with the only supported form of authentication being user:pass.
PacketStream gives you access to a neat dashboard from where you can monitor all activities, a Reseller API, and a 99% uptime guarantee. Based on our own research, the uptime is closer to 97% but that’s still better than what most competing companies are offering. PacketStream’s network may but small but it’s very stable and reliable. The response times generally sit at just shy of 2 seconds, at least if you’re targeting US servers. The performance in other regions is a bit slower but still overall decent.
The main performance-related issue you’ll run into at PacketStream once again has to do with the small pool of IP addresses. When you’re working with a small network you won’t have a lot of unique IPs at your disposal. Even if you choose to rotate between them every time you make a new request, you’re still likely to be assigned the same addresses at regular intervals. This isn’t a bad thing for everyone but it can be a hassle for users who need a different IP every time they make a request.
The price is the main reason why most people may want to consider joining PacketStream. Instead of setting up a complex system of proxy packages and tiers like we’ve seen so many other companies do, PacketStream offers a very simple price of $1 per GB of bandwidth. You buy the bandwidth and get access to the entire network. No need to buy individual proxies. These are all rotating proxies so if one IP becomes unavailable there will always be another one ready to take its place.
The only caveat to this pay-as-you-go system is that you can’t actually buy $1 worth of bandwidth to test things out before investing further. The minimum amount of bandwidth you can purchase is 50GB. If you want to go all out, you can instead buy 100, 500, or 1000 GB right off the bat. While there are companies that let you start off for less than $50, overall, PacketStream’s price per GB of bandwidth is one of the best out there. And even though you can’t start without buying at least 50GB, the company does offer a free trial that lets you test the service for a couple of days.
Ease of Use
Signing up for PacketStream is remarkably easy. All you need is a username, email, and password to get started. You don’t need to fill in any personal data, phone number, or even confirm your email. Once you’re all set up you gain access to the dashboard where you can buy bandwidth and keep track of your proxies. The dashboard also features some documentation, a button that lets you contact support, and a couple of other options. All in all, everything is pretty much what you would expect.
If you don’t know how to setup proxies, you’ll find a couple of guides in the dashboard that will teach you the basics. The process is quite simple and mainly involves selecting options from drop-down menus. These include things like protocol, target country, and IP hostname. Once you have selected all the relevant options, PacketStream will automatically generate cURL commands that you can use to get things started.
This is one of the areas where PacketStream isn’t doing too great. At this time, the company can only be contacted via email. No phone, live chat, or even a ticket system. You can try reaching them on Twitter or Facebook but you probably won’t have much luck since the company doesn’t seem to be very active on social media.
PacketStream doesn’t have a ton of support staff at its disposal judging by the fact that it usually takes at least 12 hours to get a reply from them. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have to wait 24 hours or more. If you’re someone who values good customer support, you’ll probably be disappointed by what PacketStream has to offer.
Selling Bandwidth at PacketStream
People have been looking for ways to earn passive income online for decades. Most of them tend to be less profitable than they may sound at first and that’s certainly the case with PacketStream as well. Selling your bandwidth will allow you to make some money on the side but the amount will be very low for most people.
Signing Up as a Packeter
The process of signing up as a bandwidth seller is similar to the one described in the section about bandwidth buying. You’ll once again only need a username, email, and password but this time around you have to choose to become a ‘Packeter’ before gaining access to the dashboard. The dashboard is split into two sections – one for buyers and one for sellers – so you can easily dabble in both if you want to.
Running the Software
Unlike buyers, sellers need to download a piece of software and run it every time they want to make a bit of cash. The software takes up about 100 MB of space and is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. As long as you’re running the software, your IP will be integrated into the PacketStream network and will act as a residential proxy node. You don’t have a lot of control over who uses your IP address or how it’s being used, so there are definitely some risks involved.
PacketStream claims that all data passes through the company’s servers before being processed to avoid IP addresses from being used for illegitimate activities. Accounts that are found to engage in such activities are said to be automatically banned. While all of that sounds great in theory, the company doesn’t take the time to explain in detail what constitutes an illegitimate activity from its point of view. The definition of what should or shouldn’t be illegal on the internet gets blurry depending on who you ask. Even using proxies would probably be frowned upon in many parts of the world.
To the company’s credit, we’re certain PacketStream does its best to ensure the safety of its customers but the simple act of renting out your IP can be risky nevertheless. Doing so will probably not get you into any legal trouble, but it could get your IP banned from certain websites.
The big question here is, “how much money can I make with PacketStream?” As with most things, it depends. There are a couple of factors that affect earnings, the most important of which is your location. Just because you’re running the software doesn’t necessarily mean your IP will be used as a proxy. The chances are much higher if you live in certain regions, such as the US, but even then, it’s not guaranteed. In short, you can only make money as long as someone is using your IP.
The good news is that PacketStream doesn’t have region-based earning rates. The company uses a very simple system where you earn $0.10 for every GB of bandwidth you manage to sell, regardless of where you live. You only need to make $5 or more to be able to cash out and you can use PayPal or Stripe as your payment processor. The company takes a cut of every transaction but it’s only 3%.
On average, the regular user can expect to earn anywhere between $5 and $15 per month using PacketStream. That’s definitely not a lot but it can add up if you’re somehow able to sell multiple IPs at once. Just keep in mind that it won’t make much of a difference if you’re selling bandwidth from multiple devices found on the same network.
PacketStream is a pretty good option regardless of whether you’re looking to buy or sell bandwidth, but the service is definitely better for sellers. Despite having a relatively small network, PacketStream offers very good performance and its prices are some of the best out there. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend the service to big enterprises but if you’re someone who needs some cheap proxies for bypassing geographic restrictions or content verification, PacketStream is a solid choice.
The main downsides here are the lack of city-level targeting, SOCKS5 protocol, and lackluster customer support. PacketStream is still fairly new to the scene so it’s likely some of the issues will be resolved in time, especially if the company continues its rapid growth. The network size might be a bit more problematic since it relies on the active participation of its users. The company would be able to attract more peers by offering better rates or other incentives.
If you’re looking to sell your bandwidth at PacketStream in order to earn a passive income we suggest you don’t get your hopes up. Unless you can come up with some ingenious way of selling several unique IPs at once, and running the software 24/7, you won’t be able to make too much money using this method. In addition, there are always certain security concerns you need to keep in mind when using software like this. We recommend really weighing all the pros and cons before selling your bandwidth, to PacketStream or any other company.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is PacketStream Legit?
The service itself is certainly legit but the act of buying and selling bandwidth can fall into the gray area depending on where you live. Make sure to do some research regarding local laws and regulations before using any sort of service like this.
How Many Countries Does PacketStream Support?
There’s no official list per se since technically the service is available everywhere. However, at the moment the service is only used by users in around 110 countries.
Can I Sell Public IP Addresses?
In theory, yes. Besides residential and mobile proxies, the PacketStream network also includes IP addresses belonging to schools and cafes. Needless to say, though, trying to sell such addresses can get you into trouble with their owners.
What Are the Most Common Use Cases for PacketStream?
PacketStrem users tend to buy proxies for bypassing geographic content restrictions, social media marketing, price comparison, brand protection, and content verification. The service can also be used for more niche things like sneaker copping, however, there are much better options if that’s what you’re after.
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