Shifter (formerly Microleaves) Review: Residential Proxies for Data-driven Marketing
Today, websites employ a number of security solutions to protect themselves against malicious actors at the proxy and browser layer, particularly. Browser fingerprinting, IP address fingerprinting, and Geo-fencing, and so on are just a few examples of techniques that tackle the proxy and browser layers.
So, if you want to extract data from the open web at scale, you’ll need a technology layer that provides your system with the greatest amount of data while not impeding the process. One such technology is the use of residential proxies that are offered by various proxy providers – one of them being Shifter (formerly Microleaves).
Founded in 2012, then as reverseproxies.com before rebranding to Microleaves, Shifter is one of the largest proxy networks in the world with a focus on delivering high-quality residential proxies for data-driven marketing.
Since its inception, the provider has managed to amass over 31 million backconnect residential proxies that are scattered in every country and city around the world. These proxy servers will never get you blocked thanks to their Peer-to-Peer network which lets them bypass any geo-restrictions.
Another thing that sets Shifter backconnect proxies apart is their unmetered connections. Regardless of how much bandwidth you use, your internet will not be disconnected and they offer low-priced tariff plans to match.
In this review, we explore their different proxy types, their pricing, features, performance, ease-of-use, customer service, and what makes them so great for those looking to access sneaker sites, verify ads or scrap the web privately. Read on.
Shifter Pros and Cons
- A proxy pool of over 31 million residential IPs.
- Unlimited bandwidth on all packages.
- Excellent scraping performance with reasonable proxy connection speeds.
- Does not offer free trials.
- Customer service is a little bit wanting.
Shifter offers three kinds of proxy networks. You’ll be able to pick from backconnect residential proxies, dedicated datacenter IPs, or shared ones for a more economical option.
Backconnect Residential Proxies
Backconnect residential proxies are Shifter’s forte. With a proxy pool of over 31M+ residential IPs under its hood, Shifter is one of the largest if not the best residential proxy providers in the internet today after the likes of Oxylabs and Bright Data.
Shifter takes a new approach to unblock by providing only residential IPs that come from ISPs who provide internet services for home users, so that proxy users can be guaranteed of being undetectable when scrapping the web compared to datacenter proxies.
In addition, Shifters’ Peer-to-Peer network is made up entirely on P2P technology and provides 100% anonymity, and guarantees a high level of success. With that said, Shifter residential proxies are available in two types. Namely, the basic backconnect proxies and the special backconnect proxies – each of which has its own pricing plan.
Basic Backconnect Proxies
Basic Backconnect Proxies are designed for general web browsing but don’t have access to geo-targeting. They also assign random residential IPs from all over the world, except those from Tier 1 countries like the U.S, U.K, and Canada. This means that these proxies can only provide limited service when it comes down to high-demand websites.
Special Backconnect Proxies
With Special Backconnect Proxies, you’ll be able to geo-target your residential IPs and access websites that are locked for the Basic version. These proxies have been specifically tailored to have extended capabilities which means they’re perfect if high-demand use cases arise.
Lastly, Shifter’s Backconnect Proxies are known for their quick switching of IP addresses – usually every 5 minutes but you can adjust the settings based on your needs. This is great for web crawling and data mining. The system also has the ability to support both HTTPS and SOCKS protocols so it can meet all average provider requirements.
Datacenter Proxies: Both Dedicated and Shared Proxies
While Shifter is best known for its high-quality residential proxies, the company also offers both shared and dedicated datacenter proxies to small-time data scrappers who wish to obtain valuable data fast and at a cheaper cost.
Dedicated proxies are a great way to keep your information safe. They’re dedicated exclusively to one customer, making them more secure and reliable than shared ones that can be accessed by multiple people at once.
These proxies offer unrestricted bandwidth, rapid speeds with gigabit speeds, and a 99.99 percent network uptime guarantee are provided by highly secure US-based datacenters.
What’s more, their dedicated proxies offer multiple subnets, non-sequential IPS, and most importantly HTTP and HTTPS protocol support. Their service also includes an advanced control panel that makes it effortless to track and manage your proxies. You can use these proxies to get around Instagram, Facebook or Twitter restrictions.
Aside from the huge pool of residential proxies, pricing is another vital area where Shifter has managed to ace. Notably, Shifter’s prices are reasonably affordable.
Interestingly and unlike most proxy providers, Shifter’s proxies are unmetered. This means that there are no extra fees charged after you’ve exhausted the allotted bandwidth.
Instead, they charge per port/gateway, meaning that you’ll not be locked out of their service even after you have used up all your bandwidth. Also, with more gateways, you can make more load.
Shifter Residential Proxies Pricing
That said, Shifter offers its residential proxies in two tiers – notably the Basic Backconnect Proxies and Special Backconnect Proxies. Both plans start at $249/Month and the price increases depending on the number of proxies assigned.
For example, with the Basic Backconnect you pay $249/month and get 25 Basic Backconnect Proxies. Special Backconnect proxies plan on the other hand gives you 10 Special Backconnect Proxies at the same price. But you can use our special link to get 10 Basic Backconnect Proxy Ports for $124.99.
Shifter Shared Dedicated Datacenter Proxies Pricing
Moving on. Shifter also offers Shared Dedicated Datacenter proxies. These proxies are however cheaper than their residential counterparts and are well suited for small use cases. Their pricing starts at $30/month and this gives you 10 high-speed US-based private HTTPS shared proxies with unlimited bandwidth and multiple subnets.
Shifter is a company that goes out of its way to make sure you are happy with your purchase. While the company doesn’t offer free trials to its customers due to abuse by spammers, the refund policy on Shifters’ website assures customers that if the proxies fail in performing the tasks they are assigned to do they will get back all money spent, which has made them a favorite proxy services for many. To that effect, the company offers a 3-day refund policy.
Scrapping Performance and Speed
We put Shifter’s backconnect residential proxies through their paces. This involved making thousands of connection requests over a period of one month with our target being a US Cloudflare server, and we found them to be excellent performers on average more than 94% of successful connections were made.
That said, we also tested Shifter’s proxy speeds. Here we tested the provider’s proxy’s response time as well as the connection speed. The response time is the total duration it takes for users to get a response following their request.
However, while response time varies depending on server locations, it is typically longer in residential proxies than data center ones. This is due to the pings and latency involved with these types of proxies. Shifters backconnect residential proxies are quick, to say the least.
It took an average of 4.45 seconds to acquire a server response from our tests, which is a remarkable achievement given that Shifter is regarded as a low-cost residential proxy services provider.
We also looked at the connection speed of Shifter proxies. In this context, the speed at which you can upload and download data through your connection using Shifter.io proxies in a second is known as the proxy connection speed.
With that being said, we were able to test Shifter’s residential proxies by subjecting them to the Speedtest tool. The result was an acceptable download and upload speed, even though it wasn’t the fastest in our tests, this is still great for most web scrappers. From the results, the average upload speed was 10.71 Mbps while the average download speed was 20.47 Mbps.
Ease of Use
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to proxies. You’ll need a reliable, fast, and affordable option for your scraping needs but don’t settle on just any old thing. Go for one that’s also easy to use.
That said, the Shifter website is one of the most straightforward proxy websites in this market, allowing its customers to encounter no problems finding what they need just by following a few steps which makes it easy even for beginners to discover their services.
For example, the Client Area is easily accessible from the top right corner of the website. This allows customers to have a quick overview of their accounts with the provider as well as manage their accounts setting. What’s more, users can see a list of the Assigned Ports and Authorized IPs from here.
More still, the dashboard is now even easier with the online tutorials. The ease in authenticating a proxy is also an important aspect that makes this provider unique to other brands on the market today. The providers only offer one means of authentication – which is by whitelisting your computer’s IP address.
One of the most essential elements of any proxy service is customer care. Proxies are like an extension of your own website, and if something goes wrong with one of them, the effects can be severe and exasperating to a serious user. As a result, you need to choose a reliable whose customer support is reachable at the time of need.
Shifter has a customer care system that is accessible via ticket. However, one of their downsides is that there’s no assurance that they will respond soon, or when they can be reached. They also have a few emails on the site, social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook – but they don’t appear to be for customer service.
Furthermore, you can check out the Frequently Asked Questions section which we recommend you use before contacting customer care. This part addresses the most frequent inquiries and is quite beneficial for those who are less informed about what they’re getting into. They not only have solutions to concerns about issues you may face, but they also provide basic answers to questions about proxies.
Shifter is a company that has been around for years. It’s not only easy to set up but also ensures you get the best results every time with its worldwide geo-distribution and high-quality residential or datacenter proxies, whatever your web scraping task may be.
So, whether you need residential or datacenter proxies for high-quality results, Shifter.io is a great service – even though we found out some of their claims to be slightly overblown. However, if you want an honest and fair company that provides general-purpose services to all of its customers; then Shifter is your best bet.
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