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Bright Data is an Israeli company established in 2014. It offers access to every kind of proxy server, multiple data collection APIs, no-code web scraper, and even pre-collected data sets.
Bright Data can safely be considered a premium provider, meaning that its services cost above the market average and scale well. This naturally shifts the favor toward enterprises and customers with large needs. To be fair, the company does offer an option to pay as you go that doesn’t require much commitment. Whether you’ll find the going rate financially worthwhile is another question.
Tooling is another one of Bright Data’s strengths: both the proxy management infrastructure and data collection tools are polished and functional. In fact, we were so impressed with Bright Data’s products that we gave it the Best Tools for Data Collection award.
So, is Bright Data a no-brainer? Not necessarily. Despite all it offers, the company can’t be the best for everyone – or everything. And that’s where cheaper or more specialized providers find their opportunity to slip through. In this review, we’ll try to identify those cracks and how they can impact your decision.
Bright Data is an Israeli data collection infrastructure provider established in 2014. It’s currently owned by a UK-based equity firm called EMK Capital.
Most old-timers remember Bright Data by a different name, Luminati. The company rebranded in early 2021, citing negative connotations associated with the name. (To be fair, Luminati does sound awfully familiar to a famous organization.)
Bright Data was one of the first services to introduce residential proxies – IPs borrowed from computers and phones of real people. At the time when most competitors still sold datacenter IPs, this gave the company a big advantage and allowed it to grow into a leading proxy provider. Despite tightening competition, Bright Data remains one to this day, boasting top universities and Fortune 500 companies among its clients.
The provider is very protective of its technology. In mid-2022, it was litigating with three major competitors – GeoSurf, NetNut, and Oxylabs – over patents concerning proxy rotation and residential IPs.
Bright Data offers every kind of proxy network available. You’ll be able to choose from shared and dedicated datacenter IPs, rotating residential proxies, ISP proxies, and mobile IPs.
How do these proxy types interact? Datacenter proxies are best suited for accessing lenient targets. Residential proxies are much harder to block, so they work better with protected targets or when you need precise location coverage. ISP proxies are similar to residential IPs, but they can hold longer uninterrupted sessions. And mobile proxies are harder still to identify, so you should use them with the most challenging websites.
Bright Data offers an interesting feature called Proxy Waterfall which automatically chooses the best IP type for the task. I talk about it more in the section on user experience.
First, there’s an option to choose between getting shared, dedicated, or rotating IPs where it’s possible – namely, under datacenter or ISP proxies. For example, you can get 10 datacenter IPs and share them with several other people or pay more and use them alone; alternatively, you can buy access to a pool of 20,000 addresses and pay by traffic. There’s a lot of variety. Even the residential and mobile services offer an option for exclusive IPs – 3 to 200 addresses that no one else will use for that specific domain.
Second, Bright Data supports fine-grained targeting options. Every proxy type comes with at least 50 countries. You can target those countries, or go deeper and pick cities within them. The residential and mobile services allow narrowing down the choice to particular ASNs as well. This feature is still rare among proxy providers.
Third, you get flexible rotation options, together with the ability to establish unlimited connection requests at once. They’re not that flexible by default: you can choose either rotation every request, or keep the IP for as long as available. However, Bright Data’s Proxy Manager lets you fine-tune the settings to your preferences.
As with features, Bright Data is also very flexible with its pricing. You can either pay as you go, or commit a set amount of money each month to get better rates.
The following is a comparison of dynamic IP agency prices for some major brands.
the dedicated datacenter proxies by default have limited traffic and allow targeting only one website. Should we enable all domains and unlimited targeting (as most providers do), we’d have to pay nearly $4/IP for 10 proxies – or nearly twice the market price. In the same way, enabling the city or ASN targeting option for the residential proxies literally doubles the price.
Dedicated Datacenter Proxies
Let’s begin with the dedicated datacenter proxies. We tested 100 IPs in the US targeting seven popular scraping targets like Amazon and Craigslist. In total, we made ~1,500 connection requests per target.