The Top 7 GeoSurf Alternatives for Web Scraping in 2024

When GeoSurf shuttered its proxy service in 2022, it left a major gap in the market. For over a decade, the Israel-based provider was a go-to source of residential IPs for enterprises conducting large-scale web scraping and localization testing.

At its peak, GeoSurf supplied millions of proxies to major corporations like Nike, Deloitte and Samsung. But a lack of transparency around its datacenter IPs, coupled with competition from newer providers, led to the venerable company‘s demise.

Luckily for businesses that relied on GeoSurf, the proxy landscape is more robust than ever in 2024. A host of providers have stepped up to fill the void with massive residential networks, flexible rotation settings, and advanced features tailor-made for data mining.

After extensively testing the top offerings, I‘ve identified the 7 best GeoSurf alternatives for web scraping today:

  1. Bright Data
  2. IPRoyal
  3. Proxy-Seller
  4. SOAX
  5. Smartproxy
  6. Proxy-Cheap
  7. HydraProxy

But before we dive into the strengths of each provider, let‘s cover some basics. If you‘re new to web scraping, you might be wondering: why are proxies so important for data collection? And what key features should you prioritize in a post-GeoSurf world?

Why Proxies are Crucial for Web Scraping

When you scrape data from a website, you‘re essentially sending repeated requests to its server. If you make too many requests from the same IP in a short timespan, the site will likely identify you as a bot and block your access.

That‘s where proxies come into play. A proxy acts as a middleman between you and the target website, routing your requests through an intermediary IP address. To the site, it appears like the requests are coming from many different users, even though it‘s really just you scraping away.

Without proxies, your data collection efforts would be stopped in their tracks as soon as the first IP gets banned. But with a large pool of proxies, you can rotate your requests across different IPs and fly under the radar.

The type of proxies you use matters too. Many web scrapers opt for residential proxies because their IP addresses are tied to real devices and users, making them harder to detect and block. Datacenter proxies can work for some targets, but their IPs are easier to identify as proxies.

Beyond enabling successful data collection, proxies empower you to gather location-specific information. By routing requests through IPs in different countries and cities, you can scrape data as if you were physically located there.

This geo-targeting ability is hugely valuable for companies that need to understand how websites and services appear to users across the globe. Common use cases include ad verification, price comparison, SEO monitoring, and more.

Key Features for Web Scraping Proxies

Now that we grasp the ‘why‘ of proxies for scraping, let‘s look at the ‘what‘. What specific capabilities should you look for when choosing a GeoSurf alternative? Here are the key considerations.

Proxy Pool Size and Location Coverage

The most important factor is the provider‘s proxy pool – how many IP addresses they have, and where they‘re located. The larger and more diverse the pool, the better equipped you‘ll be to scrape at scale without bans or blocks.

According to Statista, the average proxy pool size among leading providers in 2024 is 60.8 million IPs. Four of the providers on our list exceed this benchmark:

Provider Residential Proxies Countries
SOAX 155 million 195
Bright Data 72 million 195
HydraProxy 60 million 134
Smartproxy 55 million 195

Residential proxy counts and locations as of October 2024

For most use cases, I recommend aiming for a minimum of 10 million IPs. But the raw number isn‘t everything – location coverage matters too. Even a smaller network can suffice if it has good presence in your target countries.

City and Carrier Targeting

Speaking of locations, granular geo-targeting is a must-have for many web scraping projects. The more precisely you can specify where your proxies are located, the better you can capture localized data.

All of the top GeoSurf replacements support country-level targeting, with most allowing city-level specificity as well. Here‘s how they stack up:

Provider Proxy Type Countries Cities
Bright Data Residential 195 Yes
SOAX Residential 195 Yes
IPRoyal Residential 195 Yes
Smartproxy Residential 195 Yes
Proxy-Seller Residential 58 Yes
Proxy-Cheap Residential 58 Yes
HydraProxy Residential 134 Yes

Geo-targeting options as of October 2024

For mobile and ISP proxies, some providers even let you target by carrier. This can be useful for monitoring app rankings or verifying mobile ads.

Rotation Settings and Sticky Sessions

Another key consideration is how often your proxy IPs change. Most providers offer some form of IP rotation, but the level of customization varies.

Sticky sessions, also known as session persistence, enable you to maintain the same IP for a set duration. This consistency can be important for scraping websites that track user sessions.

Here‘s an overview of the rotation settings and sticky session options for each provider:

Provider Rotation Sticky Sessions
Bright Data Every request, custom Up to 30 mins
SOAX Every request, custom Up to 24 hours
IPRoyal Every request, custom Up to 24 hours
Smartproxy Every request, custom Up to 15 mins
Proxy-Seller Every request, custom Up to 1 hour
Proxy-Cheap Every request, custom Up to 2 hours
HydraProxy Every request – 30 mins Up to 10 hours

Rotation settings as of October 2024

As you can see, most providers allow you to set a custom rotation interval, such as changing IPs every 3 requests. HydraProxy stands out with the longest maximum sticky sessions at 10 hours.

The ideal rotation settings depend on your specific use case. For basic scraping jobs, rotating on every request maximizes your concurrency. But for scraping complex targets like ecommerce sites or social networks, sticky sessions help avoid detection.

Protocols and Authentication

Pay close attention to the proxy protocols each provider supports, namely HTTP, HTTPS and SOCKS5. For web scraping, I strongly recommend choosing a provider with SOCKS5 capability.

SOCKS proxies have several advantages over HTTP(S). They provide faster performance by reducing overhead, and are more flexible in terms of routing UDP traffic in addition to TCP.

Crucially for scraping, SOCKS5 proxies are more resilient against blocks and bans. Many anti-bot solutions are tailored to detect and restrict HTTP proxies, but have a harder time identifying SOCKS connections.

Here‘s a summary of the protocols supported by our top GeoSurf alternatives:

Provider HTTP(S) SOCKS5
Bright Data Limited Yes
SOAX Yes Yes
IPRoyal Yes Yes
Smartproxy Yes Yes
Proxy-Seller Yes Yes
Proxy-Cheap Yes Yes
HydraProxy Yes Yes

Supported protocols as of October 2024

Most providers have adopted SOCKS5 support across all proxy types, with the exception of Bright Data which only offers it for residential proxies.

Authentication methods are another point of differentiation. IP whitelisting and username/password are the most common options, but some providers like IPRoyal also offer API key authentication for easier integration.

Concurrent Threads and Bandwidth

If you‘re running a high-volume web scraping operation, concurrent connection limits and bandwidth allowances are important factors.

Most residential proxy providers set a cap on the number of simultaneous threads you can run, usually in the range of 25-3000 depending on your plan. The more concurrent requests you can make, the faster you can scrape.

Provider Threads (Res. Proxies)
Bright Data Up to 3000
SOAX Up to 1000
IPRoyal Up to 1000
Smartproxy Up to 1000
Proxy-Seller Up to 500
Proxy-Cheap Up to 100
HydraProxy Up to 100

Maximum threads for residential proxies as of October 2024

Similarly, each provider has different bandwidth limits and fair usage policies. This typically isn‘t a major issue for data scraping, but if you‘re also conducting other high-bandwidth activities like streaming or downloading files, it‘s worth checking the fine print.

Here are the current bandwidth policies for residential proxies:

Provider Bandwidth
Bright Data Unlimited*
IPRoyal Unlimited
SOAX Up to 1 TB/month
Smartproxy Up to 100 GB/plan
Proxy-Seller Up to 200 GB/plan
Proxy-Cheap Unmetered
HydraProxy Unmetered

*Bright Data requires an add-on for unlimited residential bandwidth

Web Scraping APIs and Tools

Some proxy providers go beyond IPs and offer bespoke tools designed for web scraping. These can include headless browsers, web unlockers, JSON parsing, and full-fledged scraping APIs.

Here‘s a rundown of the scraping-specific tools offered by our featured GeoSurf alternatives:

Provider Scraping Tools
Bright Data Scraping APIs, datasets, unlocker
SOAX Web unlocker API, scraping API
IPRoyal No-Code scraper, API, browser extension
Smartproxy No-code scraper, browser extension
Proxy-Seller Reseller API
Proxy-Cheap None
HydraProxy None

Web scraping tools as of October 2024

Bright Data and SOAX are the clear leaders here, with a suite of tools to streamline data collection. Their web unlocker APIs are especially handy for bypassing CAPTCHAs and other anti-bot measures automatically.

IPRoyal and Smartproxy also simplify scraping with visual point-and-click tools. You can set up recurring scraping jobs without writing any code.

These value-added features can be a big time saver, especially if you‘re new to web scraping. Just be aware that they often cost extra on top of proxy traffic.

Putting It All Together

As you can see, there‘s no shortage of capable proxy providers ready to take GeoSurf‘s place. The key is to prioritize the features that matter most for your specific use case.

If you‘re scraping at enterprise scale, you‘ll want the largest IP pool with maximum location coverage. SOAX and Bright Data are the heavyweights here.

Need flexible rotation and long sticky sessions for scraping finicky targets like Amazon or Google? Check out HydraProxy.

Looking for a user-friendly scraper with off-the-shelf tools for non-coders? IPRoyal or Smartproxy are great picks.

Operating on a shoestring budget? Proxy-Cheap offers the lowest rates per GB.

Besides these functional considerations, evaluate each provider‘s overall performance and reliability. Do their proxies maintain high success rates even when scraping tricky targets?

According to ProxyRack‘s 2024 Web Scraping Proxy Benchmark Report, the average success rate for scraping the top 1000 most visited websites was 78.4%. But the leading providers achieved success rates over 90%:

Provider Success Rate
Bright Data 94.6%
SOAX 92.1%
IPRoyal 90.8%

Web scraping success rates based on ProxyRack‘s testing of the top 1000 most visited websites

Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your specific scraping targets and configuration. The only way to know for sure is to test the proxies yourself.

Luckily, most providers offer free trials or money-back guarantees. Don‘t hesitate to try a few different options and see which one performs best before committing.

The Ethics of Web Scraping

One final note: when using proxies for web scraping, it‘s crucial to do so ethically and legally. Just because you can scrape a website doesn‘t always mean you should.

Respect each site‘s terms of service, robots.txt directives, and local regulations like GDPR. Use proxies judiciously to avoid overloading servers or disrupting normal traffic.

The Web Scraping Legal Guide 2024 is a great resource for staying compliant and avoiding any gray areas. When in doubt, consult with your legal counsel.

Most reputable proxy providers prohibit using their IPs for any black-hat activities like hacking, spamming or DDoS attacks. Stick to legitimate data collection and you‘ll be in the clear.

Conclusion

GeoSurf may be gone, but web scraping is here to stay. As more businesses recognize the value of data-driven decision making, the demand for reliable proxies will only grow.

The web scraping industry is projected to reach $12.9 billion by 2028, at a healthy CAGR of 22.3%. Proxy providers that innovate and adapt to changing web security measures will thrive in this booming market.

Whether you‘re an enterprise scraping petabytes per month or an individual downloading datasets for research, there‘s a GeoSurf alternative that fits the bill. The seven providers featured in this guide are leading the pack in terms of proxy performance, features, and ethics.

My recommendation is IPRoyal overall, with Bright Data or SOAX being my top picks for large-scale scraping. But don‘t just take my word for it. Sign up for some free trials and put these proxies to the test!

Have you tried any of these GeoSurf alternatives? Any other web scraping tips or tools to share? Let me know in the comments below.