NetNut proxy provider review

A hard nut to rate

NetNut Review Hero
(Image: © NetNut)

TechRadar Verdict

A speedy service which could work for heavy-duty tasks, but with some unexpected issues and irritations.

Pros

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    Free 7-day trial

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    Fast static proxies sourced direct from ISPs

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    Fair value for high bandwidth/ request volumes

Cons

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    High starter prices

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    Basic support website

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    Cheapest plans don't include live support, IP allow-listing

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Every proxy (opens in new tab) provider makes big claims about its speed, but Tel Aviv-based NetNut (opens in new tab) goes further than most: 

'fastest in the market', the website boasts, with the capacity to handle 'hundreds of gigabytes per second' ensuring you can 'access any geo-targeted web data content you need.'

This isn't just marketing spin, though. While most proxy providers use peer-to-peer (P2P) networks to source their residential IPs, NetNut works with a company called DiviNetworks to acquire them directly from more than 100 ISPs around the world. With the usual reliance on end users replaced by direct ISP connectivity, NetNut eliminates a major performance bottleneck and ensures it can better scale up to handle large-scale tasks.

As a very welcome bonus, because these IPs aren't tied to real user devices, you don't have to worry that they'll disappear at any moment. You can decide how long to keep them.

These static residential proxies are NetNut's premium product, with 1 million IPs in over 50 countries. But if they've overkill for your project, the company also offers more than 10 million rotating residential proxies worldwide (including P2P-sourced IPs), and 110K+ US datacenter for simpler scraping tasks.

Pricing

(Image credit: NetNut)

Plans and pricing

NetNut used to focus very much on the high-end business market, but these days it has plans for just about every level of user.

The company's US datacenter plans (opens in new tab) start at just $20 a month for 20GB bandwidth, for instance. There are no concurrency limits to get in your way, so you can run as many connections as you need. The starter plan (opens in new tab) doesn't have live support - it's email-only - but that's no great surprise at this end of the market.

Ramping up to the Advanced plan (opens in new tab) gets you 50GB bandwidth for $45 a month, with live support thrown in (although chat is via Skype, which is hardly convenient.) The $80 Production plan (opens in new tab) offers 100GB bandwidth and a dedicated account manager, and at the upper end of the range, the Master Plan (opens in new tab) costs $500 a month for 1TB traffic.

These aren't the cheapest prices around, and you might find better deals at specific price points. The Smartproxy Clever plan (opens in new tab) gives you 100GB traffic for only $50 a month, for instance, which looks relatively cheap. But NetNut scales up well, and overall, its prices are competitive with the top proxy providers.

NetNut's rotating residential products come in two flavors: bandwidth-based and request-based.

The bandwidth-based plans (opens in new tab) have six tiers. The cheapest gives you 20GB for $300, or $15/GB. Moving up the scale gets you more bandwidth and also extra features. For example, the $800 Production plan (opens in new tab) supports 100GB traffic, and adds IP allow-listing and a dedicated account manager. And the top-of-the-range $4,000 a month Master plan (opens in new tab) offers 1TB of traffic, and adds API access and City/ State selection.

The enterprise-strength request-based plans have a high starting price, but are also a lot simpler. All plans have the same features, and you're solely paying for requests, from $7,500 a month for 50M to $25,000 for 250M.

NetNut's Static Residential Proxies (opens in new tab) follow the same pricing pattern. Bandwidth-based plans are approximately 20% more expensive than the rotating residential equivalents, starting at $350 for 20GB, but request-based plans are priced identically, from $7,500 a month for 50M.

Again, these are reasonable value for customers with substantial needs, but could be expensive for simpler applications. Beware the feature restrictions, too: even budget providers typically include IP allow-listing, but that's a premium feature here. Read the small print carefully and make sure a plan is giving you everything you need.

There is some good news, though. NetNut offers a free 7-day trial, plenty of time to get set up and see how the service works for you. 

Features

(Image credit: NetNut)

Features  

NetNut's ISP-sourced proxies bring several benefits, as we've seen. Essentially, you get the stability and performance of data center IPs, combined with the resilience and stealth of residential IPs.

These IPs are accessed via what NetNut calls its 'super proxies', load balancers which accept the request and allocate you 'the IP address which is most likely to be available in the requested location.' 

There’s no limit to the number of concurrent requests you can send and in fact NetNut recommends that users initiate as many concurrent sessions as possible for best results. They claim to have customers who send more than 30 million requests every day.

NetNut says that you can use its proxies with all websites, including search engines. The company also offers optimized private proxy pools based on your target to ensure maximum success rates.

Extension Missing

(Image credit: Google)

The company doesn't offer much in the way of management tools to simplify your use of the service. Smartproxy has its multi-session X Browser, a zero-coding Smart Scraper tool, a Chrome and Firefox extension, and more. Meanwhile, NetNut used to have a Chrome extension, and it's still listed in the FAQ, but the link took us to a 404 'page not found' error and we couldn't find it when searching the Chrome store. That's the kind of unprofessional issue we expect from dubious budget providers, not a high-end business service.

Using NetNut

Signing up for NetNut's data center proxies is simple: just choose a plan and hand over your cash (credit cards and Alipay are supported.) If you're after the residential or ISP proxies, you'll need to contact the company and a representative will walk you through the signup process.

Dashboard

(Image credit: NetNut)

Logging into the NetNut site took us to its web dashboard. This is surprisingly basic, with little more than the details of your plan, account and billing information, and areas for assorted metrics and usage stats.

It wasn't immediately obvious how to get started. There's a FAQ, but it's the pre-sales type, lacking in any kind of useful detail. And as mentioned above, it looks poorly maintained (one page has a link to NetNut's Chrome extension, but it's broken, and gave us a 'page not found' 404 error.)

Setup Guide

(Image credit: NetNut)

There is some relevant information. Sign up and NetNut sends you an email with very basic details, and an Implementation Guidelines page (opens in new tab) had sample code for C#, Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, Node.js and cURL. 

The problem is these are just a few lines of text, with no background explanation at all, or even any working examples. For example, the entire 'proxy with sticky IP' section is just these two lines:

proxy server: http://gw.ntnt.io

proxy user: username-dc-country_code-sid-any_number (up to 8 digits)

Uh, what are the country codes? What's the significance of the eight-digit number? These aren't difficult problems, but we expect better presentation from a service when you might be paying them thousands of dollars a month.

If you run into difficulties, you could contact support. This is less convenient than usual, with email-only contact on the lesser plans and live chat via Skype, and response times aren't always good (we asked what had happened to the Chrome proxy extension one Sunday evening, for instance, and there was still no reply by the next morning.) But the team has no issues with general operation questions, and we've found they give helpful and accurate advice for most setup and troubleshooting issues.

Final verdict

NetNut's ISP-sourced proxies give it a major advantage over the standard rotating residential competition, but the company doesn't make much effort to simplify setup and usage, and it's relatively costly for small-scale use. It does deliver the features you need for most applications, though, and the seven-day trial shows the company is confident in the service. If you've a demanding project and regular rotating proxies won't do, give NetNut a try, see if it fits your bill.

We've also highlighted the best proxy (opens in new tab) and best VPN (opens in new tab)

Mike Williams
Lead security reviewer

Mike is a lead security reviewer at Future, where he stress-tests VPNs, antivirus and more to find out which services are sure to keep you safe, and which are best avoided. Mike began his career as a lead software developer in the engineering world, where his creations were used by big-name companies from Rolls Royce to British Nuclear Fuels and British Aerospace. The early PC viruses caught Mike's attention, and he developed an interest in analyzing malware, and learning the low-level technical details of how Windows and network security work under the hood.