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In-house proxy network vs an IPPN

Aviv Besinsky | Product Manager
15-Jul-2019
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Everything you need to know when deciding to build-your-own proxy network or use a third-party


Considering whether to operate your own in-house proxy network or to utilize a proxy service provider? this article will guide you through the pros and cons of each option.

Establishing an in-house proxy network comes with implications including hidden costs and time-consuming troubleshooting but gives full control to the engineers involved. On the other hand, taking advantage of an IPPN (IP proxy network) provides more options in terms of IP types and pool sizes but makes you dependant on a third party.

Let’s discuss some pointers worth paying attention to before making a decision.

Breakdown of an In-House Proxy Network

Price:
Let’s say you’re an online retailer and you choose to begin by buying IPs. To attain IPV4 IPs is a very expensive endeavor, currently averaging around $20/IP and their costs keep rising. To begin, an in-house proxy network would require spending at least $25,000 for the initial purchase of IPs and for the operating expenses of the R&D team. This does not even include the required servers.

If you decide to Lease IPs, a smaller business will get higher pricing than larger companies, usually around 4 times more expensive. The leasing of IPs includes, in many cases, a lease time commitment of 1 year or more.

Ops resources:
The set-up is strenuous but more importantly, managing a proxy network of any size requires time and resources. This includes sourcing servers from data centers in the required locations. Then setting up the servers, updating configurations and installing the types of software which are required for your operations. Next, you need to be continuously managing your IPs and servers by routing through 3rd party upstream providers.

Maintenance includes updating or fixing the IPs geolocation in the various geolocation databases your target domains use. The proxy network needs to be maintained and any issues that arise need to be handled. Refreshing IPs is also required when managing your own proxy network: this refers to replacing entire IP subnets and setting them up again with the proper routing, geolocation, databases, etc.

Diversity:
On average, the smallest subnet of IPs to buy/lease is a ‘/24’ subnet of 254 IPs. This means a small/medium in-house proxy network will fall into one of the following scenarios:

  1. Maintaining a larger proxy network than needed due to its diversity, which increases overall proxy expenses.
  2. Having the right size network but with little or no diversity at all.

Low diversity means a higher chance of getting blocked. Also, if any of your subnets are blocked, a big portion of your proxy network becomes unusable, rather than just a small portion as is the case with a highly diversified network.

Flexibility:
Your proxy network should serve you and your business needs. As the market constantly changes, being able to make fast adjustments can be crucial. When managing your own proxy network you are limited with any needs that would require fast changes.

Actions like replacing blocked IPs, changing to IPs from a different GEO or testing different types of IPs could take weeks or months. The process would include sourcing new ranges of IPs, preparing them in the different geolocation databases, routing them to your servers in the data center and integrating the new IPs internally - all this can take a long time.

If for example a part of one of your ranges was blocked, you would have to choose between waiting until the blockage was removed or replacing that range altogether - blocked and good IPs alike.

Breakdown of an IPPN (IP Proxy Network)

Price:
Comparing to the initial payment of $25K we saw above, IPPNs commonly charge by IP, bandwidth, geolocation or a combination of the three. These bandwidth-based packages normally require a monthly commitment and start at around $300. Some are offered with pay-as-you-go pricing with a price per IP type.

OPS Resources:
IPPNs tend to have easy to integrate APIs although this depends on the IPPN. In some cases, developer time is required especially in cases where business have their own extensive interfaces. Some services, however, offer types of software to automate proxy operations including connecting multiple servers to the service with ease.

Diversity
Due to IPPN’s sole purpose being proxy services, they tend to have a large and diversified offering portfolio. This does differ based on the IPPN chosen. However, if a problem arises such as an IP or range of IPs getting blocked, merely refresh the IP or range and continue operations.

Flexibility
IPPNs with their various product offerings, provide their customers' flexibility in terms of multiple IP types across many networks, numerous concurrent connections as well as the ability to scale up and down when needed.

As the article implies, building your own in-house proxy network can be timely and costly.
You or your company should consider the size of the network required as well as the importance of uptime to its operations. This includes the operating expenses including server costs and engineering costs as well as overall upkeep as proxy networks need continuous attention.

Using an IPPN, a company whose sole business is to provide a proxy service, in many cases makes more sense. An IPPN can provide a more diversified network as well as higher-performing IPs without the need to troubleshoot network issues and performance.

If accurate and trustworthy data is vital to the success of your business, how you gather your data is of the utmost importance. Whether you decide to purchase IPs in-house or via a third-party IPPN service provider, considering all aspects of the proxy network you require, the man-power it will demand and how this environment will evolve, will allow for a well-calculated decision.