Iain Lennon
7 mins
November 9, 2023

Zyte API Aced the Proxyway Test of Web Unblocking APIs

Proxyway, one of the most respected proxy provider research blogs, released its in-depth review of five leading proxy APIs on the market. The report, In-Depth Look into Popular Proxy APIs (Web Unblockers), showed that Zyte API is by far the best option when looking at the three major fundamentals: success rate, speed, and cost.

The results on success rate and speed are great, and I’ll share a little more on these below. The results on cost effectiveness deserve a little more focus as the results are more profound than Zyte API simply being the cheapest API — the pricing allows a different way of using tools,to eliminate the frustrating cat-and-mouse process of handling website bans. 

The other APIs in the market are provided as premium solutions for solving the most complex websites and bans. They’re much more expensive than simple data center proxy solutions, and this means that they’re priced to be used when cheaper solutions have been tried and failed. 

But this means that all of the trial-and-error effort of experimenting with configurations with data center proxies and residential to find a workable and cost effective solution comes before the automation of these other API solutions. 

The hierarchy of website and ban complexity

Zyte API turns this on its head. It’s a sophisticated tool that Proxyway has shown is the most effective available for solving the bans of the toughest websites, but uniquely it’s priced to be the best solution for the simple ones too, and all levels in between. 

This means that it’s a fully automated solution that makes sense for all websites — it uses the least technology required to solve a ban, and that’s all you pay for. 

This isn’t a premium tool to be used after trial-and-error effort with separate tools has failed, it’s an automated solution to be used instead of this process. It eliminates the cat and mouse battle to free up your time and your team for more important goals. 

Context: Battling Site Bans With Multiple Tools

Before we get into Proxyway’s results of testing proxy APIs let’s reflect for a moment on the context — what is the typical experience of battling website bans?

It’s hard — it typically starts with datacenter proxies as they’re the cheapest solution and they may work if the right configuration of headers, sessions and cookies can be found. If not, residential proxies may be the next step, but with their much higher costs work is required to avoid using residential on every request. Perhaps the site is JavaScript-heavy and the HTML must be rendered, or a browser farm is needed due to browser-layer detection. 

There will be a lot of iteration to find the cheapest viable solution and then monitoring to confirm that initial success rates don’t drop. Then sooner or later the site’s anti-bot will make a change, and much of this cycle repeats. 

The cycle of battling to solve bans

Where Does it Hurt?

Budgeting = Unhappy CFO

Multiple tools means multiple contracts and needing to estimate the volume needed for each — there’s always waste. Requirements for residential proxies can rise and fall alarmingly month to month — it’s incredibly difficult to predict costs. 

Business Continuity = Unhappy Customers

Changes in anti-bot leading to breaks in solution can mean loss of data — your team is under immense pressure when unhappy customers are on the phone. 

Development Process = Unhappy Team

The human cost is just as painful as the financial one as this error prone cycle is punishing for in-house teams. I often hear teams say “We spend 70% of our time on bans—that’s not how we should use our time” and poignantly “It’s a talent retention issue.” 

Proxy APIs or “Web Unblockers”

Whilst industry terminology hasn’t yet stabilized on an agreed category term, what is emerging as a response to this process are APIs that look to automate approaches so that development teams can focus more on higher value-add activities — on spiders for crawling and extraction, and on putting data to work.

It’s these APIs that Proxyway have recently reviewed. 

Proxyway’s Methodology

In addition to Zyte, Proxyway tested APIs from Bright Data, Oxylabs, Crawlbase, and Smartproxy. The target websites used for the test covered a range of website types and ban complexities from simple to complex. Some were protected by in-house solutions and others by leading third party anti-bot systems like Akamai, Shape, DataDome, and ThreatMetrix.

Key Findings

Proxyway’s independent test results show that Zyte API has the highest success rate in the market, the fastest response time, and a solution that’s uniquely priced for handling all levels of bans. 

Number #1 for Both Success Rate and Speed

A table of Proxyway research results for average success rate and average reponse time for 5 companies: Zyte, Bright Data, Smartproxy, Oxylabs, and Crawlbase. Zyte has the best results.

Proxyway's findings for avg. success rate and avg. response time

Zyte API topped the list with an average success rate of 97.82% and average response time of 11.70s — in both cases significantly ahead of all other APIs on test. 

Best Against All Anti-bot Technologies

Why did Proxyway select the seven websites chosen for the test? They represented a spread of complexity and a broad cross section of the major anti-bot vendors. 

Proxyway's findings for anti-bot protection

Across the seven target websites Zyte API was unique in delivering a very high success rate for them all, with all the other providers struggling with one or more targets. This is important as success against a full range of anti-bot technologies provides confidence for success not just with the seven sample websites — but a broad spread of the internet.

Eliminating the Normal Success/Speed Trade-off

A visual representation of the answers to the question "How would you describe the trade-offs in your ban handling system?"

How would you describe the trade-off in your Ban Handling system?

Proxyway noted that some proxy APIs over indexed on speed at the detriment of success rate and others loaded pages perfectly but at the expense of speed — this is a common trade-off and it resonates with the response from attendees to a webinar I recently hosted where 64% of the participants acknowledged having to choose between these. 

Zyte API removes the need to choose — it’s the leading solution for both.

Most Competitively Priced API Available

Proxyway highlighted Zyte API’s pricing model and noted that it “proved to be the least expensive in scenarios that didn’t require JavaScript” while being competitive for those sites which did. 

A chart showing Zyte API's 5 tier pricing model and how the API is effective for all kinds of websites

Zyte API’s five tier pricing structure

This is due to Zyte API’s tiered pricing model. Whilst all other vendors using request-based pricing offered one or two price points, Zyte API has five and which start at a much lower entry point — uniquely Zyte API is price-competitive to all separate tools including simple data center proxy solutions. 

This means that Zyte API’s automated ban solution makes sense to use instead of the trial-and-error approaches of separate tools. 

Through automation it minimizes use of residential and other resources to keep costs lean, and as a single solution it removes the waste that’s always present with multiple subscriptions and separate infrastructure. 

Zyte API Eliminates the Toil and Frustration of Website Bans

Zyte API’s automation, high performance and lean approach to pricing solves the toil of working with website bans, but please don’t take my word for it — put it to the test with some free credit. 

Proxy API research results reprinted with permission from Proxyway