This post contains a few case examples where I have used web data scraping and the top ten of the most used web scraping tools that allow mere mortals (non-programmers) to harvest web data and sling it like Google.
Here is a list of top 10 best web scraping tools on the market right now, from open source projects to hosted SAAS solutions to desktop software; there is sure to be something for everyone looking to make use of web data!
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Scrapingdog
- 2 2. Mozenda.com
- 3 3. Parsehub
- 4 4. Diffbot.com
- 5 5. Import.io
- 6 6. Zyte (formerly ScarpingHub)
- 7 7. Octaparse
- 8 8. Webharvy
- 9 9. 80legs
- 10 10. Grepsr
- 11 What to Consider Before Choosing the Best Web Scraping Tools
- 11.1 What sort of data would you like to collect?
- 11.2 How fast do you need the data to be collected?
- 11.3 How big is the delay in the data collection process?
- 11.4 What is the level of your technical expertise?
- 11.5 How much are you willing to spend?
- 11.6 What is the competency of the vendor based on customer support?
- 12 Final Verdict
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
- API is built for developers. You will be able to scrape websites by just mentioning queries inside the API URI. You can read its documentation here. Their interactive API makes them one of the best scrapers out there in the market right now.
Mozenda offers two different kinds of web scrapers. Downloadable software that allows you to build agents and runs on the cloud, and A managed solution where they make the agents for you. They do not offer a free version of the software and if you are looking for a version that works on your Mac, you can use scrapingdog.
The nice thing about ParseHub is that it works on multiple platforms, including mac however, the software is not as robust as the others, with a tricky user interface that could be better streamlined. Well, I must say it is dead simple to use and exports JSON or excel sheet of the data you are interested in by just clicking on it. It offers a free pack where you can scrape 200 pages in just 40 minutes.
Diffbot has been transitioning away from a traditional web scraping tool to selling prefinished lists also known as their knowledge graph. There are pricing is competitive, and their support team is very helpful, but oftentimes the data output is a bit convoluted. I must say that Diffbot is the most different type of scraping tool. Even if the page’s HTML code changes, this tool will not stop impressing you. It is just a bit pricy.
They grew very quickly with a free version and a promise that the software would always be free. Today they no longer offer a free version, and that caused their popularity to wain. The reviews at capterra.com have the lowest reviews in the data extraction category for this top 10 list. Most of the complaints are about support and service. They are starting to move from a pure web scraping platform into a scraping and data wrangling operation. They might be making a last-ditch move to survive.
Scrapinghub claims that they transform websites into usable data with industry-leading technology. Their solutions are “Data on Demand “ for big and small scraping projects with precise and reliable data feeds at very fast rates. They offer lead data extraction and have a team of web scraping engineers. They also offer IP Proxy management to scrape data quickly.
WebHarvy is an interesting company they showed up as a highly used scraping tool, but the site looks like a throwback to 2009. This scraping tool is quite cheap and should be considered if you are working on some small projects. Using this tool, you can handle logins, signup & even form submissions. You can crawl multiple pages within minutes.
80legs has been around for many years. They have a stable platform and a very fast crawler. The parsing is not the strongest, but if you need a lot of simple queries, fast, 80legs can deliver. You should be warned that 80legs have been used for DDOS attacks, and while the crawler is robust, it has taken down many sites in the past. You can even customize the web crawlers to make them suitable for your scrapers. You can customize what data gets scraped and which links are followed from each URL crawled. Enter one or more (up to several thousand) URLs you want to crawl. These are the URLs where the web crawl will start. Links from these URLs will be followed automatically, depending on the settings of your web crawl. 80legs will post results as the web crawl runs. Once the crawl has finished, all of the results will be available, and you can download them to your computer or local environment.
This tool can help you with Lead generation programs, News aggregation, financial data collection, competitive data collection, etc. The pricing looks good and can be used for small projects. Because web scraping projects are often complicated with various layers of details and requirements, they have built a communication doorway called ‘Messages’ for each of your projects. Messages are to issue tickets, discuss requirements, and track project status from a single place. The software looks quite inexpensive, and if you are looking for a simple project and don’t want to spend a lot of money, Grepsr might be your best bet.
What to Consider Before Choosing the Best Web Scraping Tools
What sort of data would you like to collect?
Before web scraping for your business needs, you should first determine what kind of data you want to collect. This is necessary because the methods you employ for data collection will vary based on the Data Format you want. Check what format the data from your target website is and organize it into a useable format.
How fast do you need the data to be collected?
Another determining factor in choosing the right web scraping tool is the speed of data collection. If you project that you need the data at a certain speed, examine what your current reaction time will be. Compare the speed you are working with and improve it if necessary.
How big is the delay in the data collection process?
It is crucial to make sure that there is no significant time gap in data collection. The tool you have should be able to complete the scraping project quickly enough so as not to miss key details that may come up. Allowing for a considerable delay in data collection can potentially cause you to miss opportunities that you may have otherwise been able to exploit.
What is the level of your technical expertise?
If you are relatively new to the technical aspects of web scraping, consider using tools that have a lower learning curve. These will likely be tools that allow you to use point and click gestures with a GUI interface to extract data more easily from web pages.
How much are you willing to spend?
The price of a tool has to be weighed against the benefits it provides. Choose a tool that strikes a balance between price and functionality based on your project requirements and the features you need.
What is the competency of the vendor based on customer support?
Vendors offer various levels of customer support. As a buyer, you should always make sure that the vendor you are working with offers the best customer support possible. Examine the various customer support channels a vendor provides and gauge the quality of customer support they offer.
Web scraping has become an essential part of many businesses and organizations in today’s digital world. The process of web scraping allows firms to automatically extract data from websites, making it a quick and efficient way to gather the information they need.
There are a number of web scraping tools available on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The mentioned web scraping tools to help you make an informed decision about which one is right for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I extract data from the entire web?
Ans: In general, no. There are some exceptions, like if the data is publically available or if you have permission from the site’s owner, but in general, it is not possible to extract data from the entire web.