For those who are going to extract information from websites, web scraping tools will be indispensable helpers. This technique is developed for the large-scale extraction of information from websites. However, with the huge variety of scraping tools and services available, it can be difficult to choose a program just right for your needs.
To help you with your choice, this article takes a look at the different web scraping tools available and how to choose them.
What’s API in Web Scraping?
Application Programming Interface (API) is an interface that allows apps to communicate and work with each other. It is like the link between your device and whatever is delivered to it at your request. This is usually done to develop other applications that use the same data.
API is one of the most common tools for collecting data using web scraping. It helps in obtaining valuable and structured data without having to research and collect information on your own.
One example is the Ahrefs data extraction API. The site has a complex algorithm and data collection model that provides all the information about keywords, their volume, traffic to sites, and so on. Here, the scraping API makes the process of extracting information from Ahrefs quick and easy, as users can get SEO-related information collected by Ahrefs simply by typing a keyword into the search bar.
Is Web Scraping API Legal?
Application programming interfaces consist of rules that create structure, impose restrictions on users, control retrieved types of data, frequency of requests, and which sources are open for collection. An API is like an individual website or application communication protocol with specific rules to follow.
Why Use a Web Scraping API?
- Easy integration. The developer can implement the web scraping API into the application using only a set of credentials and a clear understanding of the API documentation.
- Time-saving. Instead of collecting information manually, the scraping API automates the whole process. You won’t have to fumble with creating, downloading, or installing it. Integration, configuration, and getting started – the API will do it all.
- Cost efficiency. Choosing API isn’t the cheapest choice, but it’s not the most expensive either. Prices vary depending on how many API calls you’ll make per month and how much bandwidth you need. Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile investment.
- Speed. This talks about the way the data is extracted. The web scraping API is optimized to be fast.
- The site is not overloaded with traffic. A surge in traffic can cause any site to slow down or crash for a while, which can be the result of both bot and human activity. To protect themselves, many sites implement spec algorithms to distinguish humans from bots. And since bots are responsible for web scraping, you run the risk of being blocked and losing data. So with the web scraping API, you can set the wait time before the two execution phases, limit the access rate, and avoid detection by specification algorithms.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Web Scraping Tools
There are a number of variables to consider when choosing a data scraping technology. Each person has different requirements, and there are a number of different tools for them. For example, serious data enthusiasts want tools that can do both basic and advanced tasks. Here are the factors by which a web scraping tool should be evaluated first:
- Scalability. The tool you choose should be scalable, as your scraping needs will only grow over time as the demand for data increases. So you need to choose a tool that doesn’t slow down as your data needs increase.
- Avoid anti-scraping mechanisms. Some sites have anti-scraping measures in place and on such sites, you cannot freely extract data. However, most of these measures can be bypassed with simple scraper modifications. A good web scraping tool can help deal with such a situation. You should make sure that the tool you buy has mechanisms to avoid anti-scraping mechanisms.
- Price. Prices for the tool you choose should be transparent and every explicit feature should be clearly stated in the pricing structure.
- Data quality. Most data on the web is unstructured and needs to be processed before it can be used for your purposes. Look for a tool that has the features to clean up, organize the collected information, and provide it in the format you need.
- Data delivery. The choice of the tool also depends on the data format in which you would like to receive the information. Data delivery formats can be XML, JSON, CSV, or on Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, FTP, etc. It is better to find a tool that provides data in different formats.
- Customer service. If you encounter a problem while the web scraping tool is running, you may need help to resolve it. Also, the data may be corrupted or unstructured and you may have many questions to ask the experts. This is where customer support is one of the important factors in choosing a good tool. With good customer support, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of collecting data.
12 Best Web Scraping Tools to Extract Online Data
Smartproxy’s SERP Scraping API
Automate your market research with Smartproxy’s SERP Scraping API. It’s a proxy network, web scraper, and data parser – all in one awesome product. From competitor business strategies to product pricing, market trends, SEO, and much more, now you can benefit from any search engine data at your fingertips.
With smart rotation through a 40M+ proxy pool, Smartproxy’s Google scraping tool can easily avoid IP bans and CAPTCHAs to deliver a 100% success rate. Your data is then automatically delivered into an easily-readable format, allowing you to make data-driven decisions with confidence. Why pay twice for your web scraping and proxy services? Get it all in one with Smartproxy
Scrape-it.Cloud is a web scraping API with proxy rotation and advanced web scraping services. The information-gathering process is legal and won’t create problems with site policies and rules. Scrape-it.Cloud is used in three steps: target link selection, sending a POST request and getting data in JSON format.
Key Features of Scrape-it.Cloud
- Dynamic sites data collection;
- Chrome page rendering;
- Unlimited bandwidth;
- Fast API integration;
- Data transmission over secure channels;
- Easy to use;
- Ongoing customer support;
- 1,000 free API credits;
- Affordable pricing;
- Follows full legal compliance;
- Captcha problem solved.
- Few reviews.
Who Can Use Scrape-it.Cloud
Professionals and programmers who need the data. Support assists in creating custom scripts and projects for the Web scraping API.
Rates start at $30 per month.
ScraperAPI is an easily integrated tool for developers building web scrapers. It works with proxies, browsers, and CAPTCHA so developers can get raw HTML from any site with an API call.
Key Features of ScraperAPI
- JS rendering;
- Pools of residential/mobile proxies for price scraping, search engine scraping, and social media scraping;
- TXT, HTML CSV, or Excel output formats.
- Large proxy pool;
- Configuration options;
- Free trial for beginners;
- Easy to use with API and proxy mode support;
- Money-back guarantee.
- Restrictions in small plans;
- Sometimes there can be blockages.
Who Can Use ScraperAPI
Individuals, small and medium-sized businesses.
1,000 free API calls, then the rate starts at $29 per month.
ParseHub is a free web scraping tool that comes as a downloadable desktop application. The data is available through JSON, Excel, and APIs and is stored on ParseHub servers.
Key Features of Parsehub
- Scrape complex and dynamic websites/scripts;
- API access;
- JSON/Excel output files, scheduler;
- Tables and maps extraction;
- Clean text and HTML before downloading data;
- Automatic IP rotation;
- Retrieve data from multiple pages, which are then available to interact with AJAX, forms, and the dropdown menu.
- Desktop app;
- Easy to use interface;
- Supports Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
- Difficult troubleshooting for large projects;
- Inability to publish full output;
Who Can Use Parsehub
Anyone can use it: executives, data analysts, software developers, business analysts, and so on.
The free plan is available, the standard plan starts at $149 per month.
Octoparse is a web scraping tool for all types of websites. The tool has a target audience similar to ParseHub and is aimed at people who want to collect data without coding knowledge while controlling the entire process.
Key Features of Octoparse
- Login, drop-down menus, AJAX, etc.;
- Cloud services;
- Excel, CSV, JSON, API, or database saving formats;
- Automatic IP-address rotation;
- Ads blocking;
- XPath and RegEx selectors for accurate data extraction.
- Easy to use interface;
- Windows support only;
- If you run the crawler with local extraction instead of running from the cloud, it automatically stops after 4 hours.
Who Can Use Octoparse
Everyone who can and can’t code and who needs data.
Has a free plan and a trial version for a paid subscription, with rates starting at $75 per month.
Scrapy is a free, open-source web scraping platform for data extraction using APIs or as a general-purpose web scraper. It is written in Python, is easily extensible and portable, and supports Windows, Linux, Mac, and BSD.
Key Features of Scrapy
- Open-source tool;
- Portable Python;
- Supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and BSD;
- Deployment is easy and reliable;
- Developed scrapers can be deployed in the Scrapy cloud or on your own servers;
- Middleware modules for tool integration.
- Well documented learning curve;
- There are many tutorials to help you get started with the tool.
- Checking and developing a scraper to simulate AJAX/PJAX requests is time-consuming.
Who Can Use Scrapy
Targeted to developers and technical companies with knowledge of Python.
Diffbot is a web scraping tool that provides extracted data from web pages. This tool allows you to automatically detect pages using the Analyze API and extract articles, videos, tables, images, and more. Diffbot uses computer vision instead of HTML parsing to determine relevant information, so if the HTML structure of the page changes, your scraper won’t break.
Key Features of Diffbot
- IP Rotation;
- Product API;
- Pure text and HTML;
- Login, drop-down menus, AJAX, etc.
- Excel, CSV, JSON, API, or database formats;
- Hosted SaaS;
- XPath and RegEx selectors;
- Supports Windows and Mac systems;
- JS Rendering;
- Easy integration;
- Real-time scraping.
- Does not work on all sites;
- Very expensive.
Who Can Use Diffbot
An enterprise-level solution for developers and tech companies with specific data retrieval needs.
A 14-day free trial then plans start at $299 per month.
ScrapingBee is a web scraping API that allows you to collect data from websites without blocking them. It displays the web page as a real browser with the management of thousands of headless instances, using the latest Chrome version.
Key Features of ScrapingBee
- Automatic proxy rotation;
- Can be used in Google Sheets and with Chrome;
- Growth hacking;
- Supports Google search scraping.
- Easy integration;
- Clear documentation.
- Impossible to use without in-house developers.
Who Can Use ScrapingBee
Suitable for developers and tech companies who would like to do their own web scraping without using proxy servers or headless browsers.
Price plans start at $49/m.
Import.io offers web data scraping, integration, and analytics services in industries such as retail, finance and insurance, machine learning, risk management, product, strategy and sales, journalism, and research.
Key Features of Import.io
- REST API;
- Export data to CSV;
- Real-time data extraction;
- Allows you to create 1000+ APIs based on your requirements;
- Works on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.
- Easy to use;
- Ability to make daily or monthly reports;
- No coding is required.
- Lack of support;
- The cost is too high.
Who Can Use Import.io
Anyone who needs to collect data can use it.
Price by application through the consultation appointment.
Webz is a web machine data provider that converts vast amounts of web data from the web into structured information streams ready for consumption by machines.
Key Features of Webz
- Cloud, SaaS, web-based deployment;
- AI/Machine Learning;
- Case Management;
- Competitive Analysis;
- Domain Monitoring;
- Self-Service Data Preparation.
- Good customer support;
- Easy to use.
- Complex pricing model;
- The dark web part requires authorization.
Who Can Use Webz
It is used by enterprises, developers and analysts.
Free trial period. Further price on request.
Bright Data is an open-source web scraper for data extraction. It is known for its quality, variety of features, and powerful tools for developers. The tool enables companies to collect critical unstructured and structured data from millions of websites using its proprietary technology.
Key Features of Bright Data
- High-speed servers;
- Unlimited connections;
- Mobile IP Proxy;
- IP data center;
- Unlimited bandwidth;
- Codeless, open-source proxy management;
- Proxy API.
- Good customer service;
- Powerful SaaS solution;
- Server infrastructure;
- Flexible pricing;
- Limitless rotation.
- Not ideal for beginners;
- Manual account activation.
Who Can Use Bright Data
Developers and enterprises.
Bright Data Pricing
It depends on whether you need data collection or a proxy solution.
Grepsr is an optimized data extraction platform without learning or configuring complex software tools. It helps you collect data, normalize it, and put it into your system.
Key Features of Grepsr
- Access controls and permissions;
- Third-party integrations;
- Have an activity dashboard;
- Reporting and statistics;
- IP rotation;
- JS rendering.
- Supports several output formats;
- Email delivery;
- Built-in quality control;
- Responsive customer support;
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- Fee for reconfiguration and maintenance if you stop the crawlers;
- May be errors in data extraction.
Who Can Use Grepsr
Used by freelancers; small, medium, and large enterprises.
You can sign up for a free, starter plan from $129/site for 50k entries.
Web scraper is a free Google Chrome browser extension to extract web data from any public website using HTML and CSS and export the data to CSV, Excel and Google Sheets files.
Key Features of Web Scraper
- Cloud web scraper;
- Data extraction from sites with categories and subcategories, pagination, and product pages;
- Customize data extraction according to site structure;
- The collected data can be accessed via API, Webhooks, or Dropbox.
- Data management;
- Doesn’t require coding skills.
- Inability to keep up;
- IP detection.
Who Can Use Web Scraper
Anyone who wants to collect data.
Web Scraper Pricing
Free as a browser extension, then rates start at $50 per month.
API scraping has many features, including automation, secure communication, interoperability, and convenience. And it can be of great benefit to enterprises, enabling them to make critical decisions and improve their competitiveness.
I hope we’ve successfully introduced you to the benefits of web scraping APIs and helped you decide on the right tool to get the most out of it.