To improve the customer experience and streamline decision-making, businesses collect data via web scraping tools to make data-driven decisions.
With a massive amount of online data available, it can take ages to extract all of the information manually. On top of that, there’s the time it takes to structure all of that data and arrange it into categories to figure out what is useful to your business and what isn’t.
Fortunately, the development of web scraping tools has helped business owners scrape data in a matter of minutes and arrange it in a clean, readable format. These useful tools enable website owners to obtain large customer data sets quickly that they can use to skyrocket their business.
In this article, we’ll discuss what web scraping tools are, how they work, and the top web scraping tools to streamline data extraction.
What are Web Scraping Tools?
Web scraping tools automate data extraction from websites and organize the information categorically to understand it better. These tools automate the web scraping process and allow people to scrape multiple web pages without prior coding knowledge.
Web scrapers are designed to streamline the web scraping process and gather large amounts of data in minutes. With them, you can scrape multiple web pages and highlight elements that matter the most to your business. The extracted data can then be used to make well-informed decisions backed with data to reduce your risk and gain valuable insights into your industry.
How Do Web Scraping Tools Work?
Web scraping tools use bots or crawlers to extract a website’s underlying HTML or source code. That data is then arranged and exported in a readable format.
Basically, web scrapers work by sending a GET request to a webpage through the provided URL. The tool then sends bots/crawlers or an HTTP request to analyze the web page’s contents that contain structured data.
It then scrapes the requested data and exports it in the desired format, typically a CSV file for spreadsheets.
Types of Web Scraping Tools
It’s important to distinguish between the different types of web scraping tools to know exactly which one you need for your goals. Different tools are built for different purposes.
Here are the different types of web scraping tools:
- Browser extensions – These can be downloaded and added to an Internet browser. They are best suitable for small projects when you want to web scrape a single web page at a time.
- Downloadable web scraping software – Some web scrapers come in the form of downloadable software, which usually has advanced capabilities and can bypass most website restrictions. They are best suited for medium to large-scale projects.
- Cloud-based web scrapers – Great for enterprises that need to multitask. Cloud-based scrapers provide users with off-site servers that do not interrupt network activity, are flexible, and usually have many more advanced features than other types of web scraping tools.
What to Look for When Choosing a Web Scraping Tool?
Apart from the different types of data scraping tools available to you, you also need to keep a lookout for some of these key features in a web scraping tool.
Ease of Use
Scraping and analyzing huge sets of scraped data can get complicated quickly, so choosing one that is easy to use and beginner-friendly is important.
Web scraping tools make an otherwise very complex process simple. Choosing a tool that’s easy to set up can be a huge relief and save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
A good web scraping tool is flexible in its extraction of data. With so many websites on the Internet, it’s not uncommon to find them built with different programming languages.
If your business is small, you probably only need to scrape data from a few web pages, but as your business grows, you’ll also need to expand the amount of data you extract. Rather than switching from one scraping tool to another, use one that will scale with you.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to start out paying for more than you need. There are several options for web scraper tools with advanced features and multiple pricing tiers. Your small business can start small but will eventually grow to need those more advanced features.
Making too many requests in a short amount of time can overload a website’s servers which could risk getting your IP blacklisted. Most web scraping tools use IP rotation to work around this issue, making each request with a different IP address to avoid getting banned.
In this way, you can scrape multiple web pages without sounding the alarm of a website’s security system or slowing down your number of requests.
Multiple Export Formats
Some web scrapers, especially browser extensions, are only able to export in a CSV or Excel file format. Having a web scraper that can export in multiple formats can be beneficial and give you more flexibility over your file formats.
Now that you have a better understanding of web scraping tools and what key features to look out for, our experts have created a top 10 list to help you choose the best tool for your business. Let’s take a look!
Top 10 Web Scraping Tools to Skyrocket Your Business
Web Scraper – Best Web Scraping Tool Overall
Its smart application can identify and label elements and extract data from multiple levels of navigation, such as product categories or pages. Also, to help beginners navigate through the learning curve, they have an extensive knowledge base with documentation, video tutorials, how-to guides, and forum discussions to get the most out of it.
- Point-and-click interface to select which elements you want to scrape easily
- Exports data in CSV, XLSX, and JSON formats via Dropbox, Google Sheets, or Amazon S3
- Dynamic data extraction that can scrape multiple pages, product categories and subcategories, and pagination
- Ability to build sitemaps with the use of its modular selector system
- IP rotation
- Ability to build sitemaps
- Extensive knowledge base to learn how to use the tool
- Difficult learning curve
- May crash sometimes
You can get started with Web Scraper for free with their browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox. They also have paid tiers to help your business grow: Project at 50 USD, Professional at 100 USD, Business at 200 USD, and Scale starting at 300 USD. Each tier has its own free trial.
Scrapingdog – Best for Large-Scale Web Data Extraction
Scrapingdog takes the cake in quickness. It’s a great web scraping option for those wishing to make a large number of requests in a short span of time. While it’s speedy, it’s also strong. Scrapingdog has the muscle for extensive data extraction.
- Dedicated APIs for web scraping, including LinkedIn Scraping API, Google Search API, and Zillow Scraper API
- Includes a screenshot API to take partial or full images of a web page
- Price monitoring to track prices and reviews from product pages, ecommerce sites, or hotel/real estate websites
- No-code solutions that seamlessly integrate into the API
- Ability to scale effectively
- 30-day free trial with 1000 free API calls
- Dedicated APIs
- Difficult to know how to get the most out of the tool without development knowledge
- More expensive than some of its competitors
You can get started by signing up for Scrapingdog’s free trial here. They also have paid options from Lite at 30 USD, Standard at 90 USD, Pro at 200 USD, and Enterprise starting at 500 USD.
Diffbot – Best AI-Enabled Web Scraper
Diffbot uses AI to automatically extract data such as product pages, articles, videos, and images. It also has visual processing if you plan to scrap web pages in a language other than English.
Diffbot is notorious for providing highly accurate structured data from scraped sites due to its extensive knowledge graph, natural language processing, and Analyze API feature, which automatically detects and extracts data from databases.
- Fully-hosted SaaS
- Customized crawling controls
- JSON or CSV format exporting
- Search and Enhance Knowledge graph features
- Visual processing for non-English web pages
- Product API
- API for image, article, product, discussion, and video data extraction
- Highly accurate results
- Exports to a variety of formats
- Excellent API
- Great customer service
- Unable to recognize PDF documents
- Requires some development knowledge for advanced queries
Diffbot’s pricing plans start from $299 per month, but you can opt-in for a 14-day free trial here to get a feel for the product first.
ParseHub – Best Cloud-Based Web Scraper
ParseHub is a free cloud-based web scraping tool with an easy-to-use interface for people from non-technical backgrounds. It makes it easy for people to scrape data from a web page thanks to their point-and-click interface, similar to that of WebScraper.
- Cloud-based scraper
- Infinite scrolling
- IP rotation
- REST API
- Scheduler – daily, weekly, or monthly
- Multiple export formats
- API & webhooks for integrations
- Downloadable desktop app
- Free to use
- Simple point-and-click interface
- No prior coding knowledge required
- Difficult and time-consuming to learn and set up
- Limited free plan
ParseHub’s free plan includes scraping 200 pages in 40 minutes, 5 public projects, and 200 pages per run. Its free plan is extremely limited, with most features not being offered. Pricing plans start at 189 USD with their Standard plan and 599 USD for Professional. They also have their custom ParseHub Plus plan.
ScrapingBee – Best for Headless Web Browsing Instances
If you’re having trouble with headless browsers, ScrapingBee is the tool for you. Using Chrome to render web pages as a real browser, it can extract data without worrying about being blocked due to IP rotation or proxies!
They also boast an impressive client base, with Zillow, Zapier, WooCommerce, and SAP – just to name a few.
- Smart rendering using headless instances
- IP rotation
- Google Search API
- Screenshot API
- Easy to use and set up
- 24/7 customer support
- Extensive knowledge base to help you get started
- Countless proxies for increased protection against getting blocked
- Expensive compared to their competitors
- No free version and limited credits on trial
You can try ScrapingBee for free with 1,000 API calls before committing to a plan. Their plans include Freelance at 49 USD, Startup at 99 USD, Business at 249 USD, and Business + starting at 599 USD.
ScraperAPI is a proxy web scraping tool that makes it easy for anyone to scrape a web page with a simple API call. You can use it to manage proxies, browsers, and CAPTCHAs, all with an API key and the URL.
- 40 million IPs around the world with 50+ geolocations
- Customization options
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Fast and reliable with up to 100Mb/s
- Highly customizable
- Easy to use for people with no technical background
- Anti-bot detection, along with IP rotation, prevents your IP from getting banned
- 5,000 free API credits when starting out
- Cheaper plans are extremely limited
- Some inaccuracies in data scraping requests
Although you can get started with ScraperAPI for only 49 USD per month and 100,000 API Credits, to get the most out of this tool and access all of the features, you might want to opt for the 299 USD per month business pricing plan. Learn more about their pricing plans here.
Scrapy is an open-source framework and web scraping library for Python. It’s mostly used by developers experienced in Python who wish to deploy web crawlers for the purpose of scraping data without having to go through the process of creating proxies or querying countless requests.
- Open source
- Detailed documentation
- Exports in JSON, CSV, and XML
- Built-in support for selecting and extracting data from sources
- Free tool
- Thorough documentation with regular updates
- Automatically adjust crawling speed
- Faster than most alternatives
- Asynchronous framework – able to load several pages in parallel
- Only suitable for developers
Scrapy is free to download from their website.
Mozenda is a scalable, enterprise-grade web scraping tool catered to large organizations that want to scrape pages in bulk. They display their web scraping capabilities on their website, stating that they’ve scraped billions of web pages since 2007 and have been trusted by some of the biggest brands, including Tesla, Marriott, CNN, Oracle, and Target.
With Mozenda, you get access to a point-and-click interface, excellent customer service, and a web scraping platform with an extensive suite of features.
- Point-and-click interface
- Email and phone customer support
- Scrapes text, files, images, documents, and PDFs
- Exports to TSV, CSV, XML, XLSX, or JSON through an API
- Custom data integrations in selected platforms
- Scalable platform
- Data integration
- Easy-to-use interface
- Complex web scraping requirements might require development knowledge
Mozenda may not be the cheapest option on the market, but they provide great value to many enterprises. You can get started with Mozenda with their free trial today.
Octoparse is a simple web scraping tool that allows you to scrape entire sites with just three simple clicks. Its easy-to-navigate interface is beginner-friendly and allows anyone without a technical background to start scraping web data.
With advanced scraping capabilities like infinite scroll and local extraction features, it’s easy to find and scrape the data you need. Also, its cloud platform has scheduling integrated, allowing you to comfortably schedule crawls to identify pages automatically for web scraping and create a perfectly formatted spreadsheet.
- Cloud-based services and platform
- IP rotation
- Scheduling – daily, weekly, or monthly
- Web scraping with infinite scrolling, logins, categories, AJAX, etc.
- Point-and-click interface
- Detailed tutorials on how to use the tool
- Can easily access dynamic website content
- No customer service provided
- Setting it up takes some time
- Slightly complex GUI
Octoparse’s free plan is limited to ten tasks. Fortunately, its standard plan provides you with most of the features at 89 USD. They also have a Professional plan at 208 USD and an Enterprise plan.
Bright Data is a multi-award-winning data scraper catered to all types of businesses. It is able to scrape ecommerce, social media, business, travel, and real estate websites thanks to its hosted IDE.
This tool provides you with a customizable dashboard and creates structured data sets for any website. Bright Data features multiple web scraping features which developers can use, including pre-built code templates, unblocking proxy, and ready-made scraping functions to help them scrape sites without writing additional scripts.
- Browser extension
- Hosted IDE
- Unblocking proxy API
- Code templates and pre-built functions
- Built-in debug tools
- Integrations with major storage platforms
- Easy parser creation
- Custom dashboard
- Pre-made web-scraper templates
- Ready-made scraping functions for quick web scraping
- Apparently, it’s such a good tool that websites like Amazon write anti-scraping protection against them
- Not as user-friendly as other options
- Expensive if you don’t fully understand your options
Bright Data has a pay-as-you-go plan and three structured options: Growth at 500 USD, Business at 1000 USD, and Enterprise.
Web Scraping Isn’t The Only Thing Tools Can Help With!
As we’ve demonstrated, web scraping tools like these are an excellent way to boost your return on investment. But, that isn’t the only way to do it! In fact, there are dozens of tools on the market that have a vast number of helpful functionalities. Want to save even more time and money? Check out our Business Tools to do more, earn more, and save more with Online Success Genie.