Best 10 Free and Paid Web Scraping Tools

Web scraping is the process of collecting web data and storing it into a local database in different formats. It’s almost a must for every business that wants to be on top. It can give customers access to a large amount of information needed for a strategic decision-making process.

This can be challenging because customers have to fight with invisible foes like preventing the IP from getting banned, bypassing the captchas, parsing the source correctly, and javascript rendering.

For each project, there are different needs, and the Internet offers tools that can meet all of them. That’s why I have compiled a list of the 10 best free and paid web scraping tools. From open-source projects and hosted SAAS solutions to desktop software, there is sure to be something for everyone looking for a simpler solution to web scraping.

WebScrapingAPI
ScraperAPI
Diffbot
ScrapeSimple
Mozenda
ParseHub
Octoparse
Scrapy
Puppeteer
Cheerio

This carefully selected list contains APIs and custom web scraping solutions, enterprise solutions, visual web scraping tools, and web scraping libraries. I’ll talk about their ideal end-users, why to use them, and other aspects that will help you make an informed decision. These refer to coding skills, budget, and key features.

WebScrapingAPI

As its name suggests, it is a web scraping API that customers can access immediately with a simple and free account creation. Immediate benefits are easiness to use, reliability, and customizability on request.

Who should use it?

WebScrapingAPI is suitable for developers or anyone with technical knowledge. It works well for both freelancers and businesses that want crucial data for their growth.

Why should customers use it?

WebScrapingAPI allows customers to scrape any online source, managing all possible blockers. Therefore, customers won’t have to deal with CAPTCHAs, proxies, or IP rotation. It collects the HTML from any web page using a simple API. Moreover, many aspects of a request, such as headers or geotargeting, can be customized. Customers can download their data in JSON format. However, the tool offers the possibility to test all service packages for free and upgrade the plan anytime. Because of the 1000 free requests offered, anyone can start testing at any time by creating a free account on the Web Scraping API website.

ScraperAPI

ScraperAPI helps customers to manage proxies, browsers, and CAPTCHAs while web scraping. It also allows them to get the HTML from any web page with a simple API call.

Who should use it?

ScraperAPI is a tool for developers building scalable web scrapers. It handles proxies, browsers, and CAPTCHAs so developers can get the raw HTML from any website with a quick API call.

Why should customers use it?

Proxy management is one of the main features that ScraperAPI covers for customers. This means that it manages its own internal pool of millions of proxies from different providers. It uses a smart routing logic for requests through different subnets to avoid IP bans and CAPTCHAs.

ScraperAPI is a service suitable for developers, making it clear that coding skills are needed when choosing it. It comes with a special pool of proxies for e-commerce price scraping, search engine scraping, or social media scraping as a bonus point.

This tool is part of the category of paid products.

Diffbot

Diffbot uses machine learning and allows customers to configure crawlers. These can go in, index websites, and then process them using its APIs for automatic data extraction.

Who should use it?

Diffbot main customers are enterprises that have specific data crawling and screen scraping needs. In particular, those who scrape websites that often change their HTML structure.

Why should customers use it?

Using computer vision instead of HTML parsing to identify relevant information on a page. In that sense, Diffbot is different from other APIs. To be more specific, this feature helps customers keep their scrapers up and running even if the HTML of a page changes. So, it’s an excellent benefit for long-running mission-critical web scraping jobs.

Even though their cheapest plan is $299/month, their premium services are worthy for large customers who appreciate the offer.

ScrapeSimple

ScrapeSimple is entitled to use this name because it comes with managed service to build and maintain custom web scrapers.

Who should use it?

It is the perfect service for people and businesses which need a custom scraper built for them. Web scraping becomes as simple as filling out a form with instructions for what kind of data is wanted. This is perfect for all those customers who want an HTML scraper without writing any code themselves.

Why should customers use it?

ScrapeSimple, as the name says, is simple and easy to use. The customers just have to let them know what information they need and from which websites. Then, the ScrapeSimple team will take care of it by periodically sending in customers’ inbox all the web scraped information in CSV format. The customer support is fast and caring, making ScrapeSimple just perfect for those that want to externalize the web scraping process.

Mozenda

In a few words, Mozenda is a cloud-based solution for large web scraping extractions.

Who should use it?

Mozenda is a suitable tool for large enterprises that are looking for a cloud-based solution that can scrape data at a large scale.

Why should customers use it?

This tool allows enterprise customers to run web scrapers on their robust cloud platform. It has two components: an application to build a project to extract data and a web console to run agents, organize outputs, and export data. As it has a high learning curve, the tool requires more than basic coding knowledge to use it.

Like Diffbot and considering their target customers, their prices are a bit high, with their lowest plans starting at $250/month, but their services are top-notch, setting them apart from competitors with great customer service, both by email and phone.

ParseHub

ParseHub is an incredibly powerful and easy-to-use visual data extraction tool. It’s handy for users without coding knowledge who just want to use a pre-built software and start scraping.

Who should use it?

This tool can be used by analysts, journalists, data scientists, and everyone in between that has (almost) zero knowledge of coding.

Why should customers use it?

With Parsehub, customers can scrape the web by opening their desktop app, clicking the data on the website they want to scrape, and then generate the output file in JSON, CSV, Google Sheets, or through API.

It has many handy features such as automatic IP rotation. You can also instruct it to scrape behind login walls, go through dropdowns and tabs, navigate tables and maps, and much more. Besides, ParseHub has a generous free tier, allowing users to scrape up to 200 pages of data in just 40 minutes. Parsehub is also lovely because it is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, so it can be used no matter what system you’re running.

Octoparse

Octoparse is a visual web scraping tool that is easy to understand and use without coding skills.

Who should use it?

Octoparse is an ideal tool for those who want to scrape data from websites without coding skills yet having control over the full process via an easy-to-use interface.

Why should customers use it ?

Octoparse features a point-and-click screen scraper, allowing users to scrape behind login forms, fill in forms, input search terms, render javascript, and more. Other great features are a site parser and hosted solution suitable for those who want to run their scrapers in the cloud and export the data in TXT, CSV, HTML, or XLSX formats.

In terms of pricing, Octoparse comes with a generous free one, allowing users to build up to 10 crawlers for free. For paying customers, customizable crawlers and managed solutions are available.

Scrapy

Scrapy is an open-source and collaborative tool, completely free of charge. It is one of the most popular Python libraries and one of the best Python web scraping tools available.

Who should use it?

Scrapy is a library addressed to build scalable web scrapers for Python developers. It’s a full-on web crawling framework that handles all of the plumbing (queueing requests, proxy middleware, etc.) that makes building web crawlers difficult.

Why should customers use it?

As a well-known tool, the documentation is vast, and there are many tutorials available on how to get started. It helps extract data efficiently from websites, processes them as needed, and stores them in the preferred format (JSON, XML, and CSV).

The process of deploying the crawlers is reliable and straightforward, and they can run themselves after the setup. There are many middleware modules available to help any customer integrate various tools and handle different use cases.

Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a headless Chrome API and can be used as an open-source tool, being completely free.

Who should use it?

NodeJS developers who want granular control over their scraping activity.

Why should customers use it?

Puppeteer is supported, developed, and backed by Google Chrome, and it is replacing Selenium and PhantomJS as the default headless browser automation tool. Often, it is used to scrape website data from sites that require JavaScript to display information, even though it is much more than just a web crawling library. Puppeteer can handle scripts, stylesheets, and fonts. While it is a great tool for sites mentioned before, it is very CPU and memory-intensive. Using it might not be a great idea in certain situations, like on sites where a full-blown browser is not necessary. Sometimes a GET request should take care of the problem.

Cheerio

This tool is one of the most popular HTML parsing libraries written in NodeJS.

Who should use it?

Cheerio is made for NodeJS developers who want a straightforward way to parse HTML. Also, it offers an API similar to jQuery so that developers who are familiar with it will immediately appreciate the best Javascript web scraping syntax available.

Why should customers use it?

Cheerio offers fast and helpful methods for text, HTML, or classes extraction. It is probably the best NodeJS web scraping tool or Javascript web scraping tool for new projects.

So, what do you think?

There are a few things that need to be considered when choosing the right service provider for web scraping. The Internet offers multiple solutions for different kinds of needs. That’s why customers have to first decide their goals and needs in terms of web scraping. Then choose the way to do it.

In my opinion, the most important aspects are technical/coding skills, available budget, and the needed amount of data. Through this article, I hope that I managed to point out these very important aspects and provide you with the essential information you need when it comes to the best options of free and paid web scraping tools.

If you want to read more web scraping-related articles, you can always check other stories of mine. Enjoy!

Passionate content writer and creative marketer 🖊️

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