With the increasing demand on data, more and more people began crawling web to get access to oceans of data. Therefore, Web Crawling is serving as an ascendingly important role to help people with data needs to fetch data meeting their requirements. Till now, there are three most common methods for people to crawl web data - Utilizing the public APIs provided by the target websites; Programming and build crawler on your own; Using some automated web crawler tools. Based on my user experience, I will mainly discuss several free online web crawler tools in the following section for the reference of web crawler beginners.
Before my introduction about the online web crawler tools, we should learn first about what is the web crawler meant for? Well, the web crawler tool is designed to scrape or crawl data from websites. We can also call them web harvesting tools or extraction tools. It can automate the crawling process with a faster speed and harvest data in a large scale. People who use it are not required to know any coding skills. They just need to learn the configuration rules related to different crawler tools. More advance, the online web crawlers are useful if users would like to gather the information and have it put into an useable form. The URL list can be stored in a spreadsheet and expanded in a dataset over time in the Cloud-Platform. That means the scraped data can be merged into an existing database by using the online web service. Here, I’d like to propose several free online web crawlers for your reference. Anyway, what I propose is just suggestions. Anyone who's going to choose a web crawler tool should learn about its respective detailed functionalities first and select the one based on your requirements.
Import.io provides online web scraper service now. The data storage and related techniques are all based on Cloud-based Platform. To activate its function, the user need to add a web browser extension to enable this tool. The user interface of Import.io is easy to handle, users can click and select the data fields to crawl the data they need. For more detailed instructions, users can visit their official website for more tutorials and assistance. The Import.io can customize a dataset for pages with no data in the existing IO library by getting acceess to the Cloud-based library of API’s.
Its Cloud Service provides data storage and related data processing control options in the Cloud-Platform. One can add it to existing databses. Libraries and etc.
Scraper Wiki has set their free online accounts to a fixed maximum of datasets. Good news to all users, their free service provides the same elegant service as the paid service. They have also made a commitment to providing journalists premium accounts without cost.Their free online web scraper has added a new feature that PDF table is available. However, this PDF format doesn’t work well, since it will be practically hard if users would like to make cutting and pasting. The Scraper Wiki also added other more advanced options. Like, they released some other edtions of their application developed in different programming language, like Python, Ruby and Php, for a better flexibility in different operating system platforms.
CloudScrape Cloud Scraping Service in Dexi.io is meant for regular web users to operate on. It always commits itself in providing high quality Cloud Service Scraping. It provides users with IP Proxy and in-built CAPTCHA resolving features which can help users scrape most of the websites. Users can learn how to use CloudScrape by clicking and pointing easily, even for beginners or amateurs. Cloud hosting makes possible all the scraped data to be stored in cloud. API allows to monitor and remotly manage web robots. It’s CAPTCHA solving option sets CloudScrape apart from services like Import.io or Kimono. The service provides a vast variety of data integrations, so that extracted data might automatically be uploaded thru (S)FTP or into your Google Drive, DropBox, Box or AWS. The data integration can be completed seamlessly.
Apart from some of those free online web crawler tools, there are other reliable web crawler tools providing online service which may charge for their service though.
Octoparse is known as a Windows desk-top web crawler application, which provides reliable online crawling service as well. For their Cloud-based service, Octoparse can offer at least 6 cloud servers which can run users’ task concurrently. It also supports Cloud Data Storage and more advanced options about Cloud service. Its UI is very user-friendly and there are lots of related tutorials in their website for users to learn how to configure the tasks and make crawler on their own.
Author: The Octoparse Team
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