9 Best Free Web Crawlers for Beginners

5 min read

If you need to gather data from the web, there are three popular methods: using a public API, building your own web crawler, or using automated web crawling tools. The first two options require some programming knowledge. But don’t worry if you’re new to web crawling! In this article, we’ll focus on free website crawlers that don’t require any coding skills, so you can quickly and easily crawl data from a website.

Why Do You Need A Web Crawling Tool?

With automated web crawling tools, crawling for web data (web scraping, data harvesting, or data extraction) is no longer the only privilege for programmers. Pick a free web crawler to start, you can:

  1. Get the needed data with no need to copy and paste.
  2. Export your data well-organized in different formats such as Excel, and CSV.
  3. Save you a lot of time and effort thereafter.

How to Choose a Free Site Crawler?

You may have a similar question: Is there a real free web crawler? The answer is YES. Besides the easy-to-use quality, what you should take into account when you are choosing a free web crawler:

Scalability/limit of use

What data are you looking for and how much are you aiming to scrape? If you want to start from a free web crawler and at the same time meet your need for data extraction, you should pay attention to how scalable the tool is and whether is there any limit of use for a free plan.

Data quality

In most cases, data is not the end. What people expect from data is to generate ideas and insights or to guide their decision-making process. However, raw data from the web may not apply to analysis right away. What you have to do is to clean the data so that the computer can understand and help analyze it. To make this easier, you can choose a web crawler integrated with data cleaning features to free you from repetitive manual jobs.

Customer service

Even though automated web crawling tools have simplified much of the web scraping process for beginners, users could still encounter unexpected problems. Web crawling tools are not omnipotent because of the existing challenges in web scraping. With support from your side, you can have a smooth start and go further.

9 Best Free Website Crawlers for Beginners

  1. Octoparse
Octoparse interface

Octoparse is a web crawling tool for non-coders on Windows/Mac devices. After entering the target URL, it can help detect data you would like to scrape on the website. Crawlers can be easily built by choosing the set of data you want.

Using Octoparse, you can scrape tables, texts, figures, and URLs of images for bulk download on web pages. A free plan user can build 10 different crawlers and scrape from unlimited pages per crawl.

If you don’t want to build a scraper yourself, there are many pre-built scrapers ready for you covering the most popular websites around the world. By just entering a few parameters, the task is off to go and gets you structured data. Simple and Fast.

Step-by-step tutorials and YouTube guidance are also available for users to get started. You can contact us for support if you have trouble building the crawler you need, or encounter any other technical issues.

  1. 80legs
80legs website

80legs is a Javascript-based application that offers a custom web crawling service for users to configure their crawler and scrape from public web pages. As the crawling task is completed, users can download the data to their computers.

Free plan users can run concurrently one crawl at a time and scrape from 10,000 URLs per crawl. No clear customer service and support access are shown on the site.

  1. WebHarvy
WebHarvy Website

WebHarvy is a point-and-click web scraping software. You can use WebHarvy to scrape web data including texts, images, URLs, and email information, and save the data to your computer. It also provides a built-in scheduler and proxy support to avoid being banned because of frequent visits.

WebHarvy offers new users a free evaluation version for 15 days and under the evaluation period you can scrape 2 pages of data from websites.

There are a series of tutorials in both text and video versions on the WebHarvy home page and you can find support for technical assistance.

  1. ScrapeStorm
ScrapeStorm Website

ScrapeStorm is a client-based visual web scraping tool. Like Octoparse’s auto-detection, ScrapeStorm can intelligently identify the content and paging for easy crawler configuration. The scraped data can be exported in multiple formats, including Excel, CSV, TXT, HTML, MySQL, MongoDB, SQL Server, etc.

You can scrape unlimited pages per task and export 100 rows of data per day for a free plan. Its document center offers tutorials and you can also watch YouTube videos from its website.

  1. Parsehub
Parsehub Website

Parsehub is a desktop application for web crawling in which users can scrape from interactive pages. Using Parsehub, you can download the extracted data in Excel and JSON and import your results into Google Sheets and Tableau.

A free plan can build 5 crawlers and scrape from 200 pages per run. There is a 14-day data retention for your scraped data, so do remember to back up. Text and video tutorials are both available.

  1. Dexi.io

Dexi.io is a cloud-based web crawling tool and there are four types of robots you can choose from, including Extractor, Crawler, Pipes, and ButoBot.

The tool itself can be highly functional while no automation framework is available for new starters to pick up quickly. If you have experience in web scraping, you can have a try.

  1. Web Scraper (Chrome extension)

Web Scraper is an extension tool with a point-and-click interface integrated with the developer tool. You have to build your crawler by selecting the listing information you want on the web page.

In a paid plan, Web Scraper is equipped with functions such as cloud extraction, scheduled scraping, IP rotation, and API access. Thus, it is capable of more frequent scraping and scraping of a larger volume of information.

  1. Outwit Hub Light

You can download OutWit Hub Light for free on the Outwit website. The tool integrates dozens of data extraction features to simplify data searching on websites, including the collection of documents, images, etc.

  1. Apify

As a web scraping platform for developers, Apify also has a sector where many pre-built scrapers are available. These scrapers don’t require any programming knowledge. All you need to do is to input a few keywords and then tone the setting. After that, you can run the Actor to get your structured dataset.

Final Thoughts

While there are many web crawler tools to choose from, it’s important to bear in mind to crawl it ethically, since not all websites are open for information gathering. Always check the site’s Terms of Use and robots.txt to see the limit. If projects become more complicated, it will be wiser to consult a data service than do it yourself. Time is very important when it comes to getting an edge in the business information gap. The faster a business can collect and analyze information, the quicker it can act on it. This includes making strategic decisions, adjusting marketing tactics, or responding to consumer behavior changes. Octoparse provides not just no-code scrapers, but also scraper service and data service which help you get information faster. Contact our experts for more details!

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