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Best Data Scraping Tools for 2019 (Top 10 Reviews)

Monday, June 03, 2019

 

2019 is destined to be a web scraping year. Companies compete against each other with massive information collected from a multitude of users — whether it be their consumer behaviors, content shared in social media or celebrities following. Therefore, you need to build up your data assets in order to be successful.

Many businesses and industries are still vulnerable in the data realm. A survey conducted in 2017 indicates that 37.1% of the enterprises don’t have a Big Data strategy. Among the rest with data-driven businesses, only a small percentage have achieved some success. One of the main reasons is due to the minimal understanding of data technology or their lack of. Thus, web scraping software is an essential key to the establishment of a data-driven business strategy. You can use Python, Selenium, and PHP to scrape the websites. As a bonus, it is great if you are proficient in programming. In this article, we discuss using web scraping tools to facilitate an effortless scraping.

I tested some web scraping software and listed note as follows. Some tools like Octoparse, provide scraping templates and service which are a great bonus for companies lacking data scraping skill sets, or who are reluctant to devote time in web scraping. Some of the web scraping tools require you to have some programming skills in order to configure an advanced scraping, for example, Apify. Thus, it really depends on what you want to scrape and what results you want to achieve. A web scraping tool is like a chef’s knife that it is important to check the condition before enabling an equipped cooking environment.

First, try spending some time to study targeted websites. It doesn’t mean that you have to parse the web pages. Just thoroughly glance over the web pages. At least you should know how many pages you need to scrape.

Second, pay attention to its HTML structure. Some websites are not written in a standard manner. That being said, if the HTML structure is messed up and you still need to scrape the content, you need to modify the XPath.

Third, find the right tool. These are some personal experience and thoughts in regards to scraping tools. Hopefully, it can offer some insights.

 

1 Octoparse

Octoparse is a free and powerful web scraper with comprehensive features. It’s very generous they offer free unlimited pages! Octoparse simulates human scraping process, as a result, the entire scraping process is super easy and smooth to operate. It’s ok if you have no clue about programming. You can use Regex tools and XPath to help extraction precisely. It’s common to encounter a website with messed up coding structures as they are written by people, and it’s normal that people make mistakes. In this case, it’s easy to miss these irregular data during collecting. XPath can resolve 80% of data missing problems, even in scraping dynamic pages. However, not all people can write the correct Xpath. Thanks to Octoparse, this is definitely a life-saving feature. Moreover, Octoparse has built-in templates including Amazon, Yelp, and TripAdvisor for starters to use. The scraped data will be exported into Excel, HTML, CVS and more.

Pros: Off-the-shelf guidelines and Youtube tutorials, built-in task templates, free unlimited crawls, Regex tools, and Xpath. Name it, Octoparse provides more than enough amazing features.

Cons: Unfortunately, Octoparse doesn’t have PDF-data extraction feature yet, nor directly download images (only can extract image URLs)

 

2 Mozenda

Mozenda is a cloud-based web scraping service. It includes a web console and agent builder that allows you to run your own agents, view and organize results. It also lets you export or publishes extracted data to a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox, Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure. Agent Builder is a Windows application for building your own data project. The data extraction is processed at optimized harvesting servers in Mozenda’s data centers. As a result, this leverages the user’s local resource and protect their IP addresses from being banned

Pros: Mozenda provides comprehensive Action Bar, which is very easy to capture AJAX and iFrames data. It also supports documentation extraction and image extraction. Besides multi-threaded extraction and smart data aggregation, Mozenda provides Geolocation to prevent IP banning, Test Mode and Error-handling to fix bugs.

Cons: Mozenda is a little pricey, charging from $99 per 5000 pages. In addition, Mozenda requires a Windows PC to run and has instability issues when dealing with extra-large websites. Maybe that’s why they charge by scraped pages?

 

3 80legs

80legs is a powerful web crawling tool that can be configured based on customized requirements. It is interesting that you can customize your app to scrape and crawl, but if you are not a tech person, you need to be cautious. Make sure you know what you are doing on each step when you customize your scrape. 80legs supports fetching huge amounts of data along with the option to download the extracted data instantly. And It is very nice that you can crawl up to 10000 URLs per run in the free plan.

Pros: 80legs makes web crawling technology more accessible to companies and individuals with a limited budget.

Cons: If you want to get a huge amount of data, you need to set a crawl and pre-built API. The support team is slow.

 

4 Import.Io

Import.Io is a web scraping platform which supports most operating systems. It has a user-friendly interface which is easy to master without writing any code. You can click and extract any data appears on the webpage. The data will be stored on its cloud service for days. It is a great choice for the enterprise.

Pros: Import.io is user-friendly which support almost every system. It’s fairly easy to use with its nice clean interface, simple dashboard, screen capture.

Cons: The free plan is no longer available. Each sub-page costs credit. It can quickly get expensive if you are extracting data from a number of sub-pages. The paid plan costs $299 per month for 5000 URL queries or $4,999 per year for half a million.

 

5 Content Grabber

Like the name indicates. Content Grabber is a powerful multi-featured visual web scraping tool used for content extraction from the web. It can automatically collect complete content structures such as product catalogs or search results. For people with great programming skills can find a more effective way through Visual Studio 2013 integrated into Content Grabber. Content Grabber provides more options for users with many third-party tools.

Pros: Content Grabber is very flexible in dealing with complex websites and data extraction. It offers you the privilege to edit the scrape tailoring to your need.

Cons: The software is only available under Windows and Linux system. Its high flexibility may not be a good choice for starters. In addition, it doesn’t have a free version. The perpetual price is $995 which turns away people who want a tool for small projects with a limited budget.

 

6 Outwit Hub

Outwit Hub is one of the simplest web scraping tools, which is free to use and offers you the convenience to extract web data without writing a single line of code. It has both Firefox add-on and desktop app. Its simple interface is easy for beginners to use.

Pros: The “Fast Scrape” is a very nice feature which can quickly scrape data from the list of URLs you provide.

Cons: Quite ironically, simplicity causes disadvantages. The basic web data extraction excludes advanced features like IP rotation and CAPTCHAs bypassing. Without IP rotation and CAPTCHAs bypassing, your scraping task may fail to complete. It is because a high volume of extraction will easily get detected, the websites will force you to stop and prevent you from taking actions.

 

7 Parsehub

ParseHub is a desktop application. Unlike other web crawling apps, ParseHub supports most operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, and LINUX. Also, it has a browser extension which allows you to scrape instantly. You can scrape pop-ups, maps, comments, and images. The tutorials are well documented which definitely a big bonus for new users.

Pros: Parsehub is more user-friendly for programmers with API access. It supports more systems compared to Octoparse. And it is also very flexible to scrape data online with different needs.

Cons: However, the free plan is painfully limited in terms of scraped pages and projects with only 5 projects and 200 pages per run. Their paid plan is quite pricey from $149 to $499 per month. Large volume scrape may slow down the scraping process. Thus, small projects are a good fit in Parsehub.

 

8 Apify

Apify is an interesting web scraping platform for coders. If you have basic coding skills you may want to give a try. It doesn’t have a click-and-extract function. Instead, you have to write JavaScript to tell the crawler what you want to extract.

Pros: The good side of it is that you can deal with web pages with irregular structures. It has JQuery integration which is an open source JavaScript library. The free version allows crawling up to 5000 per month.

Cons: The downside is pretty obvious, for most people who don’t have programming skills, it is very challenging to use. The price for a developer is free, for any other users the price sets from $49 per month to $499 per month. And it has a short period of data retention, make sure you save extracted data in time.

 

9 Scrapinghub

Scrapinghub is a cloud-based web platform. It has four different type of tools — Scrapy Cloud, Portia, Crawlera, and Splash. It is great that Scrapinghub offers a collection of IP addresses covered more than 50 countries which is a solution for IP ban problems.

Pros: Scrapinghub provides different web services for different kinds of people, including the open source framework Scrapy and the visual data scraping tool Portia.

Cons: Scrapy is available for programmers. Portia is not easy to use and needs to add many extensive add-ons if you want to deal with complex websites.

 

10 Dexi.io

Dexi.Io is a browser-based web crawler. It provides three types of robots — Extractor, Crawler, and Pipes. PIPES has Master robot feature where 1 robot can control multiple tasks. It supports many 3rd party services (captcha solvers, cloud storage, etc) which you can easily integrate into your robots.

Pros: 3rd party services definitely is a highlight for skillful scrapers. The great support team helps you build your own robot.

Cons: The price is quite competitive which ranges from $119 per month to $699 per month depends on your crawling capacity and the number of running robots. Moreover, it’s pretty complicated to understand the flow. Sometimes the bots are annoying to debug.

 

Author: Ashley Weldon

 


 

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