The ever-growing demand for big data is driving more and more people to dive into the ocean of data. Web crawler plays an important role in scraping the web pages that are ready to be indexed. Nowadays, there are three major ways for people to crawl web data:
- Using public APIs provided by the websites
- Writing a web crawler program
- Using automated web crawler tools
In this post, we will discuss the 3 best free online web crawlers that are friendly to beginners. Also, you can learn their alternative software available for both Windows and Mac devices, which can help you scrape much more data without coding.
How Free Online Web Crawler Helps
A free online web crawling tool is designed to scrape or crawl data from websites.
We can also call it a web harvesting tool or data extraction tool (Actually it has many nicknames such as web crawler, web scraper, data scraping tool, and spider) It scans the webpage for content at a fast speed, and then harvests data on a large scale. One good thing that comes with a free online web crawling tool is that users are not required to process any coding skills. That said, it supposes to be user-friendly and easy to get hands-on with.
A free online web crawler helps people gather information in a multitude for later access.
A powerful free online web crawler should be able to export collected data into a spreadsheet or database and save them in the cloud. As a result, extracted data can be added to an existing database through an API. You can choose a free online web crawler tool based on your needs.
3 Free Online Web Crawlers You Should Know
Import.io has changed its services and provides an online web scraper service now.
The data storage and related techniques are all based on Cloud-based Platforms. To activate its function, the user needs to add a web browser extension to enable this tool. The user interface of Import.io is easy to get hands-on with. You can click and select the data fields to crawl the needed data. For more detailed instructions, you can visit their official website.
Through APIs, Import.io customizes a dataset for pages without data. The cloud service provides data storage and related data processing options in its cloud platform. One can add extracted data to an existing database.
Apify is a cloud-based platform that enables developers to build, deploy, and monitor web scraping and automation tools in an efficient and scalable way. With Apify, you can easily extract data from websites, automate repetitive tasks, and build custom web applications. It provides a range of powerful tools, including ready-made actors, an open-source web scraping library, customizable code templates, and serverless cloud programs.
Overall, Apify is a powerful and flexible platform that enables users, especially developers, to build reliable web scrapers and automation tools quickly and easily.
Cloud Scraping Service in Dexi.io is designed for regular web users. It makes commitments to users in providing high-quality Cloud Service Scraping. It provides users with IP Proxy and in-built CAPTCHA resolving features that can help users scrape most websites.
Users can learn how to use CloudScrape by clicking and pointing easily, even for beginners. Cloud hosting makes it possible for all the scraped data to be stored in the Cloud. API allows monitoring and remote managing of web robots. Its 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 through (S)FTP or into your Google Drive, DropBox, Box, or AWS. The data integration can be completed seamlessly.
Disadvantages of online web crawlers
Apart from those free online web crawlers mentioned above, you can also find many other reliable web crawlers providing online service. However, they have some disadvantages, as the restrictions of cloud-based services, compare to desktop-based web scraping tools.
- Limited customizability: Many online web crawlers have limited customization options, which means you may not be able to tailor the crawler to fit your specific needs.
- Dependency on internet connection: Online web crawlers are entirely dependent on internet connectivity, which means if your connection is slow or unstable, the crawler’s performance may be affected.
- Limited control over the crawling process: Online web crawlers often have limited control over the crawling process, which could lead to incomplete or inaccurate data.
- Limited scalability: Some online web crawlers have limitations on the number of URLs that can be crawled or the volume of data that can be extracted, which could limit their scalability.
Best Free Web Crawler for Windows/Mac
Octoparse is known as one of the best free web scraping tools, which provides both local task running and cloud-based services. You can scrape data from any web page easily with its auto-detecting mode or preset templates. Octoparse allows customizing your data fields by dragging and dropping, and the Tips panel will advise your next steps.
Octoparse can export up to 10K data rows per task, and even allows concurrent cloud processes for advanced plans. Also, it has API access and IP proxies to avoid scraping blocked. Just free download and follow the simple steps below to scrape data easily.
How to scrape data from any website for free with Octoparse
Step 1: Open the webpage you need to scrape and copy the URL. Paste the URL to Octoparse and start auto-scraping.
Step 2: Customize the data field from the preview mode or workflow on the right side.
Step 3: Start scraping by clicking on the Run button. The scraped data can be downloaded as Excel to your local device.
You can find all tutorial from Octoparse Help Center, or find the customer service if you have any questions.
Now, you have learned about the best free online web crawlers, and the best alternative – Octoparse for Windows and Mac if you’re not satisfied with online tools. Just choose the most suitable one according to your scraping needs.