The ever-growing demand for big data drives people to dive into the ocean of data. Web crawling plays an important role in crawl the webpages that are ready to be indexed. In nowadays, the three most major ways for people to crawl web data are - Using public APIs provided by the websites; writing a web crawler program; Using automated web crawler tools. With my expertise in web scraping, I will discuss four free online web crawling (web scraping, data extraction, data scraping) tools for beginners’ reference.
A web crawling tool is designed to scrape or crawl data from websites. We can also call it web harvesting tool or data extraction tools (Actually it has many nicknames such as web crawler, web scraper, data scraping tool, spider) It scans the webpage and search for content at a fast speed and harvest data on a large scale. One good thing comes with a 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.
In addition, a web crawler is very useful for people to gather information in a multitude for later access. A powerful 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 web crawler tool based on your needs.
Octoparse is known as a Windows and Mac OS desktop web crawler application. It provides cloud-based service as well, offering at least 6 cloud servers that concurrently run users’ tasks. It also supports cloud data Storage and more advanced options for cloud service. The UI is very user-friendly and there are abundant tutorials on Youtube as well as the official blog available for users to learn how to build a scraping task on their own.
Import.io provides 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. 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.
#3 Scraper Wiki
Scraper Wiki’s free plan has a fixed number 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 allows scraping PDF version document. They have another product under Scraper Wiki called Quickcode. It is a more advanced Scraper Wiki since it is more programming environment with Python, Ruby, and Php,
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 of the websites. Users can learn how to use CloudScrape by clicking and pointing easily, even for beginners. Cloud hosting makes possible all the scraped data to be stored in the Cloud. API allows monitoring and remotely managing 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.