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Octoparse vs. Scrapinghub (Portia) - Which is better?

Friday, January 22, 2021

Portia, one of the platform of Scrapinghub, is a visual web scraping tool. In this article I will put it head to head with Octoparse to see how these two tools compare (check here for another comparison between Octoparse and import.io).


Features Comparison




Authoring environment

Desktop app for Windows (available fo MAC with virtual machine)

Web based application

Selecting elements

Point-and-click, XPath

Point-and-click, CSS selectors, XPath


Clicking on pagination links or manually entering the XPath(websites without "Next page" links)

Exclusively by exploration

Scraper logic

Variables, loops, conditionals, function calls (via RegEx, XPath)

Selecting and extracting only

Pop-ups, infinite scroll, hover content,drop downs, tabs


With external libraries

Signing in to accounts



Entering into search boxes



Javascript, Ajax and dynamic content


Yes, when subscribed to Splash



Visual debugger and server snapshots

Transforming data

Regex expressions

Partial annotations


Fast parallel execution

Fast parallel execution


Hosted on cloud of Octoparse servers if subscribed to Octoparse plans or on local machine with free version

Hosted on cloud of ScrapingHub servers

IP Rotation

Included in paid plans or manual IP proxy in free plan

With Crawlera plan

Scheduling runs

With a premium Octoparse account

With a Scrapy Cloud plan

Cloud service


With a Scrapy Cloud plan

Data export

CSV, Excel, Txt, Databases, API



Professional support, tutorials, community support

Community support


Octoparse vs. Scrapinghub


What can Octoparse do for you?

With its simple point-and-click UI, extracting data with Octoparse can be rather easy. Octoparse, a visual web scraper works by mimic human browsing behaviors and can be instructed to interact with the website in various ways, thus allowing scraping dynamic and more complex websites.

Some of the more advanced features worth mentioning include scraping behind a login, select the different options from a dropdown menu, searched based extraction as well as dealing with infinite scrolling, etc. Octoparse is also pretty neat by having a workflow showing all the different steps for any extraction task and I did find it useful for sorting out all the logic behind the extraction.


Furthermore, the built-in RegEx tool and XPath tool come in handy if one is looking to customize data extracted. 

Octoparse supports multi-step extractions and eventually combines the data together in one output. An extraction task can be set up quickly with only a few steps: open web page - select items - extract data - get data - export data.


For more detailed information you could check out Octoparse Tutorials.


What can Portia do for you?

Making a crawler in Portia is very similar to that in Octoparse. Like Octoparse, Portia can automatically detect similar items on any page. Portia will find items that are structured the same as the sample you have created and this step will continue until you either tell it to stop, reach the limit of your ScrapingHub plan or if the software finishes checking every page.  

The way Portia gets data can lead to unexpected or unwanted data. To make up for this issue, Portia provides regular expression to narrow down its search. But still, big sites like Amazon are hard to be navigated this way. Check below for a simple example of how Portia crawler works. 


What is the difference between Octoparse and Portia?

As previously mentioned, Portia can only get data from pages that have the exact same layout, but going between search results and more detailed product description pages is not possible. Portia can't interact with dropdown menus, pop-up windows, infinite scrolling pages, or pagination unless you use external libraries. It can't deal with captcha, which is quite common for most web pages. And you would not know which pages Portia gets its data from as the scraper can't be controlled with any regular expressions. As for transforming the data in the regular expression or modifying the XPath, there are no tools available for you will need to master XPath and regular expression if you want to explore more on Portia. 

According to my test, there’s no difference in the extraction speed of a Portia scraper running on Scrapinghub cloud and an Octoparse crawler running on my local machine. However, with the Octoparse cloud service which enables extraction in the cloud, running an extraction can be faster than that on Portia.


Cost Comparison

There’s no doubt that Octoparse has overwhelming advantages. Both Portia and Octoparse provide free versions, but their pricing structures are quite different.


Portias Pricing

Portia’s pricing depends on the number of ScrapingHub cloud units you purchase, and the use of extra libraries in ScrapingHub. Buying additional ScrapingHub cloud units would make your crawling faster. Also, if you buy one cloud unit, you could save your data for 120 days on the cloud.

ScrapingHub cloud unit price is $9 each. Check below for details.  



ScrapingHub Cloud


If you want to make full use of Portia, you need to subscribe to ScrapingHub’s other paid services, IP rotation service Crawlera and JavaScript friendly browser Splash. Crawlera’s paid plans ranging from $25/month to $500/month are limited by the number of monthly requests and concurrent requests, while Splash’s plans ranging from $25/month to $100/month are based on the different speed.


Crawlera Monthly Plans




Splash Monthly Plans



Octoparses Pricing

Unlike Portia, which is similar to infrastructure-as-a-service(IAAS), Octoparse offers more conventional software-as-a-service (SAAS) packages with free, basic, standard and professional plans. Price ranges from $19/month to $249/month with three different kinds of subscriptions including monthly, quarterly and annual. You can see a summary of Octoparse's pricing plans below.




Octoparse Pricing


Both Octoparse and ScrapingHub provide custom solution if you need a more customized web scraping plan. They both also provide data service for data on demand. 



While Portia needs to work with other platforms of Scrapinghub at a higher level, Octoparse has most of the features bundled together for easier implementation. For entry-level users, Octoparse offers the same level of web scraping power and scale of Portia in a much easier-to-use package. It’s not difficult to start an Octoparse crawler or Portia scraper, but it would take you quite a while if you want to explore more.

I wanted this comparison to be as fair as possible. However, since Portia is an open-source project while Octoparse is a UI tool, I can’t help if my bias for Octoparse may have lead to some unfair criticism of Portia. If you find something wrong with the information above or if you are an experienced Portia user, please contact me here. Thanks.


Related articles:

Octoparse vs. Import.io comparison: which is best for web scraping?

Octoparse vs. Content Grabber comparison: which is better for web scraping?

Web Scraping Service vs. Automatic Web Scraper: Which is the best option for web scraping?

Top 20 Web Crawler Tools to Scrape the Websites

What is data extraction?



Artículo en español: Octoparse vs. Scrapinghub (Portia) - ¿Cuál es un mejor scraper bot?

También puede leer artículos de web scraping en el sitio web oficial


Author: The Octoparse Team 


More Resources


Top 20 Web Scraping Tools to Scrape the Websites Quickly

Top 30 Big Data Tools for Data Analysis

Web Scraping Templates Take Away

How to Build a Web Crawler - A Guide for Beginners

Video: Create Your First Scraper with Octoparse 7.X





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