Web crawling (also known as web data extraction, and web scraping) has been broadly applied in many fields today. Before a web crawler ever comes into the public, it is the magic word for normal people with no programming skills. Its high threshold keeps blocking people outside the door of big data. A web crawler is an automated web scraping technology, and it bridges the wedge between the mysterious big data to everyone.
In this article, you can learn the top 20 web crawlers based on desktop devices, browser extensions, or other cloud services. Both free and paid are included.
How Do Web Crawling Tools Help
Before we get started, you can learn the key points that how can a web crawler helps you.
- No more repetitive work of copying and pasting.
- Get well-structured data not limited to Excel, HTML, and CSV.
- Time-saving and cost-efficient.
- It is the cure for marketers, online sellers, journalists, YouTubers, researchers, and many others who are lacking technical skills.
Top 20 Web Crawling Tools You Cannot Miss
Top 7 Web Crawler for Windows/Mac
Octoparse is a web crawling tool based on Windows and macOS systems to get web data into spreadsheets easily. With a user-friendly point-and-click interface, the software is specifically built for non-coders. Here is a video about Octoparse, also the main features and easy steps, so you can know it better.
Main features of Octoparse Web Crawler
- Scheduled cloud extraction: Extract dynamic data in real-time.
- Auto-detect mode: Get webpage data scraped automatically.
- Preset templates: Crawl data from popular websites within a few clicks.
- Bypass blocking: Cloud services and IP Proxy Servers to bypass ReCaptcha and blocking.
- Data cleaning: Built-in Regex and XPath configuration to get data cleaned automatically.
Octoparse provides two easy modes to crawl a website. You can choose the preset templates if you want to scrape popular sites like eBay, Amazon, Twitter, etc. Or you can use the auto-detecting mode, and customize the data fields by reading the Octoparse user guide.
80legs is a powerful web crawling tool that can be configured based on customized requirements. It supports fetching huge amounts of data along with the option to download the extracted data instantly.
Main features of 80legs:
- API: 80legs offers API for users to create crawlers, manage data, and more.
- Scraper customization: 80legs’ JS-based app framework enables users to configure web crawls with customized behaviors.
- IP servers: A collection of IP addresses is used in web scraping requests.
Parsehub main features:
- Integration: Google Sheets, Tableau
- Data format: JSON, CSV
- Device: Mac, Windows, Linux
Besides the SaaS, VisualScraper offers web scraping services such as data delivery services and creating software extractors for clients. Visual Scraper enables users to schedule the projects to run at a specific time or repeat the sequence every minute, day, week, month, or year. Users could use it to extract news, updates, and forum frequently.
Important features for Visual Scraper:
- Various data formats: Excel, CSV, MS Access, MySQL, MSSQL, XML, or JSON.
- Seemingly the official website is not updating now and this information may not as up-to-date.
WebHarvy is a point-and-click web scraping software. It’s designed for non-programmers.
WebHarvy important features:
- Scrape Text, Images, URLs & Emails from websites.
- Proxy support enables anonymous crawling and prevents being blocked by web servers.
- Data format: XML, CSV, JSON, or TSV file. Users can also export the scraped data to an SQL database.
Content Grabber (now Sequentum) is a web crawling software targeted at enterprises. It allows you to create stand-alone web crawling agents. Users are allowed to use C# or VB.NET to debug or write scripts to control the crawling process programming. It can extract content from almost any website and save it as structured data in a format of your choice.
Important features of Content Grabber:
- Integration with third-party data analytics or reporting applications.
- Powerful scripting editing, and debugging interfaces.
- Data formats: Excel reports, XML, CSV, and to most databases.
Helium Scraper is a visual web data crawling software for users to crawl web data. There is a 10-day trial available for new users to get started and once you are satisfied with how it works, with a one-time purchase you can use the software for a lifetime. Basically, it could satisfy users’ crawling needs at an elementary level.
Helium Scraper main features:
- Data format: Export data to CSV, Excel, XML, JSON, or SQLite.
- Fast extraction: Options to block images or unwanted web requests.
- Proxy rotation.
You can find more free web crawlers by reading the post about the TOP 10 FREE web scrapers.
3 Website Downloader
Cyotek WebCopy is illustrative like its name. It’s a free website crawler that allows you to copy partial or full websites locally into your hard disk for offline reference. You can change its setting to tell the bot how you want to crawl. Besides that, you can also configure domain aliases, user agent strings, default documents, and more.
As a website crawler freeware, HTTrack provides functions well suited for downloading an entire website to your PC. It has versions available for Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, and other Unix systems, which covers most users. It is interesting that HTTrack can mirror one site, or more than one site together (with shared links). You can decide the number of connections to open concurrently while downloading web pages under “set options”. You can get photos, files, and HTML code from its mirrored website and resume interrupted downloads.
In addition, Proxy support is available within HTTrack for maximizing the speed. HTTrack works as a command-line program, or through a shell for both private (capture) or professional (online web mirror) use. With that saying, HTTrack should be preferred and used more by people with advanced programming skills.
Getleft is a free and easy-to-use website grabber. It allows you to download an entire website or any single web page. After you launch Getleft, you can enter a URL and choose the files you want to download before it gets started. While it goes, it changes all the links for local browsing. Additionally, it offers multilingual support. Now, Getleft supports 14 languages! However, it only provides limited Ftp supports, it will download the files but not recursively.
On the whole, Getleft should satisfy users’ basic crawling needs without more complex tactical skills.
2 Web Crawler Extensions
Scraper is a Chrome extension with limited data extraction features but it’s helpful for making online research. It also allows exporting the data to Google Spreadsheets. This tool is intended for beginners and experts. You can easily copy the data to the clipboard or store it in the spreadsheets using OAuth. Scraper can auto-generate XPaths for defining URLs to crawl. It doesn’t offer all-inclusive crawling services, but most people don’t need to tackle messy configurations anyway.
12. OutWit Hub
OutWit Hub is a Firefox add-on with dozens of data extraction features to simplify your web searches. This web crawler tool can browse through pages and store the extracted information in a proper format.
OutWit Hub offers a single interface for scraping tiny or huge amounts of data per need. OutWit Hub allows you to scrape any web page from the browser itself. It even can create automatic agents to extract data.
It 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.
5 Recommended Web Scraping Services
Zyte (the old Scrapinghub) is a cloud-based data extraction tool that helps thousands of developers to fetch valuable data. Its open-source visual scraping tool allows users to scrape websites without any programming knowledge.
Scrapinghub uses Crawlera, a smart proxy rotator that supports bypassing bot counter-measures to crawl huge or bot-protected sites easily. It enables users to crawl from multiple IPs and locations without the pain of proxy management through a simple HTTP API.
Scrapinghub converts the entire web page into organized content. Its team of experts is available for help in case its crawl builder can’t work to your requirements.
As a browser-based web crawler, Dexi.io allows you to scrape data based on your browser from any website and provide three types of robots for you to create a scraping task – Extractor, Crawler, and Pipes. The freeware provides anonymous web proxy servers for your web scraping and your extracted data will be hosted on Dexi.io’s servers for two weeks before the data is archived, or you can directly export the extracted data to JSON or CSV files. It offers paid services to meet your needs for getting real-time data.
Webhose.io enables users to get real-time data by crawling online sources from all over the world into various, clean formats. This web crawler enables you to crawl data and further extract keywords in different languages using multiple filters covering a wide array of sources.
And you can save the scraped data in XML, JSON, and RSS formats. And users are allowed to access the history data from its Archive. Plus, webhose.io supports at most 80 languages with its crawling data results. And users can easily index and search the structured data crawled by Webhose.io.
On the whole, Webhose.io could satisfy users’ elementary crawling requirements.
16. Import. io
Users are able to form their own datasets by simply importing the data from a particular web page and exporting the data to CSV.
You can easily scrape thousands of web pages in minutes without writing a single line of code and build 1000+ APIs based on your requirements. Public APIs have provided powerful and flexible capabilities to control Import.io programmatically and gain automated access to the data, Import.io has made crawling easier by integrating web data into your own app or website with just a few clicks.
To better serve users’ crawling requirements, it also offers a free app for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux to build data extractors and crawlers, download data and sync with the online account. Plus, users are able to schedule crawling tasks weekly, daily, or hourly.
Spinn3r allows you to fetch entire data from blogs, news & social media sites, and RSS & ATOM feeds. Spinn3r is distributed with a Firehouse API that manages 95% of the indexing work. It offers advanced spam protection, which removes spam and inappropriate language use, thus improving data safety.
Spinn3r indexes content similarly to Google and save the extracted data in JSON files. The web scraper constantly scans the web and finds updates from multiple sources to get you real-time publications. Its admin console lets you control crawls and full-text search allows making complex queries on raw data.
UiPath is a robotic process automation software for free web scraping. It automates web and desktop data crawling out of most third-party Apps. You can install the robotic process automation software if you run it on Windows. Uipath is able to extract tabular and pattern-based data across multiple web pages.
Uipath provides built-in tools for further crawling. This method is very effective when dealing with complex UIs. The Screen Scraping Tool can handle both individual text elements, groups of text, and blocks of text, such as data extraction in table format.
Plus, no programming is needed to create intelligent web agents, but the .NET hacker inside you will have complete control over the data.
2 Library methods for programmers
Scrapy is an open-sourced framework that runs on Python. The library offers a ready-to-use structure for programmers to customize a web crawler and extract data from the web on a large scale. With Scrapy, you will enjoy flexibility in configuring a scraper that meets your needs, for example, to define exactly what data you are extracting, how it is cleaned, and in what format it will be exported.
On the other hand, you will face multiple challenges along the web scraping process and take efforts to maintain it. With that said, you may start with some real practice data scraping with Python.
Puppeteer is a Node library developed by Google. It provides an API for programmers to control Chrome or Chromium over the DevTools Protocol and enables programmers to build a web scraping tool with Puppeteer and Node.js. If you are a new starter in programming, you may spend some time to read their tutorials.
Besides web scraping, Puppeteer is also used to:
- Get screenshots or PDFs of web pages.
- Automate form submission/data input.
- Create a tool for automatic testing.
Now you have learned about 20 web crawlers, choose the most suitable one according to your needs. If you know nothing about coding or want to save time and money on web crawling, Octoparse is your best choice. With it, you can simply build a web crawler and extract data from any website you want.