Web crawling (also known as web scraping) is widely applied in many areas today. It targets at fetching new or updated data from any websites and store the data for an easy access. Web crawler tools are getting well known to the common, since the web crawler has simplified and automated the entire crawling process to make web data resource become easily accessible to everyone. Using a web crawler tool will set free people from repetitive typing or copy-pasting, and we could expect a well-structured and all-inclusive data collection. Additionally, these web crawler tools enable users to crawl the world wide web in a methodical and fast manner without coding and transform the data into various formats conforming to their needs.
In this post, I’d propose top 20 popular web crawlers around the web for your reference. You may find the most suited web crawler that’s tailored to your needs.
WebCopy is a free website crawler that allows you to copy partial or full websites locally in to your harddisk for offline reading.
It will scan the specified website before downloading the website content onto your hardisk and auto-remap the links to resources like images and other web pages in the site to match its local path, excluding a section of the website. Additional options are also available such as downloading a URL to include in the copy, but not crawling it.
There are many settings you can make to configure how your website will be crawled, in addition to rules and forms mentioned above, 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 from the Internet to your PC. It has provided versions available for Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, and other Unix systems. It can mirror one site, or more than one site together (with shared links). You can decide the number of connections to opened concurrently while downloading web pages under “Set options”. You can get the photos, files, HTML code from the entire directories, update current mirrored website and resume interrupted downloads.
Plus, Proxy support is available with HTTTrack to maximize speed, with optional authentication.
HTTrack Works as a command-line program, or through a shell for both private (capture) or professionnal (on-line web mirror) use. With that saying, HTTrack should be preferred and used more by people with advanced programming skills.
Octoparse is a free and powerful website crawler used for extracting almost all kind of data you need from the website. You can use Octoparse to rip a website with its extensive functionalities and capabilities. There are two kinds of learning mode - Wizard Mode and Advanced Mode - for non-programmers to quickly get used to Octoparse. After downloading the freeware, its point-and-click UI allows you to grab all the text from the website and thus you can download almost all the website content and save it as a structured format like EXCEL, TXT, HTML or your databases.
More advanced, it has provided Scheduled Cloud Extraction which enables you to refresh the website and get the latest information from the website.
And you could extract many tough websites with difficult data block layout using its built-in Regex tool, and locate web elements precisely using the XPath configuration tool. You will not be bothered by IP blocking any more, since Octoparse offers IP Proxy Servers that will automates IP’s leaving without being detected by aggressive websites.
To conclude, Octoparse should be able to satisfy users’ most crawling needs, both basic or high-end, without any coding skills.
Getleft is a free and easy-to-use website grabber that can be used to rip a website. It downloads an entire website with its easy-to-use interface and multiple options. After you launch the Getleft, you can enter a URL and choose the files that should be downloaded before begin downloading the website. While it goes, it changes the original pages, all the links get changed to relative links, for local browsing.Additionally, it offers multilingual support, at present 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.
Scraper is a Chrome extension with limited data extraction features but it’s helpful for making online research, and exporting data to Google Spreadsheets. This tool is intended for beginners as well as experts who can easily copy data to the clipboard or store to the spreadsheets using OAuth. Scraper is a free web crawler tool, which works right in your browser and auto-generates smaller XPaths for defining URLs to crawl. It may not offer all-inclusive crawling services, but novices also needn’t tackle messy configurations.
6. 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 needs. OutWit Hub lets you scrape any web page from the browser itself and even create automatic agents to extract data and format it per settings.
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.
The desktop application of Parsehub supports systems such as windows, Mac OS X and Linux, or you can use the web app that is built within the browser.
As a freeware, you can set up no more than five publice projects in Parsehub. The paid subscription plans allows you to create at least 20 private projects for scraping websites.
VisualScraper is another great free and non-coding web scraper with simple point-and-click interface and could be used to collect data from the web. You can get real-time data from several web pages and export the extracted data as CSV, XML, JSON or SQL files. Besides the SaaS, VisualScraper offer web scraping service such as data delivery services and createing software extractors services.
Visual Scraper enables users to schedule their projects to be run on specific time or repeat the sequence every minutes, days, week, month, year. Uers could use it to extract news, updates, forum frequently.
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 are available for help in case its crawl builder can’t work 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 robot 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 from 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 many 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.
12. 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 has 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 web site 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.
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. 80legs provides high-performance web crawling that works rapidly and fetches required data in mere seconds
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 an advanced spam protection, which removes spam and inappropriate language uses, thus improving data safety.
Spinn3r indexes content similar to Google and saves 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.
15. Content Grabber
Content Graber is a web crawling software targeted at enterprises. It allows you to create a stand-alone web crawling agents. It can extract content from almost any website and save it as structured data in a format of your choice, including Excel reports, XML, CSV and most databases.
It is more suitable for people with advanced programming skills, since it offers many powerful scripting editing, debugging interfaces for people in need. Users are allowed to use C# or VB.NET to debug or write script to control the crawling process programmingly. For example, Content Grabber can integrate with Visual Studio 2013 for the most powerful script editing, debugging and unit test for a advanced and tactful customized crawler based on users’ particular needs.
16. Helium Scraper
Helium Scraper is a visual web data crawling software that works pretty well when the association between elements is small. It’s non coding, non configuration. And users can get access to the online templates based for various crawling needs.
Basically, it could satisfy users’ crawling needs within an elementary level.
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 Windows system. Uipath is able to extract tabular and pattern-based data across multiple web pages.
Uipath has provided the built-in tools for further crawling. This method is very effective when dealing 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.
18. Scrape. it
Scrape.it is a node.js web scraping software for humans. It’s a cloud-base web data extraction tool. It’s designed towards those with advanced programming skills, since it has offered both public and private packages to discover, reuse, update, and share code with millions of developers worldwide. Its powerful integration will help you build a customized crawler based on your needs.
WebHarvy is a point-and-click web scraping software. It’s designed for non-programmers. WebHarvy can automatically scrape Text, Images, URLs & Emails from websites, and save the scraped content in various formats. It also provides built-in scheduler and proxy support which enables anonymously crawling and prevents the web scraping software from being blocked by web servers, you have the option to access target websites via proxy servers or VPN.
Users can save the data extracted from web pages in a variety of formats. The current version of WebHarvy Web Scraper allows you to export the scraped data as an XML, CSV, JSON or TSV file. User can also export the scraped data to an SQL database.
Connotate is an automated web crawler designed for Enterprise-scale web content extraction which needs an enterprise-scale solution. Business users can easily create extraction agents in as little as minutes – without any programming. User can easily create extraction agents simply by point-and-click.
Additionally, Connotate also offers the function to integrate webpage and database content, including content from SQL databases and MongoDB for database extraction.
To conclude, the crawlers I mentioned above can satisfy the basic crawling needs for most users, while there are still many variance about their respective functionalities among these tools, since many of these crawler tools have provided more advanced and built-in configuration tools for users. Thus, be sure you have fully understand what characters an crawler has provided before you subscribe it.
To learn more detailed knowledge about how to scrape data from websites using a web crawler, check out the posts or tutorials below: