Yes, There Is Such Thing as a Free Web Scraper!
Friday, September 29, 2017
Just imagine if you want to search something in Google and copy all the result links in to an excel file for later use, what should you do? It must drive you crazy when you click and copy and paste all the links manually. You may ask: “Is there any machine automatically doing all the work for me?”
Of course there is! There is such thing as a web scraper!
Web scraper is a tool used for extracting data from websites. It can automatically gather or copy specific data from the web and put the data into a central local database or spreadsheet, for later retrieval or analysis.
It is used for contact scraping, online price change monitoring and price comparison, product review scraping (to watch the competition), gathering real estate listings, research, and tracking online presence and reputation.
But you may be concerned about whether you need knowledge of coding to build such a web scraper. Don’t worry! There are many free web scrapers to help you build your own scraper without coding. This article is going to introduce several web scrapers for you to choose from!
Import.io is a web-based software for web scraping.
Using highly sophisticated machine learning algorithms, it extracts text, URLs, images, documents and even screenshots from both list and detail pages with just a URL you type in. Data could be accessed through APIs, XLSX/CSV, Google sheet etc. It allows you to schedule when to get the data and supports almost any combination of time, days, weeks, and months etc. The best thing is that it even can give you a data report after extraction.
Although with all these powerful functions, Import.io has cancelled its free version and every user can just get a 7-day free trial. It currently has four paid versions with different limit to extractors, queries and functions: Essential ($299/month), Professional ($1,999/year), Enterprise ($4,999/year), and Premium ($9,999/year).
Parsehub, a cloud-based desktop app for data mining, is another easy-to-use scraper with a graphic app interface.
It works with any interactive pages and easily searches through forms, opens drop downs, logins to websites, clicks on maps and handles sites with infinite scroll, tabs and pop-ups etc. With its machine learning relationship engine screening the page and understanding the hierarchy of elements, you'll see the data pulled in seconds. It allows you to access data via API, CSV/Excel, Google sheet or Tableau.
Parsehub is free to start but it has limit to extraction speed (200 pages in 40 minutes), pages per run (200 pages) and the number of projects (5 projects) in the free plan. If you need high extraction speed or more pages, you’d better apply for Standard plan ($149/month) or Professional plan ($499/month).
Another web-based scraper, Mozenda, also gets data magically by turning web data, regardless of type, into structured format.
It automatically identifies lists and helps you build agents that collect precise data across many pages. Not only to scrape web pages, Mozenda even allows you to extract data from documents such as Excel, Word, PDF, etc. the same way you extract data from web pages. It supports publishing results in CSV, TSV, XML or JSON format to an existing database or directly to popular BI tools such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure® for rapid analytics and visualization.
Mozenda offers 30-day free trial and you can choose from its flexible pricing plans after that. It has Professional version ($100/month) and Enterprise version ($450/month), each having different limits to processing credits, storage and agents.
Content Grabber, with a typical point and click user interface, is used for extracting pretty much any content from almost any website and saving it as structured data in a format of your choice, including Excel reports, XML, CSV and most databases.
Designed with performance and scalability as the top priority, Content Grabber has a range of different browsers to achieve maximum performance in every scenario - from a fully dynamic web browser to the ultra-fast HTML5 parser only browser. It tackles reliability issue head on and adds strong support for debugging, error handling and logging.
You can download a 15-day free trial with all the features of a professional edition but a maximum of 50 pages per agent on Windows. The monthly subscription is $149 for professional edition and $299 for premium subscription. Content Grabber allows users to purchase license outright to own the software perpetually.
Octoparse is a cloud-based web crawler that helps you easily extract any web data without coding.
Octoparse has a free basic plan with a limit to 10 crawlers but unlimited pages. Cloud-based service is a premium feature under Standard Plan ($89/month) and Professional Plan ($189/month). You can get 5-day free trial on Profession Plan before you buy it.
All these web scrapers can basically satisfy various extraction needs and software like Octoparse,even has blogs to share news and cases of data extraction, but it is important to consider the functions, limitations and of course, price of different software according to your individual requirements when choosing one to stick to. It is lucky that all products offer free trial before you buy it.
Hope web scraping is no longer a problem for you with these scrapers!
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