10 Best Web Scraping Tools You Must Consider
Web scraping is fast gaining prominence in the tech world, especially in the area of web development. And we have come up with a list of best web scraping tools you must consider, as a web developer or designer.
A typical web scraping tool is uniquely designed for extracting data from websites. And there are different types of “web scrapers”, which are mainly in the form of bots or web crawlers. Therefore, for someone looking to extract data from the web; it’s pertinent to know the type/kind of web scraping tools that best serve your needs.
Typically, the choice of web scraping tools to employ depends on the structure and security of the target website(s), as well as the type of data you’re looking to extract. And this article will be showing you the best web scraping tools to consider, in different scenarios. Read on!
Web scraping: What is it about?
Web scraping is a rather unpopular term, especially to the tech novices. Hence, it’s important to shed light on what exactly the concept is about, and where it’s applicable.
Web scraping, as described earlier, involves data scraping or extraction of data from the internet. It’s otherwise referred to as web data extraction or web harvesting. The procedure typically involves the use of a specially designed software (or bots) to infiltrate a website, via the HTML structure or a web browser.
On the other hand, a web scraping tool targets, fetches, and extracts specific forms of data from a website; and then copies such data to a designated database, to facilitate retrieval when required. This is achieved by infiltrating the coding makeup (HTML or XHTML) of a website, to extract essentially data. However, web scraping tools have evolved and can now extract much more privileged data directly from websites, simply by listening to data feeds from the servers.
Additionally, web scraping components are usually embedded in major data collection apps; including data mining apps, web indexing software, meteorological survey and monitoring apps, price comparison and product review apps among others.
Penultimately, there have been several controversies concerning the legality of web scraping. However, with privileged support from prominent tech firms like Google and Amazon, web scraping is here to stay. Besides, there are now standard stand-alone web scraping tools, many of which are available to all and sundry for free.
Ultimately, it’s safe to say that the use of web scraping tools, in itself, is not illegal; however, these tools are now being used by cyber-criminals to steal data from the web. On this note, many countries, including the US, are now reviewing their cyber-laws on the use of web scrapers, by individuals and corporate bodies.
Best web scraping tools you must consider
This tool is your typical web scraper, which can form a comprehensive dataset, of data extracted from several websites. The tool exports extracted data (from webpages) to CSV, and it hosts special integration tools, notably webhooks and APIs, to incorporate extracted data into stand-alone apps.
Furthermore, Import features a standard cloud support system – to securely store extracted web data. This facilitates the safe retrieval of web-scraped data, when and where required.
Interestingly, the most notable function of this tool is its integration capability. Its API support facilitates its safe integration with webforms – to streamline and automate the entire web scraping workflow.
Lastly, Import.io generates credible insights and analytics of extracted data, which are duly presented in the form of charts and reports. This makes retrieval much easier, as you’re able to generate useful information from extracted data in-app.
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Scrapinghub, as the name implies, is a cloud-hosted web scraping software. And it stands out as one of the most used web scraping tools around. Here, you’re provided a durable data scraping tool, for extracting data from websites, as well as secure cloud-based storage, for storing extracted data.
This cloud-based tool is quite robust; in that, it can convert an entire webpage into an organized dataset. It uses web crawlers to extract web data, which are deployed independently, without server backup.
Furthermore, there are standard measures in place to override bot-protected websites. So, whether you’re looking to scrape data off an insecure website or a standard secure site, Scrapinghub got you covered.
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- Scraper API
Scraper API is one of the most popular web scraping tools out there. And it’s generally known for managing Captchas, browsers, and proxies; making it highly suitable for extracting data off websites. In more concise terms, Scraper API facilitates infiltration into the source code (HTML) of any webpage, from where extraction is implemented.
To integrate Scraper API and set it up for use, all you need to do is send a “GET request” (with your API key and target URL) to the API endpoint.
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This tool is a conventional web scraping tool, albeit with a handful of advanced features. It’s optimized to extract web data in multiple formats; simply by downloading them from designated sections of a target website.
Parsehub can clean text codes in a website makeup, before siphoning out relevant data. Interestingly, downloaded/extracted data are stored directly on designated servers, for easy retrieval.
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Webhose hosts a robust engine, which is designed to guarantee access to real-time data on 1000s of websites. The tool provides you with a streamlined interface, which facilitates access to structured datasets – in XML and JSON formats.
Besides, you’re provided access to large data-fields, on thousands of websites on the internet. There is also a filter for analyzing and filtering out irrelevant data from the massive fields of data.
In a nutshell, Webhose not only serves as a web-data extractor/scraper but also a repository of websites, where real-time and historical data can easily be extracted.
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Octoparse is an intuitive and customizable web scraping tool, which hosts an interactive UI that uses a simple “point & click” system to extract data from websites. Also, there is an avenue for scraping data off the ad-pages of websites.
Similarly, there is support for multiple web formats, notably CSV, TXT, HTML and XL among others. Data extracted from websites are typically saved on the cloud or locally (on host device). There is also an AI-enhanced system in place for imitating human navigation, while scraping data off target websites.
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DataStreamer is a unique data scraper, widely applied to the extraction of social media content on the internet. The tool is highly flexible and can be integrated with tools like Kibana and ElasticSearch – to run full-text searches on target websites.
DataStreamer uses a “natural language” processing engine to fetch and extract critical metadata from websites. There is also an avenue for integrating “content extraction” and “boilerplate removal” – to facilitate data retrieval.
Furthermore, the tool’s makeup is “fault-based”, thereby ensuring steady availability of data, which are easily managed by a centralized administrative console.
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dexi.io, otherwise known as “Dexi Intelligence”, is an advanced web scraping and analytical tool. It’s uniquely designed for extracting and transforming relevant web-data into useful analytical information.
The tool scours for useful data on targeted websites, which are then analyzed to create desired business models. Put aptly, “Dexi Intelligence” is widely used by corporate businesses/groups to increase the efficiency of their business models.
Furthermore, the tool’s robustness and speed facilitate swift extraction and analysis of data from websites. Essentially, dexi.io is not only suitable for data extraction but can also serve as a “web-data analytic” tool for businesses.
With this tool, you’re able to save valuable time and resources, which could have been expended carrying out exhaustive web researches and surveys.
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Diffbot is one of the best web scraping tools to consider while seeking to gather essential data from the internet. The tool uses a set of AI extractors (bots) to scrape and analyze data from target websites, in a quick time. And with regards to the tool’s scalability, structured web-data can be extracted from virtually all websites (HTTP & HTTPS).
Also, there is an analytical tool on offer, which typically assists in analyzing and presenting extracted web-data in a “knowledge graph” for easier interpretation.
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FMiner rounds up our list of 10 best web scraping tools. The tool is aptly versatile, as it’s widely known as a web scraper; a crawl-screen scraper; and a data extractor. It also hosts cross-platform support for the two notable desktop platforms (macOS and Windows).
FMiner is essentially a “visual web scraping” software, which is equipped with a simple, yet standard visual editor, as well as a robust set of algorithms for penetrating webpages. These and more make FMiner suitable for scraping data off dynamic websites, rated “hard-to-crawl”.
Furthermore, there is an avenue for integrating the tool with third-party “De-Captcha” software which facilitates the extraction of data from “CAPTCHA-protected” websites.
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