Python Web Programming Web Scraping

Top 20 Best Webscraping Tools

Data lives more on the web than any other place. With the rise in social media activity and development of more web applications and solutions, the web would be generating a lot more data than you and I can envisage.

Wouldn’t it be a waste of resources if we couldn’t extract this data and make something out of it?

There’s no doubting that it would be great to extract this data, here is where web scraping steps in.

With web scraping tools we can get desired data from the web without having to do it manually(which is probably impossible in this day and time).

In this article, we would take a look at the top twenty web scraping tools available for use. These tools are not arranged in any specific order, but all of them stated here are very powerful tools in the hands of their user.

While some would require coding skills, some would be command line based tool and others would be graphical or point and click web scraping tools.

Let’s get into the thick of things.

Import.io:

This is one of the most brilliant web scraping tools out there. Using machine learning, Import.io ensures all the user needs to do is to insert the website URL and it does the remaining work of bringing orderliness into the unstructured web data.

Dexi.io:

A strong alternative to Import.io; Dexi.io allows you extract and transform data from websites into any file type of choice. Asides providing the web scraping functionality, it also provides web analytics tools.

Dexi doesn’t just work with websites, it can be used to scrape data from social media sites as well.

80 legs:

A Web Crawler as a Service (WCaaS), 80 legs it provides users with the ability to perform crawls in the cloud without placing the user’s machine under a lot of stress. With 80 legs, you only pay for what you crawl; it also provides easy to work with APIs to help make the life of developers easier.

Octoparse:

While other web scraping tools may struggle with JavaScript heavy websites, Octoparse is not to be stopped. Octoparse works great with AJAX dependent websites, and is user friendly too.

However, it is only available for Windows machines, which could be a bit of a limitation especially for Mac and Unix users. One great thing about Octoparse though, is that it can be used to scrape data from an unlimited number of websites. No limits!

Mozenda:

Mozenda is a feature filled web scraping service. While Mozenda is more about paid services than free ones, it is worth the pay when considering how well the tool handles very disorganized websites.

Making use of anonymous proxies always, you barely need to be concerned about being locked out a site during a web scraping operation.

Data Scraping Studio:

Data scraping studio is one of the fastest web scraping tools out there. However just like Mozenda, it is not free.

Using CSS and Regular Expresions (Regex), Mozenda comes in two parts:

  • a Google Chrome extension.
  • a Windows desktop agent for launching web scraping processes.

Crawl Monster:

Not your regular web crawler, Crawl Monster is a free website crawler tool that is used to gather data and then generate reports based on the gotten information as it affects Search Engine Optimization.

This tool provides features such as real time site monitoring, analysis on website vulnerabilities and analysis on SEO performance.

 Scrapy:

Scrapy is one of the most powerful web scraping tools that requires the skill of coding. Built on Twisted library, it is a Python library able to scrape multiple web pages at the same time.

Scrapy supports data extraction using Xpath and CSS expressions, making it easy to use. Asides being easy to learn and work with, Scrapy supports multi-platforms and is very fast making it perform efficiently.

Selenium:

Just like Scrapy, Selenium is another free web scraping tool that requires the coding skill. Selenium is available in a lot of languages, such as PHP, Java, JavaScript, Python etc. and is available for multiple operating systems.

Selenium isn’t only used for web scraping, it can also be used for web testing and automation, it could be slow but does the job.

Beautifulsoup:

Yet another beautiful web scraping tool. Beautifulsoup is a python library used to parse HTML and XML files and is very useful for extracting needed information from web pages.

This tool is easy to use and should be the one to call upon for any developer needing to do some simple and quick web scraping.

Parsehub:

One of the most efficient web scraping tools remains Parsehub. It is easy to use and works very well with all kinds of web applications from single-page apps to multi-page apps and even progressive web apps.

Parsehub can also be used for web automation. It has a free plan to scrape 200 pages in 40 minutes, however more advanced premium plans exist for more complex web scraping needs.

Diffbot:

One of the best commercial web scraping tools out there is Diffbot. Through the implementation of machine learning and natural language processing, Diffbot is able to scrape important data from pages after understanding the page structure of the website. Custom APIs can also be created to help scrape data from web pages as it suites the user.

However it could be quite expensive.

Webscraper.io:

Unlike the other tools already discussed in this article, Webscraper.io is more renowned for being a Google Chrome extension. This doesn’t mean it is any less effective though, as it uses different type selectors to navigate web pages and extract the needed data.

There also exists a cloud web scraper option, however that is not free.

Content grabber:

Content grabber is a Windows based web scraper powered by Sequentum, and is one of the fastest web scraping solutions out there.

It is easy to use, and barely requires a technical skill like programming. It also provides an API that can be integrated into desktop and web applications. Very much on the same level with the likes of Octoparse and Parsehub.

Fminer:

Another easy to use tool on this list. Fminer does well with executing form inputs during web scraping, works well with Web 2.0 AJAX heavy sites and has multi-browser crawling capability.

Fminer is available for both Windows and Mac systems, making it a popular choice for startups and developers. However, it is a paid tool with a basic plan of $168.

Webharvy:

Webharvy is a very smart web scraping tool. With it’s simplistic point and click mode of operation, the user can browse and select the data to be scraped.

This tool is easy to configure, and web scraping can be done through the use of keywords.

Webharvy goes for a single license fee of $99, and has a very good support system.

Apify:

Apify (formerly Apifier) converts websites into APIs in quick time. Great tool for developers, as it improves productivity by reducing development time.

More renowned for its automation feature, Apify is very powerful for web scraping purposes as well.

It has a large user community, plus other developers have built libraries for scraping certain websites with Apify which can be used immediately.

Common Crawl:

Unlike the remaining tools on this list, Common Crawl has a corpus of extracted data from a lot of websites available. All the user needs to do is to access it.

Using Apache Spark and Python, the dataset can be accessed and analysed to suite one’s needs.

Common Crawl is non-profit based so if after using the service, you like it; do not forget to donate to the great project.

Grabby io:

Here is a task specific web scraping tool. Grabby is used to scrape emails from websites, no matter how complex the technology used in development is.

All Grabby needs is the website URL and it would get all the email addresses available on the website. It is a commercial tool though with a $19.99 per week per project price tag.

Scrapinghub:

Scrapinghub is a Web Crawler as a Service (WCaaS) tool, and is made specially for developers.

It provides options such as Scrapy Cloud for managing Scrapy spiders, Crawlera for getting proxies that won’t get banned during web scraping and Portia which is a point and click tool for building spiders.

Conclusion:

There you have it, the top 20 web scraping tools out there. However, there are other tools that could do a good job too.

Is there any tool you use for web scraping that didn’t make this list? Share with us.

About the author

Habeeb Kenny Shopeju

Habeeb Kenny Shopeju

I love building software, very proficient with Python and JavaScript. I'm very comfortable with the linux terminal and interested in machine learning. In my spare time, I write prose, poetry and tech articles.