Web scraping is the process of extracting useful info from the web. It is also known as web data mining, web data extraction, web harvesting, web screen scraping, web data processing, web crawling, web ripping, web content extraction etc. Web scraping can be a very powerful tool if you know how to use it, and that’s why we are outlining the best web scraping software in today’s post.
We are mainly going to be concentrating on open source and free web scraping solutions, because if you can do it for free, why pay?
Everyone knows that the web is an incredible repository of useful information. Most of this information is thankfully formatted in such a way that it is convenient for human use and understanding. Unfortunately this makes it a little more difficult for computers to sift through and extract this information with efficiency.
In other words, if you need to use web data for your business, you might be faced with employing someone to scour websites, copy and paste information and content and recombine it in the way you want. Obviously this could be an expensive and time consuming process for your business. Collecting manually “by hand” is labor intensive.
If you regularly need information from the web, investing in man hours like this is a waste of effort and time for you. That is why you need web scraping software. Read on to find out about the best web scraping software available right now.
If you are in need of the best web scraping software we suggest you give Data Scraping Studio a try.
They have a chrome extension that allows you to click on the HTML element you need and it will extract. CSS selectors are then created for the element and you can instantly preview the extract. Use the advanced mode to extract HTML/TEXT/ATTR or REGEX. It also allows you to download the page output in a variety of formats including JSON, CSV and TSV.
The desktop app has a range of more advanced features including batch URL crawling. It is useful for large data extraction projects in the range of 100s of millions of web pages. Data Scraping Studio can execute multiple web scraping jobs in parallel, which is fantastic for power users.
This is another excellent program and sits easily among the best web scraping software available for free. They also have a chrome extension that allows you to scrape practically any page. This is one of the most simple to use programs for web scraping. It allows output in RSS, CSV and JSON. What’s also cool is that these guys will host data for you if you.
This particular web scraping software ain’t free. However if you are adverse to using technical programs, then import.io makes things very simple. It might be the best web scraping software in terms of ease of use, but that doesn’t come cheap. Pricing begins at $99 dollars for a single project and can range up to $799. I would suggest this service is only for businesses with high turnovers, or users who really are reluctant to learn the ropes with some of the other software out there.
Some of this can be a bit technical and complex. Luckily they also have a handy chrome extension and firefox addon. These allow you to generate the code necessary by simple and user friendly point and click development. Point and click to generate the code and then copy this in to the Extracty IDE to modify the logic and create your endpoint.
Octoparse is marketed as the number 1 automated web scraping software. It is designed entirely to use without having to know any programming. If you want to avoid programming entirely, but still want free software then this could be the best web scraping software for your needs.
The interface is entirely point and click, meaning that basically anyone can use it. There is absolutely no need to code which will be a relief for many. You can just jump right in and begin web scraping.
At the complete other end of the spectrum, Scrapy is an excellent and powerful tool to use if you are comfortable using programming, specifically in Python. For programmers and computer scientists, this has got to be the best web scraping software.
These guys have created a lovely open source framework for extracting the data you need from websites. Its simple and fast to use provided you have basic programming. When you have built your web spiders you can deploy them to the Scrapy Cloud. Alternatively you can use Scrapyd to hose the spiders on your own server. This runs on Linux, Mac, Windows and BSD.
These 6 web scraping tools cater to a variety of users from those who want free and open source, to businesses that don’t mind paying a premium for convenience of service. We hope that whatever you require, you can find the best web scraping software for your needs in our list today.
Let us know what you think below. Are any of you guys using different web scraping software?