Ever since the world wide web started growing in terms of data size and quality, businesses and data enthusiasts have been looking for methods to extract web data smoothly. Today, the best web scraping tools can acquire data from websites of your preference with ease and prompt. Some are meant for hobbyists, and some are suitable for enterprises.
DIY web scraping software belongs to the former category. If you need data from a few websites of your choice for quick research or project, these web scraping tools are more than enough. DIY web scraping tools are much easier to use in comparison to programming your own data extraction setup. You can acquire data without coding with these web scraper tools. Here are some of the best data acquisition software, also called web scraping software, available in the market right now.
Outwit hub is a Firefox extension that can be easily downloaded from the Firefox add-ons store. Once installed and activated, it gives scraping capabilities to your browser. Extracting data from sites using Outwit hub doesn’t demand programming skills. The set-up is fairly easy to learn. You can refer to our guide on using Outwit hub to get started with extracting data using the web scraping tool. As it is free of cost, it makes for a great option if you need to crawl some data from the web quickly.
Web Scraper Chrome Extension
Spinn3r is a great choice for scraping entire data from blogs, news sites, social media and RSS feeds. Spinn3r uses a firehose API that manages 95% of the web crawling and indexing work. It gives you the option to filter the data that it crawls using keywords, which helps in weeding out the irrelevant content. The indexing system of Spinn3r is similar to Google and saves the extracted data in JSON format. Spinn3r’s scraping tool works by continuously scanning the web and updating its data sets. It has an admin console packed with features that lets you perform searches on the raw data. Spinn3r is one of the best web scraping tools if your data requirements are limited to media websites.
Fminer is one of the easiest web scraping tools out there that combines top-in-class features. Its visual dashboard makes web data extraction from sites as simple and intuitive as possible. Whether you want to crawl data from simple web pages or carry out complex data fetching projects that require proxy server lists, Ajax handling and multi-layered crawls, Fminer can do it all. If your project is fairly complex, Fminer is the web scraper software you need.
Dexi.io is a web-based scraping application that doesn’t require any download. It is a browser-based tool for web scraping that lets you set up crawlers and fetch data in real-time. Dexi.io also has features that will let you save the scraped data directly to Box.net and Google Drive or export it as JSON or CSV files. It also supports scraping the data anonymously using proxy servers. The crawled data will be hosted on their servers for up to 2 weeks before it’s archived.
Octoparse is a visual scraping tool that is easy to configure. The point-and-click user interface lets you teach the scraper how to navigate and extract fields from a website. The software mimics a human user while visiting and scraping data from target websites. Octoparse gives the option to run your extraction on the cloud and on your own local machine. You can export the scraped data in TXT, CSV, HTML, or Excel formats.
Web Scraping Tools vs DaaS Providers
Although web scraping tools can handle simple to moderate data extraction requirements, these are not recommended if you are a business trying to acquire data for competitive intelligence or market research. DIY scraping tools can be the right choice if your data requirements are limited and the sites you are looking to crawl are not complicated.
When the requirement is large scale and complicated, tools for web scraping cannot live up to the expectations. If you need an enterprise-grade data solution, outsourcing the requirement to a DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) provider could be the ideal option. Find out if your business needs a DaaS provider.
Dedicated web scraping service providers such as PromptCloud take care of end-to-end data acquisition and will deliver the required data the way you need it. If your data requirement demands a custom-built setup, a DIY tool cannot cover it. Even with the best web scraping tools, the customization options are limited and automation is almost non-existent. Tools also come with the downside of maintenance, which can be a daunting task.
A web scraping service provider will set up monitoring for the target websites and make sure that the web scraper setup is well maintained. The flow of data will be smooth and consistent with a hosted solution.
Here are some of the benefits of using DaaS services such as PromptCloud for web scraping over DIY web scraping tools:
- Reliability: DaaS providers are more reliable than web scraping tools as they provide access to high-quality data that is accurate, timely, and consistent. In contrast, web scraping tools may be affected by changes in website structure or coding, leading to inconsistent or incomplete data.
- Scalability: DaaS services are highly scalable and can handle large volumes of data with ease. This makes it possible to extract data from multiple sources simultaneously, saving time and effort. Web scraping tools, on the other hand, may struggle to handle large volumes of data, resulting in slower processing times and increased risk of errors.
- Security: DaaS services provide better security features than web scraping tools, including encryption, authentication, and authorization. This makes it possible to protect sensitive data and comply with data privacy regulations. Web scraping tools may lack these security features, leaving businesses vulnerable to data breaches and cyber-attacks.
- Cost-effectiveness: DaaS services can be more cost-effective than web scraping tools as they offer a pay-per-use pricing model. This means businesses only pay for the data they need, reducing the risk of wasted resources or overspending. Web scraping tools often require upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses, making them less cost-effective over time.
- Legal compliance: DaaS providers are responsible for ensuring that the data they collect is obtained legally and ethically, which can be challenging for web scraping tools. DaaS providers have experience in navigating legal and ethical issues related to web scraping, which can help you avoid legal issues.
- Time-saving: DaaS providers can help you save time by automating the web scraping process. This can be particularly useful if you need to scrape data frequently or in large volumes. With web scraping tools, you may need to manually configure each scrape, which can be time-consuming and error-prone.
While DIY web scraping tools can be useful for some businesses, Data as a Service (DaaS) providers offer several key advantages that make them a superior option. DaaS providers can offer scalable, reliable, and high-quality web scraping services that are tailored to your specific needs. They can also provide technical support, legal compliance, and integration with your existing systems, which can save you time and money.
Additionally, DaaS providers can customize their services and offer flexible pricing, making it a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes. By leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of DaaS providers, businesses can obtain the scraped data they need with greater ease and accuracy, allowing them to make more informed business decisions.