Free Web Scraping Tools – What, Why, and How
Considering the importance of data in the present era, it’s not wrong to be data greedy and have access to quality and abundant data. Web scraping is an easy way to be data rich but can be a bit pocket-pinching due to the abundance of data. There are multiple free web scraping tools to try out.
But are they worthy of your trust? What if they just waste your time and efforts? Which free web scraping tools should one try out?
If all these questions just popped into your mind, try this post as we will answer each.
Learn more about web scraping and all its aspects with the following articles:
- Is Web Scraping Legal?
- Excel Web Scraping Solutions To Try Out Today
- Proxies For Web Scraping – Know Your Best Options
Free Web Scraping – How Safe And Doable It Is
Before we discuss free web scraping tools online in detail, let’s see whether it is wise to indulge in free web scraping. You may read about web scraping here. Now, let’s talk about doing it on the freeway. There are two versions of free web scraping tools.
The first version is entirely free software or web scraping extension. One only has to spend the data to install and operate such a tool. There is no subscription cost to bear. While it sounds very promising, it has certain hidden dangers.
Free web scraping tools tend to have a data logging tendency. It has been observed a couple of times, with the help of free web scraping tools reviews, that such free web scraping tools open source often don’t work.
Only a handful of entirely free web scraping tools are there that can help you in your job.
The second way to scrape the web for free is using a free trial or free version of a paid and reputed web scraping tool.
Most paid web scraping software offers a free trial or a limited free version (like VPN software here) that will permit you to scrape the web for free up to a certain limit, say 500 or 700 pages per month. It is a safer way to scrape the web for free as the features and facilities that you will be able to enjoy are of premium grade.
There won’t be issues like data logging, non-functional features, or data inaccuracy. You can enjoy quality services even without paying a single penny. Hence, this option is the better one.
Other than the performance and quality of the service, entirely free web scraping tools are problematic in more ways, for example, the coding requirement.
You need a web scraper to scrape the data. Even if you’re the best free web scraping tools, you might have to involve in extensive coding to build a web scraper from scratch. It’s the job that demands exceptional coding requirements and time, which not everyone has.
On the contrary, paid web scraping tools are delivered as plug-and-play solutions. You don’t have to work hard to bring it into action. Coding is not at all required as the tool is pre-built. In a blink of an eye, it will start answering your commands.
All these points made us admit that paid web scraping is far better than free web scraping. However, few free web-scraping tools will provide a mediocre-grade web scraping experience. Let’s discuss them now.
Best Free Web Scraping Tools To Try Out Today
After gathering so much information about free and paid web scraping, it’s time to learn about the best free web scraping tools to try in 2023.
Free web scraping programs and software
There is a couple of free web scraping programs and software that you use to scrape the data for free. For instance, you have:
- MS Excel is the default program on all PCs and laptops. Not much coding and zero installations are its perks. But, it can only scrape limited data.
- Scraping Bot is a paid web-scraping tool offering a free version that allows you to scrape 100 pages per month. It’s useful to scrape data from URLs and create multiple scraping requests at a time.
- ParseHub is a freemium web scraping tool built for modern web scraping requirements. It used AJAX technology to scrape a website. A very high-end ML is at work in this tool that can accurately read and analyze web documents. As it works on all the leading OS and devices, you will be able to make the most of it. It’s a beginner-friendly tool as it offers a wide range of tutorials. So, you won’t face any troubles at all.
Free web scraping plugins or browser extensions
If you want to take the help of a browser for web scraping, you will require a browser extension or a plug-in that will integrate with the browser and scrape every webpage/website you will visit. Some consider-worthy free web scraping tools open source (browser extensions) are:
- Data Scraper is a reliable web scraper extension useful for extracting data from tables. Its free version is competent enough to cover your web scraping requirements, as up to 500 pages per month for scraping are offered.
- Webscraper.io offers a highly competent Chrome (VPN for Chrome) and a cloud extension. Chrome extension is for site mapping and deciding how to navigate a website, while Cloud extension lets enterprises have far-flung data scraping requirements. It supports CSV and Couch DB for data storage.
- Firefox users can take the help of Outwit Hub, as this extension is a free tool. With minimal configuration and setup, this extension can scrape data from multiple URLs. You can use it to build a custom scraper.
Free web scraping APIs
APIs are also useful for scraping web data with the least possible hassles. With a useful API, you’re able to extract a huge amount of data in no time. Have a look at preferred web scraping APIs:
- ScrapingBee is a feature-rich web scraping API that allows one to create multiple data sets for quick data extraction in bulk. It’s easy to use and comes with reliable technical support.
- ScraperAPI is another very reliable web scraping API that will help you scrape the web secretly, as it can easily handle hurdles like browsers, proxies, and CAPTCHAs.
Things To Keep In Mind While Getting A Web Scraping Tool
Free or paid, it doesn’t matter. As a user, you need to ensure that what you’re having is the best of the breed, which you can confirm with the help of the below-mentioned pointers.
- Make sure the tool you’re going to use is compatible with your device. For instance, if you use Chrome as a default browser, get a Chrome browser extension.
- Web scraping tools with cloud integrations are best, as they allow you to access data from anywhere.
- The web-scraping tool should offer considerable integrations to make automation and data transfer easier than ever.
- Even if a web-scraping tool claims to be effortless, it’s better to have enough technical support and web-scraping guidance to make sure that you don’t face huge hassles during your usage tenure.
- Feature customization helps you ensure that you scrape the web as per your actual preferences.
- For a paid web scraper, check its price and ensure it’s within your budget.
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- Proxy v/s VPN – Know The Basic Differences Between These Two Security Tools
Yes, many free web scrapers allow you to scrape the web for free. For instance, you have Octoparse and ParserHub. You can use them to create the best free web scraping tools no need to program and start scraping the web immediately.