Best web scraping tools in 2019
Jan 25, 20196 mins read
The Web is constantly overflowing with new information, new design patterns, and immense amounts of data. And organizing this data into one unique library is no easy task. Besides, hiring a professional scraping expert might cost you more than you expected.
So, why not do it yourself? There are a ton of great web scraping tools available for free download, and most come with extensive documentation files to get you started off.
And by the way, we totally get the sentiment of having to struggle with websites that block scrapers, etc,. Not all platforms want for you to scrape and analyze their data. So, with that in mind, we’re also focusing on tools that provide smooth proxy, bypassing, and anonymity features.
That’s us! Proxy Crawl is more than just a tool. It’s a solution for people who are in need of crawling/scraping services, and would like to retain utmost anonymity during this process.
You get 1,000 requests for free, and that’s plenty to explore the power at which Proxy Crawl plows through complex and intricate content pages.
Python and scraping go hand in hand. In fact, most books and learning courses on Python talk about some form of scraping.
Scrapy is an open-source project providing support for crawling the web, but also scraping it. The Scrapy scraping framework does an excellent job at extracting data from websites and web pages.
On top of that, Scrapy can be used for mining data, monitoring data patterns, and doing automated tests for large tasks. It’s a powerhouse and integrates perfectly with ProxyCrawl, you can read more about that in the following Scrapy integration article.
With Scrapy, selecting content sources (HTML & XML) is an absolute breeze thanks to in-built tooling. And should you feel adventurous, you can extend upon the provided features using the Scrapy API.
Grab is a Python based Framework for creating custom Web Scraping rulesets. Using Grab you can create scraping mechanisms for small personal projects, but also build large and dynamic crawling tasks that can scale to millions of pages simultaneously.
The in-built API provides the means to execute network requests, and also to handle the scraped content.
An additional API provided by Grab is called Spider. With Spider API you can create asynchronous crawlers with custom-defined classes.
Ferret is a fairly new Web Scraping System gaining quite a bit of traction in the open-source community.
The goal of Ferret is to provide more concise client-side scraping solutions. E.g. Allow developers to write crawlers that don’t have to depend on application status to function.
Further, Ferret uses a custom Declarative language, abstaining from complexity that’s used to build the system.
Instead, you can write strict rules for scraping data from any site, and spend your valuable time exploring the data.
Scraping the Web with Node.js is fairly straightforward thanks to availability of libraries such as X-Ray, Osmosis, and others.
Here is a xray demo snippet for scraping Hacker News:
const Xray = require('x-ray');
This snippet will grab the latest links from the HN homepage, including the title of each submission, but also continue scraping other pages as is specified by the .paginate and .limit values.
And you can write results in a variety of different file types. So, if you need something quickly extract the contents of any web page, this is a library to try.
Diffbot is a new player in the market but already managing to make strides. This ML/AI powered scraping platform provides Knowledge-as-a-Service.
You don’t even have to write much code, since Diffbot’s AI algorithm can decipher structured data from a website page without the need for manual specifications.
PhantomJS Cloud the SaaS alternative to PhantomJS Headless Browser. With PhantomJS Cloud you can fetch data directly from inside web pages, you can also generate visual files, and render pages inside a PDF document.
PhantomJS Cloud lets you interpret websites just like a real browser would, so you can get a lot more bang for your buck!
If you are looking for a reliable crawling provider we recommend that you try the options above and you decide the one you prefer for your use-case.
You can always contact us here.