Sometimes you need to extract data from different websites as quickly as possible. So how would you do this without going to each website manually? Is there any services available online which simply get you the data you want in the structured form.

The answer is yes there are tons of python web scraping services providers in the market. This article sheds light on some of the well-known web scraping providers which are actually masters in data export services.

What is web scraping?

In a simple word, Web scraping is the act of exporting the unstructured data from different websites and storing it in the structured one in the spreadsheet or database. These web scraping can be done in either manual way or automatic way.

However manual processes like write python code for extracting data from different websites can be hectic and lengthy for the developers. We will talk about the automatic method accessing websites data API or data extraction tools used to export a large amount of the data.

Manual method for the web scraping follows several steps as,

  • Visual Inspection: Find out what to extract
  • HTTP request to the web page
  • Parse the HTTP response
  • Utilize the relevant data

Now find out how easy to extract web data using the cloud-based web scraping providers. The steps are,

  • Enter the website url, you’d like to extract data from
  • Click on the target data to extract
  • Run the extraction and get data

Why web scraping using the cloud platform?

Web scraping cloud platforms are making web data extraction easy and accessible for everyone. One can execute multiple concurrent extractions 24/7 with faster scraping speed. One can schedule scraping frequency to extract data at any time at any frequency. These platforms actually minimize the chances of being blocked or traced by providing service as anonymous IP rotation. Anyone who knows how to browse can extract data from dynamic websites and no need for programming knowledge.

Cloud-based web scraping providers

top web scraping service providers

1.) Webscraper.io

Webscraper.io is an online platform that makes web data extraction easy and accessible to everyone. One can download webscraper.io chrome extension to deploy scrapers built and tested. It also allows users to easily trace their sitemaps and shows where data should be traveled and extracted. One of the major advantages of using webscraper.io is Data can be directly written in CouchDB and CSV files can be downloaded.

Data export

  • CSV or CouchDB

Pricing

  • Browser Extension for local use only is completely Free which includes dynamic website scraping, Javascript execution, CSV support, and community support.
  • Other charges based on the number of the pages scraped and each page will deduct one cloud credit from your balance which will be called cloud credits.
  • 5000 cloud credits – $50/Month
  • 20000 cloud credits – $100/Month
  • 50000 cloud credits – $200/Month
  • Unlimited cloud credits – $300/Month

Pros

  • One can learn easily from the tutorial videos and learn easily.
  • Javascript Heavy websites supported
  • Browser extension is open source, so no worries about if vendors shutdown their services.

Cons

  • Large-scale scrapers are not suggested, especially when you need to scrape thousands of pages, as it’s based on chrome extension.
  • IP Rotation and external proxies not supported.
  • Forms and inputs can not be filled.

Links

2.) Scrapy Cloud

Scrapy Cloud is a cloud based service, where you can easily build and deploy scrapers using the scrapy framework. Your spiders can run on the cloud and scale on demand, from thousands to billions of pages. Your spiders can run, monitor and control your crawler using an easy to use web interface.

Data export

  • Scrapy Cloud APIs
  • ItemPipelines can be used to write to any database or location.
  • File Formats – JSON,CSV,XML

Pricing

  • Scrapy Cloud provides a flexible pricing approach which only pays for as much capacity as you need.
  • Provides two packages as Starter and Professional.
  • Starter Package is Free for everyone, which is ideal for small projects.
  • Starter Package has some limitations as one can use 1 hour crawl time, 1 concurrent crawl, 7 day data retention.
  • Professional package is best for companies and developers which have unlimited access for crawl runtime and concurrent crawls, 120 days of data retention, personalized support.
  • Professional package will cost $9 per Unit per Month.

Pros

  • The most popular cloud based web scraping framework- One can deploy a Scraper built using Scrapy using cloud service.
  • Unlimited pages per crawl
  • On demand scaling
  • It provides easy integration for Crawlera, Splash, Spidermoon, etc.
  • QA tools for built in spider monitoring, logging and data.
  • Highly customizable as it is Scrapy
  • For large scale scraping it is useful.
  • All sorts of logs are available with a decent user interface.
  • Lots of useful add ons available.

Cons

  • Coding is required for scrapers
  • No Point and click utility

Links

3.) Octoparse

Octoparse offers a cloud based platform for all users who want to perform web scraping using the octoparse desktop application. Non coders also can scrape data and turn their web pages into structured spreadsheets using this platform.

Data export

  • Databases: MYSQL, SQL Server, ORACLE
  • File Formats: HTML, XLS, CSV and JSON
  • Octoparse API

Pricing

  • Octopars provides a flexible pricing approach with plan range from Free, Standard Plan, Professional Plan, Enterprise Plan, Data services plan and standard plan.
  • Free plan offers unlimited pages per crawl, 10000 records per export, 2 concurrent local runs, 10 crawlers and many more.
  • $75/Month when billed annually, and $89 when billed monthly, Most popular plan is a standard plan for small teams, which offers 100 crawlers, Scheduled Extractions, Average speed extractions, Auto API rotation API access, Email support and many more.
  • $209/Month when billed annually, and $249 when billed monthly, Professional plan for middle sized businesses. This plan provides 250 crawlers, 20 concurrent cloud extractions, Task Templates, Advanced API, Free task review, 1 on 1 training, and many more.

Pros

  • No Programming is required
  • For heavy websites, it supports Javascript.
  • If you don’t need much scalability, it supports 10 scapers in your local PC.
  • Supports Point and click tool
  • Automatic IP rotation in every task

Cons

  • Vendor Lock in is actually disadvantageous so users can’t export scapers to any other platform.
  • As per Octoparse, API functionality is limited.
  • Octoparse is not supported in MAC/Linux, only windows based app.

Links

4.) Parsehub

Parsehub is a free and powerful web scraping tool. It lets users build web scrapers to crawl multiple websites with the support of AJAX, cookies, Javascript, sessions using desktop applications and deploy them to their cloud service.

Data export

  • Integrates with Google Sheets and Tableau
  • Parsehub API
  • File Formats – CSV, JSON

Pricing

  • The pricing for Parsehub is a little bit confusing as it is based on speed limit, number of pages crawled, and total number of scrapers you have.
  • It comes with a plan such as Free, Standard, Professional and Enterprise.
  • Free plan, you can get 200 pages of data in only 40 minutes.
  • Standard Plan, You can buy it $149 per month and it provides 200 pages of data in only 10 minutes.
  • Professional Plan, You can buy it $449 per month and it provides 200 pages of data in only 2 minutes.
  • Enterprise Plan, You need to contact Parsehub to get a quotation.

Pros

  • Supports Javascript for heavy websites
  • No Programming Skills are required
  • Desktop application works in Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Includes Automatic IP Rotation

Cons

  • Vendor Lock in is actually disadvantageous so users can’t export scapers to any other platform.
  • User can not write directly to any database

Links

5.) Dexi.io

Dexi.io is a leading enterprise-level web scraping service provider. It lets you host, develop and schedule scrapers like other service providers. Users can access Dexi.io from its web-based application.

Data export

  • Add ons can be used to write to most databases
  • Many cloud services can be integrated
  • Dexi API
  • File Formats – CSV, JSON, XML

Pricing

  • Dexi provides a simple pricing structure. Users can pay for using a number of concurrent jobs and access to external integrations.
  • Standard Plan, $119/month for 1 concurrent Job.
  • Professional Plan $399/month for 3 concurrent jobs.
  • Corporate Plan, $699/month for 6 concurrent jobs.
  • Enterprise Plan, contact Dexi.io to get a quotation.

Pros

  • Provides many integrations including ETL, Visualization tools, storage etc.
  • Web based application and click utility

Cons

  • Vendor Lock in is actually disadvantageous so users can only run scrapers in their cloud platform.
  • High price for multiple integration support
  • Higher learning curve
  • Web based UI for setting up scrapers is very slow

Links

6.) Diffbot

Diffbot provides awesome services that help configuration of crawlers that can go in the website index and process using its automatic APIs from different web content. It also allows a custom Extractor option that is also available if users do not want to use automatic APIs.

Data export

  • Integrates with many cloud services through Zapier
  • Cannot write directly to databases
  • File Formats – CSV, JSON, Excel
  • Diffbot APIs

Pricing

  • Price is based on number of API calls, data retention, and speed of API calls.
  • Free Trial, It allows user up to 10000 monthly credits
  • Startup Plan, $299/month, It allows user up to 250000 monthly credits
  • Startup Plan, $899/month, It allows user up to 1000000 monthly credits
  • Custom Pricing, you need to contact Diffbot to get a quotation.

Pros

  • Do not need much setup as it provides Automatic APIs
  • The custom API creation is also easy to set up and use
  • For First two plans, No IP rotation

Cons

  • Vendor Lock in is actually disadvantageous so users can only run scrapers in their cloud platform.
  • Expensive plans

Links

7.) Import.io

With Import.io, users can transform, clean and visualize the data. Users can also develop scraper using click interface and web-based points.

Data export

  • Integrates with many cloud services
  • File Formats – CSV, JSON, Google Sheets
  • Import.io APIs ( Premium Feature )

Pricing

  • Pricing is based on number of pages crawled, access to number of integrations and features.
  • Import.io free, limited to 1000 URL queries per month.
  • Import.io premium, you need to contact Import.io to get a quotation.

Pros

  • Allows automatic data extraction
  • Premium package supports transformations, extractions and visualizations.
  • Has a lot of integration and value added services

Cons

  • Vendor Lock in is actually disadvantageous so users can only run scrapers in their environment platform.
  • Premium feature is the most expensive of all providers.

Links

Summary

In this blog we learned about different web scraping services providers, services, pricing models, etc. So what is a web crawler? A web crawler or spider is a type of automated machine that’s operated by search engines to index the website’s data. This website’s data is typically organized in an index or a database.

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