Web crawling (also known as web scraping, screen scraping) has been broadly applied in many fields today. Before a web crawler tool ever comes into the public, it is the magic word for normal people with no programming skills. Its high threshold keeps blocking people outside the door of Big Data. A web scraping tool is the automated crawling technology and it bridges the wedge between the mysterious big data to everyone.
What are the benefits to use a web scraping tool?
Here is the deal
I listed 20 BEST web crawlers for you as a reference. Welcome to take full advantage of it!
Octoparse is a robust website crawler for extracting almost all kinds of data you need on the websites. You can use Octoparse to rip a website with its extensive functionalities and capabilities. It has two kinds of operation mode-Wizard Mode and Advanced Mode - for non-programmers to quickly pick up. The user-friendly point-and-click interface can guild you through the entire extraction process. As a result, you can pull website content easily and save it into structured formats like EXCEL, TXT, HTML or your databases in a short time frame.
In addition, it provides a Scheduled Cloud Extraction which enables you to extract the dynamic data in real-time and keep a tracking record on the website updates.
You can also extract complex websites with difficult structures by using its built-in Regex and XPath configuration to locate elements precisely. You have no need to worry about IP blocking anymore. Octoparse offers IP Proxy Servers which will automate the IPs, leaving without being detected by aggressive websites.
To conclude, Octoparse should be able to satisfy users’ most crawling needs, both basic or advanced, without any coding skills.
WebCopy is illustrative like its name. It's a free website crawler that allows you to copy partial or full websites locally into your hard disk for offline reference.
You can change its setting to tell the bot how you want to crawl. Besides that, you can also configure domain aliases, user agent strings, default documents and more.
As a website crawler freeware, HTTrack provides functions well suited for downloading an entire website to your PC. It has versions available for Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, and other Unix systems, which covers most users. It is interesting that HTTrack can mirror one site, or more than one site together (with shared links). You can decide the number of connections to opened concurrently while downloading web pages under “set options”. You can get the photos, files, HTML code from its mirrored website and resume interrupted downloads.
In addition, Proxy support is available within HTTrack for maximizing the speed.
HTTrack works as a command-line program, or through a shell for both private (capture) or professional (on-line web mirror) use. With that saying, HTTrack should be preferred and used more by people with advanced programming skills.
Getleft is a free and easy-to-use website grabber. It allows you to download an entire website or any single web page. After you launch the Getleft, you can enter a URL and choose the files you want to download before it gets started. While it goes, it changes all the links for local browsing. Additionally, it offers multilingual support. Now Getleft supports 14 languages! However, it only provides limited Ftp supports, it will download the files but not recursively.
On the whole, Getleft should satisfy users’ basic crawling needs without more complex tactical skills.
Scraper is a Chrome extension with limited data extraction features but it’s helpful for making online research. It also allows exporting the data to Google Spreadsheets. This tool is intended for beginners and experts. You can easily copy the data to the clipboard or store to the spreadsheets using OAuth. Scraper can auto-generates XPaths for defining URLs to crawl. It doesn't offer all-inclusive crawling services, but most people don't need to tackle messy configurations anyway.
6. OutWit Hub
OutWit Hub is a Firefox add-on with dozens of data extraction features to simplify your web searches. This web crawler tool can browse through pages and store the extracted information in a proper format.
OutWit Hub offers a single interface for scraping tiny or huge amounts of data per needs. OutWit Hub allows you to scrape any web page from the browser itself. It even can create automatic agents to extract data.
It is one of the simplest web scraping tools, which is free to use and offers you the convenience to extract web data without writing a single line of code.
The desktop application of Parsehub supports systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. You even can use the web app that is built within the browser.
As a freeware, you can set up no more than five public projects in Parsehub. The paid subscription plans allow you to create at least 20 private projects for scraping websites.
VisualScraper is another great free and non-coding web scraper with a simple point-and-click interface. You can get real-time data from several web pages and export the extracted data as CSV, XML, JSON or SQL files. Besides the SaaS, VisualScraper offers web scraping service such as data delivery services and creating software extractors services.
Visual Scraper enables users to schedule the projects to run on a specific time or repeat the sequence every minute, days, week, month, year. Users could use it to extract news, updates, forum frequently.
Scrapinghub is a cloud-based data extraction tool that helps thousands of developers to fetch valuable data. Its open-source visual scraping tool allows users to scrape websites without any programming knowledge.
Scrapinghub uses Crawlera, a smart proxy rotator that supports bypassing bot counter-measures to crawl huge or bot-protected sites easily. It enables users to crawl from multiple IPs and locations without the pain of proxy management through a simple HTTP API.
Scrapinghub converts the entire web page into organized content. Its team of experts is available for help in case its crawl builder can’t work your requirements.
As a browser-based web crawler, Dexi.io allows you to scrape data based on your browser from any website and provide three types of robots for you to create a scraping task - Extractor, Crawler, and Pipes. The freeware provides anonymous web proxy servers for your web scraping and your extracted data will be hosted on Dexi.io’s servers for two weeks before the data is archived, or you can directly export the extracted data to JSON or CSV files. It offers paid services to meet your needs for getting real-time data.
Webhose.io enables users to get real-time data from crawling online sources from all over the world into various, clean formats. This web crawler enables you to crawl data and further extract keywords in many different languages using multiple filters covering a wide array of sources.
And you can save the scraped data in XML, JSON and RSS formats. And users are allowed to access the history data from its Archive. Plus, webhose.io supports at most 80 languages with its crawling data results. And users can easily index and search the structured data crawled by Webhose.io.
On the whole, Webhose.io could satisfy users’ elementary crawling requirements.
12. Import. io
Users are able to form their own datasets by simply importing the data from a particular web page and exporting the data to CSV.
You can easily scrape thousands of web pages in minutes without writing a single line of code and build 1000+ APIs based on your requirements. Public APIs has provided powerful and flexible capabilities to control Import.io programmatically and gain automated access to the data, Import.io has made crawling easier by integrating web data into your own app or web site with just a few clicks.
To better serve users' crawling requirements, it also offers a free app for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux to build data extractors and crawlers, download data and sync with the online account. Plus, users are able to schedule crawling tasks weekly, daily or hourly.
80legs is a powerful web crawling tool that can be configured based on customized requirements. It supports fetching huge amounts of data along with the option to download the extracted data instantly. 80legs provides high-performance web crawling that works rapidly and fetches required data in mere seconds
Spinn3r allows you to fetch entire data from blogs, news & social media sites and RSS & ATOM feed. Spinn3r is distributed with a firehouse API that manages 95% of the indexing work. It offers advanced spam protection, which removes spam and inappropriate language uses, thus improving data safety.
Spinn3r indexes content similar to Google and save the extracted data in JSON files. The web scraper constantly scans the web and finds updates from multiple sources to get you real-time publications. Its admin console lets you control crawls and full-text search allows making complex queries on raw data.
15. Content Grabber
Content Grabber is a web crawling software targeted at enterprises. It allows you to create a stand-alone web crawling agents. It can extract content from almost any website and save it as structured data in a format of your choice, including Excel reports, XML, CSV, and most databases.
It is more suitable for people with advanced programming skills, since it offers many powerful scripting editing, debugging interfaces for people in need. Users are allowed to use C# or VB.NET to debug or write scripts to control the crawling process programming. For example, Content Grabber can integrate with Visual Studio 2013 for the most powerful script editing, debugging and unit test for an advanced and tactful customized crawler based on users’ particular needs.
16. Helium Scraper
Helium Scraper is a visual web data crawling software that works pretty well when the association between elements is small. It’s non-coding, non-configuration. And users can get access to online templates based for various crawling needs.
Basically, it could satisfy users’ crawling needs within an elementary level.
UiPath is a robotic process automation software for free web scraping. It automates web and desktop data crawling out of most third-party Apps. You can install the robotic process automation software if you run it on Windows. Uipath is able to extract tabular and pattern-based data across multiple web pages.
Uipath provides built-in tools for further crawling. This method is very effective when dealing with complex UIs. The Screen Scraping Tool can handle both individual text elements, groups of text and blocks of text, such as data extraction in table format.
Plus, no programming is needed to create intelligent web agents, but the .NET hacker inside you will have complete control over the data.
Scrape.it is a node.js web scraping software. It’s a cloud-based web data extraction tool. It’s designed towards those with advanced programming skills, since it offers both public and private packages to discover, reuse, update, and share code with millions of developers worldwide. Its powerful integration will help you build a customized crawler based on your needs.
WebHarvy is a point-and-click web scraping software. It’s designed for non-programmers. WebHarvy can automatically scrape Text, Images, URLs & Emails from websites, and save the scraped content in various formats. It also provides built-in scheduler and proxy support which enables anonymously crawling and prevents the web scraping software from being blocked by web servers, you have the option to access target websites via proxy servers or VPN.
Users can save the data extracted from web pages in a variety of formats. The current version of WebHarvy Web Scraper allows you to export the scraped data as an XML, CSV, JSON or TSV file. Users can also export the scraped data to an SQL database.
Connotate is an automated web crawler designed for Enterprise-scale web content extraction which needs an enterprise-scale solution. Business users can easily create extraction agents in as little as minutes – without any programming. Users can easily create extraction agents simply by point-and-click.