Looking for a web scraping application? Here is what you should consider
If you want to extract some data from external resources like a website, marketplace, yellow pages you would most likely search for a web scraping application on the web. The results may overwhelm you because the choice of tools is really impressive.
Figuring out the task, terms, and available resources will help to narrow the choice to a reasonable list of candidates.
Let’s take a common situation when an online merchant needs to scrape product listings from another website (for competitive analyses, dropshipping, whatever). If he or she is not a programmer then the choice would boil down to DIY web scraping applications and web scraping services providing data on demand. Let’s review both approaches to data extraction.
An overview of web scraping applications
Web scraping applications are the tools that provide GUI (graphic user interface) for scraping the data. They usually offer a field to list the websites that need to be scraped and a toolkit to configure the scraper.
For instance, you can enter a website URL in the search bar and click on the elements you want to scrape: name, description, bullet points, customer reviews, etc. A web scraper will read the HTML code of the page and extract its data. You can also choose in what format you want to save the data, whether you need to run the scraping periodically and other settings:
Web scraping applications allow you to set up the scraper yourself
Web scraping applications may be installed locally on your computer or accessed via a web interface. Some solutions have both desktop and cloud versions.
Examples of web scraping applications: Octoparse, Parsehub, Mozenda, Import.io.
Advantages of web scraping applications:
- Free versions with a basic functionality may be available allowing you to scrape websites with simple structure.
- You can configure the scraper according to your needs and alter the settings as your requirements change.
- Usually, there are manuals, tutorials to help you configure the scraper.
What to consider when using web scraping applications:
- A learning curve.
- Tweaking is required.
- Advanced features cost more.
- A scraper can be detected as a robot.
- A scraper might slow down your computer.
- You will not get a file ready for further import.
Every software has its logic, so you need to explore the tool to use it effectively.
If you need to scrape multiple websites you will have to configure the scraper for every single website. Even more, the structure of websites might change. In that case, you will have to change the web scraping setting accordingly.
Though many web scraping applications offer free versions they mostly have limited functionality. If you need advanced features you must pay for them. You most likely have to use a paid version if you want to run data extraction in the cloud, schedule tasks, use IP rotation, increase pages per run limit, and other.
Websites try to prevent being scraped. You need to take care of the IP rotation not to get your IP blocked. Some web scraping applications offer IP rotation features but usually on the paid plan.
If you use a desktop version the scraper runs in the background and can slow down the computer.
In most cases, you will get a file with some standard structure. If you want to import it into your Amazon, eBay, WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, PrestaShop or any other shopping cart or platform you would need to adjust the file in Excel either manually or using advanced formulas like trim, split, find, etc.
Web scraping service as an alternative to web scraping applications
What if you just want to get the data but not spend time on mastering the scraping tool and adjusting it to every single website that needs to be scrapped? In that case, a web scraping service like eScraper would be a better choice.
eScraper provides data on-demand as per your requirements. You actually outsource the job of pulling out the data to our tech specialist and get the perfect file ready for usage.
Advantages of the web scraping service:
- You don’t spend time on mastering the scraping tool.
- You get the data and don’t bother about the extraction challenges.
- You get additional services without an extra fee.
- A file ready for import to Amazon, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, Shopify, Etsy, or other target platforms.
- Request data adjustments: removing HTML tags, trademarks, reducing or increasing prices by a certain value, etc.
- Get Meta Keywords, Meta Title, Meta Description included in the file.
With eScraper, you get the data ready for usage. No need to delve into tutorials and manuals. Just describe the task and get the required data.
As we wrote above, websites may have different structures. Some websites are easier to scrape, the others have more complex structures. For instance, you may need to extract products with variations and “see more” sections. When you outsource the scraping you don’t bother about this kind of thing. You also don’t bother about proxies and captchas. It’s our task to find a solution and provide the data you need.
With eScraper, you can get:
Here is an example of the scraped file tailored to be imported into WooCommerce:
Example of the CSV file with the scraped product data to be imported to WooCommerce
The file was flawlessly imported into WooCommerce and the product with images and variations was successfully added to the store:
Order the web scraping service in 3 easy steps
- Tell us the website link and what data you need to collect. Specify if you plan to import extracted data into your website and we will prepare the import file for your shopping cart.
- Get a sample file for review and request any adjustments to get your perfect CSV file.
- Select a plan starting from $39 and get data into your mailbox or FTP.
All web scraping applications require an initial investment. You should purchase the tool and invest your time to master it. So if you want to engage in a web scraping business, or you have a team of dedicated workers to get the data for you should probably try DIY web scraping applications.
On the other hand, with a web scraping service, you pay for the extracted data and get results instantly. So, if you need to get data quickly, in the format that will best solve your specific business task eScraper as a web scraping service would be the best choice.