Web Scraper Extension
Top 30 Free Web Scraping Software in 2021 | Octoparse
Web Scraping & Web Scraping Software
If you are a total newbie in this area, you may find more sources about web scraping at the end of this blog. Simply put, web scraping (also termed web data extraction, screen scraping, or web harvesting) is a technique of extracting data from websites. It turns web data scattered across pages into structured data that can be stored in your local computer in a spreadsheet or transmitted to a database.
It can be difficult to build a web scraper for people who don’t know anything about coding. Luckily, there is web scraping software available for people with or without programming skills. Also, if you’re a data scientist or a researcher, using a web scraper definitely raises your working effectiveness in data collection.
Here is a list of the 30 most popular web scraping software. I just put them together under the umbrella of software, while they range from open-source libraries, browser extensions to desktop software and more.
Top 30 Web Scraping Software
Easy Web Extract
Web Content Extractor
1. Beautiful Soup
Who is this for: developers who are proficient at programming to build a web scraper/web crawler to crawl the websites.
Why you should use it: Beautiful Soup is an open-source Python library designed for web-scraping HTML and XML files. It is the top Python parser that have been widely used. If you have programming skills, it works best when you combine this library with Python.
Who is this for: Professionals without coding skills who need to scrape web data at scale. The web scraping software is widely used among online sellers, marketers, researchers and data analysts.
Why you should use it: Octoparse is free for life SaaS web data platform. With its intuitive interface, you can scrape web data within points and clicks. It also provides ready-to-use web scraping templates to extract data from Amazon, eBay, Twitter, BestBuy, etc. If you are looking for one-stop data solution, Octoparse also provides web data service.
Who is this for: Enterprises with budget looking for integration solution on web data.
Why you should use it: is a SaaS web data platform. It provides a web scraping solution that allows you to scrape data from websites and organize them into data sets. They can integrate the web data into analytic tools for sales and marketing to gain insight.
Who is this for: Enterprises and businesses with scalable data needs.
Why you should use it: Mozenda provides a data extraction tool that makes it easy to capture content from the web. They also provide data visualization services. It eliminates the need to hire a data analyst. And Mozenda team offers services to customize integration options.
Who is this for: Data analysts, marketers, and researchers who lack programming skills.
Why you should use it: ParseHub is a visual web scraping tool to get data from the web. You can extract the data by clicking any fields on the website. It also has an IP rotation function that helps change your IP address when you encounter aggressive websites with anti-scraping techniques.
Who is this for: SEO and marketers
Why you should use it: CrawlMonster is a free web scraping tool. It enables you to scan websites and analyze your website content, source code, page status, etc.
Who is this for: Enterprise looking for integration solution on web data.
Why you should use it: Connotate has been working together with, which provides a solution for automating web data scraping. It provides web data service that helps you to scrape, collect and handle the data.
8. Common Crawl
Who is this for: Researchers, students, and professors.
Why you should use it: Common Crawl is founded by the idea of open source in the digital age. It provides open datasets of crawled websites. It contains raw web page data, extracted metadata, and text extractions.
Who is this for: People with basic data requirements.
Why you should use it: Crawly provides automatic web scraping service that scrapes a website and turns unstructured data into structured formats like JSON and CSV. They can extract limited elements within seconds, which include Title Text, HTML, Comments, DateEntity Tags, Author, Image URLs, Videos, Publisher and country.
10. Content Grabber
Who is this for: Python developers who are proficient at programming.
Why you should use it: Content Grabber is a web scraping tool targeted at enterprises. You can create your own web scraping agents with its integrated 3rd party tools. It is very flexible in dealing with complex websites and data extraction.
Who is this for: Developers and business.
Why you should use it: Diffbot is a web scraping tool that uses machine learning and algorithms and public APIs for extracting data from web pages. You can use Diffbot to do competitor analysis, price monitoring, analyze consumer behaviors and many more.
Who is this for: People with programming and scraping skills.
Why you should use it: is a browser-based web crawler. It provides three types of robots — Extractor, Crawler, and Pipes. PIPES has a Master robot feature where 1 robot can control multiple tasks. It supports many 3rd party services (captcha solvers, cloud storage, etc) which you can easily integrate into your robots.
Who is this for: Data analysts, Marketers, and researchers who’re lack of programming skills.
Why you should use it: Data Scraping Studio is a free web scraping tool to harvest data from web pages, HTML, XML, and pdf. The desktop client is currently available for Windows only.
Who is this for: Businesses with limited data needs, marketers, and researchers who lack programming skills.
Why you should use it: Easy Web Extract is a visual web scraping tool for business purposes. It can extract the content (text, URL, image, files) from web pages and transform results into multiple formats.
Who is this for: Data analyst, Marketers, and researchers who’re lack of programming skills.
Who is this for: Python developers with programming and scraping skills
Why you should use it: Scrapy can be used to build a web scraper. What is great about this product is that it has an asynchronous networking library which allows you to move on to the next task before it finishes.
17. Helium Scraper
Who is this for: Data analysts, Marketers, and researchers who lack programming skills.
Why you should use it: Helium Scraper is a visual web data scraping tool that works pretty well especially on small elements on the website. It has a user-friendly point-and-click interface which makes it easier to use.
Who is this for: People who need scalable data without coding.
Why you should use it: It allows scraped data to be stored on the local drive that you authorize. You can build a scraper using their Web Scraping Language (WSL), which is easy to learn and requires no coding. It is a good choice and worth a try if you are looking for a security-wise web scraping tool.
Who is this for: A Python and R data analysis environment. Ideal for economists, statisticians and data managers who are new to coding.
Why you should use it: ScraperWiki consists of 2 parts. One is QuickCode which is designed for economists, statisticians and data managers with knowledge of Python and R language. The second part is The Sensible Code Company which provides web data service to turn messy information into structured data.
20. Scrapinghub(Now Zyte)
Who is this for: Python/web scraping developers
Why you should use it: Scraping hub is a cloud-based web platform. It has four different types of tools — Scrapy Cloud, Portia, Crawlera, and Splash. It is great that Scrapinghub offers a collection of IP addresses covering more than 50 countries. This is a solution for IP banning problems.
Who is this for: For businesses related to the auto, medical, financial and e-commerce industry.
Why you should use it: Screen Scraper is more convenient and basic compared to other web scraping tools like Octoparse. It has a steep learning curve for people without web scraping experience.
Who is this for: Marketers and sales.
Why you should use it: is a web scraping tool that helps salespeople to gather data from professional network sites like LinkedIn, Angellist, Viadeo.
Who is this for: Investors, Hedge Funds, Market Analysts
Why you should use it: As an API provider, ScrapeHero enables you to turn websites into data. It provides customized web data services for businesses and enterprises.
Who is this for: Bussiness in all sizes.
Why you should use it: UiPath is a robotic process automation software for free web scraping. It allows users to create, deploy and administer automation in business processes. It is a great option for business users since it helps you create rules for data management.
25. Web Content Extractor
Why you should use it: Web Content Extractor is an easy-to-use web scraping tool for individuals and enterprises. You can go to their website and try its 14-day free trial.
Why you should use it: WebHarvy is a point-and-click web scraping tool. It’s designed for non-programmers. They provide helpful web scraping tutorials for beginners. However, the extractor doesn’t allow you to schedule your scraping projects.
Why you should use it: Web Scraper is a chrome browser extension built for scraping data from websites. It’s a free web scraping tool for scraping dynamic web pages.
28. Web Sundew
Who is this for: Enterprises, marketers, and researchers.
Why you should use it: WebSundew is a visual scraping tool that works for structured web data scraping. The Enterprise edition allows you to run the scraping projects at a remote server and publish collected data through FTP.
Who is this for: Developers, business operation leaders, IT professionals
Why you should use it: Winautomation is a Windows web scraping tool that enables you to automate desktop and web-based tasks.
30. Web Robots
To extract data from websites with web scraping tools is a time-saving method, especially for those who don’t have sufficient coding knowledge. There are many factors you should consider when choosing a proper tool to facilitate your web scraping, such as ease of use, API integration, cloud-based extraction, large-scale scraping, scheduling projects, etc. Web scraping software like Octoparse not only provides all the features I just mentioned but also provides data service for teams in all sizes – from start-ups to large enterprises. You can contact us for more information on web scraping.
Is Web Scraping Illegal? Depends on What the Meaning of the Word Is
Depending on who you ask, web scraping can be loved or hated.
Web scraping has existed for a long time and, in its good form, it’s a key underpinning of the internet. “Good bots” enable, for example, search engines to index web content, price comparison services to save consumers money, and market researchers to gauge sentiment on social media.
“Bad bots, ” however, fetch content from a website with the intent of using it for purposes outside the site owner’s control. Bad bots make up 20 percent of all web traffic and are used to conduct a variety of harmful activities, such as denial of service attacks, competitive data mining, online fraud, account hijacking, data theft, stealing of intellectual property, unauthorized vulnerability scans, spam and digital ad fraud.
So, is it Illegal to Scrape a Website?
So is it legal or illegal? Web scraping and crawling aren’t illegal by themselves. After all, you could scrape or crawl your own website, without a hitch.
Startups love it because it’s a cheap and powerful way to gather data without the need for partnerships. Big companies use web scrapers for their own gain but also don’t want others to use bots against them.
The general opinion on the matter does not seem to matter anymore because in the past 12 months it has become very clear that the federal court system is cracking down more than ever.
Let’s take a look back. Web scraping started in a legal grey area where the use of bots to scrape a website was simply a nuisance. Not much could be done about the practice until in 2000 eBay filed a preliminary injunction against Bidder’s Edge. In the injunction eBay claimed that the use of bots on the site, against the will of the company violated Trespass to Chattels law.
The court granted the injunction because users had to opt in and agree to the terms of service on the site and that a large number of bots could be disruptive to eBay’s computer systems. The lawsuit was settled out of court so it all never came to a head but the legal precedent was set.
In 2001 however, a travel agency sued a competitor who had “scraped” its prices from its Web site to help the rival set its own prices. The judge ruled that the fact that this scraping was not welcomed by the site’s owner was not sufficient to make it “unauthorized access” for the purpose of federal hacking laws.
Two years later the legal standing for eBay v Bidder’s Edge was implicitly overruled in the “Intel v. Hamidi”, a case interpreting California’s common law trespass to chattels. It was the wild west once again. Over the next several years the courts ruled time and time again that simply putting “do not scrape us” in your website terms of service was not enough to warrant a legally binding agreement. For you to enforce that term, a user must explicitly agree or consent to the terms. This left the field wide open for scrapers to do as they wish.
Fast forward a few years and you start seeing a shift in opinion. In 2009 Facebook won one of the first copyright suits against a web scraper. This laid the groundwork for numerous lawsuits that tie any web scraping with a direct copyright violation and very clear monetary damages. The most recent case being AP v Meltwater where the courts stripped what is referred to as fair use on the internet.
Previously, for academic, personal, or information aggregation people could rely on fair use and use web scrapers. The court now gutted the fair use clause that companies had used to defend web scraping. The court determined that even small percentages, sometimes as little as 4. 5% of the content, are significant enough to not fall under fair use. The only caveat the court made was based on the simple fact that this data was available for purchase. Had it not been, it is unclear how they would have ruled. Then a few months back the gauntlet was dropped.
Andrew Auernheimer was convicted of hacking based on the act of web scraping. Although the data was unprotected and publically available via AT&T’s website, the fact that he wrote web scrapers to harvest that data in mass amounted to “brute force attack”. He did not have to consent to terms of service to deploy his bots and conduct the web scraping. The data was not available for purchase. It wasn’t behind a login. He did not even financially gain from the aggregation of the data. Most importantly, it was buggy programing by AT&T that exposed this information in the first place. Yet Andrew was at fault. This isn’t just a civil suit anymore. This charge is a felony violation that is on par with hacking or denial of service attacks and carries up to a 15-year sentence for each charge.
In 2016, Congress passed its first legislation specifically to target bad bots — the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, which bans the use of software that circumvents security measures on ticket seller websites. Automated ticket scalping bots use several techniques to do their dirty work including web scraping that incorporates advanced business logic to identify scalping opportunities, input purchase details into shopping carts, and even resell inventory on secondary markets.
To counteract this type of activity, the BOTS Act:
Prohibits the circumvention of a security measure used to enforce ticket purchasing limits for an event with an attendance capacity of greater than 200 persons.
Prohibits the sale of an event ticket obtained through such a circumvention violation if the seller participated in, had the ability to control, or should have known about it.
Treats violations as unfair or deceptive acts under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The bill provides authority to the FTC and states to enforce against such violations.
In other words, if you’re a venue, organization or ticketing software platform, it is still on you to defend against this fraudulent activity during your major onsales.
The UK seems to have followed the US with its Digital Economy Act 2017 which achieved Royal Assent in April. The Act seeks to protect consumers in a number of ways in an increasingly digital society, including by “cracking down on ticket touts by making it a criminal offence for those that misuse bot technology to sweep up tickets and sell them at inflated prices in the secondary market. ”
In the summer of 2017, LinkedIn sued hiQ Labs, a San Francisco-based startup. hiQ was scraping publicly available LinkedIn profiles to offer clients, according to its website, “a crystal ball that helps you determine skills gaps or turnover risks months ahead of time. ”
You might find it unsettling to think that your public LinkedIn profile could be used against you by your employer.
Yet a judge on Aug. 14, 2017 decided this is okay. Judge Edward Chen of the U. S. District Court in San Francisco agreed with hiQ’s claim in a lawsuit that Microsoft-owned LinkedIn violated antitrust laws when it blocked the startup from accessing such data. He ordered LinkedIn to remove the barriers within 24 hours. LinkedIn has filed to appeal.
The ruling contradicts previous decisions clamping down on web scraping. And it opens a Pandora’s box of questions about social media user privacy and the right of businesses to protect themselves from data hijacking.
There’s also the matter of fairness. LinkedIn spent years creating something of real value. Why should it have to hand it over to the likes of hiQ — paying for the servers and bandwidth to host all that bot traffic on top of their own human users, just so hiQ can ride LinkedIn’s coattails?
I am in the business of blocking bots. Chen’s ruling has sent a chill through those of us in the cybersecurity industry devoted to fighting web-scraping bots.
I think there is a legitimate need for some companies to be able to prevent unwanted web scrapers from accessing their site.
In October of 2017, and as reported by Bloomberg, Ticketmaster sued Prestige Entertainment, claiming it used computer programs to illegally buy as many as 40 percent of the available seats for performances of “Hamilton” in New York and the majority of the tickets Ticketmaster had available for the Mayweather v. Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas two years ago.
Prestige continued to use the illegal bots even after it paid a $3. 35 million to settle New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s probe into the ticket resale industry.
Under that deal, Prestige promised to abstain from using bots, Ticketmaster said in the complaint. Ticketmaster asked for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and a court order to stop Prestige from using bots.
Are the existing laws too antiquated to deal with the problem? Should new legislation be introduced to provide more clarity? Most sites don’t have any web scraping protections in place. Do the companies have some burden to prevent web scraping?
As the courts try to further decide the legality of scraping, companies are still having their data stolen and the business logic of their websites abused. Instead of looking to the law to eventually solve this technology problem, it’s time to start solving it with anti-bot and anti-scraping technology today.
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Frequently Asked Questions about web scraper extension
Is Web Scraper extension free?
Why you should use it: Web Scraper is a chrome browser extension built for scraping data from websites. It’s a free web scraping tool for scraping dynamic web pages.Aug 3, 2021
How do I make a Web Scraper extension?
Scraper is a very simple (but limited) data mining extension for facilitating online research when you need to get data into spreadsheet form quickly. It is intended as an easy-to-use tool for intermediate to advanced users who are comfortable with XPath.Apr 20, 2015
What is scraper extension?
Web scraping and crawling aren’t illegal by themselves. After all, you could scrape or crawl your own website, without a hitch. … Big companies use web scrapers for their own gain but also don’t want others to use bots against them.