Web scraping is the act of extracting publicly available data from the web to gain insights. Web scrapers, or scraper bots, grab the specific data you’re looking for and put it in a file or database.
You can analyze this data to get information about all sorts of things relevant to your business. For example, you can learn how customers respond to your marketing campaigns. Monitoring your competitors’ site can show you how they price their products.
Picking a web scraper can be a confusing and difficult process. It can be even more of a headache if you don’t understand the jargon and technology. To make matters worse, many services only deal with specific steps of the data analysis process. For instance, one provider might specialize in data extraction but not visualizing it. Another might help you gain access to data but you have to store and manage it yourself. If you’re not careful, you could wind up choosing a service that doesn’t cover your needs.
Here’s the criteria to consider when considering web scraper services:
- Scalability: How well does the service scale? Is the web scraping service as fast and effective scraping 1,000 websites as it is at scraping a dozen?
- Robustness against anti-scraping measures: Can it bypass anti-scraping methods websites use?
- Customer support: Do customers praise their customer support team?
- IP pool size: How many IP addresses are in their pool and where are they located?
Let’s look at the 3 most robust web scraper solutions on the market and compare them based on the criteria above.
Oxylabs Real-Time Crawler
Oxylabs’ Real-Time Crawler efficiently grabs data from e-commerce websites and search engines. It’s a real-time web collection solution that allows for quick and constant scraping. This means the data it grabs is always up-to-date and relevant. In short, Real-Time Crawler is a robust scraping solution made for heavy-duty extraction.
Oxylabs Real-Time Crawler has the advantage of its unique real-time delivery method. This method allows for simultaneous sending and receiving of data over a single HTTPS connection. Being able to track keywords and customer reviews in real-time allows you to quickly respond to changes in the market.
Oxylabs offers a massive pool of IP addresses and a state-of-the-art IP backup system. Thanks to this unique fallback mechanism, Oxylabs can guarantee a 100% success rate.
Real-Time Crawler can extract the data you want from e-commerce websites and search engines. Oxylabs Real-Time Crawler grabs the data you want and delivers it in any format you like. For instance, discover the highest-ranking keywords and track how they perform over time.
Zenscrape is an easy to use API that makes extracting large volumes of data a breeze.
It’s designed for many different use cases. For instance, you can switch between proxy locations in a snap. This is useful if you want to get around anti-scraping measures or compare your SEO ranking in different countries. With a pool of more than 30 million addresses, it’s pretty easy to find a working address for your needs.
Zenscrape is robust and can extract data from various frameworks and code bases.
The two solutions mentioned above both offer different methods for harvesting data. But at their core, they are both based on HTML parsing methods. In contrast, Diffbot uses machine learning and computer vision technologies to get data.
HTML parsing involves looking through the HTML code of a web page for the data you want. Computer vision technology involves scanning an image of a website for that data. This is a more elegant method for obtaining data that’s robust against changes in code. For example, if the site you’re targeting drastically changes its code base, you may have to make adjustments to your scraper. With a visual scraper, the software takes a picture of the website and can find the data you want from that image.
Diffbot has a lot of great APIs that you can use to extract data from articles, forums, social media, and so on.
A good web scraper has now become a must-have part of any business. If you don’t stay up-to-date on the latest trends and information, you’ll get left in the dust.
However, picking the right web scraper for your business isn’t as simple as buying into the first provider that shows up in your web search.
Here we looked at three of the most robust web scraper solutions available on the market today: Oxylabs’ Real-Time Crawler, Zenscrape and Diffbot. We hope you’ve learned that although they may all be web scrapers, their methods can vary greatly. This further underlines the importance of doing your research when selecting a web scraper that’s right for you.