Web scraping is the process of using bots to obtain content and data from a website. The scraper then duplicates the entire amount of content and deposits it elsewhere.
In its simplest form, web scraping is when someone manually copies some info from a web document, like a recipe, and pastes it to a Word or PowerPoint document.
API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, and it permits two applications to talk with each other. You use an API each time you use a phone app. So, when checking social media, chatting with someone through instant messaging, or looking up the local weather forecast, an API is doing the work for you.
A scraper API mines data. Lots of data. Scraper APIs download large amounts of raw content almost instantaneously.
In this way, scraper APIs are not much different than the copying and pasting we all do regularly.
However, web scraping APIs are digital, very fast, and can reproduce almost unlimited amounts of data and then transfer them at a moment’s notice. It’s like copying and pasting on steroids.
If you’re looking to add a web scraper API to your platform, many companies offer them. Let’s look at some of the best web scraping APIs for developers on the market.
ScrapingBee works well for general API web scraping tasks like real-estate transactions, price-monitoring, and extracting reviews without getting blocked. Scraping Bee uses a proxy pool to gain better access to search engine optimization (SEO), keyword monitoring, and backlink checking. You can use this service directly from Google Sheets to generate leads, extract content info and monetize social media. Costs start at $99 per month for up to 1 million requests.
- Headless Browsers
- Custom Cookies
- Residential and Datacenter Proxies
- Real-time API Mode
- Proxy Mode
ScraperAPI provides a one-stop-shop for web API scraping. Send them the URL you want to be scraped, and they will do the rest. You choose from three options: via the API endpoint, via the proxy port, or via one of their SDKs (Software Development Kits). In addition, ScraperAPI lets you tailor your API’s operation by adding various options to the request. These include country codes, session numbers, and device types.
Scraper API includes
- Various formats for extracted data, such as HTML, JPEG, or plain text
- Business Plan allows 12 countries geotargeting
- Standard proxy pools from more than a dozen Internet Service Providers
- Can be exclusively desktop or mobile
- Adds a CAPTCHA detection database upon request
Apify boasts a consumer base of 15,000 companies in 179 countries and is a platform-based software that converts websites into APIs. Its web crawler API extracts data from crawl-arbitrary websites and exports data to Excel, CSV, or JSON. Apify creates market insights, compares pricing structures, generates leads, and develops new products through data aggregation.
- A platform that develops, runs, and shares serverless cloud programs
- A universal HTTP proxy that hides the scraper’s origin
- Specialized data storage capabilities
- An SDK that utilizes Node.js, the world’s most popular open-source scraping library
- An SDK that builds off playwright, puppeteer, and cheerio
- Sends automatic emails when data changes on a watched website
Scrapy is an open source web crawler and scraping service that collaboratively extracts data quickly, simply, and extensively. Its uses include archiving, information processing, and data mining. One advantage of Scrapy is that requests are handled simultaneously as opposed to sequentially. This open-source, free tool boasts built-in support for multiple formats, data extraction, and encoding.
- Deals with broken, foreign, and non-standard coding declarations
- Allows plug-ins
- Contains extensions that handle cookies, caching, spoofing, and crawl depth restrictions
- Includes reusable spiders and a way to download images
- A community of 5,000 followers on Twitter
- Runs on Windows, Linux, BSD, and Mac operating systems
WebScrapingAPI enables you to monitor your competitors’ product information and pricing, collect hotel and flight data, gather customer reviews, analyze hiring strategies, and build target alerts. This company ensures your searches don’t get blocked, includes instinctive IP rotation, and features unique customization. The API utilizes more than 100 million proxies to access mobile and desktop devices.
- Responses Formatted in HTML
- Detects all the Latest Anti-bot Gadgets
- Takes Care of Proxies, Browsers, and CAPTCHAs
- Integrates Into all Development Languages
- Geotargets 12 Main Countries, Plus 195 More in Entrepreneurial Setting
- Uninterrupted Monitoring All Day, Every Day
Scrapingdog rotates IP addresses from one million proxies and sidesteps every CAPTCHA to deliver up-to-date results. Scrapingdog uses Google Chrome in the headerless mode so it can render any page. This provides information for SEO, data analysis, and content marketing. Scrapingdog allows asynchronous scraping by using its novel webhooks and is just as successful for data scientists as it is for developers.
- Renders results in HTML or JSON
- Can easily be used with the Firefox browser
- Handles all CAPTCHAs and proxy bans
- Downloadable Google Chrome extension provides more convenience
- Scrapes websites from 15 countries
Scrapestorm uses artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver the smartest and simplest scraping API. Scrapestorm identifies web content automatically without configuration. It downloads to formats like Excel, CSV, HTML, WordPress, and CSV. You can use this API to schedule data extractions by minute, hour, day, or week. Scrapestorm’s data processing functions can merge, find and replace, and remove HTML tags.
- Can be downloaded into Windows, Linux, or Macintosh operating systems
- Built by a previous crawler team at Google
- Intelligent identification of Tabular Data, List Data, and Pagination Buttons
- Easy-to-use visuals, including Flowchart mode
- All data saved to the cloud
- Automatically identifies forms, lists, links, prices, images, emails, and phone numbers
- Returns all scraped data in JSON
- Rotates proxies automatically
- Automatically Detects and Handles DDoS protection
- Allows you to set custom headers
- Interfaces with all programming languages
- Analyzes and works with text output without the needing to deal with HTML
- Uses only high-end AWS solutions for fast Amazon servers
- Headless Chrome browser keeps CAPTCHA triggers from popping up
- Customizability resolves many issues
Summing It Up
Numerous companies have developed web scraping API to extract boatloads of data and provide you with as much information as you may ever want or need.
If you want to test out a web scraping API, I suggest starting with Scrapy. This solution is open source, and you can communicate any questions, comments, or concerns with a large group of like-minded users.
Scrapy will give you a soft entry to the world of web scraping. After trying it out a few times, and getting comfortable with the process, then you will probably be ready to go with one of the other professional sites listed above.