Say you need to scrape a bunch of data, what’s the best way to do this? That’s simple, web scraping!
Web scraping allows you to extract and export data into an excel or JSON file in just a few minutes.
While there are a handful of web scraping tools available, there are also web scraping services. But which one should you choose? While both options are beneficial and will help you gather the right data, both will have their flaws.
Before we go into detail about web scraping tools vs web scraping services, let’s explain what web scraping is.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping refers to the extraction of data from a website. This information is collected and then exported into a format that is more useful for the user. Be it a spreadsheet or an API.
Although web scraping can be done manually, in most cases, automated tools are preferred when scraping web data as they can be less costly and work at a faster rate.
But in most cases, web scraping is not a simple task. Websites come in many shapes and forms, as a result, web scrapers vary in functionality and features.
Pros and cons of using a web scraping tool
Web scraping tools refer to the software you can download to scrape data from the internet. There are a variety of web scraping tools that can be used for free and paid.
However, some web scraping tools will require you to learn some coding skills. Web scraping software will vary as some are cloud-based and others will be on your local computer.
First, let’s discuss the pros of using a web scraping tool
Pros of using a web scraping tool
- Most web scraping tools have free plans to get you started. Which can lower your overall businesses expenses
- Powerful web scraping tools will have useful features like IP – rotation, scheduling, cloud-based scraping and pagination
- If you need any help, most web scraping tools will have resources and customer support to help you with your web scraping projects.
- Delivery time is all based on your efforts. Depending on the website and how big the data is, usually, you’ll be able to get the data you need within an hour (sometimes even less).
- Can cancel your membership at any time
Cons of using a web scraping tool
- You have to learn how to use the web scraping tool. There can be a learning curve if you don’t know how to properly use it
- You or a team member will have to scrape the websites. This means that time will need to be spent to gather the right data.
- Any error in your data will need to be fixed by you
- Complicated websites are harder to scrape. Which can make it difficult to scrape the type of data you want.
Pros and cons of using web scraping services
Some companies and freelancers offer web scraping services and will do the work for you! Some services will be based on how complex the project is, while others will charge every month. The great thing about web scraping services is that you won’t need to learn how to web scrape, and can worry about other tasks.
Pros of using a web scraping service
- You won’t have to learn how to web scrape any data and can worry about focusing on other tasks.
- The data that will be collected will be done correctly since it’s done by someone who knows how to extract data.
- Some web scraping services will only charge you based on the project (no recurring monthly expenses)
Cons of using a web scraping service
- Web scraping projects can get quite complicated, meaning that the cost can get pricey (some prices will get to the $1000 for one project).
- Since professional web scrapers will have multiple clients, the delivery time will range from 3 – 7 business days
- Will take some time to find a company or freelancer that is within your budget and can fulfill your needs.
- Some companies will make you sign a contract making it difficult for cancellation
Should you use a web scraping tool or web scraping services?
The answer, that depends!
If you’re willing to take the time to learn how to web scrape websites, it can be beneficial as you’ll be able to do it on your own and will be able to add a skill to your resume. Once you get better you’ll be able to extract data within just a few minutes.
If you just want your data while you focus on other things, then you should choose web scraping services and you won’t have to worry about learning how to use the software. Great web scraping companies and freelancers will be worth the investment as they’ll be able to fulfil your data needs.
If you’re looking for a reliable web scraping service, then Parsehub Plus is the best choice! Check out our web scraping services and book a call to talk to us. We offer 1-on-1 support with the same staff that build and maintain the ParseHub web scraper.
What will you scrape?