In software development projects it has always been observed that the information and contents on different web pages are sometimes needed. For example, you want to get rid of multiple calculations and development costs by directly integrating a scoreboard on a sports website into your project. Considering thousands of requirements like this, the concept of “Web Scraping” as a life saver will be mentioned in this article and then different tools will be discussed.
What is Web Scraping?
A web crawler scans the links at the specified target domain and keeps these links in the form of a list. So it creates a link queue. Then the concept of web scraping comes into play. Web Scraping is the process of collecting the areas specified in the link. So sort of; data collection or data extraction from the stack.
Why is Web Scraping Needed?
There is a lot of data on the web. In web scraping, this automates the data collection process. It presents scattered data more smoothly. Many studies can be done with data obtained from the internet. One of the most common of these is price comparison. You can determine your price strategy by looking at the sales price of your product in other stores.
How does Web Scraping Work?
Generally, web scraping involves three steps:
- First, we send a GET request to the server and it will receive a response in a form of web content.
- Next, we parse the HTML code of the target website following a tree structure path.
- Finally, we get the data from the parse tree.
Some Popular Web Scraping Libraries and Services
There are many libraries and services that can perform web scraping operations. The most popular of them are:
Prompt API Scrapers: Advanced Scraper vs Scraper API (Lite Edition)
There are two scraper services provided listed on Prompt API. One of them is the best-selling Advanced Scraper API and the other one is the Scraper API (Lite Edition) service.
Although Scraper API (Lite Edition) includes most features provided by Advanced Scraper API there are also many key differences. To list a few Scraper API (Lite Edition):
- Is not suitable for Google Search results scraping as it does not trigger a headless browser in memory.
- Does not simulate a real browser,
- Cannot process SPA web pages (Angular, React, Vue are also supported) or run any JS code and return results.
On the other hand Scraper API (Lite Edition) can be considered as a good budget alternative.
In the next topic, the service that will be compared to Scraper API will be Advanced Scraper API.
Prompt API Advanced Scraper vs ScraperAPI.com
ScraperAPI.com currently offers the most widely used web crawling service. It is preferred by many software developers today due to its easy integration and stable operation. In this article I wanted to compare this service with the Advance Scraper API listed on Prompt API.
Both services manage proxies, browsers and CAPTCHAs for you so you can scrape any web page with a simple API call. This makes it easy for developers to create scalable web scrapers quickly and easily. In terms of features, both services are very similar to each other.
Below are some of the common features shared by Advanced Scraper API by Prompt API and ScraperAPI.com.
- Rotating Proxy built in: It allows you to define IP for your service, if you do not select a country from 170 supported countries they will randomly choose one and it will be difficult to follow your footsteps.
- CSS Selectors: If you don't need all the data from the page to be crawled, just give the point you want with a CSS selector (eg 'Div.logo img') and they can scrape the page and parse it for you and return only the requested information
- Ability to set any HTTP header: Using this feature, you can set HTTP authentication, cookies, and other related information.
- Scrape images and text files: You don't have to scrape the HTML source every time. Just point your URL to an image file and they can engrave it for you. Amazon, Google etc.
When it comes to differences, the main differentiator is pricing. If the content you use on your site or some data is crawled on a different web page, one of the most important things to pay attention to is performance and pricing. Advanced Scraper API under Prompt API offers all the services provided by Scraper API with high performance but for more affordable prices.
Prompt API Advanced Scraper API: $29.99 (1,500,000 request per month)
ScraperAPI.com: $249 (1,500,000 request per month)
Just like ScraperAPI.com, Advanced Scraper API on Prompt API is very simple to use and can be easily integrated into projects with minimum costs. Moreover, the Scraper API (Lite Edition) can also be of interest if your requirements are not that complex.