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Today, almost every business makes serious decisions based on analytical data. That is the reason why data extraction is one of the major challenges business people encounter. To look for the required data manually takes a lot of time and seems annoying. But there is a method to automate this work, and it is known as web scraping or web crawling. So, you may ask, if there is any chance to get it for free? Well, there are free options you can choose from.
Let’s move forward to learn more about web scraping methods, their actual cost and what free web scraping options can be found in the market.
What Web Scraping Methods are Available
There are multiple ways to propose a web scraping service, and each method has a different cost structure. Let’s review the most popular practices.
- Outsourcing: To outsource data scraping projects is pretty standard. If your requirements are simple and require minor customization, you can hire a specialist from Upwork and pay per hour. But suppose your project needs a comprehensive web scraping solution and a team of data analysts and web scraping developers. In that case, you should go with companies providing web crawling and data parsing services.
- Building a web scraper: There are various methods to build your scraper, from using Python to developing your scraper using Excel. But before going deeper, you need to understand what programming language to use, who will build your scraper, coming bugs, end, etc. All these questions require a clear picture. So you might want to choose a faster and simpler solution.
- Using a ready web scraper: As a rule, using an already-ready web scraper is the best solution. Most web scrapers are developed and updated over several years and can scrape different websites. As for their cost, it depends on the web scraper type and your needs. There are, of course, free options, but keep in mind that usually, free of charge doesn’t mean a complete package.
The Real Cost of Web Scrapers
Before you decide to get a free web crawling tool, please consider the following factors that prove that “No such-a thing as free, Temple-toon”․
- Developers working time to build web scrapers.
- Server expenses for running scrapers.
- Database expenses to store collected data.
- Developers time to maintain and fix web scrapers.
If you sum up all these costs, you see such investments expect gains. So you might be tricked by free options that will end up costing you more than you’ve planned. Anyway, let’s go ahead to learn what free web scraping tools you can find in the market.
Top 3 Free Web Scraping Tools
Here is the list of the top 3 free web scraping tools to satisfy scraping needs with a fair amount of data.
- ParseHub: is a powerful and user-friendly tool that empowers you to build scrapers without writing a code. You get the required data quickly and easily. ParseHub offers a free package allowing to scrape over 100 pages. It supports up to 5 public projects with minimal customer support for 14 days.
- OctoParse is similar to ParseHub and has the same target audience. Its free plan enables unlimited crawled pages and 2 joined local runs to build up to 10 crawlers. You will also have community support.
- Webhose.io is one of the best-recommended platforms that provide a fully developed web scraper. Generally, the cost offered by this platform is quite suitable for growing businesses. The free version provides about 1000 requests every month.
Top 3 Free Web Scraping Extensions
Besides the above web scrapers, you can choose one of the most popular web scraping extensions:
- Data Scraper extension extracts data from online tables. It has a free plan that satisfies a simple scraping project with a fair amount of data. Using a paid method, you can scrape over 400 pages every month.
- Web Scraper offers a Chrome extension and Cloud extension. Using a Chrome extension, you can create a sitemap on navigating a website scraping data. The cloud extension enables you to extract a huge volume of data and run multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Scraper is a handy screen web scraper that efficiently extracts data from tables and uploads Google Docs results. Select some data, right-click on the selected part and choose “Scrape Similar”. Just take a note, that this tool is for users who are familiar with XPath.
People are usually attracted to cheaper products or free-of-charge options. And if you come across free web scraping tools, please think for a while, how you can have them for free when they have paid a lot of budget for developing, maintaining, and running these things? The web scraping tool may be free; however, you need to spend a lot of time to learn the tool and even more to configure it. Still, time is money.
At DataOx, we can help you with any web scraping project to save your time and budget. Schedule a free consultation with our expert to find a team of web scraping experts ready to assist you with your web scraping project at flexible prices.