You’re not a programmer, and don’t want to pay for data collection–quite the predicament. But let’s see if any of these free web scraping tools suffice.
We can’t afford not to inform our businesses with data.
And not just any data.
The kind that softens uncertainty’s grip on our decision-making.
Still sure about investing nothing into your data collection strategy?
Be our guest–this guide does its best to recommend free web scraping tools that you can use to collect and analyze data without prior programming knowledge.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping is the automated gathering of online data from web pages. We then process the scraped data for extracting market insights, displaying information, and developing artificial intelligence.
How does web scraping work?
First, a script or coded program we call a web scraping bot browses the target URL as a human would. It then sends requests for information to that webpage for specific information we outline beforehand and receives the package as unstructured data.
Next, the web scraping tool parses the data into a structured framework that’s easily readable for humans.
Finally, you can download the dataset for further analysis, post it on a website, or present it to partners/clients.
How to choose a free web scraping tool.
Free things always come with a catch. The catch for free web scraping tools is that the software is either a limited version, a free trial, or you need programming skills to work it.
Limited versions and free trials are teasers to get you to buy the full service. Still, sometimes they offer enough credits, data, or time to experiment or even complete a modest research project.
If you have a computer programming background (what are you even doing here)..you can use free web scraping frameworks and node libraries to your heart’s content.
For those of us who can’t talk to computers, let’s look at what kinds of free web scraping tools are accessible to non-programmers.
Types of free web scraping tools.
- Browser extension–These are simple web scraping solutions you can use on most browsers like Chrome and Safari. They are more suitable for small-scale web scraping projects because you can only scrape one page at a time. The benefit of using a browser scraping tool is that it tends to be free and easy to use.
- Installable software–These are downloadable software programs that can handle scraping multiple pages, ideal for most small-to-medium-sized projects. While these web scraping tools tend to have little cost, there is often a more significant learning curve.
- Cloud-based APIs–These are commonly known as web scraping APIs. They exist on a cloud server owned and operated by a web scraping service. All you need to do is subscribe to one of their monthly plans and input the search parameters. They often come with web scraping proxies and require no coding.
Free web scraping browser extensions.
This standalone chrome extension is completely free and easy to use for extracting web data. With it, you can create and test a sitemap to see how to navigate the website and what data to extract.
Web scraper also has a cloud extension that can scrape extensive data and run multiple scraping tasks simultaneously and export the data in CSV or store it on the cloud.
This free web scraping tool is a chrome extension for scraping simple web pages. It’s easy to use and allows you to scrape web content and organize the results in a spreadsheet.
It works by selecting some text, right-clicking on it, and choosing Scrape Similar from the browser menu. It will then give you the data and extract other content by adding new columns. You may need to pick up some XPath language to use some advanced features.
An easy-to-use and free web scraping tool for extracting data from a single page into CSV and XLS data files. Data Scraper is a browser extension that helps you organize data into tables. You can get the plugin from Google.
You scrape 500 pages per month using the free version, which is enough for small research projects. The paid version allows you to scrape much more and includes features like an API.
Free web scraping downloadable software.
Octoparse is an intuitive software download that uses a point-and-click interface to quickly choose the fields you want to scrape.
The free version gives you ten crawlers, and the paid plans have additional features like an API that allows you to gather more data more efficiently.
This open-source web scraping framework uses Python to build web scrapers. It gives you the tools to efficiently extract data from websites, process them, and store them in your preferred structure and format.
Scrapy is an efficient software for more extensive data collection plans.
Scrapy has an active community, and plenty of detailed tutorials, making it easy to learn and troubleshoot. You can export data into CSV, XML, and JSON formats.
The easy, user-friendly program has advanced features like pagination, infinite scrolling pages, pop-ups, and navigation.
The free version gives you five projects with 200 pages per crawl. The paid subscription allows up to 20 private projects with 10,000 pages per run.
This free and handy web scraping tool is excellent for quickly scraping smaller quantities of data from the web. It automatically browses through a series of web pages and performs extraction tasks.
You don’t need any programming skills to get data from the web and can export it into JSON, XLSX, SQL, HTML, CSV, and more.
Free web scraping APIs.
Mozenda has a user-friendly point-and-click user interface. It has an application to build the data extraction projects and a web console to run agents, organize results, and export data into CSV, XML, JSON, or XLSX format.
Mozenda is suitable for large and small volumes of data, but you may need more than basic coding skills to use it.
ScrapeStorm has a free trial version, but you need to upgrade to receive its full power. You can scrape data and organize it into many formats, including TXT, CSV, Excel, JSON, MySQL, Google Sheets, etc.
ScrapeStorm requires no coding skills and instead uses artificial intelligence to identify data. It automatically identifies images, prices, contact details, links, forms, and lists, among other datasets.
Check out our blog for a more comprehensive guide on choosing the correct web scraping tools for your data extraction goals. And if you’re ready to scrape, let us help you set up your rotating residential proxies!