Web Scraping APIs – The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful Soup

Web scraping APIs are great if you have the budget for them. They take the hassle out of learning code and managing subsequent data collection tools like proxies and headless browsers.

They’re a perfect fit for a personal project or one-off HTML raids. You may even get by with a free trial.

Beyond that, your options start to get hazy. To help, I will point out what to look for in web scraping APIs.

  • How to assess the package prices.
  • What kind of data you can get.
  • Which projects are compatible.

That’s not all!

This article includes a huge list of the best web scraping APIs on the market today.

Web Scraping – You don’t know?

Web scraping is a part of the data harvesting process that can be broken into three parts.

First, you crawl.

Web crawling looks for and plans out how to scrape.

Then, you scrape.

It’s the copying and pasting part.

And lastly, you parse.

Data parsing is the organization of unstructured data into easy-to-read, actionable formats like charts and tables.

For an in-depth look at web scraping,

peep this article.

Who will scrape for you?

You’ve got options!

You could do it yourself.

A technologically inclined person may harvest web data on their own. It’s not rocket science. You just need a fair bit of time to learn to program. It’s computer science!

The only other thing you need is residential proxies.

Learn more about rotating residential proxies here.

Hire someone else

If time isn’t on your side, you may want to get someone to web scrape for you. If you don’t have the luxury of an in-house tech wiz – there’s plenty of nerds who charge by the hour.

That way, all you have to do is decide what information you want.

Web scraping APIs

This is the compromise between the first two options.

Web scraping APIs are easy to use. You won’t have to code anything. You will however need to get your head around some of the technical jargon.

Talking about web scraping APIs

Let’s review a few terms you may see flying around.

Data Scraping Tool

Do not get confused! Data scraping solutions, data extraction tools, web scraper tools, web scraper, data scraper, content extractors, all refer to the same thing. They all refer to automation software used for online data collection.

API

An API is a software interface that serves as an intermediary between two programs. Think of how Facebook has messenger and apps for business on their platform.

API call

First, you have your endpoints – the two apps in question. Then, a request is made from one app to the other. That request is the call. To complete the call, the second app fulfills the request.

API Format

The kind of language an API uses like XML, JSON, HTML…

JS (JavaScript) rendering

JS rendering refers to an APIs capacity to scrape websites that use Javascript. Many sites are built around Javascript, so you’ll likely need JS rendering.

Web scraping APIs tend to have two different prices for JS and plaintext. The difference is up to 35x more expensive for JS rendering

. Keep that in mind when you shop for a web scraping tool.

Structured vs Unstructured Data

Stored in its natural form, unstructured data is often referred to as “NoSQL.” It’s worth noting that while structured data is defined and searchable, unstructured data is frequently stored in its native format.

Webhook

A webhook – also known as an HTTP push API – is a method for an app to send real-time information to other applications. A webhook provides data as soon as it occurs, so you’ll receive it right away.

Open-source web scraper

Open-source web scrapers allow people to make their own code. It’s like a program that helps people use scrapers in a faster, easier way.

Headless browser

A headless browser is a type of web browser that does not have a graphical user interface. How can you use it? You control it by typing commands in the command line or through network communication. It’s far more efficient for web scraping.

A disclaimer about API credits and API calls.

Most web scraping APIs work with a credit system. A credit is a unit of value you use to pay for actions, requests, and premium services. One page of plain text will cost you a single credit. If you add on JS rendering and geotargeting, each action costs up to 35 credits. Be sure to read each credit system.

The Best Web Scraping APIs

ScrapingBee

scrapingbee.com

A trusted and diverse web scraping tool.

Up to 40 concurrent requests.

ScrapingBee is a web scraper API that allows you to build web scrapers in Python. This web scraping tool has 50 pre-built web scraping models. You can even upload your own scripts. You can get started with ScrapingBee for free without a credit card.

Pricing: 1000 free API calls, Freelance plans start at $49/mo for 100K credits.

Suitable for: 

  • Price aggregation
  • SEO research and keyword monitoring
  • Real estate scraping
  • Price-monitoring
  • Lead generation
  • Extracting contact information

Key features:

  • Javascript rendering with headless browser
  • Geotargeting with residential proxies

Apify

apify.com

A web-based automation platform for web scraping and crawling APIs.

Unlimited concurrency.

Apify is a vastly useful automation platform. The interface is really easy – no programming required! Use Apify’s web scraping API to scrape data from thousands of sites. Apify gives you access to more than 20 built-in web scraping models. These can help you build your own custom web scraper in just 3 clicks!

Pricing: Free limited tier, Personal Plan starts at $49/mo

Suitable for: 

  • E-commerce & retail price monitoring
  • Marketing and search engine research
  • Research, education, and consulting
  • Travel fare aggregation

Key features:

  • Geotargeting with residential proxies
  • Headless browser rendering (Chrome, Firefox)
  • In-house automation consulting

ScrapingAnt

scrapingant.com

A full-service web scraping API at a reasonable price.

Unlimited concurrency.

ScrapingAnt is a service that helps you tackle difficult scraping challenges. They employ thousands of proxies throughout the world and offer headless browser functions. Thanks to that, their web scraping and data harvesting experience are one of the finest.

Pricing: Free monthly plan with 10K API credits. Their basic plan of 100K credits starts at $19/mo.

Suitable for: 

  • Price scraping and monitoring
  • General text extraction
  • Growth generation

Key features:

  • support for custom cookies
  • Captchas avoiding
  • browser customization

ScrapingBot

scraping-bot.io

Simple data harvesting specializing in social platform scraping.

Up to 20 concurrent requests.

Scrapingbot API has specialty APIs built across popular social platforms. It’s a little more pricey, and the credits do not roll over month to month, so use ’em or lose ’em!

Pricing: Free monthly plan with 100 credits, and their most popular Freelancer plan starts at $49/mo for 100K credits.

Suitable for:

  • Keyword monitoring and price comparison across multiple sites
  • Retail and real estate listings

Key features:

  • Parsing structured data from specific sites
  • Social media APIs

ZenScrape

zenscrape.com

Fast and easy web scraping at a fair price.

Up to 100 concurrent requests.

The Zenscrape scraping API is simple to use and lightning quick. It allows you to extract data from websites without having to worry about blocks or solving Captchas, making it a painless approach.

Zenscrape is a JavaScript scraper that allows you to see 100 percent of what the average user sees on a website. They have reasonable rates and even have a free trial.

Pricing: Free trial with 1000 credits, small plans start at $30/mo for 250K credits.

Suitable for:

  • Keyword monitoring and price comparison across multiple sites
  • Retail and real estate
  • Growth generation

Key features:

  • Geotargeting
  • Built-in web crawler
  • Headless browser

ScrapeSimple

scrapesimple.com

Done-for-you web crawling and scraping.

ScrapeSimple is a great service for those looking for a bespoke web scraper tool. All you need to do is fill out a form with instructions for the sort of information you require.

Pricing: Minimum job they’ll take on is $250.

Suitable for:

  • Those who want nothing to do with the process of web scraping

Key features:

  • Everything is done for you

ScraperAPI

scraperapi.com

Simple scraping with comprehensive plans.

Unlimited concurrent requests.

ScraperAPI handles proxies, browsers, and CAPTCHAs. With a simple API call, you can get data from any web page. They provide web scraping solutions for web developers, webmasters, and web designers.

Pricing: They offer a free trial with 5000 credits. Plans start at $20/mo for 250K API calls.

Suitable for:

  • Keyword monitoring
  • Price comparison across multiple sites
  • E-commerce & search engine optimization

Key features:

  • Geotargeting
  • Captchas solving
  • Headless browser rendering (Chrome)
  • Residential proxies to avoid IP blocks

WebScraping API

webscraping.io

The web scraping API that web developers love.

Up to 25 concurrent requests.

WebScraping API offers multiple solutions for web scraping and web automation – commercial and custom web scrapers. Their pre-built web crawlers can handle everything. You can get price quotes for e-commerce sites and create a more efficient web archive of your competitor’s websites.

Pricing: Free trial with 5000 API calls with limited features or plans to start at $90/mo for 1M API calls.

Suitable for:

  • E-commerce & retail price monitoring
  • Supplementary market research data
  • Keyword monitoring
  • General text extraction

Key features:  

  • Geotargeting
  • Residential proxies
  • Built-in page crawler & browser

Webscraper.io

webscraper.io

Easy and accessible for everyone.

Unlimited concurrency.

WebScraper.io is web scraping made easy! It’s a web scraping tool that anyone can use. You don’t need to be tech-savvy. Webscraper.io takes all of the time and hassle out of web scraping. They are affordable too. It’s simple web scraping at its finest.

Pricing: Free browser extension and plans to start at $50/mo for 5000 cloud credits.

Suitable for:

  • Keyword monitoring & trend analysis across multiple sites
  • Data collection, market research, or supplementary market data
  • E-commerce price comparison across multiple sites

Key features:  

  • Tailor to different site structures
  • Geotargeting & IP masking options are available
  • Residential proxies supported (for avoiding IP blocks)
  • Web Scraper Cloud lets you export data from your browser. This data can be exported into CSV, XLSX or JSON formats. You can get it through API, webhooks or Dropbox.

ScraperBox

scraperbox.com

Super simple and scalable web scraping solution.

Up to 50 concurrent requests.

ScraperBox API is a minimalist tool to get the HTML for a website. Connect with a random residential proxy using a real Chrome browser and scrape JavaScript webpages, without getting banned!

Pricing: Free limited monthly plan with 1000 credits. Plans to start at $19/mo that includes 100K credits.

Suitable for:

  • E-commerce & retail price monitoring
  • Supplementary market research data
  • Keyword monitoring & trend analysis across multiple sites

Key features:  

  • Node.js web scraping library (100% private)
  • Residential proxies supported (for avoiding IP blocks)
  • Headless browser rendering via chromium-headless to handle web elements that require JavaScript to operate normally. This feature enables you to run web scraping scripts in their intended environment without having to deal with massive discrepancies through emulation.

ProxyCrawl

proxycrawl.com

Complete data-crawling and scraping solutions for business developers.

Up to 30 concurrent requests.

ProxyCrawl web scraping API is a fast and powerful web scraper that enables you to automate web page archiving. Aimed at business-level use, this scraping API comes with cloud storage and proxy support.

Pricing: Free trial with 1000 credits. Plans to start at $29/mo for 50K credits.

Suitable for:

  • Data collection or market research data
  • E-commerce & retail price monitoring
  • Keyword monitoring & trend analysis across multiple sites

Key features:  

  • Geotargeting
  • Residential proxies supported (for avoiding IP blocks)
  • XPATH, CSS AND REGEX
  • Pay per page that doesn’t expire

ProWeb Scraper

prowebscraper.com

Power web scraping and web automation.

Unlimited concurrency.

ProScraper web scraping API is an innovative web scraping solution intended for web automation tasks. Their sleek interface is perfect for those new to web scraping. On top of that, they’re quite affordable.

Pricing: Free trial with 1000 web scrapes. Plans to start at $20/mo for web scraping API.

Suitable for:

  • E-commerce & retail price monitoring
  • Keyword monitoring & trend analysis across multiple sites
  • Data collection, market research, or supplementary web data

Key features:  

  • Residential proxies supported (for avoiding IP blocks)
  • Geotargeting & custom web scraping API endpoints.

FAQS

What are web scraping APIs?

Web scraping APIs are web services that allow you to programmatically access web content. They help users like you increase efficiency and save time. They have a simple web address and typically require a user name and password.

Users can use web scraping APIs to search, collect, manage, and monitor web-based data from a variety of web sources. These sources include web pages, documents, spreadsheets, PDF files, etc. Web scraping APIs enable you to build custom data pipelines for extracting data from the web and web-based applications.

What are web scraper APIs for?

You can use web scraper APIs to collect web-based data without having to completely write a web scraper.

  • Scrape web apps, data-based sites like Wikipedia.
  • Monitor eCommerce sites like Amazon to get information on products and prices.
  • Get product details you can use to create better conversions with your ads.
  • Collect data on articles at online news portals or look through company listings.

The possibilities are endless!

Any free scraping APIs?

There are many free web scraping tools out there that give you a basic setup. Don’t expect them to take you very far. Most of the web scraper APIs on this list have some kind of freebie.

Do web scraping APIs work on websites that require login?

Yes. Most work with web pages requiring authentication too. Often you only need to provide the web scraper API user name and password for accessing web content on public websites.

Who uses web scraping APIs?

Programmers, market research analysts, product managers, business owners, etc. Anyone looking to autonomously automate tasks related to examining data from the web can benefit from using a web scraping API.

What kinds of web scraping APIs are there?

There are two types: general-purpose and niche-specific. General-purpose web scrapers deal with any kind of data. Niche web scrapers focus on a particular type(s) of data or sources. They are better suited for individual websites, web pages, web applications, web services, and web-based APIs.

What languages can web scraping APIs be used with?

Web scraping is platform-independent. For web scrapers that require user authentication for secure data sources – often times the API will support a wide range of languages including Java, C#, PHP, and JavaScript for easy integration and compatibility.

How do web scraping APIs work?

Web scraping requires using a programming language or tool capable of retrieving structured information from unstructured webpages (HTML). This process involves iterating over the web site’s HTML code; checking which tags contain desired data and extracting it.

Why web scraping APIs?

They automate web page processing by reducing tedious web scraping tasks to simple API calls. This saves you time and effort. Web scraping APIs reduce the risks of making mistakes. That way you can avoid penalties.

Yes, web scrapers are part of an industry where there are no specific laws governing their use or restrictions that apply to them per se. You do have to watch out for trespassing onto websites you have no permission to access.

What do web scraping APIs cost?

Web scraping API pricing varies greatly. It depends on the web scraping API in question. You can check each website for details. Often free web scrapers have limited usage which you’ll have to upgrade for higher limits.

How to choose a web scraping API?

First, figure out what kind of web content you’re looking for – just general info or data from web applications too?

Consider:

  • How many pages per day or minute you need to process.
  • What languages are supported by the web scraper API.
  • How many users use the web scraper API.
  • How much data you need to store.

It’s common to think of web scraping APIs as black boxes that automatically do web scraping for you. This is rarely true. Some specialized cases are an exception. Web scraping APIs are just web services that require developers with coding experience. It’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking web scraping APIs should take care of everything without any effort on your part!

Is there anything else I should know about web scraping APIs?

Web scraping can provide access to web pages you aren’t allowed to see and web content that’s been illegally appropriated. In the United States, web scraping is governed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which forbids circumvention of any access controls for web servers with the intent of violating copyrights.

Web scrapers may be at risk of web crawling penalties or blockages by website administrators. They don’t like unauthorized web crawlers on their servers which can result in web scraping legal issues depending on where you’re located.

There you have it! I hope this web scraping API guide has been helpful.

Tired of being blocked and banned?

Get the free guide that will show you exactly how to use proxies to avoid blocks, bans, and captchas in your business.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get Your FREE Proxy Guide

Enter your email to immediately access the guide that will show you how to use proxies to avoid blocks, bans, and captchas in your business.

By submitting this form I agree to the Privacy Policy, including the transfer of data to the United States. By sharing your email, you also agree to receive occasional information related to services, events, and promotions from IPBurger. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time.