Web Scraping? The Differences Between Browser Automation Tools

Unsure of which headless browser to use? Here we provide a comparison of selenium and puppeter
Josh Vanderwillik
Josh Vanderwillik | Product Manager
28-Feb-2019

Complex scraping operations can be managed by using automation tools to greatly increase your success rate.

What is a headless browser?

A headless browser is a browser without a user-interface which is used for automated control of a site. Using a headless browser correctly can make your requests look more like a real user and easily increase your success rate.

Which automation tool should I work with?

This depends greatly on your technical skills and the website you are targeting.

Puppeteer:

Puppeteer was developed by Google and is easy to install with one command. It only supports Chromium headless browser, is written in node, and does not support cross-browser automation.

Selenium:

Selenium works on most target websites and can be automated for any reasonable scenario. It supports many browsers, operating systems and programming languages such as Java, C#, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript. However, the technical setup can be more complicated.

To Summarize:

Both Puppeteer and Selenium support desktop web apps, responsive pages, and Javascript. Puppeteer, however, only works with Chrome and Chromium, whereas Selenium supports all common browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Explorer.

Web automation can be achieved using a variety of tools based on your needs and skills. However, the most important aspect for successful scraping is the proxy network you are using. Bright Data is the world’s largest residential proxy network and was built with your scraping operations in mind. Contact one of Bright Data’s scraping experts today.

Josh Vanderwillik
Josh Vanderwillik | Product Manager

Josh is a product manager at Bright Data working on next-gen technology,
specifically in the field of automated data collection: building fingerprint-proof, high
scale web crawlers that are simple to use. He is an active participant in global
webinars which help companies learn cutting edge data collection techniques, and
is now expanding that knowledge base through blogging.