In this guide, you will understand what a scraping tool is and then dig into the best web scraping tools:
- Web proxies
- Scraping Browser
- Web Unlocker
- Web Scraper IDE
- SERP API
Time to dive in!
What Is a Web Scraping Tool and Why Do You Need One?
Web scraping refers to the process of retrieving data from the Web. Typically, it is performed by automated scripts that take care of extracting data from web pages. The main problem is that scraping data presents several challenges and obstacles.
First, navigating pages and collecting data from their ever-changing HTML layouts is complex. Second, businesses and online services know how valuable their data is. They want to protect it at all costs, even if it is public. So, most sites adopt anti-bot measures like IP monitoring, rate limiting, and CAPTCHAs. Dealing with anti-scraping systems is the biggest challenge in data scraping. Here is where scraping tools come in!
A web scraping tool is a software application, service, or API designed to help users and developers extract online data. The best web scraping tools provide useful features and come with built-in unblocking capabilities to give you access to data on any site. Integrating this powerful technology into your scraping process leads to improved effectiveness and efficiency.
Top 5 Web Scraping Tools on the Market
Let’s now take a look at the 5 best web scraping tools to avoid challenges, blocks, and slowdowns. Use them to make your online data retrieval experience easier, faster, and more effective!
Web proxies act as an intermediary between your computer and the target website you want to scrape. When making requests through a proxy, these are routed to the proxy server, which then forwards them to the destination site. Adopting a scraping proxy offers several advantages when extracting online data:
- Avoid IP bans: Scraping proxies offer rotating IP capabilities. This means that each request will appear to the destination server as coming from a different IP address, which tracking and IP blocking way harder.
- Enhanced privacy: By masking your IP address and location, you can protect your identity. That also preserves the reputation of your IP address.
- Bypass geographical restrictions: By selecting a proxy server in a specific country, your requests will appear as coming from that location. That allows you to bypass geographical restrictions and access content from anywhere.
When it comes to web scraping, there are four primary types of proxies:
- Datacenter Proxies: They offer IPs coming from datacenter servers, guaranteeing high-speed performance but with a higher risk of detection.
- Residential Proxies: They provide legitimate IP addresses associated with real residential devices, offering a high level of anonymity and success rate.
- ISP Proxies: They use static IPs backed by internet service providers. Their highly reliable addresses are perfect for collecting data from sites with strict IP-based protection.
- Mobile Proxies: They expose IP addresses from mobile devices on cellular networks, making them ideal for social media platforms and mobile-based sites.
Read our guide to learn how to choose the best proxy provider.
Bright Data’s Scraping Browser is a specialized GUI browser designed for web scraping tasks. It is one of the best web scraping tools cause it combines proxies, automated unblocking mechanisms, and common browser capabilities. These aspects make it perfect for integration with browser automation technologies like Selenium.
The features that make the Scraping Browser a valuable technology to get online data are:
- Debugging capabilities: Its built-in debugging features that integrate with the Chrome DevTools help developers fine-tune their scraping code for improved efficiency, control, and maintainability.
- Extreme scalability: Web scraping browser instances are hosted on Bright Data’s cloud infrastructure. This means that you can scale your scraping project just by opening more instances, without the need for an in-house infrastructure. That also means time and money saved in infrastructure management.
What makes the Scraping Browser special is that it is compatible with all major web automation technologies. It works with Puppeteer, Playwright, and Selenium, with full native support for Node.js and Python but it is also available on Java, Go, C#, and Ruby.
Learn more about getting started with Bright Data’s Scraping Browser.
Web Unlocker from Bright Data is a specialized solution designed to overcome anti-bot and anti-scraping technologies and restrictions. Here is how this sophisticated AI-based unlocking technology works:
- You make a request to Web Unlocker: After setting it up, perform a proxy request specifying the target site to Web Unlocker.
- The target site gets unblocked: Web Unlocker uses AI and powerful algorithms to handle browser fingerprinting, address CAPTCHAs, and avoid IP bans. Any challenge that would normally block your scraper is overcome automatically for you.
- You get a clean response back: The tool returns the request containing the desired data from the target website. This can be the HTML code of the page or even some JSON data.
In short, Web Unlocker enables you to retrieve data from sites with anti-bot measures in place. Keep in mind that you pay only for successful requests, which makes it a cost-transparent solution.
These are some of the features offered by Web Unlocker:
- IP rotation and automatic retries: Keeps retrying requests, and rotates IPs in the background for increased success.
- Different browser and device mimicking: Automatically sets real-world User-Agent headers to make the request appear from real devices.
- Cookies handling: Prevents blocks and fingerprint operations due to cookie-related factors.
- Data integrity checks: Performs integrity validations to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the retrieved data.
Check out our documentation to see how to get started with Web Unlocker.
Web Scraper IDE
Web Scraper IDE is a comprehensive fully hosted cloud IDE (Integrated Development Environment) designed to streamline and enhance data scraping development. It is built on Bright Data’s unblocking proxy infrastructure for maximum effectiveness. Plus, it offers 70+ functions to help developers build effective scraping scripts.
Some of the key features exposed by Web Scraper IDE are:
- Pre-made web scraper templates: Provides ready-made templates to kickstart a scraping project and helps you get data from popular sites with little effort. The use cases covered include e-commerce, social media, business, travel, and real estate.
- Ready-made functions: Exposes functions to intercept browser requests, configure proxies, extract data from lazy-loading UIs, and more. Save significant development time!
- Integrated debugging tools: Built-in features that help you review past crawls to identify bugs and areas for improvement.
- Built-in proxy and unblocking capabilities: Emulates human user behavior with features like fingerprinting, automated retries, CAPTCHA solving, and more.
- Endless integration: Schedule crawls or trigger them via API. The reason because it is one of the best web scraping tools is that can integrate it with other services via API for seamless data delivery.
As you can see, some of them target developers while other DevOps engineers. That guarantees great collaboration between the teams for improved effectiveness.
These are the four steps a data collection process built by developers with Web Scraper IDE consists of:
- Web page discovery: Use the built-in functions to explore an entire section of a site, such as a list of products within a specific category.
- Details page data extraction: Create the scraping logic for the specific page with cheerio and the other functions coming with the tool.
- Data validation: Ensure that collected data adheres to the desired schema and format. Custom validation code can be applied to verify data correctness.
- Data delivery integrations: Scraped data is delivered to popular storage solutions like Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and more via API, SFTP, or webhooks.
See our introduction video to Web Scraper IDE!
Bright Data’s SERP API is an API for scraping public data from all major search engines. These include Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, Baidu, and Yahoo. If you are not familiar with SERP, this stands for “Search Engine Results Page” and refers to the pages returned by a search engine in response to a user’s query.
Search engines keep evolving their algorithms, so SERP results are very dynamic. For example, the pages returned change over time and depend on search history, device type, and location. That makes it difficult to scrape data from search engines. Your data extraction process should run 24/7, involve a lot of parameters, and be sophisticated enough to elude their anti-bot measures.
The SERP API is a solution to all those issues, providing real-user results for all the major search engines. It supports several search parameters and returns data in JSON or HTML output. Also, it allows you to search for different types of data, such as text, products, images, videos, maps, news, jobs, hotels, trends, and reviews.
Some of the most common use cases for the SERP API are:
- Keyword tracking: Map a company’s ranking for relevant keywords in different locations
- Market research: Gather information about companies, services, businesses, and more.
- Price comparison: Search for products on online shopping sites and compare prices between different providers.
- Ad intelligence: See which ads are shown for keywords in different countries.
- Detect copyright infringements: Search for images or other copyright‐protected content.
- Brand protection: Track top results for company trademarks.
Explore our guide on how to move your first steps with SERP API.
In this article, you took a look at some great developer tools for scraping sites. As learned here, retrieving data from web pages is not always easy and you need some solutions to support your data extraction strategy. Luckily Bright Data provides the web scraping tools on the market, including a scraping browser, scraper IDE, web unlocker, and SERP API.
All those tools are based on the Bright Data’s best-in-market proxy network, which includes:
- Datacenter proxies – Over 770,000 datacenter IPs.
- Residential proxies – Over 72M residential IPs in more than 195 countries.
- ISP proxies – Over 700,000 ISP IPs.
- Mobile proxies – Over 7M mobile IPs.
This reliable and large scraping-oriented proxy infrastructure serves several Fortune 500 companies and over 20,000 customers. Overall, it is the leading proxy network and serves some of the best scraping tools on the market.
Not sure what tool is best for you? Talk to one of our data experts.