C# vs. C++ for Web Scraping: Which One to Use?

Discover the key differences between C# and C++ for web scraping, including performance, library support, and ease of use to choose the right language for your needs.
5 min read
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Web scraping is the process of extracting data from an HTML web page. If you’re interested in writing a web scraper, you may be deciding whether you want to use C# or C++.

This article will help you compare the two languages in terms of web scraping. By the end of the article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which language is right for your use case.

C# vs. C++

C# was developed by Microsoft and is one of the most popular programming languages on GitHub. It’s a high-level, object-oriented language with a syntax closely resembling that of other popular languages, including JavaScript and Java.

C# is most commonly used with the .NET framework, which helps you build a wide range of applications, including desktop, web, console, and mobile apps.

In contrast, C++ is another high-level, general-purpose programming language. Developed in 1985, C++ is an excellent choice for running performant apps with minimal resource usage. C++ offers high-level language abstractions and capabilities for low-level system interaction, making it useful in resource-constrained scenarios such as embedded systems.

This article compares these two languages, focusing on their key features in the context of web scraping. The following parameters will be assessed:

  • Available libraries
  • Language features
  • Ease of learning
  • Platform compatibility
  • Speed
  • Memory consumption
  • Versatility
  • Community
  • Real-world use cases

Let’s dive right in.


Libraries are a must-have when it comes to web scraping. They make it easy to connect to websites, fetch the HTML content, parse it, and extract data.

C# boasts a wide collection of libraries geared toward web scraping. Libraries, such as HTML Agility Pack and ScrapySharp, can help you write powerful HTML parsers. In contrast, browser automation tools, such as Puppeteer Sharp and Selenium, execute JavaScript and help you perform advanced web scraping activities, including scraping dynamic sites.

In comparison, C++ lacks easy-to-use libraries for web scrapinglibcurl is the most popular library for making requests to a website and fetching the HTML content. However, it is a low-level library with a steep learning curve and lacks an easy-to-use interface. If you want to parse HTML data, libxml2 is an excellent choice, but it comes with the same caveat as libcurl.

Some new libraries aim to make web scraping easy in C++, including cpr, which is a port of the Requests library in Python and simplifies the process of using libcurl by providing an easy-to-use wrapper interface around it.

Language Features

Both C# and C++ offer useful language features that can simplify the process of web scraping and data handling. By utilizing these features, you can quickly write a robust web scraper that is guaranteed to be performant.

Some of the features of C# that make it stand out for writing web scrapers include the following:

Meanwhile, C++ also provides a plethora of features, including the following:

Ease of Learning

Thanks to its simplicity and easy-to-use features, C# has positioned itself as an easy-to-learn language. Its syntax, which is inspired by Java, is easy to understand and has versatile features that make it easy to write powerful web scrapers in a few lines of code. With automatic memory management and high-level abstractions, you need to focus only on the core logic of the scraper, and the language takes care of the rest. The .NET framework also allows you to easily add third-party libraries to your projects with a simple command.

Following is an example of a super simple web scraper that scrapes the Bright Data home page and extracts a list of features:

using HtmlAgilityPack;

var web = new HtmlWeb();
var document = web.Load("https://brightdata.com/");
var listOfHeadings = document.DocumentNode.QuerySelectorAll(".product_cards .repeater .h4.title");

foreach (var heading in listOfHeadings)

In contrast, C++ is infamous for having a steep learning curve. It offers all kinds of features, but they’re not easy to learn, and the language is full of quirks that can stump a beginner. Things like manual memory management, lack of garbage collection, and access to low-level intricacies of the system make C++ super powerful and dangerous. That’s why writing C++ requires a high level of vigilance and a longer time.

C++ also lacks any central dependency management system. Although there are tools like Conan, there’s no official standard. Additionally, C++ build tools, such as Meson and CMake, are not beginner-friendly and add an extra layer of complexity when you’re getting started.

For comparison, here’s the same web scraper written in C++ using libcurl and libxml2:

#include <iostream>
#include "curl/curl.h"
#include "libxml/HTMLparser.h"
#include "libxml/xpath.h"

static size_t WriteCallback(void *contents, size_t size, size_t nmemb, void *userp)
    ((std::string*)userp)->append((char*)contents, size * nmemb);
    return size * nmemb;

int main() {
    CURL *curl;
    CURLcode res;
    std::string readBuffer;

    curl = curl_easy_init();
    if(curl) {
        std::cout << "Curl initialized\n";
        curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_URL, "https://brightdata.com/");
        curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_WRITEFUNCTION, WriteCallback);
        curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_WRITEDATA, &readBuffer);
        res = curl_easy_perform(curl);
        std::cout << "Curl performed\n";

        htmlDocPtr doc = htmlReadMemory(readBuffer.c_str(), readBuffer.length(), nullptr, nullptr, HTML_PARSE_NOERROR);
        xmlXPathContextPtr context = xmlXPathNewContext(doc);
        xmlXPathObjectPtr features = xmlXPathEvalExpression((xmlChar *) "//section[contains(@class, 'product_cards')]//div[contains(@class, 'repeater')]//div[contains(@class, 'title')]", context);
        for (int i = 0; i < features->nodesetval->nodeNr; ++i) {
            xmlNodePtr feature = features->nodesetval->nodeTab[i];
            xmlXPathSetContextNode(feature, context);

            std::string text = std::string(reinterpret_cast<char *>(xmlNodeGetContent(feature)));

            std::cout << text << "\n";

    return 0;

As you can see, the C++ code is not only longer but also more complicated than the C# example.

Platform Compatibility

C++ and C# are both available for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. However, C# is mainly geared toward Windows, and you have to use the .NET core to run C# on other platforms like Linux and macOS. Keep in mind that if you choose to use the .NET core to write a true cross-platform web scraper, you’re locked into the .NET ecosystem.

In comparison, C++ offers greater cross-platform compatibility. It can be compiled on any machine as long as you have a C++ compiler installed and a standard C++ runtime. You can use different compilers, such as the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC)Clang, or Microsoft Visual C++ (MSVC), and you can tweak the performance and configurations for each platform as you see fit.


When it comes to speed, C++ is the clear winner. It provides lower-level controls and the ability to manage memory at a system level. C++ code also compiles to machine code, meaning the final executable is optimized for the target system. This makes C++ a great choice for scenarios where speed is of utmost importance, such as when scraping real-time data.

Although C# is technically slower than C++, it shouldn’t be overlooked. For most applications, the difference is negligible, and often, the ease of learning and development that C# brings to the table outperforms any speed advantages C++ offers. That being said, if you are writing a performance-critical web scraper and you need every bit of performance out of it, C++ is the better choice.

Memory Consumption

The memory consumption of C# might cause problems in situations with limited resources, such as when used in an IoT device with a small memory or when used in conjunction with other memory-intensive operations. If you’re working with a large volume of data, the C# app might run into out-of-memory errors.

Again, C++ wins in terms of memory consumption. The C++ runtime is smaller than the .NET runtime, which makes it less resource-intensive. Not only that, but C++ also provides direct low-level access to system resources and allows for manual, granular memory management. With C++, you can handle how memory is allocated and deallocated, and you can even decide how to copy or move objects. This makes C++ an excellent choice for writing a fast and optimized web scraper. In scenarios involving data-heavy web scraping and machines with limited resources, a C++ web scraper can outperform its C# counterpart.


C#’s versatility is evident when it comes to web scraping. You can scrape an HTML website with the HTML Agility Pack and use CSS and XPath selectors to select data. You can also use Selenium to perform advanced web scraping, such as scraping a dynamic website or executing JavaScript.

Additionally, in web scraping, you’re likely to encounter different data formats. C# supports most of these data formats out of the box, such as JSON and XML.

For storing data after scraping, you can use C# to connect to different SQL databases, such as PostgreSQL and MySQL, and NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB. The LINQ feature of C# makes it intuitive and easy to interface with databases. You can also use C# to write the web scraper as a GUI or console application.

In contrast, due to C++’s lack of libraries and high-level abstractions, it’s not quite as versatile. While it’s possible to handle data formats such as JSON and XML, you usually need to install third-party libraries. To connect to databases, you need libraries such as libpq++ for PostgreSQL and MySQL Connector for MySQL. Even then, the code can be convoluted due to the lack of high-level abstractions.

Moreover, C++ lacks a good object-relational mapping (ORM) library, which makes it hard to write safe, secure, and performant database code.


C# has a vibrant community backed by professionals and enthusiasts, and its documentation covers everything from language features to example scenarios. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, seeking advice, or exploring the guides, chances are you’ll find existing documentation or community help to guide you.

C# also boasts a huge collection of community-developed packages that can be invaluable for developers. From making coding easy to automating repetitive manual tasks, you’ll find a package for every job. Last but not least, C# and the .NET ecosystem are backed by Microsoft, which ensures the highest quality when it comes to development, updates, and support.

In contrast, C++ also boasts a large community of enthusiasts. Its documentation is an indispensable resource that covers the nitty-gritty of the language. Other forums such as Stack Overflow can also be helpful for C++ developers by providing answers to questions and learning resources.

However, C++ is mostly used in systems programming and low-level performance-critical applications, and web scraping is not a field where it is often utilized. This means you’ll likely not find many tutorials or documentation about web scraping in C++. The complexities of the language and the lack of support mean that if you run into any error while writing a web scraper in C++, you’ll likely have to troubleshoot on your own.

Real-World Use Cases

C# is mostly used in the world of web development. The .NET framework is an excellent choice for writing web servers. The natural affinity of C# with web development and the availability of a large number of third-party packages and language features make it an excellent choice for writing web scrapers.

C# is also regularly used in the start-up and data analysis worlds for market intelligence or competitive analysis. It’s also used to write GUIs, which is helpful for users who are more comfortable with a graphical interface.

Because of its speed and small resource consumption, C++ is used in more performance-critical web scraping tasks. For instance, financial sectors, where real-time web scraping and super-fast data processing are critical for decision-making, often use C++ for this reason. Additionally, C++ shines where resources are limited, such as in embedded systems.


In this article, you learned all about the strengths and weaknesses of C# and C++ and where they might be the most useful.

C# is better in terms of ease of use and maintenance, but C++ shines when performance and resource usage are important. However, that doesn’t mean that these two languages have to be at odds with each other. You’re free to use both languages for your project if you see fit. For example, you can write the actual scraper in C# but write the performance-critical data processing part in C++.

No matter what language you choose, real-world web scraping faces multiple challenges, such as IP address bans, geoblocking, and anti-bot protection. Bright Data offers an array of products that can help you fight these challenges. From the best proxy services to web scraping APIs, Bright Data has everything to take your scraping project to the next level.

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