Web scraping is one of the most important skills you need to hone as a data scientist; you need to know how to research, collect, and clean your data for your results to be accurate and meaningful. When choosing a tool to scrape the web, you need to consider some factors, such as API integration and scalability for large-scale scraping. This article introduces you to six tools that you can use for different data collection projects.
6 Free Web Scraping Tools
- Joint exploration
- Content grabber
The good news is that web scraping doesn’t have to be tedious. you don’t even have to spend a lot of time doing it manually. Using the right tool can help you save a lot of time, money and effort. Additionally, these tools can be beneficial for analysts or people with little (or no) coding experience.
It should be noted that the legality of web scraping has been questioned, so before we dive deeper into the tools that can help you with your data mining tasks, let’s make sure your activity is entirely legal. In 2020, the American court fully legalized web scraping publicly available data. That is, if someone can find the data online (like in Wiki articles), then it is legal to retrieve it.
Is Your Web Scraping Legal?
- Do not reuse or republish the data in a way that infringes copyright.
- Have a reasonable crawl-rate.
- Do not attempt to scrape private areas of the website.
As long as you don’t violate any of these terms, your web scraping activity should be legal. But don’t take my word.
If you have ever built a data science project using Pythonthen you probably used BeautifulSoup to collect your data and Pandas to analyze it. This article will introduce you to six web scraping tools that don’t include BeatifulSoup, but will help you collect the data you need for your next projectfree.
1. Joint exploration
The creator of Joint exploration developed this tool because they believe everyone should have the ability to explore and analyze the world around them to discover patterns. They offer free to any curious mind high quality data that was previously only available to large companies and research institutes to support the open source community.
This means that if you are a university student, someone navigating data science, a researcher looking for your next topic of interest, or just a curious person who likes to reveal patterns and find trends, you can use Common Crawl without worrying about fees or any other financial complications.
Common Crawl provides open datasets of web page raw data and text mining. It also offers support for non-code-based use cases and resources for educators who teach data analysis.
crawling is another amazing choice, especially if you only need to extract basic data from a website or want to extract data in CSV format so that you can analyze it without writing any code.
All you have to do is enter a URL, your email address (so they can send you the extracted data), and the format you want your data to have (CSV or JSON). So ! The recovered data is in your inbox for you to use. You can use the JSON format and then analyze the data in Python using Pandas and Matplotlib, or any other programming language.
While Crawly is perfect if you’re not a programmer or new to data science and web scraping, it does have its limitations. Crawly can only extract a limited set of HTML tags, including title, author, image URL, and publisher.
3. Content Capture
Content grabber is one of my favorite web scraping tools because it is very flexible. If you want to scrape a web page and don’t want to specify any other settings, you can do so using their simple GUI (graphical user interface). However, if you want to have full control over the ripping settings, Content Grabber gives you the option to do that as well.
One of the benefits of Content Grabber is that you can program it to automatically grab information from the web. As we all know, most web pages are updated regularly, so having regular content checkout can be very beneficial.
Content Grabber also offers a wide variety of formats for the extracted data, from CSV to JSON to SQL Server or MySQL.
Webhose.io is a web scraper that allows you to extract enterprise-level real-time data from any online resource. The data collected by Webhose.io is structured, clean, contains sentiment and entity recognition, and is available in different formats such as XML, RSS, and JSON.
Webhose.io offers full data coverage for any public website. Moreover, it offers many filters to fine-tune your extracted data so that you can perform less cleaning tasks and move directly to the analysis phase.
The free version of Webhose.io provides 1000 HTTP requests per month. Paid plans offer more calls, power over extracted data, and more benefits such as image analysis, geolocation, and up to 10 years of archived historical data.
ParseHub is a powerful web scraping tool that anyone can use for free. It offers reliable and accurate one-click data extraction. You can also schedule scraping times to keep your data up to date.
One of ParseHub’s strengths is that it can scrape even the most complex web pages without hassle. You can even have it search for forms, menus, log into websites, and even click on images or maps for additional data collection.
You can also provide ParseHub with various links and certain keywords, and it will extract the relevant information in seconds. Finally, you can use the REST API to download the extracted data for analysis in JSON or CSV format. You can also export the collected data as a Google sheet or table.
Scrapingbee can be used in three ways:
- General web scraping such as extracting stock prices or customer reviews
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which you can use for SEO or keyword monitoring
- Growth Hacking, which may include mining contact information or social media information
Scrapingbee offers a free plan that includes 1000 credits and paid plans for unlimited usage.
Collecting data for your projects is perhaps the least fun and most tedious part of a data science project workflow. This task could take a long time. If you work in a business or even freelance, you know that time is money, which always means that if there is a more efficient way to do something, you better do it.