Web Scraping Extensions: The Easy Gateway to Web Data

Many businesses and individuals stand to benefit greatly from collecting and analyzing all publicly accessible data on the Internet. But how can companies or people who work for them obtain different amounts of data? From this point of view, we don’t have to worry because there are many methods of retrieving data from websites.

One of these is web scraping — a valuable technique for finding and utilizing information by collecting data from any online source using different tools. From APIs to frameworks and extensions, the variety of tools on the market through which web scraping can be done covers a wide range of users. Whether they have technical knowledge or not, need to gather a smaller or larger set of data, there is definitely something for everyone.

In this article, I chose to address the topic of web scraping extensions. Thus in the following lines, you will find out:

What are web scraping extensions, and how do they work
Pros of web scraping extensions
Cons of web scraping extensions
Web scraping Chrome extensions worth trying
1. Web Scraper
2. Data Scraper
3. Scraper
Bonus section: Step up your web scraping game using an API
1. WebScrapingAPI
2. ScraperAPI
3. ScrapingBee

Let’s begin!

What are web scraping extensions, and how do they work

Extensions are small software programs that allow you to customize your browsing experience. Without diving deeply into native code, an extension will enable you to personalize and add more features to your web browser.

When it comes to web scraping extensions, depending on which browser you use, these are the handiest. Long story short — the perfect tools to start or test the power of web scraping on a basic level. These often do not involve costs and are the tools that, with a few clicks, bring you closer to the data you want to get.

Let’s take Google Chrome as an example. It offers a variety of options if you are thinking of scraping data. All you have to do is add the desired extension to the browser and start using it.

Coding is unnecessary when using web scraping extensions, or at most a minimal amount of code knowledge may be required when using a web scraping extension from a particular provider. So it depends. Before making a choice, you can consult the numerous Youtube tutorials or blog posts to have an overview of the needs associated with using the extension.

Last but not least, it is important to know to whom do these kinds of tools work best? From what industries? For what kind of projects?

Web scraping extensions are a good choice for those who don’t have the technological know-how or the time to construct their own tool. These choices are beneficial to non-coders because they allow them to achieve their objectives quickly and easily.

Users may include marketers, researchers, analysts, business owners, business strategists, managers, brand owners, and anyone in between. The obtained data can help them meet their goals and needs in cases such as competition research, lead generation, brand monitoring, price intelligence and data collection, business intelligence, or retail monitoring. These are just a few examples, as web scraping with an extension can be used by an even broader spectrum of people with different needs.

All in all, if you found yourself in a position like the ones mentioned above and you would like to start a scraping project, or test how to obtain data and use it to your advantage, let me give you some extra reasons to complete your overview on web scraping extensions. Let’s discover both their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of web scraping extensions

  • Free or inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • No installs required
  • Great for simple scraping tasks
  • Lots of public learning resources
  • No coding required/ Low-code experience
  • Ideal for individuals/ businesses with small web scraping projects
  • No costs (only if the provider offers the possibility to upgrade with more functionalities)
  • Scrape data from multiple pages
  • Download data in various formats

Cons of web scraping extensions

  • Can’t handle complex web scraping scenarios
  • Not ideal for large companies with big volumes of data needs
  • Limitations regarding Javascript rendering support (For low-code extensions)

Web scraping Chrome extensions worth trying

1. Web Scraper

Web Scraper is probably one of the most popular web scraping Chrome extensions. If you want to scrape the web as quickly as possible, WebScraper makes it easy to do so in just a few steps. The procedure is straightforward: you simply download the extension, install it, configure your scraper, and begin scraping any website.

The ability to scrape text, images, URLs, and more from different pages, browse data, and download it in a CSV file are among the features that make the product very nice and easy to use. This would then be imported into Google Sheets, Excel, or other cloud-based applications.

Web Scraper provides more complex, paid service packages, even though the base extension is free.

2. Data Scraper

Data Scraper is a Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browser extension offered by dataminer.io that helps you scrape data from web pages and into a CSV file or Excel spreadsheet.

Data Scraper is a free web scraping tool that helps you convert data into a clean table format. You can scrape 500 pages per month with the free version, but you must upgrade to one of the paid plans if you want to scrape more pages.

3. Scraper

Scraper is a simple but limited web scraping extension for enabling online research when you need to convert data to spreadsheet format quickly. It’s a free web scraping tool that lets you extract a website’s content and save the results to Google Docs or Excel spreadsheets. It can gather data from tables and convert it to a structured format.

Scraper is designed to be a simple tool for intermediate to advanced users.

Bonus section: Step up your web scraping game using an API

If you want to step it up and have the technical know-how, you may want to try a web scraping API. Designed for extracting data in various volumes, a web scraping API is an ideal tool to try if you find yourself in this situation.

This is a very convenient alternative that saves not only time but also money. Furthermore, using a web scraping API makes obtaining data extremely simple, reliable, and adaptable to each user’s needs.

Basically, an API takes care of the hard work so you can concentrate on your objectives once you’ve obtained the data. Here are three of my recommendations.

1. WebScrapingAPI

If you’re looking for a versatile and reliable web scraping tool, WebScrapingAPI is the one to use right away. With an easy and free account creation, you can access some of the product’s key features, making it one of the best on the market.

You won’t have to deal with proxies, IP rotations, or even CHAPTCHAs. You can scrape any page with this tool and not be blocked. This is due to a massive pool of proxies (datacenter, residential, and mobile IPs from hundreds of ISP), with 12 geographical locations to choose from, plus many more for custom plans.

Javascript, Python, Ruby, PHP, C#, and Go are among the programming languages supported by the API. The information gathered through web scraping can be downloaded or saved in JSON format.

If you want to test WebScrapingAPI anytime, it provides 1000 free API calls per month as part of its free plan.

2. ScraperAPI

ScraperAPI is a data extraction tool with several characteristics that make it one of the developers’ first choices. Using ScrapingAPI, developers can forget about challenges such as handling proxies, browsers, and CHAPTCHAs, as this API can save any situation.

ScraperAPI strikes the ideal balance between functionality, reliability, and usability. This is manifested in a proxy pool of millions of addresses, with datacenter, mobile, and residential IPs available. To render Javascript, the API can also use a headless browser.

It’s important to note that the Scraper API uses JSON as the standard data export format. It also provides software development kits for NodeJS, Phyton, Ruby, and PHP, among other programming languages.

Lastly, ScraperAPI offers 1000 one-time API calls. Then you can join the paid subscription to benefit from its advanced features.

3. ScrapingBee

ScrapingBee is a web scraping API that focuses on two key features of web scraping: headless browsing and automatic server rotation. The API allows you to scrape websites without being blocked by using both traditional and premium proxies.

An important feature of the product is its ability to integrate with various programming languages, including Python, Javascript, Java, Ruby, PHP, Go, and Curl. ScrapingBee is a pretty versatile product as a result of this. Moreover, you can get data in JSON format after any scraping process with this tool.

Finally, ScrapingBee offers one-time 1000 free API calls, and you can then benefit from one of the available paid plans.

Final thoughts

That was quite a journey!

As you have discovered, people with all kinds of different experience levels and understanding can scrape the web. There are plenty of options available, whether you’re a developer looking to extract data from a huge number of websites or a freelancer or employee with no coding knowledge working in specific fields such as marketing, retail, or real estate.

But what is most important is setting your goals and identifying the best web scraping option for your needs.

I hope this story helped you gain a complete perspective on the option to extract data with browser extensions. If you want to know more about other tools or types of web scraping, you can always read more on my Medium profile.

Thank you for staying until the end!

Passionate full-stack developer with a knack for writing🖊️