Many businesses’ operations and processes need to extract data. Web scrapers and application programming interfaces (APIs) are the two common solutions for getting it done. Besides automating repetitive tasks, extracting valuable data from websites with these tools allows for timely insights and informed decision-making.
But there are a lot of web scraping options out there, and the descriptions of their features and capabilities can get confusing.
Visualping is the leading web scraper API. With Visualping’s API, you can scrape any web page on the internet, on demand, schedule jobs, and even customize your scraping with advanced features – like crawling a page for only certain keywords. Use Visualping’s webhook to integrate data alerts in any third-party application, or send a request to the API directly for your data retrieval.
In this post, we keep it simple. We provide a brief overview of web scraping APIs – highlighting the basics of what they are and why they’re useful – before diving into the top web scraping API tools of 2023, according to their ease-of-use and cost effectiveness.
Web scraping is the practice of extracting data from websites using automated tools. Scrapers automatically extract raw data from the internet, in the form of HTML code, and convert it into a usable structured format – either in a spreadsheet, such as with Visualping’s Google Sheets integration, or an API.
The best web scraping tools let you select the exact parts of the web page you want to scrape, keeping the data you extract as relevant as possible.
Send a request to the API directly, or get automatic alerts in any third-party application with Visualping’s webhook.
An API (application programming interface) is one of the key enablers of web scraping. A set of definitions and protocols for building and integrating application software, an API is the connection between your device, and everything that’s delivered to it, at your request. The data can be pulled on an automated schedule, such as with a webhook, or manually, on demand.
The applications of web scraping are varied and extensive. Web scraping allows businesses and individuals to gather, analyze, and make sense of today’s vast and ever-increasing data – whether to track a company’s price and stock fluctuations to influence investing decisions, generate competitive intelligence, or to power your own app or service with the data.
Businesses often use web scraping as a way to automate the research processes of various important business functions, such as:
Without a web scraping tool, the research and data extraction process would be time-consuming and costly. Businesses would also struggle to obtain accurate and up-to-date data, leading to uninformed decisions and missed opportunities.
Importantly, web scraping APIs provide a seamless way to integrate scrapers into existing systems, making the data retrieval process customized to your needs. Web scraping APIs are often used to allow the development of other applications that will use that same data – such as your own app or service you’re developing.
By leveraging the power of automation and APIs, businesses can extract data in a way that saves time and reduces cost, as well as simplify the process of powering your own apps and services with valuable data from websites.
Rated by ease of use and cost effectiveness, below is our list of the top 5 web scraping API tools of 2023.
Visualping is one of the top web scraping APIs. It can crawl any website for changes and, when there’s an update, automatically record the updates in a structured data feed in your Google Sheets. Find the full API documentation here.
You can use the Visualping API to turn any website into an API, and create your own website change detection solutions. You can get automated notifications in any third-party application with Visualping’s webhook. Or, send a request to the API by providing the URL and HTTP method, in which case Visualping will process the request and send the response from the web server.
Ideally, before the job is run, the web scraper API will allow you to select the specific data on the web page that you care about. Visualping lets you do this. By being able to select a specific area of the web page you care about, Visualping provides you with only the most relevant data you’re after.
For example, you may want to scrape a Best Buy product page for price changes, but you’re not interested in the product reviews. The Visualping API also offers other advanced features, such as allowing you to scrape data with only target keywords of interest.
Lastly, the Visualping API is flexible and supports embedding into your own product or service – whether for your team, or for others to use.
Visualping is known for being among the most easy-to-use web scraping API options. The tool also offers the top support package options, to ensure its users get the support they need. You can find our full API documentation here.
Visualping offers a range of flexible subscription options for its API, starting at just $50/month.
Oxylabs is a great solution for individuals and businesses looking to collect public data and access premium proxies effortlessly. It provides ready-to-use code samples and multiple language support, 100M+ Residential proxies, AI-powered web unblocker, proxy manager, mobile proxies, and more.
Can be complex to set up.
Paying only per successful results.
Apify is a web scraping and automation platform that allows users to extract data from websites, automate workflows, and create custom APIs. It provides a wide range of tools and features, such as pre-built scrapers, custom scrapers, and an intuitive user interface.
Given the tool provides pre-built scrapers for popular websites, it’s fairly easy to use, even for beginners.
Apify offers both free and paid plans, with prices starting at $49/month. But it can be expensive for larger datasets.
Easy to use, even for those without technical expertise.
It’s on the more expensive side. ParseHub offers both free and paid plans, with prices starting at $149/month
ScrapingBee’s API handles rotating proxies, data extraction, headless browsers, and solving CAPTCHAS. ScrapingBee has a Stealth Proxy in beta that includes a new pool of proxies that the company claims should be enough to scrape even the hardest-to-scrape websites.
ScrapingBee has a simple API that requires minimal coding knowledge to get started. It also comes with tutorials for developers to use it with their preferred programming language:
ScrapingBee offers flexible pricing options, from a freelancer subscription for $49/month to its premium Business subscription for over $599/month.
Web scraping APIs have become indispensable in the digital age. They enable businesses and individuals to efficiently extract valuable data from websites.
Among the top 5 web scraping APIs of 2023, use the Visualping API to create your own website change detection solutions.
Interested in finding out more about Visualping’s API? Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, or to get started on our 14-day free trial.