“Can this page be scraped?” — If you’ve ever used a web scraper in the past, you’ll often ask this question when surfing the Internet. It can be for generating leads, collecting data for sales, or for analysis and data science. Data is the new gold, and the best part is that it’s already out there. All you need to do is get it. The sky’s the limit.
And that’s often the hard part. There’s a lot of factors you need to consider: ease-of-use, scale, accuracy, and integrations with other web apps. As data has increased in relevancy, more and more web scrapers are sprouting up, trying to get a piece of the pie. But rarely do they succeed in all these above-mentioned aspects, most are just half-baked and a waste of time.
Plus, since they’re also divided between being in-browser and cloud-based, this makes the choice all the more difficult. However, browser-based scrapers are a better option if you want to scrape data at a small scale quickly and use your local IP.
In this article, we’ve done the legwork for you. Here, you’ll find a neat list of 8 of the best web scraper extensions to choose from based on your use case.
In-browser vs. desktop vs. cloud: which is better?
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: in-browser, desktop, or cloud-based web scrapers, which one of them wins out? As with most things in life, there’s no blanket recommendation here. It depends on your use case.
Are you looking to scrape data in bulk? If yes, going with a cloud-based web scraper makes sense. Octoparse is one you can look into. They offer a number of fancy cloud-based features like being able to schedule a scraping operation, automatic IP rotation, and a 24/7 cloud platform for concurrent operations.
On the other hand, what if you’re looking for smaller bits of data, like a list of jobs? In that case, in-browser and desktop web scrapers are the way to go! They’re generally safer, more reasonably priced (if not completely free), and are easy to get the hang of.
There are also some hybrid web scraper extensions that are both in-browser and cloud-based, like Phantom Buster. We’ll also talk about those in this article.
1. Bardeen Scraper
Web scraping often goes hand-in-hand with automation. If you have some data to scrape, it’s likely that you also want to use it for some other purpose.
With Bardeen, you can scrape individual pages with a single right click, extract lists and tables, and enrich a list of links. Plus, you don’t need to be present every time you want to perform scraping operations, since it can be automated and done periodically too!
This can translate into a plethora of use cases. Say you want to find the social media profiles of a list of email recipients using Clearbit. That’s possible with this Playbook! Plus, Bardeen will not only scrape data, but it will also add it to your favorite apps automatically like Google Sheets, Airtable, Notion and Coda.
Using the interactive Builder, you can just point and click to add various actions and triggers to create the automations that you want based on your requirements. It’s almost like lego. Here is a video of it in action:
If you’re happy with what you see, here’s some good news: Bardeen is free! To read more about how to use it, be sure to check out this article and the scraper webpage. Overall, Bardeen is suitable for a wide range of users, including anybody who wants a simple-to-use web scraper with some automations on top. You can get it from the Chrome web store.
2. Instant Data Scraper
This is the simplest, easy-to-use web scraper extension you’re going to find.
Just click on the extension icon when you’re on the webpage and it automatically detects what data needs to be extracted.
You can edit it as required or specify selectors and then export the data as an Excel or CSV file. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Of course, this simplicity also means that it isn’t capable of automations. It only extracts lists and other basic data types like tables and profiles. If you have automations on your mind, there are better options available. But, if you need a minimalistic web scraper extension, get this one for free on Chrome, Edge, or their website.
3. Phantom Buster
Price: $59/M (14-day free trial)
Unlike all the other scraper extensions discussed so far, Phantom Buster is unique in one way: it uses the extension on your computer to retrieve session cookies from the websites you are connected to, which enables it to interact with web platforms. However, the actual scraping is done through the cloud!
You might think that it’s similar to Bardeen in terms of automations, but there’s one big difference. Phantom Buster only focuses on specific use cases. So, there are a limited number of websites it can scrape data from, and it doesn't allow you to build a custom scraper either.
Once you’ve signed up for an account, step one would be to choose which use case (or ‘Phantom’) you want to go for. Here are a few examples:
From here, the process is not much different from the other ones, you only need to specify input information and select the number of actions to process before launching it. But, what’s the catch? As you might agree, it carries a significantly high price tag compared to other viable options on this list.
If you’re looking to scrape unique websites which Phantom Buster isn’t integrated with yet, we would recommend you choose other tools. But, if you want to scrape data on the cloud, Phantom Buster might be the right option to go for. Get it for Chrome or Firefox for free and visit their website for more info.
If you want a web scraper extension that streamlines your overall workflow across different apps, Magical is worth checking out. In general, it works on the concept of transferring data between tabs, which are known as Transfers.
For scraping a webpage, you need to specify variables, which tells Magical where to pick the data from. Once saved, you can quickly transfer those variables to any other web app, like Google Sheets.
A cool handy feature which Magical comes with is a text expander. Do you often find yourself typing the same sentence multiple times every day? With the built-in text expander, you can replace all that typing with just a few keystrokes! Just type in your preferred abbreviation and Magical will insert your chosen snippet of text.
If you need an extension which can give you step-by-step instructions as you go along the scraping process, Grepsr is worth looking into.
When you open the extension, you’ll get a dialogue box on the top saying ‘Start by tagging your first field’. After you’ve selected a few elements, you’ll be shown how many items you’ve selected.
You’ll need to specify the selector title and data type before you can move ahead. After that, you can specify pagination—whether it has a ‘Next’ link, infinite scroll, or a ‘Load More’ button. Once you’re done, this is what the sample data looks like in CSV format:
You can click the ‘Download’ button or simply click ‘Export’ and choose the desired format from the drop-down menu. It also features integrations with many cloud platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.
The main downside to Grepsr is the price tag, as you can see above. It only makes sense for high-end scraping operations. But if it matches your requirements and you’re willing to look past the cost, visit their website or download the Chrome extension.
If your data scraping efforts are centered around Excel, and you’re planning to scrape data and paste it directly into a spreadsheet, Listly was developed with you in mind. Compared to other web scraper extensions, it’s a much simpler option and is largely focused on Excel.
There are two main ways to use it. If you want all the data on a page, you can go with the ‘Listly Whole’ option.
On the other hand, if you’d prefer to specify data selectors, you can go with the ‘Listly Part’ option instead!
In addition, if you’re a developer, you also have the option to work with its API for deeper customization. You can check the documentation for further info. For non-technical users, there are also a bunch of attractive features like being able to schedule extractions, repeat click and scroll to load more data, and select a proxy server to change local IP address.
All in all, Listly is a good web scraper extension for Excel users and is completely free on Chrome. If you’ve already downloaded Bardeen and primary work with Excel too, check out our guide for how to extract data from a website to Excel.
7. Data Miner
Did you notice that you’re required to specify selectors for most web scraper extensions? Well, you don’t need to do that with Data Miner! It has a public database of over one million extraction recipes.
Unless the website you’re scraping is largely unknown, there’s probably a recipe available for it. This can save a few minutes of your time for creating your own recipes.
Using it isn’t much different than other web scrapers. You need to sign in using your Google account before you’re able to use it and then click ‘Scrape this Page’.
From here, you can go to the ‘Page Scrape’ option in the menu tree and then select your recipe. You can either choose a public one, a generic one, or create your own custom one.
Once you're done, you can click on the “Download” tab and then the blue button to get the file in many formats like XLS, CSV, XLSX, or TSV.
With the free trial, you’re only limited to 500 pages per month. Depending on your use case, you might find this either suitable or limiting. In any case, once you exhaust that limit and want to scrape further, you’ll need to get a subscription, which ranges from $19.99 to $200 per month.
If you’re focusing purely on Excel and Google Sheets, this is a good web scraper to use. It might seem similar to Listly, but it does have a few goodies on top, like the database of paginated websites we talked about before. So, check out their website or get it for free on Chrome or Edge.
The name says it all. Simplescraper is just that: a simple-to-use web scraper extension. It runs locally in your browser and doesn’t require a sign-up or a subscription. Want to see it in action? Here you go.
Similar to Bardeen, it allows for one-click scraping directly into popular apps like Google Sheets, Airtable, and Zapier. Although it is fairly simple on the surface, it allows for complex customizations if you know what you’re doing. You can create automated scraping recipes for yourself for different web pages.
They’ve also written a beginner’s guide to get you caught up with all the features. To sum it up, if you want a simple, no-nonsense web scraper, visit their website or download the extension on Chrome for free.
Do social media sites allow web scraping?
If you’re using a web scraper, there’s a good chance you’ll be using it with the intent of scraping a social media site. And that’s a good idea. Social media is a treasure trove of data. Instagram for scouting influencers, LinkedIn for potential employees, Zillow for real estate data, and so on.
But, there’s a problem. These companies are always on their toes to avoid bots or any kind of spam. So, there’s always that fear at the back of your mind that you’ll get blocked if you scrape their data. Any minute now.
Let us assure you, if you do it in moderation, that most likely shouldn’t happen. Using a reliable in-browser scraper like Bardeen makes it even more secure. So, there’s no need to worry too much about that if your intentions aren’t malicious and you keep it under control.
Speaking of Zillow, did you know that Bardeen is also the only visual no-code scraper with templates for that platform? To read more about that, check out our Zillow scraping guide. Now, here are the best Bardeen Playbooks related to major social media platforms.
Keep in mind, these are only some of the best ones. For each social media platform, we have at least five to ten Playbooks. So, be sure to search for more here.
As big data has become, well… big, there are new web scrapers popping up every day. Many of these promise exciting, innovative, and groundbreaking features. But it’s important to stay focused on your specific use case and find the best web scraper that can meet your requirements.
Besides collecting data, did you know that web scraping tools can also be used to monitor website changes? Price drops on Amazon products, ticket availability for concerts, a new job posting from a company, you name it! If this sounds interesting, check out this article.
Now, without further ado, download the scraper that is most optimal for you and get started!