Want to scrape bulk data without getting blocked?
Wondering if you should try out Webscraper, the Chrome and Firefox extension?
You are not alone. There are many who want to know more about it.
So we have come up with this blog.
It talks about Webscraper as a Chrome and Firefox extension that lets you scrape data from websites.
You may wonder if its features and functionalities suit your web scraping needs. Well, it has a few good features. But it has its limitations too.
Want to find out more about its features, pros and cons and alternatives?
Overview of Webscraper Extension
Webscraper is a Chrome and Firefox extension for scraping data from web pages. It has a point-and-click functionality that gives you a pretty simple interface so that you can easily set it up and run the scrapers right in your browser. You can get the data from dynamic web pages and save it to CSV, XLSX and JSON formats.To use it, you don’t need in-depth knowledge of coding. If you have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS selectors, it will be enough. It can be used for educational purposes or at best small scale web scraping projects.
But, like any other tool, Webscraper has its limitations too. First of all, it lacks the support for proxy integration. Well, it is a major issue when you are extracting data from large websites which use anti-scraping ways. Moreover, getting the source URLs for scraping is not possible either. You can’t do data validation with the help of Webscraper. There’s no option for data cleaning. So you have to do it all on your own, manually. Customer support is available only in the form of Webscraper community forum. You may get lucky to get a tip or two, here and there. But it is not anything comparable to a professional service.
Webscraper extension is basically meant for developers and users who have some amount of technical knowledge. A completely non-technical user may not be able to use it. It may be useful for you if you want to learn more about web scraping in a hands-on way. It can work for tiny little web scraping tasks and for learning experience.
No, you do not need coding skills to use this extension. But you do need some amount of technical skills to use it because it requires configuring and running the scraper. It also requires an understanding of HTML, CSS and selectors to run it smoothly.
No, it is a basic tool. At best, it can handle simple structures. So it has a limitation in terms of handling complex structures. Even changes in websites or HTML changes can make it difficult for the extension to continue scraping. Anti-scraping mechanisms can also prevent it from getting the data you need.
Webscraper.io has an online forum where you can post your queries. The community can then probably share its tips for troubleshooting etc. A professionally managed customer support is not available for the extension. So if you face technical glitches and need immediate support, it may not be available.
In terms of full functionalities and complete solution for web scraping, you need to then turn to sophisticated web scraping services like ProWebScraper as an alternative to Webscraper extension. Services such as ProWebScraper provide a host of advanced features, have robust scraping techniques and specialize in handling large scale data extraction from complex structures. They also provide responsive customer support.
Pros and Cons
Minimal Coding Required: If you can handle basic HTML and CSS selectors, you can use the extension for web scraping. For example, you can identify the HTML tags and scrape whatever information you need such as contact details etc.
User-Friendly Interface: Webscraper has a user-friendly point-and-click interface. It lets you scrape data from websites without the technical knowledge. You can select and extract data related to various items such as email ids, images, customer reviews etc. by simply following the point and click.
Visual Element Selector: It also has a visual element selector feature. It lets you visually spot and choose particular data items on a web page. You can highlight various data items such as images, links or texts in this way and scrape it easily.
Technical Challenges and Learning Curve: You may start scraping and it may work to an extent. But technical issues may arise in handling complex structures or bypassing anti-scraping mechanisms. Some sites may require interaction in terms of filling out forms etc. This may pose technical challenges and you may not be equipped to solve such issues.
Limitations for Advanced Needs: It may work for simple web scraping tasks. But if you have highly specific or complex web scraping requirements, the extension may not be able to extract the data you need. The extension may not be able to tackle CAPTCHA or AJAX or get data from websites that need authentication.
Compatibility Issues: The extension will find it challenging to handle websites with anti-scraping mechanisms. Certain websites have unusual data structures. Scraping data from there can be difficult for the extension. The extension can struggle in handling websites which use techniques such as dynamic content loading techniques to frustrate scrapers. When dealing with websites that rely on client-side rendering, the scraper may not work.
Performance and Stability: Since it is a free tool and a basic one, it has limitations. When users try to use it for advanced scraping tasks, technical issues arise. According to users, the speed remains a concern, it crashes at times and struggles trying to extract large quantities of data or from multiple pages. Moreover, Webscraper does not function optimally while dealing with a website having a large quantity of pages.
Limited Community Support: As it is a free tool, you need to rely on the community forum for troubleshooting tips etc. So when you face a technical issue, you can post your queries in the community forum. When and how you will get assistance depends on how active the community is. In the case of an emergency, you may have to rely on your own creativity to solve the technical issues. So limited community support remains a concern for extended use of Webscraper.
Reviews of Webscraper extension : What Users Are Saying
Here’s what users are saying about the Webscraper Chrome extension:
“Highly useful extension, excellent guidance and UI, very well done. I was able to create a custom recipe within 5 minutes without any reading of documentation. The automatic paging worked nicely as well.”
“Being in software for many many years and used various application, after so many years I found this app to be very useful. This is a great application however you need to first take lessons to learn and then try it. The documentation and videos are great. I used this from scrapping a very unorganised data and Zach help me to complete the recipe. Their customer support is great. Actually I do not mind paying a fee for the application even they refused to get them a cup of coffee also! I suggest you choose this software now and enjoy the functionalities. Wishing very best to the team.”
“I guess it doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked great for me!”
“Easy to use, fast and hassle-free, I recommend it to everyone.”
“It took some time to figure out how Data Miner actually works, especially combining pagination and crawl scrape, but Zack has been the most helpful with everything – starting from technical advices and finishing with suggestions for best plan combination for huge volumes of historical data scrape. I’ve not felt for a minute that I’m alone with it, Zack is very quick and very specific with all his responses, trying to help me out. I strongly recommend it, I really do! You just might have to do some testing and asking for some help, if there are some things that seem not to work as they should.”
“Worked perfectly for pulling season stats on nba.com. Love it!”
“Easy to use. Great support – live and email. Nice people too.”
“Such a time waste. Most of the time didn’t work and sometime it hang the browser, when I click on data minor icon. Its better to do everything manually. 110% Time Waste.”
“Most time does not work. waste time.”
“Not useful and very bad search result.”
“Frustration with the overhaul in version 5. Preferred the simplicity of previous version v3.299.72.”
“It was a good piece of a tool for a while, now this is useless! Most time did not work! :(.”
“Too limited you can scrape only 3 pages. Requires paid subscription to try scraping anything worth scraping. Could not even test it to see if it works for what I need.”
“Requires paid subscription to try scraping anything worth scraping. Could not even test it to see if it works for what I need.”
“Used to be great. However this is no longer a free tool after it limited the URL list scrape into only three web pages for the free version.”
“Depressed! Could you tell why there are so many limited sites? Is it Chrome’s policy, or Data Miner’s? I spent hours to get familiar with the app, and was told that I have to upgrade to scrape my target pages, and I am still not sure if Data Miner works or not on it.”
“Shameful waste of time. Like playing a riddle, no page tells which site cannot be scraped with the free plan. I tried it on Indeed, Paypal(my own payment history), Craigslist and other 3 sites. It works only on Craigslist. Most of the recipes on public do not work or have little value. I do not know if you have reviewed such recipes before going public. It wastes more time… I like your clean UI. Hope to be better and would like to come back to update the rating.”
“I found another extension that could capture what this extension, Data Miner, couldn’t.”
“All of the five-star reviews for this extension are fake and were from a company that is paid to give five-star reviews. The extension doesn’t work on any major social media sites, and it is flagged as malware by windows. Don’t touch it.”
“Non of Free Recipe Works 🙁 You have removed the working versions by allowing others failed recipe to show up in public. These were working and now can’t be found in search again… Whats the point of giving us Free Plan when none of the currently available recipe works 🙁 Your Free Plan was Awesome Only with Working Google Map Data Extractions. Please review and enable some working Recipe for Free Plan.”
Based on the percentage of positive reviews at 55.17% and the percentage of negative reviews at 44.83%, the user should approach the evaluation of the Webscraper.io Chrome extension with some caution.
While a significant portion of users have expressed satisfaction with the extension, it’s important to acknowledge the notable presence of negative reviews.
Users should consider their specific requirements and technical capabilities before deciding whether this Chrome extension aligns with their needs. It is advisable to thoroughly test the extension’s features and functionality and assess how well it performs in their scraping tasks before making a final evaluation.
** Please note that the reviews provided are based on the given information and may not reflect the entirety of user experiences with the Webscraper Chrome extension
Introducing ProWebScraper as an Alternative Solution
ProWebScraper is a comprehensive web scraping solution. It specializes in web scraping from a variety of websites as per customer’s needs. It can extract data from complex websites, can handle scraping data from multiple pages, bypass anti-scraping mechanisms and much more.
Apart from scraping the data, it takes care of data cleaning and manipulation too. It has proven expertise in terms of data processing and data security. Since it is a professional service, it also provides robust customer support too. In all, ProWebScraper is a sophisticated solution for complex data extraction requirements.
Webscraper extension vs ProWebScraper: A Feature Comparison
Here’s a comparison table between Webscraper Extension and ProWebScraper:
|Ease of Use||Point-and-click interface and easy-to-use features||Sophisticated interface with advanced features|
|Coding Skills||Technical understanding of HTML, CSS, and selectors required||No coding skills or technical knowledge required|
|Data Extraction||Scrapes data from websites using a point-and-click interface||Scrapes data using customizable ways|
|Proxy Support||Proxy support not available||Proxy support available|
|Data Validation||Does not have option for data validation and cleaning||Provides data validation and cleaning tools|
|Import URLs||Not possible to import source URLs for scraping||Possible to import URLs for scraping|
|Compatibility||Not possible to smoothly scrape data from complex websites||Extracts data from complex and dynamic websites|
|Support Availability||Support available only in the form of a community forum.||Robust customer support with immediate and effective service|
|Pricing||Free to use||Affordable and flexible pricing options|
|Scalability||Little scalability when it comes to large-scale projects||Can scale up and handle projects of any kind or size|
|Advanced Features||Limited features. Little customization possible||Advanced features like data preprocessing, custom reporting, and automation|
|Anti-Scraping||No provision to bypass anti-scraping mechanisms||Uses advanced scraping techniques to bypass CAPTCHA and IP blocking|
|Technical Expertise||Need to know web scraping principles and technologies||No technical expertise required. Takes care of all technical processes. The users can focus on the growth of their business|
ProWebScraper Customer Testimonials and Success Stories
Well, Webscraper Chrome extension is a basic tool with limited functionalities. If you are a developer or have technical knowledge, you can use it with reasonable ease. For extracting data from simple structures, it may work. As a basic tool, it may work to an extent. But if you have complex web scraping requirements or need to scale it up, you will need to explore alternatives such as ProWebScraper. For the comprehensive features, sophisticated data tools, and robust support, ProWebScraper is ideal for your unique and specific web scraping requirements. The key lies in identifying your needs and spotting the suitable tool for the same.
Hope the blog helped you get a perspective on the strengths and limitations of Webscraper extension and its alternatives!