Cheerio vs Puppeteer for Web Scraping in 2024: In-Depth Guide
Methods for scraping web pages include off-the-shelf web scrapers, web scraping APIs, and in-house web scrapers. Each data extraction method would be beneficial depending on your specific data collection requirement. In-house web scrapers are the best option if the website you want to scrape doesn’t support API or you don’t need to outsource the development of web scraping infrastructure.
In this article, we will examine Cheerio and Puppeteer, including their main features, pros, and cons, and outline the key differences between Cheerio and Puppeteer. This way, we aim to help developers choose the most suitable web scraping library for their data collection projects.
Cheerio vs Puppeteer: A detailed comparison
Cheerio and Puppeteer are Node.js libraries that can be used for web scraping and browser automation. There are major differences between these two libraries; the following table outlines the main differences between Cheerio and Puppeteer.
Here’s a quick comparison of Cheerio and Puppeteer ; we will go into more detail about each library in the following sections:
Traversing DOM is the act of selecting one element from a neighboring component of a document. Traversing a copy enables you to select and manipulate elements within the document easily. You can traverse in three directions DOM tree using Cheerio:
Cheerio enables developers to manipulate elements within a document based on their specific requirements. You can modify element attributes, add and remove classes, and modify an element’s text content.
You can load HTML documents and parse them into a DOM structure using various methods, such as “load”, “loadBuffer”, “stringStream”, “fromUrl”, etc.,
Figure 3: An example of a CSS selector to select elements from a document
Cheerio enables users to select HTML document elements using CSS selectors. You can select elements based on their tag name, attribute values, etc. Cheerio provides two different parsers based on the source and code of data.
- For parsing HTML documents: parse5
- For parsing XML documents: htmlparser2
Cheerio installation: You must have Node.js installed on your device to install Cheerio. Available operating systems include macOS, Linux, and Windows. You can install Node.js via the package manager as well 4. Once Node.js is installed, you can run one of the following commands to install Cheerio in your terminal:
- npm install
- cheerio yarn add cheerio
- Does not include features such as screenshot capture or PDF generation.
- Incapable handling scraping dynamic pages.
Puppeteer is a Node.js library designed for browser automation in particular. It is an open-source Node library, similar to Cheerio. Some of the main features of Puppeteer include:
- Puppeteer has an event-driven architecture. Event-driven architecture (EDA) is a software architecture that enables independent and interoperable operation of decoupled services. For example, if one service fails, the others will continue functioning. It allows for asynchronous communication between decoupled services.
- Puppeteer runs in headless mode. Developers and test automation engineers use headless mode to run tests. It reduces the time of testing. Headless mode is also beneficial for web scraping. Web scraping benefits from headless mode as well. Headless browsers collect data from web pages without rendering entire web pages. You are not required to wait for whole web pages to load visual elements.
Puppeteer installation: Puppeteer requires no setup; you can use it in your project by executing the command below.
Figure 3: Puppeteer installation script
When you install Puppeteer, a recent version of Chromium is automatically downloaded.
- Puppeteer does not support video playback. Because Puppeteer is included with Chromium, it inherits all of Chromium’s media-related restrictions.
- Puppeteer is not compatible with HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).
Cheerio or Puppeteer: which is better for web scraping?
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