Data facilitates the commercial growth of businesses and businesses require significant amounts of data to become truly data-driven companies. Data may be produced internally or obtained from external sources. Web scraping enables companies to get data from web sources automatically. However, using the proper web scraping tools is essential to maximize all available data and ensure its accuracy.
ParseHub is a web data collection platform that provides scraping services. Our research uncovered some issues that ParseHub users face. Before utilizing ParseHub’s scraping services, it may be prudent to investigate alternatives that may better suit your business’s needs.
This article evaluates ParseHub and discusses ParseHub’s top alternatives to assist businesses in choosing the right web scraping service for their data collection projects.
The web scraping service providers reviewed in this article provide web scraping services that do not require coding experience.
Top Parsehub alternatives and competitors
Parsehub is a web data collection platform that provides web scraping software for different industries, including:
The company offers both free and paid versions of its web scraping software. We tried out Parsehub’s free web scraping tool to learn more about the features of their web scraping product (Figure 1).
Figure 1: ParseHub’s main page
- Usability: It is easy enough for beginners to scrape websites. The user interface design is easy to learn, and the tool includes tutorials that guide users through the entire scraping process (Figure 2).
Figure 2: ParseHub’s tutorial to assist users in scraping
- Free trial limitation: The free trial limits you to no more than 200 pages per run. It is not suitable for web scraping projects on a large scale.
- The number of scraping projects is limited to five.
- Auto pagination: It does not support auto pagination. You need to paginate each web page manually. For instance, when you are finished extracting data from the first page, you will need to add pagination for each subsequent page from which you intend to extract data.
- Customer review data: It has difficulties while scraping all customer review data. For example, while scraping customer review data from a specific product web page on Amazon, the tool did not extract “Amazon vine” review data (Figure 3).
Figure 3: ParseHub’s data preview panel
Amazon Vine, or “Vine Voices,” is a program that provides Amazon reviewers with early access to unreleased products for the purpose of writing reviews (Figure 4).
Figure 4: An example for Amazon vine review
- Download data option: It is difficult to download extracted data. Even though I followed their tutorial, I received the “empty file with no result” error several times (Figure 5). Here are several reasons why you may be having these problems:
- ParseHub may be blocked by the website you are scraping. If this is the case, you must upgrade from the free plan to the paid plan because the free plan does not support IP rotation.
- You must log in to the website you are scraping. This is not the case with my scraping project. I scraped product review data from the Amazon product page, which did not require a login.
Figure 5: An example of “empty file with no result” error
- G2: 4.3/5
- Free Trial – Available
- Price range: $189/month – $599/month
- ParseHub does not offer an API for web scraping. Web scraping API is one the data extraction methods. If the target website supports API technology, you can access and collect data using an API.
In this section, we’ll examine three ParseHub alternatives to see if they can address the issues we discovered with ParseHub.
1. Bright Data
One of the main alternatives of ParseHub is Bright Data, which provides businesses with scraping services, including proxy servers featuring an extensive IP pool, as well as a suite of web scraping tools.
Pros of Bright Data:
- The variety of web scraping services they provide is wide compared to ParseHub, Octoparse and Apify. They provide pre-made web scraper templates for Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Yelp, and other websites.
- If you are unable to find a ready-made scraping template that meets your specific requirements, you can either request a custom data collector from the company or develop your own data collector using their code environment. You can download the data in JSON, CSV, and XLS formats. They provide data in the following ways:
- Amazon S3
- Google Cloud Storage
- Microsoft Azure Storage
- If you want to collect data cost-effectively rather than using a scraper or web scraping API. Bright Data offers customized datasets for a variety of use cases.
- Bright Data and ParseHub have the highest ratings on G2 for customer support and service quality among the four tools we reviewed (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Bright Data and ParseHub ranks better than Octoparse and Apify at customer support
- The company’s web scraping solutions include built-in debug tools. A debugger, also known as a debugging tool, is a program that allows developers and programmers to test and locate bugs in code and identify what needs to be fixed.
Cons of Bright Data:
- Bright Data is the only data collection platform not offering a free, time-limited version of its web scraping tool. All of the web scraping service providers evaluated in this article offer a free trial of their products.
- ParseHub, Octoparse, and Apify provide free but limited web scraping tools. They are unsuitable for large-scale web scraping projects and incapable of overcoming anti-scraping obstacles.
- G2: 4.7/5
- They offer a free trial that is restricted to a few days.
- Price range:
- Pay as you go
- $500/month – $1,000/month
Oxylabs provides a platform for web data extraction, featuring specialized scraper APIs like SERP, E-Commerce, Real Estate, and Web Scraper API, along with various proxy server options. Their web scraper APIs come equipped with functionalities like a custom parser, headless browser capability, and scheduling features.
Advantages of Oxylabs:
- The SERP Scraper API allows users to choose IPs from specific locations and collect data at the coordinate level.
- Allows users to automatically and routinely receive updates and data directly to their chosen cloud storage.
- Allows users to establish custom parsing rules to precisely extract the desired data, with support for both XPath and CSS selectors.
Cons of Oxylabs:
- Oxylabs’ web scraping solutions are more tailored towards enterprise-level clients, and individual users may find the services to be costly.
- Starting price: $49/mo
- Free trial: After confirming their company’s registration and ownership, company representatives can access a 7-day free trial. Individuals are eligible for a 3-day money-back guarantee upon registration.
Smartproxy, a platform for web data gathering, provides an extensive selection of proxy servers and data scraping services. Smartproxy delivers high-end features comparable to those of Bright Data and Oxylabs, but at more competitive prices, ensuring that smaller-scale users have access to appropriate options that fit within their financial constraints.
Advantages of Smartproxy:
- The SERP scraping and eCommerce APIs offer full-stack solutions, integrating proxies, a web scraper, and a data parser. This combination aids users in efficiently and effectively extracting data from the web.
- The web scraping API retrieves data on-demand and is capable of extracting data from both static and dynamic websites.
- Enables users to execute both synchronous and asynchronous requests. In a synchronous request, the API waits for the operation to complete before moving on to the next task. Asynchronous operations allow users to send multiple connection requests simultaneously.
Cons of Smartproxy:
- According to user reviews on G2, mobile and ISP proxies from this service might be more expensive compared to those offered by competitors.
- Free trial & refund: Offers 14-day money-back option for all proxies and scraping APIs.
Nimble is a platform focused on web data collection, offering a range of scraper APIs. Its Web Scraping API is equipped with features like page interactions and parsing templates, which are particularly effective for navigating websites in domains like E-commerce and Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Nimble provides three methods for data delivery: real-time, cloud storage, and push/pull options.
Advantages of Nimble:
- The scraping API includes a dedicated set of residential IPs, eliminating the need for users to source or manage proxies separately.
- Enables users to gather data specific to a designated zip code area.
- Allows users to process a large number of URLs in a single request, with the capacity to handle up to 1,000 URLs at the same time.
- Enables users to carry out various actions on a webpage while collecting data, such as clicking, typing, and scrolling. These page interactions operate synchronously, executing each action sequentially, one after another. There is a total time limit of 60 seconds for all actions combined.
Cons of Nimble:
- The platform exclusively supports residential proxy services. These residential proxies include an Unlocker Proxy feature, which is ideal for websites with stringent web scraping measures. However, for those who need other types of proxies, such as datacenter or ISP proxies, using an alternative proxy service provider is recommended.
Octoparse is another alternative to ParseHub that offers an automatic data extraction tool.
Advantages of Octoparse:
- The company provides both local and cloud extraction. You can run their data extraction tool on your device or in the cloud. However, cloud extraction and API access are restricted to Premium users only.
Cloud web scraping collects and saves the data on the cloud rather than on your local machine. Bright Data, Octoparse, and ParseHub are the companies that offer cloud-based web scraping services according to the information listed on vendors’ websites.
Cons of Octoparse:
- Proxies for IP rotation are not supported. Octoparse provides automatic IP rotation with the paid plan for their scraper. However, most websites, particularly e-commerce sites, employ anti-scraping technologies to prevent bad scrapers and manage to crawl traffic. IP rotation alone would not be an effective way to avoid IP bans. Among the four scraping tools, Apify and Bright Data are the only web scraping services that provide proxy infrastructure for scrapers.
- Octoparse does not charge for the setup of external proxies if you intend to use an external or custom proxy server with your web scraper. On the other hand, customizing proxies for IP rotation is only available for local extraction (the web scraper runs on the user’s local machine, not in the cloud).
Figure 7: Negative comments on Octoparse’s web scraping
- G2: 4.6/5
- Octoparse offers a free trial and a free version of its product.
- Price range: $89/month – $249/month
Apify is a platform for web data collection that provides web scraping and browser automation tools. Its services include :
- Data extraction software
- Scraping APIs
- HTTP proxy
Advantages of Apify:
- It provides developers with open source libraries for building web scrapers.
- According to comments on Capterra, Apify has the highest rating for ease of use among four web scraping services (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Apify ranks better than among four tools at ease of use
Cons of Apify:
- The company provides proxy services that are suitable for use with web scrapers. However, one of Apify’s clients claimed the company relied on third-party proxy service providers, raising the additional cost (Figure 9).
- Apify provides hundreds of ready-made web scraping actors. However, there may be accuracy issues with the scraped data, as some of them were not created by Apify but by third parties. You should test the actor to ensure that it functions correctly and is appropriate for your scraping project.
Figure 9: A verified customer review about Apify’s web scraping
- G2: 4.8/5
- A free version and trial are offered.
- Price range: $49/month – $499/month
- The Ultimate Guide to Oxylabs vs. Bright Data
- The Ultimate Guide to Octoparse vs. ParseHub
- Top 3 Octoparse Alternatives & Competitors
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