Free online web scrapers are a useful tool for gathering information and putting it into useable form. The contents of a given URL can be placed in a spreadsheet and expanded over time into a data-set. With an online web service, collected data can be merged into a new or existing database.

Why Free Online Web Scrapers Are Important

Free of charge service, is one that neither levies fees in the present nor planned, in the future. While some may be motivated by Beta testing, to test and improve the systems, the research is not intrusive and in the cases under review here, not noticed. Online refers to the need to download software, to install applications on the user’s computer or device. This is not needed with this category of online services, no software to install.

Some terrific companies have made a commitment to keeping access to web data open and without costs. This is a noteworthy fact for a few reasons, first, there are functions that depend on web access to data such as journalism and related investigations; and second, many types of decisions depend on data such as business decisions, but also social ones such as government accountability. For example, one can collect data to determine if public functions are, in fact, what they appear or what some may claim.

Three Excellent Free Online Web Scrapers

CloudScrape

cloud scrape logoCloudScrape has proved to be a moderd, visual, feature-rich cloud scraping enviroment, (SaaS). This service is for regular web users to create, manage, run and schedule web data extraction robots. The ‘must be’ proxying, web pages’ JavaScript evaluation and in-built CAPTCHA solving features make it to be used for scrape of almost all modern web 2.0 sites.

The robot creation is intuitive, point-&-click, the learning curve being not steep. Cloud hosting makes possible all the scraped data to be stored in cloud. API allows to monitor and remotly manage web robots. It’s CAPTCHA solving option sets CloudScrape apart from services like Import.io or Kimono. The service provides a vast variety of data integrations, so that extracted data might automatically be uploaded thru (S)FTP or into your Google Drive, DropBox, Box or AWS. Amazingly, it makes all of those data integration to be seamlessly done in parallel!

The free account is rather scanty (20 hours of execution time and only 1 сoncurrent robot). Yet, for an amateur scrape it’s more than enough.

For those who have liked this cloud enviroment it offers also the paid account. CloudScrape provides both monthly subscription plans filled with all goodies as well as on-demand scraping pricing that charges clients only for scraping engine working hours. For Enterprise level data extraction the service offers the dedicated data extraction server capacity.

Import.Io

Import.io logoThis free online web scraper is software as a service format. All of the storage and technology is into a cloud-based system, and the user need only add a web browser extension to enable the tool. This is an excellent presentation, including text, video, and screenshots to explain the simple to follow process of registration and initial use of the scraper tool. The point and click style of selecting pages and data fields is simple and intuitive. The basis is access to a cloud bases library of API’s. For pages with no data in the existing Io library, the services can custom build a data-set.

The service offers data storage capacity in cloud-based storage and capacity to manipulate the data. One can add it to existing databases, existing library sets, or accumulate data overtime and create a database. Import.io has made a firm commitment to free access to their services, and their management and development team has impressive amounts and types of experience in the Internet data field.

Scraper Wiki

ScraperWiki logoThey limit free online accounts to a fixed maximum of data-sets. However, the service offers the same benefits as a paid service, without costs. This company has made a long-term commitment to supporting journalists by providing free premium accounts.

This free online web scraper has the added benefit of PDF tables’ capability. This is useful when cut and paste and usual, though time consuming, techniques will not work well. PDF format makes the cut and paste difficult to practically impossible.

The scraper wiki has recently revised its presentation and added some sophisticated options. For example, it works with some additional languages widely-used on the Internet including python, ruby, and php. The older classic version is still available.