After completing reviews for both Mozenda and Visual Web Ripper, it was time to compare the advantages of each. This short post gives a quick look into these scraping tools, both of which are powerful and popular.
1. Cloud Service vs Desktop Application
Mozenda, a cloud service, and its features:
- Platform independency, (However, Mozenda’s Agent builder only runs on Windows)
- IP banning not an issue (When working with a desktop application, you should be wary of web-traffic loading, IP address exposure)
- Computer resources relief (You don’t need to have your computer to be turned on to do scraping)
- Working place independence (You can tune your scraper, manage the scraping process and get scraped data from any computer connected to the web)
Advantages of Visual Web Ripper as a desktop application:
- It may be built into web projects from nearly any Windows application including websites through an API.
- You pay once for the application and scrape an unlimited amount of sites.
Both are able to interact and submit to web forms (such as search forms or online booking forms) for multiple parameter scraping.
Cloud Service suits better for doing anonymous scraping and offloading resources. On the other hand, the Desktop Application is the way to go if you want to incorporate the software into your enterprise (web service, web site, application) – or if you prefer to avoid regular payments for the service.
2. Cost per page vs Fixed $300
Mozenda pricing‘s basic Standard plan is $99 per month for 5000 pages, 1 GB storage and a paltry 5 concurrent jobs (Agents) limit, and you can buy additional records if needed. There are also upgrades to several higher plans for as much as $2499 pro year for the Executive plan that gives you 2’000’000 pages a year, 10 GB storage with 75 concurrent jobs. Visual Web Ripper’s Single User License goes for $299, including a 1-year maintenance. A 20% discount applies for purchasing 2-5 licenses, and 40% for 6-10 or more.
We conclude that Mozenda better fits middle- to large-scale businesses able to pay monthly for data needed. The VWR is monthly expenditure-independent (once mastered) and fits better for single users and small- to middle-size enterprises looking to get the most bang for your buck.
3. Both have responsive support service
As soon as I signed up with Mozenda I was offered:
- a 10-Minute Tutorial
- a QuickStart demo, web meeting, to help build my first web agent
Using the tutorial video, within 10 minutes I’ve easily have built a custom scraping agent. Even I’ve missed my appointment for the web meeting, and still a Mozenda salesperson asked if i want to get help to start to build my own agents. I thanked him since by that time I’ve learned what i needed. And, Mozenda provides a call center support.
Visual Web Ripper support offers to each new user a help guide to create one data extraction demo project for free during the trial period. I didn’t use this bounty, yet I did submit a question at the support page and received a prompt reply within 12 hours. This was satisfying.
Specific isolated issues are subject to service center maintenance. In case you meet an issue you might submit attached project that illustrates a problem you’re having, and point to a specific isolated area of a website.
4. Difficulty to build Project/Agent.
Working with both scrapers I found it difficult to build a project or agent. Web scraping on some sites can be an extremely difficult task, so I spent extra time to work out the tasks i needed, mainly watching and re-watching training videos (Mozenda, Visual Web Ripper). The demonstrations of Visual Web Ripper are clearer and more specific, considering each level of target page difficulty. Projects like Facebook data extraction (takes login form submit & Ajax-driven content) are for expert users, who do need to have some knowledge of how dynamic websites work.
At the end I want to summarize what scraper fits best to specific task:
- If the data are protected from scraping > use Mozenda with its IP independence.
- If you need to scrape and save results into multiple data formats > use Visual Web Ripper (supports plenty)
- If extra difficult use cases (CAPTCHA, etc.) > better Visual Web Ripper.
- If you have computer resources for scraping and don’t want to pay more > use Visual Web Ripper as a desktop application
- If you don’t want to use your computer for scraping > use Mozenda as a cloud service
- If you want to be workplace independent > use Mozenda as a cloud service
For my purposes, I recommend Mozenda to use with easy projects while Visual Web Ripper for the tough, difficult-to-scrape websites. Both scrapers prove to be stable, high-responsive software with a friendly UI and support center.