Scrapy is an open-source framework for web scraping in Python that's popular among beginners. And although it offers extensive features, factors like advanced anti-bot bypass and programming language preference might influence the need for other options.
Let's explore your options in this article. Here's a quick access to them:
But before that, let's set some background around this topic.
What Is Scrapy?
Scrapy is a collaborative framework for crawling and extracting data from multiple web pages in parallel that lets you define how to navigate a target website and retrieve your desired data.
Since all this is true about Scrapy, why would you consider an alternative?
Why Look for a Scrapy Alternative?
Truly, Scrapy is a popular data extraction tool that attracts users with its vast features and well-designed architecture. However, certain limitations and challenges may prompt you to explore some Scrapy alternatives.
One major challenge with Scrapy is getting blocked by target websites. Modern websites implement an advanced set of measures to restrict bot traffic, and while Scrapy has some built-in features for this purpose, you might still get blocked.
Scrapy allows you to change User Agents, use proxies, and even rotate both for better results. It also provides various settings, like middlewares,
delay_requests, and others, that you can use to reduce the risk of being detected. However, all those configurations aren't enough for more protected sites. Moreover, some of its features require integrations with additional tools, which can complicate your code maintenance and increase costs.
For example, websites often use CAPTCHAs and signature tracking to identify and block bots. Scrapy doesn't have an in-built CAPTCHA solver, nor does it automatically spoof or randomize User Agents or fingerprints. Therefore, you must integrate third-party CAPTCHA-solving services or manually hide your fingerprint to achieve the desired results.
For a more scalable and less complex web scraping approach, find a list of the best Scrapy alternatives next.
Best Scrapy Alternatives Overall
The following web scraping solutions address the limitations associated with Scrapy.
1. ZenRows: Best for Web Scraping Without Getting Blocked
ZenRows is an all-in-one web scraping solution that makes it easy to do web scraping without getting blocked. You get rotating premium proxies, anti-CAPTCHA, headless browser functionality, auto-set User Agent rotation, fingerprinting bypass, and everything you'll need.
You can integrate it with Scrapy middleware or use it as a full Scrapy alternative.
- Premium rotating proxies, anti-CAPTCHA, and advanced anti-bot bypass features to scrape without getting blocked.
- Supports integration as an API, Proxy, or SDK.
- Intuitive interface.
- Extensive documentation.
- World-class support 24/7.
- Cost-effective: You only pay for successful requests.
- Integrates with any programming language.
- It may not offer the same level of customization as an open-source web scraping library.
- Anti-bot bypass.
- Rotating residential proxies.
- Geo-location with 190+ countries available.
- CAPTCHA bypass.
- Custom headers.
- Auto-parsing to automatically extract relevant JSON data from popular websites.
- Analytics and alerts.
- Automatic retries.
1,000 free API credits upon signing up, then $49 per month. This plan includes all the necessary tools and features for any project and company size.
2. Apify: Quick for Scraping some Popular Sites
Apify is a web scraping and automation platform that enables efficient data extraction and workflow automation. Amongst others, it offers tools for handling dynamic websites and using proxies. It mostly features its visual scraping tool, Apify Actor, yet it also enables custom coding using any programming language.
- Cloud-based infrastructure for managing web scraping tasks and solutions.
- Supports a vast range of external integrations, including Gmail, Zapier, and Google Drive.
- Responsive support and an active developer community.
- Supports code-based and no-code web scraping.
- Steep learning curve since its API is a bit too complex for beginner web scrapers.
- Some of its advanced features and functionalities rely on external integrations, which can increase complexity and incur additional costs.
- Performance monitoring.
- Smart IP rotation.
- Proxy integrations.
- External integrations.
- Cloud-based infrastructure.
- No-code scraping.
Apify offers a free plan with limited features and a monthly prepaid fee of $5. You'll need its pay-as-you-go plan starting at $49 per month for more functionalities.
3. Selenium: Best for Headless Browsing
Selenium is a powerful headless browser initially developed for web automation and testing. However, its ability to render dynamic content like an actual browser made it a popular web scraping solution and a Scrapy alternative.
Selenium enables you to emulate natural user behavior, interact with web elements (click, fill forms, etc.), navigate pages, and extract data. It provides rich features, such as element identification, cookie management, and proxy compatibility, to facilitate efficient web scraping workflows. However, Selenium requires more setup compared to other tools. For example, you need to install the Selenium WebDriver for your preferred browser and configure it properly.
- Headless browsing capability.
- Large developer community with extensive resources.
- Supports multiple programming languages: Python, C#, Java, PHP, Ruby, Perl, and NodeJS.
- Steeper learning curve compared to other web scraping solutions.
- Its properties and command line flags make it easily detectable by target websites. You can address this shortcoming by incorporating extra tools and configurations, such as Undetected ChromeDriver. But, again, this can make your project more complex.
- Requires web driver configuration and installation for specific browsers.
- Selenium is resource intensive and can be slow, even for small data sets.
- Headless browsing.
- Proxy support.
- Cross-browser support.
- Parallel execution.
Selenium is an open-source tool with no pricing model. However, you may incur additional costs from external tools, for example, proxies and CAPTCHA solvers, as well as more computing resources.
4. BeautifulSoup: Best for Data Parsing in Python
BeautifulSoup is a popular Python library for parsing and extracting data from HTML and XML files. It provides an intuitive way for navigating, searching, and manipulating HTML structures to extract specific elements or attributes.
- Automatically converts incoming documents to Unicode and outcoming documents to UTF-8.
- Easy to use. You can parse data using a few lines of code.
- Supports parallel requests.
- You can combine with other frameworks that handle HTTP requests, such as Python Requests, to use proxies.
- Quick integration with other Python libraries.
- Doesn't have the means to crawl and scrape web pages by itself. You'll need an additional library.
- Lacks features required to scrape at scale.
- Works only with Python.
- Simple methods for navigating, searching, and modifying a parse tree.
- Comprehensive documentation and active support.
- Encoding detection.
BeautifulSoup is an open-source tool released under the MIT license, which means it's free for both personal and commercial use cases.
5. Axios: Best for HTTP Requests in NodeJS
- It can be used to intercept HTTP requests and responses.
- Supports asynchronous web scraping, allowing you to perform multiple tasks concurrently.
- It can be used in both NodeJS and browser environments.
- Flexibility and customization.
- Built-in XSRF protection.
- Primarily a tool for making HTTP requests and doesn't provide data parsing functionalities.
- Request cancellation.
- Timeout handling.
- Automatic data serialization to JSON, multipart/FormData, and URL encoded form.
- Progress capturing.
- XSRF protection support.
Axios is also an open-source tool released under the MIT license. Thus, you can freely integrate it into your project.
6. Python Requests: Best for HTTP Requests
With over 30 million downloads per week, Python Requests is the most popular HTTP client for Python, and a partial Scrapy alternative. It offers an intuitive API that eliminates the complexities of working with HTTP, making it easy to make requests and handle responses.
- Can be used to intercept HTTP requests and responses.
- No need to manually add query parameters to your URL or encode your
- Supports external integrations.
- Built-in support for session management and handling cookies.
- Specific for Python.
- Primarily a tool for making HTTP requests, so it doesn't provide data parsing functionalities.
- Might not be ideal for large-scale scraping due to its synchronous nature, limited concurrency, and lack of in-built throttling, to mention a few examples.
- Proxy support, including SOCKS.
- Connection Timeout handling.
- Support for SSL/TLS verification.
- Automatic content decoding.
- Auto-parsing based on content type (for example, JSON, HTML, and XML).
This is an open-source tool released under the Apache 2.0 license. Therefore, you can use it for both personal and commercial uses without license fees.
7. Cheerio: Best for Parsing Data in JS
- Its jQuery-inspired syntax makes it easy to use.
- Its consistent DOM model makes for efficient parsing and data structure manipulation.
- Supports server-side web scraping.
- Supports CSS Selectors for easy data extraction.
- Works in both browser and server environments.
- You need an additional library for HTTP requests.
- Ships with two parsers: Parse5 and htmlparser2.
- Offers the Slim export library to save some bytes.
- Has custom plugin methods that allow you to perform specific operations or manipulations on the selected elements in a more convenient and reusable way.
It's readily available for free since it's open-source under the MIT license.
Top Alternatives to Scrapy by Language
Find below a classification of the best Scrapy alternatives by language.
Python Scrapy Alternative
Check out our guide on the best Python web scraping libraries for a deep dive. Meanwhile, as a quick summary, here are some of the top Python Scrapy alternatives:
Requests is a versatile Python HTTP client that can be a viable Scrapy alternative, particularly for small or medium projects. It offers a straightforward API for sending requests, handling responses, and extracting data.
Another Python Scrapy alternative is BeautifulSoup. It can be used in cases where extracting data from HTML structures is relevant.
Scrapy Ruby Alternative
To explore your options in detail, head to our selection of libraries for web scraping in Ruby. Anyhow, these are some notable Scrapy alternatives in Ruby:
HTTParty is a Ruby HTTP client for making requests and handling responses. It can be a solid option if your web scraping tasks are as simple as sending requests to target websites and fetching data.
Nokogori is a tool for parsing and manipulating HTML and XML content in Ruby. It can be useful for selecting specific web elements.
Capybara with Headless Chrome
Capybara is a powerful automation library in Ruby. Combining this tool with headless Chrome drivers gives you headless browsing capabilities, which can help emulate human behavior in Ruby. It offers many web scraping features, including asynchronous requests support and session management.
Scrapy Java Alternative
We ranked the best web scraping libraries in Java for you. Yet, find some great tools below:
OKHttp is an HTTP request library for Java. It can be a reliable tool for accessing static websites and retrieving data.
Jsoup is a Java library for parsing, searching, and manipulating HTML documents. It's a valuable option for navigating website content and retrieving specific elements.
Selenium is a popular browser automation framework with support for various programming languages, including Java. It's a perfect choice for scraping dynamic content. Moreover, it offers support for large-scale scraping and features that reduce the risk of being detected. For example, integration with Selenium's undetected ChromeDriver modifies the underlying Chrome driver to bypass anti-bot mechanisms.
Scrapy is a feature-rich web scraping solution, but it has its limitations, like most tools. If you're looking for a Scrapy alternative, we've seen multiple options for different programming languages and specific needs. Here's a quick comparison table of the most popular Scrapy alternatives we've discussed:
For easy web scraping without getting blocked, consider trying ZenRows. Sign up now to get your 1,000 free API credits.