Octoparse and ParseHub are some of the popular web scrapers out there meant for non-coders. We would be comparing these two web scrapers in the article below to help you make a decision.
Web scraping is no longer an act meant only for programmers. Even non-coders can now scrape any data from any website without writing a single line of code — thanks to the existence of visual web scrapers such as Octoparse and ParseHub. With visual web scrapers like Octoparse and ParseHub, anybody with the skill of using the mouse and trackpad can extract data from web pages.
The steps required are quite easy to follow and can be said to be similar for both of the web scrapers. As you will come to find out though, Octoparse and ParseHub are quite similar in many aspects and this has resulted in a dilemma for many on the one to choose for their scraping projects.
While the working mechanism of Octoparse and ParseHub can be said to be similar as they are both visual web scrapers, it might interest you to know that there are some features that make them different from each other. We would be focusing on these features to help you make the right choice between the 2 web scrapers.
Overview of Octoparse and ParseHub
Both Octoparse and ParseHub are similar in some ways. In fact, it might interest you to know that they are similar than they are different. From the introductory paragraph, it was stated that they are both visual web scrapers which is a term given to web scrapers that have been developed to be used by non-coders.
With visual web scrapers, you get a point and click interface for identifying data points of interest. By identifying some of the data of interest, these web scrapers are able to automatically identify similar elements. They could scrape across pages with similar elements and are perfect for scraping tables.
With either Octoparse or ParseHub, you can scrape any data publicly available online. These web scrapers have been developed to avoid getting blocked and they both come with support for proxies which would help you achieve that.
In terms of ease of usage, they can be said to be almost the same as the process required is quite similar. They both support the export of data to popular file formats such as CSV and Excel. They also do not place a limit to the number of pages you can scrape and all do have a developer API that makes it possible to manage and access data in an automated manner.
Different Between Octoparse and ParseHub
In this section of the article, we would be taking a look at the differences proper. This section would be divided into sections with each discussing an area in which they are both different.
|Platform Support||Windows and Mac||Windows, Mac, and Linux|
|Pricing||$75 – $209||$149 – $499|
|Data Selector||Point and click, XPATH||Point and click interface, CSS Selector, Regular Expression, and XPATH|
|Image Download||Not supported||Supported|
The platform a web scraper supports is very important and would dictate the acceptability of the web scraper. This is because not many people are ready to change their operating system or even machine because they would need to make use of a web scraper.
For most users, they would need a web scraper that could run natively on their machine without necessarily changing a new machine or running the web scraper on a virtual machine or VPS. So how do Octoparse and ParseHub stands in such regard?
In terms of Operating System (OS) support, the Octoparse web scraping tool has got support for both Windows and Mac. For Windows, it does have support for older versions of Windows including Windows XP. However, while the most recent version is Octoparse 8, only Octoparse 7 Windows XP and that would require you to have the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 service pack 1 installed. For Mac, it is compatible with macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or a higher version(x64). If you are using a different OS or version other than what was mentioned above, then Octoparse is not for you.
ParseHub has got better platform support when compared with Octoparse. If you take a look at the download page of ParseHub, you will see that it has got support for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Linux is the addition to the platform support that gives it more edge than Octoparse in terms of platform support. This means that while you cannot use Octoparse if you are using a Linux distribution, you would be able to use ParseHub. However, you can tell that both of them do not have support for mobile yet — only desktop-based.
You will agree with me that pricing is an important factor when making a choice on the web scraper to use. The two web scrapers being compared in this article are both paid web scrapers that offer a free tier that can be used without making a payment whatsoever. However, for this, there are some limitations and as such, you might want to opt-in for their paid plan. One thing you need to know is that both web scrapers’ pricing is on a monthly basis.
A peep through the pricing page of Octoparse would reveal to you that it is quite affordable. Aside from the free tier which is obviously limited, Octoparse has got 3 other plans you can subscribe to with the smallest being the standard plan and is sold for $75 monthly. They have got the professional plan and the enterprise plan which is for businesses with high capacity requirements. Aside from these, one other feature that differentiates it from ParseHub is its crawler plan.
If you are to compare the free tier of Parsehub and Octoparse, then we would go for their free tier of OparseHub as it comes with more features even though it is also limited. In fact, it might interest you to know that ParseHub markets itself as a free web scraper. Aside from it free tier, Parsehub is the expensive one here. The smallest plan for ParseHub is the standard plan and comes with a price tag of $149 monthly. It professional plan has a $499 subscription label on it, making it expensive when compared with Octoparse pricing.
Data Extraction Methods
How is data being extracted in a web scraper determines whether you will find it easy to use a web scraper or not. It might interest you to know that the point and click interface provided is not enough in some instances. You cannot use such to extract data hidden deep within texts. So what are the options available that can be used in Octoparse and ParseHub?
Octoparse is the weaker one here. As far as selecting data is concerned, aside from the point and click interface, Octoparse only supports XPATH. XPATH in itself is not a bad language — it is quite effective at selecting nodes from web page documents. However, having only this means all users would have to be forced to learn how XPATH which is added complexity for many.
ParseHub also does have support for a point and click interface. It also has support for XPATH — and that is not all. ParseHub has got support for CSS selectors which makes it easier for those with a background in web development. It also has support for regular expression, making it possible to scrape data hidden deep within texts.
Image Download Support
Not many people would want to download images from the web and as such, for many, this is not even a point to take note of when choosing a web scraper. However, if you are looking forward to scraping images from the web, then you will need to pay attention to the one you will choose between the two visual web scrapers to avoid wasting your money.
If you are looking for a visual web scraper that can download images for you to third party file services, then Octoparse is not the tool for you — you will need to make use of an alternative as it does not have support for image download support especially if you need to download it to external storages.
ParseHub on the other hand is one of the web scrapers that can be said to be better suited for downloading images. Whether you are looking for a web scraper that would download images to Dropbox or Amazon S3, the ParseHub web scraper is equal to the task.
Looking at the above, you would see that there are no much differences between Octoparse and ParseHub. In fact, they are more similar than they are different from each other. This means that for the most part, the one you use does not really matter as they should both be useful for most visual web scraping projects.
However, from experience, Octoparse is a little bit simpler and easier to use than ParseHub because of the lesser features it comes with — it is also cheaper. On the other hand, ParseHub is the king here provided you can pay the price label on its packages as it has more features. For those without a budget, ParseHub free tier is also the winner.
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