Are you looking for an alternative web data extraction tool you would use for web scraping instead of PhantomBuster? If you answer yes to this question then there are many options available to you.
Automated web data extraction is quite popular among data-driven businesses, marketers, and researchers because of the huge amount of data available on the web today that is relevant for usage in different use cases. The popularisation of web data extraction has also led to an increase in the number of tools that can be used for such and each of these tools have their weaknesses and strengths.
This then means that the tool you choose would have to be determined by the features most important to you and whether you can overlook the weaknesses of a web scraper or not. The PhantomBuster solution for web data extraction is one of the popular options out there that you can use for extracting data from websites.
However, it is not the ultimate choice. A good number of people do not like it either because of some of its weaknesses or just for convenience and personal reasons. Whichever the case is for you; PhantomBuster is not the only web scraper in the market – there are many more some of which can even be rated better than it.
In this article, we would be taking a look at some of the best alternatives to PhantomBuster in the market for automated data extraction. Before going into that, let take a look at an overview of PhantomBuster and why you will need to make use of an alternative.
What is Phantombuster?
PhantomBuster is an automation and web data extraction platform that provides automation tools known as Phantoms which you could use for various use cases. Some of them are for automating tasks such as in the case of social media auto-follow Phantoms while others are for extracting data from the web known simply as web scraping. This platform has been developed to be used without writing a single line of code.
Phantombuster Overview (Simple review)
PhantomBuster is a cloud-based software but requires you to install its browser extension in other to function. It is quite popular and one of the best in the market in terms of web scraping. It does require you to add proxies to make sure you do not get blocked while carrying out your tasks.
The tool works quite well and I like the way each phantom is developed to do one thing, such as Instagram Hashtag collector, Instagram follower collectors…
However, it is not all rosy as it has its drawbacks.
Why Use PhantomBuster Alternatives?
No product is perfect and when you take a look at personal preferences, you will see that PhantomBuster does not cater to all in the market. Below are some of the reasons why you will want to pick up a PhantomBuster alternative.
Not the Easiest to Use
Are you a non-technical person looking for the easiest web scraper to use then you are better off using one of the easier-to-use alternatives? From the web page, you will think being code-free means easy to use. However, when you try using it, you will discover it is not as easy as it seems from the surface. You will need to spend some time getting used to the tool. To make things worse, the so-called documentation is not good enough to show you through the process as quickly.
Pricing is Expensive
One downside to this web scraper is that it can become expensive pretty quickly. Yes, it does offer a free tier but for most people, this free tier is not useful for their tasks as it can only be used for 10 minutes in a day and only give you one phantom slot. The business plan is sold for $70 and you only get 3 hours in a day and 10 phantom slots which are considered expensive to many when you take a look at the pricing of other competing software. In fact, some do not see it as value for the money.
Customer Care is Terrible
If you are looking for a web scraping solution that the customer support is top-notch then save yourself the stress of using Phantombuster as the customer support team might not be there for you at the time you need them. Your inquiries and request for help might not get swift responses and according to some users of the tool, the support team at some point seems to be clueless.
Best PhantomBuster Alternatives
As stated earlier, if what you need is an alternative to PhantomBuster for web scraping, then there are many choices available to you. Some of which can be described as even better than PhantomBuster. One thing you need to know is that even the alternatives still do have their own downsides as phantomBuster does. So your project required, skill, and personal preferences would be the determining factors.
- Pricing: Starts at $49 per month for 100 Actor compute units
- Free Trials: Starter plan comes with 10 Actor compute units
- Data Output Format: JSON
- Supported OS: cloud-based – accessed via API
The Apify platform is seen as the closest alternative to Phantombuster as they share a lot of similarities. Just like PhantomBuster, Apify has many specialized web scrapers known as Actors – that of PhantomBuster are known as phantoms.
The major difference between these two platforms is that while Phantombuster does not require you to write a single line of code, Apify is a platform for coders to avoid reinventing the wheel.
Apify is open-source and you can use its SDK to develop custom web scrapers. Apify has a huge library of Actors developed by third parties which you can use for your data extractions tasks. You can also make money by developing Actors for others to use.
- Pricing: Starts at $500 for 151K page loads
- Free Trials: Available
- Data Output Format: Excel
- Supported Platforms: Web-based
If what you are looking for is the easiest web scraping solution to use then the Data Collector service is the web scraping solution you need. This tool is provided by Bright Data, the leading provider in the proxy market. With this tool, you will not have to deal with any boring point and click Interface, take care of proxies, or even deal with any anti-scraping measures as Bright Data takes care of all of that.
With Data Collector, you can scrape a good number of websites on the Internet ranging from social media platforms, to e-commerce, down to travel and booking websites. Each of the supported websites has a range of web scrapers also known as Collectors for specific data points.
- Pricing: Starts at $139 for a single user license
- Free Trials: Not available
- Data Output Format: TXT, CSV, Excel, JSON, XML. TSV, etc.
- Supported Platforms: Desktop
It offers users an intuitive point-and-click interface for identifying data of interest on a page. This tool comes with a scraping task scheduler, has support for proxies which you will have to configure, and is quite fast at extracting data. It also has support for a good number of export formats.
- Pricing: Freemium
- Free Trials: Freemium
- Data Output Format: CSV, XLSX, and JSON
- Supported Platform: Browser extension (Chrome and Firefox)
Here is a unique web scraper that has some resemblance with the workings of PhantomBuster. This tool is entirely a browser extension that you can use to extract data from the Internet. PhantomBuster also depends on browser extensions but the larger part of the work is done in the cloud.
One thing you will come to appreciate about the WebScraper.io extension is that it is provided to be used for free. So, if you do not have a budget for web scraping, then this tool is the web scraper for you. This web scraper has been developed for the modern web and as such, you can use it to scrape all websites including Ajaxified websites.
- Pricing: Starts at $299 monthly
- Free Trials: 2-weeks free plan available
- Data Output Format: many formats supported
- Supported Platforms: Cloud
Diffbot is somehow different from the other tools described in the article. This is because it acts as a crawler that already crawled the web and has databases of interesting data for you to access for a fee. According to the information on its websites, it has over 246M companies and non-profits in its Knowledge Graph which you can refresh on-demand.
It also has 3 million retail products and 1.6 billion news articles, blogs, and press releases which you can extract. The Diffbot’s Knowledge Graph is a powerful tool when it comes to providing you data from across the web which you would use for your marketing and growth hacks, among other things.
- Pricing: Starts at $49 monthly for 100K API credits
- Free Trials: 1K free API calls
- Data Output Format: JSON
- Supported Platforms: Web API
ScrapingBee is a scraper API that has been designed to handle proxies, headless browsers, and captchas so you do not have to. It is a tool developed for developers that do not want to deal with the complexities associated with web scraping. With this tool, you will never think of getting blocked while scraping the web and if such happens, you aren’t paying for such requests as pricing is based on successful requests. The tool is available as a web API.
If you want, you can install the ScrapingBee client library to gain access to the extraction feature of the tool that would provide you with structured data. ScrapingBee has support for some of the popular programming languages. If you are looking for the best value scraping API, you can opt for ScraperAPI, Proxycrawl instead.
- Pricing: Starts at $49.99 per month
- Free Trials: Starter plan is free – comes with limitations
- Data Output Format: TXT, CSV, Excel, JSON, MySQL, Google Sheets, etc.
- Supported Platforms: Desktop, Cloud
Another alternative to the PhantomBuster is the ScrapeStorm web scraping tool that you can use to scrape data from web pages on the Internet. This tool is a generic web scraper not designed for any website – you can use it for scraping any website of your choice. This is made possible through the point and click interface provided by the application which is meant for identifying the data of interest on a page.
One thing you will come to like about ScrapeStorm when comparing it with other visual web scrapers is that it is AI-powered, making it possible to automatically identify data of interest on a page without manual operation. This means that there are pages that you will not even need to make use of the point and click interface.
- Pricing: Custom quote
- Free Trials: 30-days free limited plan available
- Data Output Format: CSV, JSON
- Supported Platforms: Cloud
If you are a premium client looking for a tested and trusted solution used by big companies then the Mozenda service is the tool you should take a look at. The Mozenda solution according to the information on the Mozenda website is being used by 1/3 Fortune 500 companies. With this tool, you will not have the need to have your own web scraper especially if the data of interest is complex.
The tool integrates well with other third-party tools and even has support for many export formats. One thing you will come to like with Mozenda is that they also offer a data wrangling solution and would even do the web scraping for you if you do not want to do that on your own using their software.
- Pricing: Free with a paid plan
- Free Trials: Free – advance features come at an extra cost
- Data Output Format: Excel, JSON,
- Supported Platform: Cloud, Desktop
ParseHub is another good alternative to the PhantomBuster web scrapers and unlike the phantoms of PhantomBuster, you will be dealing with one web scraper for all of your scraping needs. The ParseHub tool is a visual web scraper that provides you with a point and clicks interface which you would use to identify data of interest on a page.
ParseHub has got a free tier for those that do not have a budget for a web scraper. However, this does not mean you can avoid spending money while using this tool, just like many of the visual web scrapers described, you will need to configure proxies to hide your IP footprint in other to avoid getting blocked, and doing so would cost you money.
- Pricing: Starts at a $99 one-time purchase
- Free Trials: 10 days free
- Data Output Format: CSV, Excel, JSON, SQLite, etc.
- Supported Platforms: Desktop
Helium Scraper is last on our list and this does not mean it is inferior to all of the alternatives described above. In fact, it might interest you to know that it offers one of the best value for the money and still get the job done. This web scraper can be seen as a good alternative to PhantomBuster if you are trying to save money as you only pay for it once and use it forever.
It some with some advanced features including fast extraction by blocking unwanted requests, database generation and ability to handle big data up to 140 terabytes, API support, text manipulation, similar element, and list detection, among others.
There is no doubt that PhantomBuster works and helps a good number of businesses and researchers pull data from the Internet without them writing a single line of code.
However, it is not the solution for all of your web scraping needs and does have downsides that would make you want to use alternative software. If you are in such a position right now, then one of the web scrapers described above to meets all or most of your requirements in a web scraper.
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