TikTok Scraper 101: How to Scrape TikTok with Python and Selenium

Are you trying you extracted publicly available data from the TikTok platform? You can either use an already-made TikTok scraper or develop a custom one if you have coding skills. These two would be discussed in the article below.

TikTok Scraper

With over 2 billion downloads and over 600 million active users, TikTok is not a kid in the block – and has taken the likes of YouTube and Facebook by surprise. But no, the staggering details are not in the number of users but the content they generate, which is the target of any web scraper targeting the platform either for marketing or social listening reasons.

It has been stated that over 83 percent of TikTok users have posted a video. And the engagement with content on TikTok is quite better than other short video-sharing platforms. All of these mean that there are tons of social data you can get from this platform by scraping it.

I used scraping because most social media platforms do not offer API for collecting data from their platform, and even if they do, it would be so limited that you can consider it useless, or you will have to pay for it. Now, when it comes to scraping TikTok, it is not as easier as it sounds.

However, if you know what you are doing, you should be able to get it done with our guide. For the non-coders or coders that would not want to go through the stress of developing a scraper, we have a section down where we recommend some of the best already-made scrapers you can use.


TikTok Scraping – an Overview

TikTok Scraping Overview

If you want to develop a custom TikTok scraper, then this section is for you. Else, you can move to the scraper recommendation section, but I do hopefully believe there is something for anyone to learn here. It might interest you to know that TikTok is not a soft nut to crack in terms of collecting its data via web scraping – it is a hard nut to crack.

TikTok has invested so much technology in tracking users and their behavior – An action that has received so many backlashes from many quarters. But for a web scraper, you should worry. This is because scraping a website that keeps a tab on its users is not an easy task. TikTok tracks IPs, cookies and also engages in fingerprinting users.

With such a robust tracking and anti-spam system, you will need to be smart and stealthy in your approach in other to succeed at scraping TikTok. This means that you will need to bypass all of the tracking systems and make them inefficient to succeed.

Without doing such, your scraper would be blocked after a few attempts – thanks to the effectiveness of their anti-spam system. Even if you succeed at scraping TikTok, you could get a hammer from their legal team depending on the technicalities of the data you collect. But on a general note, scraping publicly available data is not illegal in most jurisdictions. I would advise you to seek legal advice if you want to do this on a large scale.


How to Scrape TikTok Using Python and Selenium

I stated above that scraping TikTok is not an easy task. But how difficult is it? Well, for other sites, all you need to worry about is rotating IP addresses, and you are OK. In the case of TikTok, that is just one of the problems you will have to solve to scrape its content. Unlike other websites that do not rely heavily on JavaScript, without executing JavaScript, you cannot scrape TikTok. Look at the screenshot below; just by disconnecting my Wi-Fi, JavaScript has already been triggered.

Network Error Image

With this and many more behaviors of the TikTok web application, you know that it is javascript-heavy – making the TikTok website acts more like a native application. This means that you cannot use Scrapy, Requests, and BeautifulSoup to scrape it if you are a Python programmer. For other programming language coders, it means that you cannot scrape it using traditional scraping libraries that do not render and execute JavaScript.

For this reason, we would be using the Selenium in this guide. The Selenium Web Driver is a browser automator – what you do with that is up to you – in our case, we use it for rendering TikTok content in other to extract relevant data. You can use it to automate popular browsers using popular programming languages.

Selenium Web Driver Homepage

In the case of IP tracking, you will need to make use of proxies to scale through. Proxies would provide you alternative IP addresses to access TikTok, making it difficult for TikTok to see that the requests are coming from the same device.  However, this will only work if you use high-quality proxies that are undetectable and rotate the IPs frequently. For TikTok scraping, residential proxies are the best since mobile proxies are expensive and datacenter proxies are detectable. We recommend you use the residential proxies from either Bright Data or Smartproxy.

Since you would be using a custom scraper, cookie tracking is not an issue since you are not being forced to save any – you save the one you want and ditch you want not relevant. It is important I stress here that you have to be nice when scraping.

This is because depending on how powerful your scraper is, you could overwhelm the TikTok server, but then, if you are just a small-scale or medium-scale scraper, there is no way your actions would impact TikTok servers as it has been built to scale and take on large requests.

  • Code Sample for TikTok Scraper

Below is a small script that shows you how to scrape TikTok using Python and the Selenium web browser. We would be automating Google Chrome to access the comment section of a video then scrape the number of comments. The TikTok scraper is quite basic and just a proof of concept.

from selenium import webdriver

class TikTokScraper:

def__init__(self):
self.PATH = "chromedriver.exe"
self.driver = webdriver.Chrome(self.PATH)
self.text = ""

defget_comment_count(self, url):
self.driver.get(url)
# Parse data out of the page
self.text = self.driver.find_element_by_xpath('/html/body/div/div/div[2]/div[2]/div/div/main/div/div[1]/span[1]/div/div[1]/div[4]/div[2]/div[2]/strong').text


urls = ["https://www.tiktok.com/@gordonramsayofficial/video/6916583398500748550?lang=en",]
TikTokScraper = TikTokScraper()
for urlin urls:
TikTokScraper.get_comment_count(url)
print(TikTokScraper.text)

Best TikTok Scrapers in the Market

Who says scraping is for those with coding skills? With the help of already-made scrapers, you can scrap all kinds of data from TikTok. If you do not have coding skills, this section is for you. It is also for inexperienced coders that keep getting blocked by TikTok or the experienced ones that do not want to reinvent the wheel.

It is important you know that the best of TikTok scrapers are paid – or you will have to spend money one way or the other. Below are the best TikTok scrapers in the market.


TikTok Data Collector

Bright Data - Luminati

  • Pricing: Starts at $500 for 151K page loads
  • Free Trials: Available
  • Data Output Format: Excel
  • Supported Platforms: Web-based

Data Collector for Scrape TikTok

The Data Collector service is provided by Bright Data, a leader in the proxy market. It has later branched into web scraping, with the Data Collector tool being the tool for that. This tool has support for scraping TikTok. You can use Data Collector to scrape TikTok profiles, scrape content by hashtags, and many others.

One thing you will come to like about this service is that if there is any custom data you want to collect and they do not have default support for it, you can request it. The Data collector tool is available as a web-based service accessible using your browser.

Scrape Tiktok Data Run time

As you can see from the screenshot above, you can download the scraped data when the scraping is done. The above screen was when I tested the tool to collect profile data of a few of my favorite celebrities.


Apify Web Scraper

Apify Logo

  • Pricing: Free – you need to add proxies
  • Free Trials: Freemium tool
  • Data Output Format: JSON
  • Supported Platform: NodeJS library

Apify Web Scraper Homepage

The Apify platform has been developed to help automate tasks you carry out manually on your browser, and they have got a lot of actors (bot) to help get that done. While they have got specialized scrapers for scraping many of the popular websites on the Internet, there is no specialized TikTok scraper.

However, I find the Apify Web Scraper with support for rendering pages using Chrome helpful for scraping TikTok, and the good part is – this particular actor is free to use. However, instead of using the free shared proxies that come with it, I will advise you to invest in their residential proxies. Unlike Data Collector by Bright Data, Apify is meant only for Node.JS coders.


ScrapeStorm

Scrapestorm Logo

  • 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

ScrapeStorm Homepage

The ScrapeStorm web scraper is one of the best web scrapers developed for non-coders. This software presents an intuitive interface for training it on the data to scrape via visual click operations. You can use ScrapeStorm to scrape publicly available data on the TikTok web app. This web scraper has been developed for the modern web, which TikTok belongs to as it is JavaScript-heavy and actually a web app. When it comes to bypassing anti-scraping systems, the team behind ScrapeStorm is an ex-Google crawler team, and as such, they have got some experience under their sleeves, so you have nothing to worry about.


Octoparse

Octoparse Logo

  • Pricing: Starts at $75 per month
  • Free Trials: 14 days of free trial with limitations
  • Data Output Format: CSV, Excel, JSON, MySQL, SQLServer
  • Supported Platform: Cloud, Desktop

Octoparse Overview

Another visual scraper you can use to scrape TikTok is the Octoparse scraping tool. You can use this tool to scrape profile details, video links, and even comments, among others. The service is quite easy to use and also has a free tier with some limitations – the full power of Octoparse is unleashed when you subscript to their paid plan.

With Octoparse, you can convert data on the TikTok platform into a structured spreadsheet for your further usage. One thing you will come to like about Octoparse is that if you do not want to manage the scraping task yourself, you can contact the company behind the tool to offer you the data you want at a price.


ParseHub

Parsehub Logo

  • 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 Homepage

ParseHub is another web scraper you can use to scrape TikTok. ParseHub markets itself as a free web scraper. While this is true, it does have a paid plan which is the real deal if you want to scrape TikTok with peace of mind. One thing you will come to like about this tool is that it is easy to use.

All you need to do is use the point and click interface in manual operation to identify some of the data, and the tool will do its job. It has been developed for the modern web, and as such, you do not have to worry about TikTok being a website that relies heavily on JavaScript.

Conclusion

Looking at the above, you can see that you can scrape data from TikTok regardless of your coding experience. If you are an experienced coder and you wouldn’t mind developing a custom TikTok scraper, then you can go ahead and do so.

However, if you do not have a coding skill or you are inexperienced, and your web scraper keeps getting blocked, then using an already-made TikTok scraper is the best choice. One thing you will observe is that all of the web scrapers described are general scrapers which means that you can use them to scrape other websites as well.