In our increasingly digital world, the web has become a goldmine of valuable data for those who know how to extract it. Web scraping allows you to gather targeted information from websites – like pricing data, inventory listings, consumer reviews and more – in an automated fashion using bots instead of manual copying and pasting.
Traditionally, web scraping required technical expertise to code scrapers using languages like Python. But now, a new generation of powerful no code web scraping tools empower anyone to scrape the web without needing to write a single line of code.
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore:
- What exactly is no code web scraping and how it works
- The top 15 low code and no code web scraping tools in 2023
- The many benefits of visual web scrapers for non-developers
- How to get started with no code web scraping
- Why proxies are critical for any web scraper
- Comparisons to open source scraping libraries
- And more!
Whether you‘re a business researcher, marketer, recruiter, or work in any other field needing web data, low code scrapers put simple, effective web extraction in your hands. Let‘s dive in to unlocking no code web scraping!
What is No Code Web Scraping?
First, what exactly is web scraping? Web scraping (also known as web data extraction or web harvesting), is the automated process of extracting large amounts of data from websites.
Some examples of what you can scrape:
- Product prices and details from ecommerce sites
- Job or real estate listings from aggregation sites
- User reviews and ratings for sentiment analysis
- Public government data like financial filings
Web scraping allows you to gain valuable structured data from the web at scale vs copying by hand.
No code web scrapers provide intuitive visual interfaces to scrape data without needing to write any code yourself. They work by integrating closely with your web browser, recording your web activity as you manually navigate pages, and allowing you to visually configure data extraction rules.
The scrapers automatically handle:
- Identifying page elements and data you want to scrape
- Following links and pagination to extract all records
- Applying filters and transformations
- Saving scraped data to CSV, Excel, databases, etc.
- Repeating the process across thousands of pages
You simply need to direct the no code scraper through example pages, while it handles scraping at scale in a fast, reliable manner.
Top 15 No Code Web Scraping Tools for 2023
There are a growing number of excellent no code web scraping tools that allow you to extract data from websites without needing to code yourself.
Here are the top 15 low code and no code web scraping solutions for 2023:
|Web Scraping Tool||Code Type||Browser Extension|
|Bright Data||Low code/No code||Chrome, Firefox|
|Octoparse||No code||Chrome, Firefox, Safari|
|WebScraper.io||No code||Chrome, Firefox|
|ParseHub||No code||Chrome, Firefox|
|Import.io||No code/Low code||Chrome|
|ScrapeStorm||No Code||Chrome, Firefox, Safari|
|WebAutomation.io||No code||Chrome, Firefox|
|Agenty||No code/Low code||Chrome|
These no code tools cater to a range of experience levels and needs. Let‘s look at a few top options in more depth:
Smartproxy is likely the most intuitive and flexible no code web scraper available. Their visual browser-based interface lets you quickly set up scrapers from scratch without coding.
Key features include:
- Point & click element selection
- Automatic pagination following
- Flexible JS rendering support
- Scheduled extraction
- Built-in residential proxies
- CSV and API data exports
Here‘s a brief tutorial showing Smartproxy‘s no code setup:
Smartproxy is a great choice if you want a scraper that "just works" out of the box for many use cases.
Bright Data (formerly Luminati) offers a versatile set of web scraping solutions including the easy Data Collector no code extension alongside more advanced options.
Their tools allow you to:
- Visually configure scraping with the Data Collector browser extension
- Write Python scripts for complex scraping workflows
- Leverage a 70M+ residential proxy network
- Scale to very large websites with minimal blocks
This demonstration shows how the no code Data Collector works:
Bright Data‘s flexibility makes them a top choice for teams with diverse web scraping needs.
Octoparse offers one of the most full-featured no code web scrapers using a highly visual interface simple enough for beginners.
- Intuitive drag & drop scraping configuration
- Multi-browser support (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
- Scheduled automation
- Cloud storage integration (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc)
- Team collaboration features
- Free trial with 500 scrapings/day
For those brand new to the world of web scraping, Octoparse is a great entry point with their easy learning curve.
Why No Code Web Scraping Rocks for Non-Developers
What makes no code web scraping so valuable, especially for non-technical users?
1. Fast and easy setup
With no code tools, you can start extracting data in minutes by demonstrating the desired scraping workflow visually. No coding expertise needed.
2. Accessible to wider audiences
Marketers, researchers, agencies and more can leverage web data. No CS degree required.
3. Agile customization
Make tweaks and additions anytime through the GUI instead of coding edits.
4. Enhanced productivity
Complete more scrapers faster and handle larger workloads with easy tools.
5. Facilitates collaboration
Share scraper projects across teams for transparency and coordination.
6. Reliable automation
Schedule scrapers to run continuously with no ongoing manual effort.
7. Avoids blocks with proxies
Built-in proxy rotation prevents sites from blocking your scrapers.
No code scraping solutions make powerful web data extraction available to everyone.
Getting Started Scraping Websites with No Code Tools
Here is an overview of how to start scraping data using an intuitive no code web scraper:
1. Choose Tool & Signup
Select a no code solution like Smartproxy or Octoparse and create an account. Many offer free trials to test out.
2. Install Browser Extension
Add the scraping tool‘s browser extension to Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to capture your activity.
3. Record Workflow
Browse target sites manually while the extension tracks your steps. Highlight data to scrape.
4. Set Filters & Export Options
Visually configure the scraper‘s logic around what data to extract and where to export it.
5. Manage Proxies
Rotate proxy IPs to avoid blocks from heavily scraped sites.
6. Schedule Automation
Set the scraper to run on autopilot according to a schedule.
7. Monitor Analytics
Review built-in analytics on pages scraped, data extracted, and other metrics.
8. Collaborate & Optimize
Share scraper projects internally and continuously improve performance.
Many no code tools like Smartproxy offer helpful getting started guides and tutorials as well. With an intuitive visual interface, you‘ll be up and scraping in no time!
No Code vs Open Source Scrapers
No code web scraping solutions provide an easy onboarding point for non-developers. However, expert coders may still prefer the customization and scalability of open source web scraping libraries like Scrapy, Selenium, or Beautiful Soup in Python.
Let‘s compare the two approaches:
No Code Scrapers
- Fast setup without coding
- Intuitive visual interface
- Beginner-friendly shallow learning curve
- Less flexible customization
- Limited scale for large projects
Open Source Scrapers
- Fully customizable features
- Scales to scrape large sites
- Often free or open source
- Requires Python/coding skills
- Slower setup developing custom features
No code tools are great for smaller teams getting started with web scraping. For large scale production scraping, open source libraries grant advanced customization for developers.
Some platforms like Bright Data offer hybrid low/no code options balancing beginner ease-of-use and coding flexibility.
Why Web Scrapers Need Proxies
When deploying web scrapers at scale, it‘s essential to route your traffic through proxies to avoid getting blocked by target sites.
Without proxies, repeatedly scraping from the same IP addresses will appear bot-like and suspicious to sites. They will quickly shut out your scrapers.
Proxies allow you to route requests through thousands of different IP addresses from across the world. This makes your scrapers appear to sites as normal human visitors browsing pages, making it hard for sites to identify and block them.
Top web scraping tools like Smartproxy and Bright Data have built-in support for residential proxies optimized for scraping at scale while avoiding blocks.
Some recommended proxy providers include:
- Smartproxy – DNS proxies ideal for web scraping
- Bright Data – 70M+ IP pool with real-time proxy rotation
- Oxylabs – Integrates with all major scraping tools
- GeoSurf – Entry-level residential proxies
Scrapers paired with reliable proxies offer a successful combination for extracting large amounts of web data without interruptions.
Ideal Use Cases for No Code Web Scrapers
Nearly any scenario requiring data gathered from multiple webpages at scale can benefit from no code web scraping.
Here are some of the most popular use cases:
Competitor Pricing Monitoring
Ecommerce sites can scrape competitor product listings and pricing data daily to dynamically adjust their own pricing.
Job Listings Aggregation
Staffing agencies can consolidate job postings from major online job boards into their own database.
Analyze consumer sentiment by extracting user reviews and ratings for products, businesses, etc.
Build lead lists by scraping contact information for businesses in your target market.
Aggregate business listings from directory sites to compile your own niche directories.
Real Estate Analysis
Real estate investors can extract MLS listings at scale to identify promising investment properties.
Public Data Extraction
Government sites contain tons of public data from financial filings to health statistics that can be parsed at scale.
These are just a sample of the many uses cases where no code scrapers deliver value. The possibilities are vast!
Optimizing Your Web Scrapers for Success
Once you‘ve built your initial no code web scrapers, here are some tips to optimize performance and avoid pitfalls:
- Test extraction accuracy – Spot check scraped data for errors and refine selector logic.
- Tune page load delays – Slow down scraper to avoid flooding sites and getting blocked.
- Expand proxy pool – Rotate more IPs to better distribute requests.
- Try alternate selectors – Use XPath or CSS versus element ID to improve reliability.
- Monitor performance – Watch for rising errors or blocks indicating issues.
- Collaborate on improvements – Have teammates review scrapers for fresh perspectives.
With some fine-tuning, you can keep your no code scrapers running smoothly at scale. Reach out to the tool‘s customer support for assistance.
Closing Thoughts on No Code Scraping
No code web scraping tools like Smartproxy and Octoparse provide intuitive browser-based interfaces allowing anyone to effectively extract data from websites – no coding required.
These solutions make the power of web scraping accessible to non-technical users for a fraction of the time investment of traditional coded approaches.
While open source scraping libraries will continue to play a role for large scale projects, no code tools fill an important niche. They empower marketers, researchers, agencies, and other professionals to tap into the wealth of web data that can fuel better business decisions.
If you‘ve been seeking to extract value from online data, give visual no code web scrapers a try. In just an afternoon, you can be up and running extracting the information you need without writing a single script. The web‘s data riches await!