“What is the cost?” will always be one of the first questions when searching for web scraping solutions. However, it’s tough to answer this question right off the bat. Web scraping has many factors and it can be difficult to determine the price without first identifying your specific needs and researching all of the options available to you. The cost of web scraping can vary widely, ranging from $0 to $10K and more. The amount you spend on web scraping will mostly depend on the complexity of the websites you want to scrape, what data you need, the volume of data to be collected and how you like to do the web scraping job.
A true-hearted note before you explore our discussion on pricing for the various web scraping methods: Ficstar is a premium web scraping service provider. We’re never the ones to shy away from being honest with respect to our own pricing and our competition’s. Although we are in the web scraping business ourselves, we want our customers to be as informed as possible. Thus you know the best choice for your needs, and it doesn’t always have to be us. We’ll be happy if this guide can help you find what you want, even though that’s not a solution from us. Now, let’s find out what the cost of web scraping actually is – for you.
How to define a web scraping project complexity
First, consider your specific needs and the level of complexity of your web scraping project. It is mostly ignored but extremely important when customers ask for a quote from us. Understanding your project’s complexity will be a huge help when budgeting your web scraping project.
Let’s use an example of scraping pricing for flight tickets. We will exemplify each level of complexity from simple to highly complex:
Check a travel booking website several times a day for a flight ticket you’re about to buy.
Check the website for the same flight itinerary at a higher frequency such as every minute and collect all the pricing data in a day.
Check the website to collect hundreds of flight itineraries at different times.
4. Super Hard
Check many travel websites to collect nearly real-time pricing data for thousands of flight itineraries, most of the websites have restrictions and limitations that make scraping harder.
So how much does web scraping cost exactly?
From here, we will delve into the price of web scraping, exploring the available options that align with your budget.
Ok, now that you know how to position your project according to the complexity of data collection, let’s talk about money – assuming you will care about that!
Web scraping for free ($0)
- Manual web scraping:
If it’s a very small job, you might consider taking matters into your own hands and manually copying and pasting the content you need. For a simple job, this is possible. But as the complexity increases, it will get harder, and more time-consuming to do it manually.
If it’s a simple job to check flight ticket pricing several times a day, it can be done by yourself with manual web scraping. But to be honest, we’re all human and so we have limits. How often can you check the website in a day? Can you check it 24 hours a day non-stop?
- Use a free tool:
Free web scraping tools are not hard to find, they can be found as a browser extension or as an online dashboard. It requires some work from you to set them up, but typically you don’t need to write any computer programming code to use these tools. After setting up, scraping tools can automatically extract information from websites, and convert it into readable and recognizable information. Because of the strength created by powerful automated computer programs, web scraping tools can help achieve a lot more than just scraping manually. You can now easily collect the flight ticket pricing every minute non-stop.
Here are a few examples of free web scraping tools:
|Overview||Free Features||Paid Plans|
|Web Scraper||A free chrome extension, with an easy point-and-click interface.||Local use only
|Data Miner||A free Chrome extension that allows you to extract data from websites using a visual interface.||Scrape 500 pages/month
Use Public & Create new Recipes
Next Page Automation
Restricted on some domains
|ScrapingBot||Offers web scraping API for data from various sectors.||100 credits
5 Concurrent Requests
Web scraping for $1,000 or less
1. Use a paid software:
Let’s say you have up to a few hundred dollars to invest in web scraping, in this case, you may consider using a paid software. These tools vary in their features and pricing, and the cost mainly depends on the package you choose.
The cost of a web scraping software is often based on the volume of data being processed or the number of requests being made. Many web scraping tools offer a variety of packages to choose from depending on your project needs. Some have premium plans with flat fees. Others charge per request and will show a custom price based on the data volume you select.
Paid automated tools usually come with several pricing tiers, each with a limit on the number of requests. The first package is designed for simpler projects and costs range from $50 to $100. The second package is ideal for moderate complexity projects and can cost from $100 to $500. Finally, the third package is designed for more complex projects, starting from $500 and up. Each one will specify the volume, frequency, and delivery format limitations. If you want to test it out to check if the package is right for your project, most tools offer free trial periods. Let’s take a look at a few options:
|Overview||Free Plan Features||Pricing|
|ParseHub||A web scraping tool that allows you to extract data from websites with a point-and-click interface.||200 pages per run
5 public projects
Data retention for 14 days
|Octoparse||A web scraping tool that provides a visual interface for scraping data from websites. It offers a range of features, including automatic IP rotation, scheduling, and data export to various formats.||10 tasks
Run tasks on local devices only
Up to 10K data rows per export
Unlimited pages per run
|Apify||A web scraping and automation platform that allows users to extract data from websites and automate workflows without writing code.||Compute units (CU): 10 CUs
RAM: 4 GB
Max concurrent runs: 25
Rented actors: Limited
Again you’ll need to set up the system by yourself before you can run the web scraping jobs. If you are completely new to web scraping you will probably have trouble understanding the software terminologies and navigating the system. Also there will be a learning curve for mastering the web scraping tool. Even though most of these tools claim they are easy to use, point and click and everything automated, it is very unlikely things are as simple as that. Most of the time, you’ll need to understand the programming logic before creating a successful web scraping project. If you never did any software programming before; and so without the knowledge of condition statement or loop function, it’ll be impossible for you to create a good web scraping project at the beginning. You’ll probably need to spend a lot of time learning and practicing to become proficient in using the web scraping tools. We have seen customers using web scraping tools for years and still can’t run some projects successfully – because mastering web scraping is not an easy task at all.
Another challenge for scraping with a software program is when the web data to be scraped is not in a standard format, the software might not be able to collect the data for you. For example some websites put the prices in an image format so the software cannot collect the data – this is actually their purpose to prevent you from using a web scraping software to collect data from the websites. Or you need to set a new store location to see the different stock inventory numbers and prices but you cannot automate this process with the software.
The ultimate challenge comes when the website detects you’re using a web scraping software and starts to show you the Captchas to resolve. These are very complicated technologies designed to block web bots. They want to ensure you’re a human not a robot doing this job. Typically a paid software will likely have a “proxy” solution built inside so you can start to use it to overcome the website challenges. However most of these “built in” proxy solutions won’t work well on complex websites with advanced anti-bot technologies. It also comes with a steep price to use the proxy function in these software programs. Sometimes the paid software has the function that allows you to buy proxies somewhere else and integrate them into the software. It is very challenging to use this function for normal non-technical business people. Also it’s very difficult to find good proxies that will work well with complex web scraping projects. To do this will drastically increase your workload and create a big uncertainty on whether the project can be done or not. Eventually it’s your job to decide if to use paid software or not for your web scraping project.
Recommended for a job with complexity level: simple to standard.
- Hire a freelancer:
Freelancer can help you free from the software programming work and save you time to work on other important things.
Freelancers usually charge per hour. Low-range hourly rates vary from $10 to $50. Mid-range freelance price varies around $50 to $100. More experienced freelancers will charge you more than $100 per hour. What affects the cost is mainly their expertise level and the location of freelancers.
Be careful this is the hourly rate and so the amount above is not the total price of the freelance job. Even if your project is considered simple, it is very unlikely a freelancer will do the job in only one hour. The cost will likely be more. Why? You will need to consider the time for the freelancer to set up the crawler and run the job for you. Also they will need extra time to correct the job if things are not going right at the first time. And so the cost will be even higher.
If you’re not comfortable with the variable hourly rate and the uncertainty of cost for the job, there is a better option for you. Most freelancing websites allow freelancers to create packages, where the freelancer pre-determines the amount of time they will need based on a set number of data sources and pages scraped, or you can set a fixed price for your project. Once again it is important to say that pricing will depend widely on what the freelancer will do, where they are located, and their level of expertise.
Freelancers can be a cost-efficient solution if you need web scraping with a quick turnaround and no long-term obligation. Also they are a good fit for simple and standard web scraping jobs. They are usually knowledgeable and flexible to accommodate your specifications. However, there are challenges when hiring a freelancer.
One of the main challenges is the need to evaluate and trust their expertise based solely on your skills to analyze their portfolio, read their client reviews, and check their success rates. Plus, you will need some knowledge of web scraping in order to judge if their skills are a good fit for your project and if the results they provide are accurate.
It is important to keep in mind that hiring a freelancer is a trial and error process. Even if you provide them with a detailed job description, and you read every single one of their exceptional reviews, each project is different, and so there is no guarantee that they will produce good results for your project.
One of the most common challenges for corporate customers to hire freelancers for their web scraping projects is the reliability issue of freelancers. The freelancers can simply walk away from a job after a period of time if the job is too challenging for them. Or they can send you bad results but claim “this is what is” and there is nothing you can do with that. Or they are too occupied with other projects or personal stuff and so your job will get delayed or even forgotten. Or they can simply just disappear or be non-responsive for whatever reason. In short, they are not your employees and not everyone must keep their reputation at the perfect level online. And the so-called “contract” between you and them can only provide some limited assurance such as a refund when you don’t receive results at all.
Ultimately, whether or not to hire a freelancer depends on the size of your project and specific needs – and your tolerance on potential bad results and experience. If you don’t have the budget or time to risk the outcome, a freelancer may not be the ideal solution.
We have an article dedicated to hiring freelancers for web scraping, you can read it here.
Popular freelancer websites: Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour and Guru
Recommended for a job with complexity level: simple to standard.
Web scraping for $1,000 or more
A web scraping service company:
A web scraping service provider is a company specialized in web scraping with solid experience completing many web scraping projects. The cost for hiring a web scraping service company can vary depending on the provider and the specific services they offer. The first cost is the set-up fee, which varies conforming to the complexity of the project. This cost covers the initial work that needs to be done to set up the web scraping system. It includes developing the custom code to scrape the specific data needed, testing the code, and ensuring that it can be run efficiently and reliably.
In addition to the set-up cost, there is a monthly cost associated with web scraping services. This cost covers the ongoing work required to maintain the scraping system and ensure that it continues to run smoothly. The monthly cost can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project, as well as the frequency of data scraping. While web scraping software has a fixed monthly price, web scraping services offer a more flexible pricing model based on the specific needs of the project and you are not limited to a set number of requests. Therefore, most probably, the web scraping provider will require you to contact them for a quote based on your specific needs.
|Overview||Web Scraping Pricing|
|Zyte||A web data platform for data on-demand or software tools to unlock websites. Offers web data extraction services for business needs.||Starting from $450+|
|Datamam||Datamam works with companies to effectively extract, organize and analyze global data.||Starting from $5,000+|
|ScrapeHero||A web scraping service provider that offers custom solutions.||Starting from $550+|
The main benefit of working with an established web scraping service provider is their commitment to customer service. Most providers will work closely with you to understand your specific needs and ensure that the data they provide meets your requirements. They also have a team of experts who can answer your questions and provide technical support when needed. Moreover, letting a service provider handle your web scraping needs means you won’t do any technical work, and you don’t need to worry about controlling and micromanaging the web scraping process.
When choosing a web scraping company, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you get the best service for your business needs. Location is one important consideration, as it can affect communication and support. It is also an important consideration in case your data need is time-sensitive, due to the difference in time zones. Additionally, it’s important to look at the company’s previous clients and projects, to see if they have experience in your industry and if they have successfully completed similar jobs in the past. Testimonials and case studies can also provide valuable insight into the quality of their work and customer service.
When you work with a web scraping company, you’re working with an established business with a reputation to uphold. This means they’re more likely to have a team of experienced professionals who can provide the expertise and support you need. Additionally, web scraping companies often have established protocols in place for handling issues or problems that may arise during the data collection process.
Recommended for a job with complexity level: complex.
What if you have an even bigger budget, say $10,000 or more?
Enterprise-level web scraping services:
If you are an enterprise customer who can’t take the risk of paying for low-quality results and need to trust experts to deliver accurate, reliable, and customized results that meet your unique needs, or you have a super hard web scraping project, it’s the best for you to hire a web scraping service provider with a track record of helping enterprise-level organizations succeed in large-scale and complicated projects.
One of the main advantages of working with an enterprise-level web scraping service provider is that you will benefit from their exceptional capabilities of handling complicated projects. They have invested into sophisticated technologies that can extract large amounts of data from complex websites. Additionally, they have experienced project management and quality control staff to ensure data quality and on time delivery. They also have extensive experience working with multiple-function teams from corporate customers which helps them better understand the specific requirements of a complex project.
Another advantage for using an enterprise-level web scraping service provider is the ability to receive a personalized solution tailored to your specific needs. These service providers have the resources and expertise to create custom-designed results that can seamlessly integrate into your data system. This level of customization can be critical for your business needs, as it ensures you are getting the most value from web scraping and making informed decisions based on reliable data.
Let’s use an example to explain the value behind a high-quality custom-designed web scraping solution. Have you ever hired a moving company? Let’s say you were moving out from a rental apartment. You probably didn’t have a lot of stuff, and a couple of friends and a U-Haul with some second-hand boxes did the job just fine. But as life progresses you accumulate valuable furniture and even some antiques with added sentimental value. At this point, I trust you care a lot about how these objects will be handled and you are likely going to hire an expert moving company, with solid experience, big trucks, professional movers, special wrappings, tools, and techniques that guarantee a smooth moving process. Well, and this may come as no surprise to you, but a high-quality moving company that can handle large volumes and complex furniture, such as antiques and a heavy piano, will come with a taller price. But you see the value of having peace of mind and a worry-free process – that sense of security, knowing that you are receiving the best possible service, without having to sacrifice your own time.
The same happens with web scraping. By outsourcing your web scraping to an experienced service provider, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that the job is in the hands of experts. Plus, you can demand results that meet your specific requirements and timeline because the service provider has the expertise to handle complex web scraping tasks and will be able to deliver accurate and reliable results to you on time.
Another benefit of using a professional web scraping service is the level of customer support they provide. A specialized provider will work closely with you to understand your needs and provide customized solutions that meet your specific requirements. Most of the corporate projects have specific support needs, such as creating data in specialized formats to be used in internal IT systems, and the project requirements are updated constantly based on feedback from the end users. Timely support from a team of dedicated professionals working on whatever you need is the cure to fix any possible issue that happens along the way. Moreover, an enterprise-level web scraping service provider will provide business advice and recommendations based on their extensive experience and use their unparalleled skills to make your project achieve the result way more than what you can get from anyone else.
In short, if you want a web scraping project done successfully from the beginning, hire a professional web scraping service provider with the expertise. They will bring in experienced specialists to ensure quality, on time delivery, customer support, long-term engagement and a professional relationship with your success in mind.
What’s an enterprise-level web scraping service provider look like?
- They have solid experience handling complicated web scraping projects. From day one you will feel the big difference between them and the low-quality service providers.
- You will work with a team of experts working for your needs including project managers, business analysts, software developers, quality assurance, customer support etc.
- There will be detailed project analysis and job description created with you and for you. Results will be reviewed timely and extensively.
- There will be constant communications with you by having all your requests recorded and managed in advanced project management systems. Customer support will be fast and efficient.
What is the process to work with an enterprise-level web scraping service provider?
- It starts with professional job discovery, project analysis and creating detailed job descriptions by working with an experienced project manager and business analysts. They will provide lots of value-added suggestions based on extensive working experience from similar projects for other customers.
- After sample results are created, they collect your feedback and review results with you, also provide constant improvement on the results so as to meet and exceed your expectations.
- Take your requests through customer support with all communications recorded and managed in a centralized project management and customer support system.
- Have weekly and monthly review meetings with you to ensure your project is on the right track.
- Build and maintain a long-term business relationship with you. The goal is to create a win-win solution for business growth together.
So if you have a web scraping project with no room for mistakes and you want to have the best experience and results, a professional enterprise-level service provider is the choice for you.
So how much does web scraping cost eventually?
In conclusion, there are enough web scraping solutions available to meet any budget and support any data need. Take into consideration your budget, project complexity, technical expertise, time availability and support needs. Then, select the method that will provide the best results for you.
Our suggestions in getting the right web scraping solution for you (and the likely cost):
- For a simple job, try a free software (no cost)
- Pay a software to handle a bigger job (less than $100)
- Use a freelancer to do the job for you (less than $1,000)
- Hire a service provider to handle more complex work (more than $1,000)
- Work with an experienced enterprise-level service provider to ensure project success (more than $10,000)