“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.
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:
|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
|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.
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