PHP Web Scraping vs Scraping Robot: Who’s The Winner?

Alli Davis
July 3, 2020
Community
PHP web scraping

I’ve always labeled myself a “words” person. Making art and writing stories always made more sense to me than deciphering numbers, letters and extensive data sets that looked like unbreakable code to me. When I saw a spreadsheet list of numbers, I didn’t always see their significance and value, I just saw complicated values that made no sense to me. But when I started taking statistics in high school, I learned to see the connection between my creative and analytical sides. I started learning to see that data in a completely different way and understand how important and valuable it could be in my personal life. When you learn how to collect data and present it in a clear, thoughtful way, you can use that data to help you make impactful decisions for your personal and professional life.

When I started learning more about the importance of this kind of data, I started wondering more about the processes people use to collect this valuable data. It turns out that there are many processes for data collection, but some of them are more complicated than others. Data collection can be such a valuable tool, but only if you know the right tools to use. Scraping Robot is one great tool that makes web scraping so much easier, but there are other ways to scrape the web that aren’t so efficient. One of these processes uses PHP coding. In this article, we’ll talk about the definition of PHP code and how someone could use it to scrape the web. However, when we compare the two processes together, I think you’ll see that web scrapers are the more simple and effective solution. With the right tools, you can get all the data you need from the web and use it to your advantage.

Table of Contents

What is PHP Web Scraping?

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Before we talk about PHP web scraping, there are some definitely some basic terms we need to understand. I find that it’s best to start with a definition of data scraping when explaining this topic. Data scraping is the process of extracting data from websites, but only data that is available to the public. This data can include pricing information on your favorite kitchen appliances, consumer reviews on restaurants in your neighborhood, travel information and so much more. There are many reasons why someone would want to scrape the web for a lot of valuable data, but we’ll talk more about those reasons later in this article.

If you’re fluent in computer coding languages, you can actually build your own scraper framework to extract data from websites. One of the most popular coding languages for scraping is PHP, which is the shorthand name for a PHP Hypertext Processor. (It used to stand for personal home page, but that name doesn’t effectively describe its purpose anymore.)

PHP code is specifically used to build dynamic websites, or websites that can change and adapt to users based on information they provide to the website. For example: if you wanted to build a website that allowed your users to log in with a username and password, you would use PHP code to make that happen. You may additionally read this PHP tutorial for more info about PHP. HTML, another coding language, doesn’t allow you to make these types of interactive features on your website. However, you can use HTML and PHP to build a website, it just depends on what you want your website to do.

What are the Pros and Cons of PHP Web Scraping?

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One of the main reasons why someone might want to scrape the web with a PHP scraper is simply because that’s the coding language that makes the most sense to them. If you know the ins and outs of a certain type of code, that’s probably going to be what you use. Someone might use PHP because the website you want to scrape hasn’t provided a specific API, or application programming interface that gives specific instructions on how can collect data from that website.

You can also build PHP code that allows you to scrape the web, but it’s pretty complicated and fragile code. Since PHP can only access data within a website’s HTML code, it’s very possible that your PHP code could break as soon as the web developer changes the site’s HTML. If the website owner or developer makes changes to the HTML code of a website you’re trying to scrape, your PHP web scraper could break, and you could lose access to that very valuable data. This makes it almost impossible to get real-time data, which is one of the main reasons why people use web scrapers.

There are some major cons to using PHP, some of which have already been mentioned in this article. If your PHP scraper at the mercy of the website you’re trying to scrape, then you could lose access to valuable data. This means that you probably shouldn’t use PHP scraping to access data for your business initiatives, since your company relies on that data to grow and succeed.

What Tool Should You Use Instead of Web Scraping PHP?

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If you want to scrape the web quickly and efficiently, you should steer clear of using PHP or other coding languages to scrape the web for you. Instead, you can use automated web scrapers like Scraping Robot, which are built to perform scrapes with just a few clicks. Scraping Robot allows you to input the websites you want to scrape and receive output data from those websites. Most scraping software systems allow you to experience this process of scraping through easy-to-use modules, so you can scrape specific websites for your needs. Not only are automated web scrapers like Scraping Robot going to lead to more personal and professional success, but they are also more reliable, efficient and ethical than self-made web scrapers.

Why Does Scraping Robot Beat Web Scraping With PHP?

 

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It’s no secret that we think Scraping Robot is the best web scraping tool out there, but hear us out. We take scraping very seriously, and we put people (not data) first. This means you can expect our modules to give you the best results, because we would want the best results! Plus, we offer custom solutions for your scraping projects, so if you don’t think one of our modules will work for you, we’re happy to find other options to help you succeed. Here are some other benefits of using Scraping Robot:

The most affordable solution

Some people might think that building their own scraper is the cheapest option, but here’s what we say to them: how do 5,000 free scrapes per month sound? Frankly, it’s the very best deal you’re going to find. If you’re going to use more than 5,000 scrapes per month, great! Each scarpe after that is only $0.18. We can offer these unbeatable prices because we use high-quality rotating proxies from Blazing SEO, our partner company that offers unused proxies to use for scraping purposes. Since we don’t have to buy our proxies from third-party vendors, we can give you scrapes for free!

Custom modules

We offer plenty of modules to help you get the most out of your data. Do you want to extract data about top-rated travel locations with our Google Places Scraper? Or maybe you want to find the top 100 URLs from Google search results pages with our traditional Google scraper. If you want to find pricing info that can give you an edge in your market, we suggest our Amazon scraper. Or maybe you want to find out more about your followers on social media so you can engage with them more effectively. If you want to scrape the HTML of any website on the internet, our HTML scraper is for you. But these are just a few use cases. The possibilities are endless for scraping the web. No matter what idea you have, we have a scraping solution for you!

Intuitive API

An API is a set of instructions that tells websites how to interact with each other, especially when you want to scrape their data. With our intuitive API parameters, you can use our instructions to efficiently collect real time data with few simple coding requests. These functions allow your software to run scraping projects on Scraping Robot so you can get real-time data. This kind of data is highly beneficial for all sorts of reasons, including letting you know exactly when a price changes or letting you extract data from multiple websites more quickly and efficiently. For more information on how to use this competitive feature, check out our API documentation.

Final Thoughts

If you’re reading this article, you probably know already that data is important. Maybe you learned that early on in life, or maybe you took a little bit longer to figure out why it was so important (like me). No matter how you came to appreciate data, you now have even more reasons to use data scraping in your own life. Whether you are a corporate professional looking to gain a competitive edge, or you are an individual simply looking for the best prices on your favorite products, web scraping is the perfect tool for you. No matter how you see data or what purpose you want to use it for, you can rely on reliable scraping tools like Scraping Robot to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently. We hope you’ll let Scraping Robot join your data journey today!

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