How to choose the best web scraping service provider?

Web scraping is no easy task. Whoever offers these services has an established team to scrape data from websites that may be hostile to such services. They have to work for hours together to ensure they have scraped the relevant data from the website. Then comes the part where the data has to be structured according to your requirements. 

Those who offer web scraping serviceshave a team of professionals who have the collective knowledge and experience to scrape the desired data from the websites you want. 

Let us see what points you should keep in mind while choosing the best web scraping service provider. One clarification though, here we are talking about web scraping providers that provide tailor-made scraping solutions for you, not the online SaaS (Software as a Service) websites that provide generic scraping solutions for a limited number of websites.


There is no limit to the data you can scrape from the internet. What matters is how much data you will need and when you will need it. If the data to be scraped is at a small scale, things are OK. However, if the volume of data is unexpectedly large, this can be a challenge. Before you sign the dotted line, you have to ask your web scraping provider the following questions-

  • How much data would be generated?
  • How will it be stored?
  • How much time will you need to scrape the data?
  • What if there is more data than expected? How and where will we store it?
  • How will you ensure the confidentiality of the scraping process?

Transparent pricing

Web scraping can be full of surprises. Sometimes, you may get more data than expected from one source, while there will be lesser data than expected from another source. Whatever be the solution, there has to be complete transparency when it comes to pricing. You should make a contract stating the timeline of deliverables and any additional payments in case of any challenges faced during the process. The web scraping service provider should mention in the contract what all could go wrong and who will be responsible in that case.

How changes in the website will be dealt with

Technologies are always improving. The websites that you aimed to scrape may update at any time without any prior notice. They may change the technology in which they are made- if a website is made in WordPress, they may redo the website in Shopify or other platforms to focus on e-commerce or other uses. One question that you should ask your web scraping service provider- 

What would you do if a website you are scraping suddenly changes updates during the scrape? How much additional time will you need in that case? 

How would you bypass anti-scraping mechanisms?

Though scraping is legal, many websites put up barriers and technologies so that scrapers cannot get their work done. The more sophisticated the barriers put up against scrapers, the more difficult it becomes to scrape data from a website. Before you sign a contract, do ask your web scraping service provider what he would do (and how much time he would take) to bypass anti-scraping mechanisms.

Customer support

There can be times when the data sent may not be as per expectations. There may be something that you may not understand. For any such queries, customer support is very important. Ask your web scraping provider how they intend to support you once the scraping is completed or after data is transferred from them to your staff.

Data quality

How well the data scraping provider meets your expectations has to be seen when they send the final data that is expected. You will need to specify to them what you expect from the data they send you and how you intend to use it. 

Previous performance

It is foolish to blindly trust someone with such a big investment. You have to ask around to know how they work and what to expect from them. Doing a background check will also be handy for this.

A few last words

To stand out from a crowded business niche, you will need to have data as the biggest weapon to beat your competitors for market share. Scraping websites can help you with market research, customer feedback, competitor research, and much more. This is, however, a big investment which needs to be done carefully. There could be many roadblocks in the web scraping process, you will need an experienced web scraping service provider to tackle this well. Do not get influenced by anyone, do your homework and choose one that matches all your requirements.