Scraping and crawling the web can be difficult and time consuming without the right tools. That's why Apify provides ready-made solutions to crawl and scrape any website. They are based on our Actor product and the Apify SDK.
Don't let the number of options confuse you. Unless you're really sure that you need to use a specific tool, just go ahead and use the Web Scraper. It is the easiest to pick up and can handle almost anything. Look at Puppeteer Scraper or Cheerio Scraper only after you know your target websites well and need to optimize your scraper.
Web Scraper is a ready-made solution for scraping the web using the Chrome browser. It takes away all the work necessary to set up a browser for crawling, controls the browser automatically and produces machine readable results in several common formats.
Cheerio Scraper is a ready-made solution for crawling the web using plain HTTP requests to retrieve HTML pages and then parsing and inspecting the HTML using the Cheerio library. It's blazing fast.
Cheerio is a server-side version of the popular jQuery library that does not run in the browser, but instead constructs a DOM out of a HTML string and then provides the user with API to work with that DOM.
Puppeteer Scraper is the most powerful scraper tool in our arsenal (aside from developing your own actors). It uses the Puppeteer library to programmatically control a headless Chrome browser and it can make it do almost anything. If using the Web Scraper does not cut it, Puppeteer Scraper is what you need.
Puppeteer is a Node.js library, so knowledge of Node.js and its paradigms is expected when working with the Puppeteer Scraper.
Legacy PhantomJS Crawler is the actor compatible with an original Apify Crawler that you may have known. It supports the same input and produces the same output. But it uses legacy technology and if you're starting a new project, we recommend using our other solutions that run on the Apify Actor platform and use Chrome as the browser instead, such as Web Scraper above.