Web scraping is something developers encounter on a daily basis.

There could be different needs as far as each scraping task is concerned. It could be a product or stock pricing.

In backend development, web scraping is quite popular. There are people who keep creating quality parsers and scrapers.

In this post, we will explore some of the libraries which can enable scraping websites and storing data in a manner that could be useful for your immediate needs.

In PHP, you can do scraping with some of these libraries:

  1. Goutte
  2. Simple HTML DOM
  3. htmlSQL
  4. cURL
  5. Requests
  6. HTTPful
  7. Buzz
  8. Guzzle

1. Goutte

  • Description:
  • The Goutte library is great for it can give you amazing support regarding how to scrape content using PHP.
  • Based on the Symfony framework, Goutte is a web scraping as well as web crawling library.
  • Goutte is useful because it provides APIs to crawl websites and scrape data from the HTML/XML responses.
  • Goutte is licensed under the MIT license.
  • Features:
  • It works well with big projects.
  • It is OOP based.
  • It carries a medium parsing speed.
  • Requirements:
  • Goutte depends on PHP 5.5+ and Guzzle 6+.
  • Documentation:
  • https://goutte.readthedocs.io/en/latest/
  • Learn more:
  • https://menubar.io/php-scraping-tutorial-scrape-reddit-with-goutte

2. Simple HTML DOM

  • Description:
  • Written in PHP5+, an HTML DOM parser is good because it enables you to access and use HTML quite easily and comfortably.
  • With it, you can find the tags on an HTML page with selectors pretty much like jQuery.
  • You can scrape content from HTML in a single line.
  • It is not as fast as some of the other libraries.
  • Simple HTML DOM is licensed under the MIT license.
  • Features:
  • It supports invalid HTML.
  • Requirements:
  • Require PHP 5+.
  • Documentation:
  • http://simplehtmldom.sourceforge.net/manual.htm
  • Learn more:
  • http://www.prowebscraper.com/blog/web-scraping-using-php/

3. htmlSQL

  • Description:
  • Basically, it is a PHP library which is experimental. It is useful because it enables you to access HTML values with a SQL-like syntax.
  • What this means is that you don’t need to write complex functions or regular expressions in order to scrape specific values.
  • If you are someone who likes SQL, you would also love this experimental library.
  • How it will be useful is that you can leverage it for any kind of miscellaneous task and parsing a web page pretty quickly.
  • While it stopped receiving updates/support in 2006, htmlSQL remains a reliable library for parsing and scraping.
  • htmlSQL is licensed under the BSD license.
  • Features:
  • It provides relatively fast parsing, but it has a limited functionality.
  • Requirements:
  • Any flavor of PHP4+ should do.
  • Snoopy PHP class - Version 1.2.3 (optional - required for web transfers).
  • Documentation:
  • https://github.com/hxseven/htmlSQL
  • Learn more:
  • https://github.com/hxseven/htmlSQL/tree/master/examples

4. cURL

  • Description:
  • cURL is well-known as one of the most popular libraries (a built-in PHP component) for extracting data from web pages.
  • There is no requirement to include third-party files and classes as it is a standardized PHP-library.
  • Requirements:
  • When you want to use PHP’s cURL functions, all you need do is install the » libcurl package. PHP will need libcurl version 7.10.5 or later.
  • Documentation:
  • http://php.net/manual/ru/book.curl.php
  • Learn more:
  • http://scraping.pro/scraping-in-php-with-curl/

5. Requests

  • Description
  • Requests is an HTTP library written in PHP.
  • It is sort of based on the API from the excellent Requests Python library.
  • Requests enable you to send HEAD, GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and PATCH HTTP requests.
  • With the help of Requests, you can add headers, form data, multipart files, and parameters with simple arrays, and access the response data in the same way.
  • Requests is ISC Licensed.
  • Features:
  • International Domains and URLs.
  • Browser-style SSL Verification.
  • Basic/Digest Authentication.
  • Automatic Decompression.
  • Connection Timeouts.
  • Requirements:
  • Requires PHP version 5.2+
  • Documentation :
  • https://github.com/rmccue/Requests/blob/master/docs/README.md

6. HTTPful

  • Description :
  • HTTPful is a pretty straightforward PHP library. It is good because it is chainable as well as readable. It is aimed at making HTTP readable. 
  • Why it is considered useful is because it allows the developer to focus on interacting with APIs rather than having to navigate through curl set_opt pages. It is also great a PHP REST client.
  • HTTPful is licensed under the MIT license.
  • Features:
  • Readable HTTP Method Support (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE, HEAD, PATCH, and OPTIONS).
  • Custom Headers.
  • Automatic “Smart” Parsing.
  • Automatic Payload Serialization.
  • Basic Auth.
  • Client Side Certificate Auth.
  • Request “Templates.”
  • Requirements:
  • Requires PHP version 5.3+
  • Documentation:
  • http://phphttpclient.com/docs/

7. Buzz

  • Description:
  • Buzz is useful as it is quite a light library and enables you to issue HTTP requests.
  • Moreover, Buzz is designed to be simple and it carries the characteristics of a web browser.
  • Buzz is licensed under the MIT license.
  • Features:
  • Simple API.

High performance.

8. Guzzle

  • Description:
  • Guzzle is useful because it is a PHP HTTP client which enables you to send HTTP requests in an easy manner. It is also easy to integrate with web services.
  • Features:
  • It has a simple interface which helps you build query strings, POST requests, streaming large uploads, stream large downloads, use HTTP cookies, upload JSON data, etc.
  • It can send both synchronous and asynchronous requests with the help of the same interface.
  • It makes use of PSR-7 interfaces for requests, responses, and streams. This enables you to utilize other PSR-7 compatible libraries with Guzzle.
  • It can abstract away the underlying HTTP transport, enabling you to write environment and transport agnostic code; i.e., no hard dependency on cURL, PHP streams, sockets, or non-blocking event loops.
  • Middleware system enables you to augment and compose client behavior.
  • Requirements:
  • Requires PHP version 5.3.3+.
  • Documentation:
  • http://docs.guzzlephp.org/en/stable/
  • Learn more:
  • https://lamp-dev.com/scraping-products-from-walmart-with-php-guzzle-crawler-and-doctrine/958 


As you can see, there are various tools at your disposal and it will depend upon your needs as to what kind of tools will suit you.

However, a basic understanding of these PHP libraries can help you navigate through the maze of many libraries that exist and arrive at something useful.

I hope that you liked reading this post. Feel free to share your feedback and comments!

Originally published by Hiren Patel at https://dzone.com

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8 Awesome PHP Web Scraping Libraries and Tools
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