Web Scraping: Scrapy vs Beautifulsoup vs Selenium

Python developers often choose Beautiful soup, Scrapy and Selenium for web scraping. Each has its own pros and cons.
Scrapy Vs Beautifulsoup VS Selenium


Plenty of different scraping tools are available in the market. All of them, though, serve the same purpose which is to access site content, it can be a bit difficult to choose one best suits your need. Keep on reading to know the difference of features of the top 3 scraping tools-Scrapy, Selenium, and Beautifulsoup. Web scraping is a technique that almost every one of you has already heard of. With the help of this technique, web scrapers use bots to extract data and content from a website. We know about the technique of screen scraping where only copied pixels being displayed onscreen are extracted, but Web scraping works in a bit different manner. It extracts the underlying HTML codes and not only this, it gives the favor of extracting data which is stored in database as well. Web scraping helps businessmen and professionals in gathering web data to sell their companies for promotional intention. A whole heap of different scraping tools is used for the same purpose of accessing sites, but as they're so many in number it gets a lot tough to know their difference. Do you want to know how different the top 3 scraping tools-Scrapy, Selenium, and Beautifulsoup are? If yes, we have got you covered. This article covers all the aspects showing different are top 3 popular scrapping tools.


Scrapy is a scraping tool that comes up with plenty of different tools to make web crawling and scraping, even more, easier than before. As we already know that one of the most valuable features that must also be considered, is the speed with which web scraping services often perform their task, that too in a time-saving manner. In terms of performance and speed, Scrapy is an option that you just cannot resist. Over the rest of 3 scraping tools, Scrapy steals the show by introducing modules that make it able to send requests as well as to parse responses. One of the key advantages of Scrapy making it prominent among other scraping tools is it being built on top of Twisted. To everyone who doesn't know, Twisted is an asynchronous networking framework being built on which makes Scrapy a non-blocking tool. And even this is not all Scrapy has lots more advantages than synchronous requests sending.

Summing up the key features of Scrapy as follows.

  • Scrapy includes a portable library. This library is written on Python and runs Windows, BSD, Mac, and Linux. 
  • This scraping tool has built-in support as well which helps it for extracting data from HTML sources using XPath expression and CSS expressions.
  • It is one of the easily extensible tools available.
  • As mentioned above, Scrapy has comparatively the fastest speed of any other scraping tool available in the entire market. It is able enough to extract data from websites 20 times faster than other scraping tools. 

Beautiful Soup

As clear from the name, Beautiful soup is literally a beautiful tool for scrapping purposes. This is a library that will help scrappers pull the data out of XML and HTML files. But one of the cons of this scraping tool is that it cannot do the entire job on its own  rather it takes some of the modules in usage in order to get its work done.

The core features of this Beautiful soup are as follows.

  • It is one of the easiest scraping tools to learn and work with.
  • With nice and comprehensive documentation, Beautiful soup helps scrappers to learn things quickly.
  • Good community support helps Beautiful soup to figure out the issues that splurge while scrappers are working with this library. 

We consider it important to mention here that the lack of a parser and a web request sending capability does not make Beautiful soup difficult in any way. All that it means is that you basically need to install its dependencies. Moreover, Beautiful soup is still the easiest scraping tool. However, its speed is comparably slower than that of Scrapy.


Selenium is a bit different from other scraping tools. Interestingly, it was not something made for scrapping purposes. Initially, it was developed for the purpose of web testing. This tool is used for the purpose of web application automated testing. It does the function of automation of web browsers as well , and you can also use this tool to carry out actions in browser environments on your behalf.

Moreover, selenium comes with a parser and allows sending of requests as well. With the help of Selenium, you can easily pull out data from an HTML document in the same way, you do with JavaScript DOM API. One of the prominent advantages Selenium has over the other two tools is that it loads JavaScript and can assist you in accessing data behind JavaScript without the need of going through the hassle of sending additional requests yourself.

When it comes to speed, Selenium works faster as compared to Beautifulsoup but a bit slower than Scrapy.

Which one tool should you opt for scrapping-Scrapy, Selenium, or Beautiful Soup?

When it comes to deciding the best among all of these scrapping tools, money is not a deciding factor. All three mentioned tools are open-source and entirely free to use. It makes it confusing to decide which one to choose as each of these tools is being supported by a big community of developers.

Which one of these should you make use of? The answer to this question depends upon the nature of the project you are currently working on. If the project you are working on is complex, go for Scrapy. The reason behind Scrapy being the perfect fit is that it is a framework that is designed for handling complex web scraping tasks. It even enables you to extend its functionality as well.

As far as the smaller projects are concerned, we will suggest you to go for Beautiful Soup. All you need to install is your preferred HTML parser and requests module. Selenium becomes the best pick whenever you're dealing with a  JavaScript featured website.


Although, activities like Web data scraping and web crawling isn’t illegal but it should be used ethically for the purpose of development and web design. Web scraping can prove to be really easy only when done with helpful tools like Scrapy, Beautiful soup or Selenium. Each of these scrapping tools comes with it's own sets of pros and cons.

Beautiful soup suits the best for smaller projects while Scrapy comes in handy while working on the complex ones. As far as JavaScript-based websites are concerned, Selenium is something to which you just cannot say 'No' to. Thus, all of these tools are useful in their own way, all you need to do is to is to choose them wisely as per the nature of the project you're currently working upon.


Anjan kant

Outstanding journey in Microsoft Technologies (ASP.Net, C#, SQL Programming, WPF, Silverlight, WCF etc.), client side technologies AngularJS, KnockoutJS, Javascript, Ajax Calls, Json and Hybrid apps etc. I love to devote free time in writing, blogging, social networking and adventurous life

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