Fetching Data through Scraping vs. API: How the Scraping Browser Can Save You Money on API Fees

Reading time: 11 min read
Erinle Jimi
Written by
Erinle Jimi

Updated · Aug 21, 2023

Erinle Jimi
Software Engineer/Javascript | Joined July 2023 | LinkedIn
Erinle Jimi

Feyijimi Erinle, a dynamic individual with a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science, discovered a fe... | See full bio

April Grace Asgapo
Edited by
April Grace Asgapo


April Grace Asgapo
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
April Grace Asgapo

April is a proficient content writer with a knack for research and communication. With a keen eye fo... | See full bio

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Extracting online information has become necessary for businesses across industries. The data helps make fact-based decisions, discover market trends, and develop innovative solutions.

When fetching data, APIs have been the go-to method. However, it comes with restrictions and expensive fees. With this in mind, web scraping offers a better alternative.

With web scraping, you can fetch specific data and control the entire process. However, it requires handling a few things to be usable at scale.

Now, the question is: Is there something better?

The quick answer is yes, with Bright Data's Scraping Browser. This tool is an advanced and scalable tool with an automated browser. With its cutting-edge services, you can overcome all traditional scraping limitations. 

If you have data-fetching projects, keep reading to learn more about this tool! 

💡Key Takeaways:

  • Fetching data from websites using an API is convenient. However, they have limitations on what data you can get and fees that can be expensive.
  • With Web Scraping, you can fetch every data you need without limitations. You can also have full control of the process.
  • Despite being better, Web Scraping requires several things to be usable in scale.
  • Web scraping has some challenges. With Bright Data's Scraping Browser, you can overcome them all.
  • The Scraping Browser is a scalable, effective, and affordable tool for data-gathering projects.

API vs Web Scraping: Which is Better for Data Fetching?

Before diving into Bright Data's Scraping Browser, it's best to understand how API and Web Scraping work in data fetching. This way, you can see how it saves time and money while efficiently collecting the needed data.

The API Approach

APIs help you get specific data from websites in a structured and organized format. They give developers access to the needed data and a clear set of guidelines for interacting with it.

💡Note: APIs come in several types, but the most common are Web API and Rest API.

Web API lets users connect to a web server through HTTP calls or requests. Meanwhile, Rest API lets users connect to any server over HTTP.

To better understand the API approach, let's consider a practical example. Let's say you want to get weather information for a specific area. 

You'll send an HTTP request to the API endpoint of a weather data provider. It includes the location and the kind of weather data you need. 

The API would then process the request and respond with the relevant weather data. This data usually comes in a standardized format like JSON or XML. 

Let's see this with a code snippet using JavaScript:

// Step 1: Make an HTTP request to the API endpoint
  .then(response => {
    // Step 2: Check if the response is successful
    if (response.ok) {
      // Step 3: Parse the response data
      return response.json();
    } else {
      throw new Error('Failed to retrieve data from the API');
  .then(data => {
    // Step 4: Use the retrieved data for further processing
  .catch(error => {

Downsides of Using APIs to Fetch Data

While APIs offer a convenient way to fetch data, they have some significant drawbacks. These include:

  1. Dependency on Limited Access

By relying only on APIs, you become dependent on the data your target only allows you to get.

  1. Possible Downtime or Maintenance Issues

This dependency introduces various factors, including uptime, cost, and rate limits. For instance, you can't extract data when your target experiences downtime or maintenance.

  1. High API Costs

Since some websites charge for API usage, you're bound to pay high costs for scaling. These costs will affect your resource allocation and hamper your venture's financial viability.

💡Note: Building an API costs around $10,000 to $50,000 if you consider getting your own. While Web Scraping APIs only cost around $50 to $300 monthly. Thus, going for an API to fetch data isn’t the best option if you're on a tight budget.

  1. Limited Data Collection

Websites usually have rate limits to control requests made within a specific period. Thus, it can limit data collection and slow down business processes. 

To overcome these challenges, here's a glimpse of how web scraping works as an alternative. This method lets you enjoy flexibility and cost-effectiveness while obtaining the needed data.

The Web Scraping Approach

Web scraping is a technique that involves extracting data directly from websites. 

It uses automated software by parsing the underlying HTML or XML code. It is a standard method used for business analysis or research.

💡Note: Unlike APIs that offer specific data sets, web scraping can collect any data from your target. 

With web scraping, you can gather various data across various domains. Thus, it's usable for several purposes like the following:

  • Price monitoring
  • Customer sentiment analysis
  • Lead generation
  • Market research
  • Academic research
  • Keyword research
  • Others

For example, you can extract product information from E-commerce stores. This feature lets you have better pricing comparisons and competitor analysis. 

You can also collect data from social media platforms to check engagement numbers. These are only some of the use cases for web scraping.

To show the web scraping process, here's a pseudocode example using JavaScript:

// Step 1: Use a scraping library or framework to fetch the website's HTML content
const websiteHTML = fetchHTML('https://example.com');

// Step 2: Parse the HTML to extract the desired data
const desiredData = extractDataFromHTML(websiteHTML);

// Step 3: Process and utilize the extracted data as needed

Downsides of Using Web Scraping to Fetch Data

Web scraping helps avoid API fees and offers flexible and diverse data collection. However, it's best to watch out for a few things:

  1. IP and Proxy Blacklisting

Some websites use IP and proxy blacklisting to detect and block scraping bots. It's best to use proxies to bypass website security and program rotate them to stay one step ahead.

💡Note: Since web scraping involves sending many requests, a single IP address won’t work. Web scrapers use proxy servers to send requests using several IP addresses. This way, they won’t get blocked and continue scraping their target.

  1. JavaScript-based security and CAPTCHAs

Over 13 million websites have CAPTCHAs and JavaScript-based protection to stop scraping efforts. Thus, it's best to use third-party CAPTCHA-solving libraries in your stack. You also have to make it part of your codebase and maintain it.

  1. Browser Fingerprinting

Some websites use browser fingerprinting to collect your data and detect scraping activities. Traditional scraping solutions won't have these, a sign that it's a bot that needs to get blocked.

📖 Definition: Browser fingerprinting is a discreet data collection of software and device settings. This gathered data includes browser version, plugins, screen resolution, and fonts to create your digital fingerprint for detecting suspicious activities.

  1. Powerful and Efficient System Requirements

At some point, you'll want to scale up your work with several scraping instances in parallel. The operation will need an efficient system to deal with more workload at such a point. 

These challenges can become labor-intensive and incur significant costs in time and resources. 

Bright Data's Scraping Browser can help overcome these challenges. It can optimize your data extraction pipelines and make them the best of both worlds. Thus, you can reduce the complexity of building scrapers at scale.

How Bright Data's Scraping Browser Overcomes Traditional Web Scraping Challenges

Bright Data's Scraping Browser is a cutting-edge tool designed to help users:

With this tool, you can focus on fetching data uninterrupted and at scale. You can leave all the complex tasks for the device to deal with.

The tool's core is starting a remote WebSocket connection to headful, full-GUI browser instances. These are the ones hosted on Bright Data's highly-scalable infrastructure.

💡Note: Headful browsers have GUI that are challenging for anti-bot measures to detect. They handle intensive work and save you from setting up and maintaining additional tools.

The Scraping Browser saves time and money by providing hosting, storage, and infrastructure.It also handles all website unlocking operations through this remote connection. 

With Bright Data's unlocker infrastructure and proxy management, you can automate the following:

  • CAPTCHA solving
  • Browser fingerprinting
  • Automatic retries
  • Header and cookie handling 
  • JavaScript rendering

Scraping Browser

The Scraping Browser simplifies the scraping process by handling tasks under the hood. This benefit allows your business to focus on retrieving the needed data.

As bot-detection systems adapt, the Scraping Browser learns and adjusts. It receives regular and consistent updates, providing users with uninterrupted scraping. 

This tool also lets users connect to unlimited Chromium sessions. It has become possible through the Chrome DevTools Protocol (CDP) and a WebSocket connection. 

With the Scraping Browser, you can integrate Selenium and other popular automation tools like Puppeteer and Playwright

💡Note: Scraping Browser’s compatibility with these tools helps scrape dynamic content. Thus, it can handle websites that need page hovering, button clicking, scrolling, and text adding.

Advantages of using Bright Data's Scraping Browser

With Bright Data's Scraping Browser, you can enjoy the web scraping approach's benefits. 

You can get the exact data you want and avoid exorbitant API usage fees without drawbacks. This feature makes it an innovative tool that offers the best of both worlds.

Bright Data’s Scraping Browser Configuration

To sum up, here are some advantages you get when you take a web scraping approach using this tool:

1. Bypassing CAPTCHA and Bot Detection Measures

The Scraping Browser solves CAPTCHAs and handles bot detection issues. Also, you won't need extra code or third-party libraries required. 

🎉 Fun Fact: Over 13 billion websites use CAPTCHA to protect data from scraping bots and scams. With so many sites, online users type around 200 million CAPTCHAs daily.

Bypassing these measures can take time and effort. It also often leads to messy code. 

With this tool, you'll have a comprehensive solution that solves these issues. Thus, you can concentrate on your business logic.

2. Handling Scraping Issues at Scale

The Scraping Browser has a built-in unlocker infrastructure. This system handles user-agent generation, header information, cookie management, and fingerprint emulation. This feature helps avoid issues when scraping data at scale.

3. Avoiding IP and Geo-Restrictions

The Scraping Browser offers rotating proxies instead of static. Moreover, it provides four proxy types: residential, data center, ISP, and mobile. It can also do automatic retries to bypass geo-blocking and IP-based rate-limiting. 

The Scraping Browser handles these tasks in-house. Thus, you don't have to manage a dozen third-party libraries or spend more on proxy management. 

💡Pro-tip: If you're collecting data, using residential proxies will give you the best experience. It provides an IP address from an actual device, letting you bypass bot detection and geo-restrictions.

Bright Data is among the best residential proxy providers today. It's the first company to offer residential proxies and provides one of the largest proxy pools.

4. Reducing Scaling Expenses

Scalability is a crucial feature of the Scraping Browser. It helps you expand your projects by deploying as many Chromium instances as you need. 

Bright Data hosts these browsers on their end with a highly-scalable system. Thus, it removes the need for expensive storage and infrastructure.

Use Cases of the Scraping Browser

Bright Data's Scraping Browser offers a powerful tool for data scraping. It also provides various use cases that can help save costs on API fees. 

Here are some scenarios where the Scraping Browser proves helpful:

5 Use Cases of Bright Data Scraping Browser

1. Social Media Monitoring

Social media platforms like Reddit have recently implemented API pricing shifts. These changes can significantly impact businesses relying on real-time data from these platforms. 

With the Scraping Browser, you can scrape the desired data directly from the website. You can also bypass the limitations and potential costs associated with APIs. 

Thus, it offers continuous and cost-effective monitoring of platforms like Reddit.

2. Market Research and Competitive Analysis

With Scraping Browser, you can gather data from various sources without API restrictions. 

This tool allows projects to deliver more in-depth results. Thus, it's ideal for market research, competitor analysis, and valuable insight-gathering. 

🎉Fun fact: Data gathering is crucial in improving business intelligence. With the gathered data, businesses can make fact-based decisions 5x faster.

3. E-commerce Pricing and Product Data

The Scraping Browser lets businesses scrape E-commerce websites, which often have no API. Thus, it's the best tool for getting real-time pricing, product details, customer reviews, and more. 

This advantage also ensures accurate and comprehensive data retrieval. It can offer effective pricing strategies and fact-based decision-making.

4. News Aggregation and Content Monitoring

With the Scraping Browser, you can scrape news websites. This tool ensures unrestricted access to articles, topics, and news sources. 

💡Note: This feature will save you a lot of money since API fees are usually high in the news industry. It will also let you have real-time access to the latest news.

5. Job Posting and Recruitment

With the Scraping Browser, you can scrape job boards directly. Thus, you can access job listings, candidate profiles, and other relevant data. 


After seeing the two methods, you saw how cost-saving and efficient Web Scraping is than APIs. It's even better when you take this approach using Bright Data's Scraping Browser. It offers a scalable, low-infra, cost-effective solution for your data needs.

Using the Scraping Browser means you won't have to rely on APIs and pay hefty fees to access data. With IP rotation, anti-bot detection, and anti-blocking features, it solves traditional scraping issues. Overall, it helps you to scale your scraping projects with ease.

If you're still deciding, Scraping Browser has a free trial you can use. This way, you can take it for a spin - free of cost - to see if it suits your needs. There are also detailed instructions on Bright Data's website to help you get started.


Is API scraping legal?

Using an API to scrape is legal as long as you are scraping data that is readily accessible to public. However, you need to cautious not to scrape data like confidential data, intellectual property, and personal information.

Can web scraping slow down a website's performance?

Yes, web scraping can make a website slower. During the scraping process, a huge amount of queries is sent to a website which overloads the server and reduces response time for regular users.

Is web scraping faster than using APIs?

Web scraping may occasionally be quicker for small-scale and straightforward data extraction operations. However, APIs are performance-optimized and frequently offer more effective


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