Capturing one single screenshot of your screen is a very simple “non-nerdy” process; you can either use the PRINTSCREEN button on your Windows PC or COMMAND + SHIFT + 3 on your Mac…

Taking a graphical image of a website can be trickier, since you will have to cover the whole page which doesn’t appear on your screen at once and you will have to scroll down, take a screenshot, scroll again and take another one, etc. And then, glue all the screenshots together to elaborate a full image of the website.
Now, try doing this in bulk, let’s say 100, 1000 screenshots or even more, this would be a nightmare. You will have to open each page manually, and then take a screenshot of this page, and then the second page and the third page etc. That’s really a nightmare.

A web crawler is a program designed to browse as many pages as required on the internet in a fast and automated manner. As you normally browse the internet and take screenshots using commonly-known browsers like Chrome and Firefox, web crawling is done through headless browsers. A Headless browser allows users to go through websites using the command line and without the graphical user interface like normal browsers, making it faster and more capable than commonly-used browsers in performing automatic tasks like web crawling which requires going through hundreds and thousands of pages in seconds. As the crawler is going through these pages rapidly and automatically, the screenshot feature is implemented within the crawler API and starts working by taking high resolution JPEG website screenshots automatically and returning the result as an image URL in no time. So you can just download them without having to worry about the actual screenshot taking process.

Why would you need this huge number of screenshots of websites?

Website screenshots use-cases

Marketing and market analysis

Website screenshots are very useful and can be used in many different ways for boosting business growth. Taking screenshots of competitors’ websites allows you to monitor their activity and provides the needed data to make the right analysis and decisions to improve your business. Also, website screenshots can help better reach your clients by providing them with the needed visual data for demos and portfolios.

Cyber security

Website screenshots can help in protection against cyber-attacks by allowing you take keep an eye on any harmful online activity as it is happening and documenting these harmful actions in high quality images to be used later against offenders.

Web design

Website screenshots can help web designers in monitoring their websites to make sure the content is displaying correctly especially with checking how responsive pages display on different screen resolutions.

Canvas scraping

If you are crawling a website which renders content inside a canvas, you can use the screenshots API to take a screenshot of a canvas element inside a page.

If you are thinking why use a screenshot within the crawling API? The answer is simply the three magical words: effort, time and money. The API is already programmed to do the job for you, saving you effort and time, improving your online business and generating more money.

Start using the website screenshot API now to start automating your data extraction business needs.