What are some PhantomJS alternatives for automating browsers?

PhantomJS is one of the first major browser automation toolkits. It's a headless browser manager that's often used to web scrape using real web browsers to avoid blocking and rendering javascript pages.

Today, Phantomjs is superseded by a new set of tools that are more reliable, faster and easier to work with:

  • Playwright is the newest and strongest addition to this area. It covers multiple languages like Python, Javascript and is activately maintained by Microsoft.
  • Puppeteer is another major library primarily focused on NodeJS (javascript) runtime. Puppeteer is popular in web scraping as it has a big community for avoiding blocking.
  • Selenium was initially designed for website testing but it quickly became used in web scraping as well. It's the most mature library in this area meaning it has huge community though a bit more dated user experience.

Note that modern browser automation tools use CDP to communicate with the browser. Because of this, today there are many different tools like PhantomJS.

How to Scrape Dynamic Websites Using Headless Web Browsers

For more on web scraping using headless web browsers see our complete introduction which covers everything you need to know about this subject

How to Scrape Dynamic Websites Using Headless Web Browsers
Question tagged: Tools, HTTP

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