Apify Review

There is no doubt that the web is the most important and largest source of information ever made by humans. Even so, most of that information is only accessible in a human-readable format, meaning it isn’t easily available to automated systems. Here is where automation solutions like Apify come in and why you should read this Apify review.

The purpose of Apify is to allow people to automate mundane tasks on the web, allowing them to spend their time on more meaningful activities. It seeks to ensure that the web remains open, regardless of how you use it, as it was created to be. Any action that you can perform manually using a web browser can be automated using Apify, at scale. It allows you to scrape the web, extract data, and automate web processes all in one place.

Actors

An actor is a serverless cloud application that enables you to perform arbitrary computing tasks, such as sending emails or crawling websites with thousands of pages, using the Apify platform. The API or scheduler can be used to start them manually, and they can easily be integrated into other apps.

In contrast to traditional serverless microservice platforms like AWS Lambda or Google Cloud Functions, Apify actors can execute time-consuming tasks that typically last more than one HTTP transaction. It is even possible for them to run indefinitely.

Hundreds of actors are available in the Apify Store that you can use right away. Let others try out your open-source projects and publish your own actors on the cloud. Also, actors can create simple user interfaces to configure their input. With this, even people with no coding experience can use actors right away. In addition, advanced users can make use of lower-level settings and features, or be able to run actors through the API.

Features

This can’t be a proper Apify review if we didn’t go through its most important features.

  • Host code anywhere. It is possible to fetch the actors’ source code from a Git repository, GitHub Gist, or Zip file, or push from a local machine.
  • Code editor online. The code for your actors can be edited online in a syntax-highlighting editor. Easily manage, build, and run actors from your Apify app.
  • Scheduler. The advanced scheduler allows you to run your actors at any time of the day, hour, minute, second, or another arbitrary interval.
  • Custom CPU and memory. Based on the requirements of each actor, assign a certain amount of memory to it. CPU shares are automatically assigned.
  • Public URL. An actor can start their own web server, which is available under a random URL. For instance, you may want to send messages to actors or monitor their activity.
  • Logging. To debug your code and to monitor production performance, you can view and download the log files from running or finished actors.
  • Storage. Use the Apify storage to store your data: key-value stores for documents and files, datasets for tabular results, and request queues for recursive crawling.

Integrations

Apify can connect to almost any web app or cloud service. It is useful if you want to analyze actor results to get better insight out of the data, if you want to be notified of significant changes on websites, or if you want to transfer new contacts into your CRM.

  • Integromat. You can connect apps with the help of Integromat, a powerful integration platform without the coding skills required. Create Apify integrations by dragging and dropping apps, filters, and other attributes. Integromat’s visual builder allows you to connect your Apify actors and tasks to any other app or API.
  • Webhooks. When a system event occurs, webhooks enable the Apify platform to automatically respond by taking an action. Webhooks, for example, can notify you when an actor run has been completed, and then use the results in your workflow.
  • RESTful API. Apify would be nothing without an API, right? A RESTful API allows Apify to connect to virtually any other cloud and local service. Apify’s API allows you to programmatically take control of practically everything about the platform, such as triggering actors, checking their results, etc.
  • CLI. Using the Apify command-line interface, you can design, build, integrate, and run Apify actors and manage the Apify cloud platform from your desktop. Thus, scripts running on any computer can orchestrate the Apify platform easily.

Pricing

Charges for actors are based on the number of computing units used. The memory consumption of a single actor that is running with 1 GB of memory for an hour is one compute unit. For example, let’s see what we can do using a single compute unit. Using a raw HTML parser, you can crawl about 5000 pages, or, using headless Chrome, you can crawl about 400 JavaScript-enabled pages.

1 GB memory x 1 hour = 1 compute unit

Considering Apify’s way to charge based on the number of computing units, let’s continue our Apify review going through their pricing plans.

  • Personal Plan. At $49/month, this plan is affordable for freelancers, developers, and students. It includes 49 platform credits, 30 shared datacenter proxies, 32 GB max actor RAM, 14 days of data retention, and email support.
  • Team Plan. Small teams working on projects together will benefit from this plan. At $499/month, you get 499 platform credits, 100 shared datacenter proxies, 64 GB max actor RAM, 21 days data retention, chat support, and 3 team seats.
  • Business Plan. If your company has a large staff or complex projects, this plan is perfect for you. At $999/month, you get 999 platform credits, 300 shared datacenter proxies, 128 GB max actor RAM, 30 days data retention, chat with priority support, and 5+ team seats.
  • Enterprise Plan. This plan includes fully customized scraping and automation tools for any scale. The price is custom, based on your demands. Furthermore, you get unlimited platform credits, residential proxies, max actor RAM, long-term monitoring, premium support, and unlimited team account seats.

Conclusion

Web scraping and automation solutions are expensive and ineffective to develop in-house. Due to anti-scraping protections and scaling issues, what appears to be a simple project can turn into a costly adventure. Outsource web automation to Apify experts and let your developers focus on what they do best.

Le’s sum up this Apify review. With Apify, companies can leverage smart data in the right hands at the right time, which is essential to success. From web scraping, data extraction, and web automation to full end-to-end solutions, Apify has a complete solution. Get your hands on it now! 

About Helen Bold

Writer since I learned to write. Freelancer since I was born. Thinker since my past life. My Blog: ReducTot Medium profile: Helen Bold on Medium

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