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PHP Scraper: a web utility for PHP

PHP Scraper: Bringing Simplicity back to Scraping and Crawling

Unit Tests Total Downloads Latest Version License

By Peter Thaleikis

PHPScraper is a universal web-scraping util for PHP, built with simplicity in mind. The goal is to make xPath Selectors optional and avoid the commonly needed boilerplate code. Just create an instance of PHPScraper, go to a website, and start collecting data. The examples below tell the story much better. Have a look!

Under the hood, it uses

See composer.json (opens new window) for more details.

# ⏲ PHPScraper in 5 Minutes explained

Here are a few impressions of the way the library works. More examples are this website in the various sections.

# Basics: Flexible Calling as an Attribute or Method

All scraping functionality can be accessed either as a function call or a property call. For example, the title can be accessed in two ways:

// Prep
$web = new \Spekulatius\PHPScraper\PHPScraper;
$web->go('https://google.com');

// Returns "Google"
echo $web->title;

// Also returns "Google"
echo $web->title();

Many common use cases are covered already. You can find prepared extractors for various HTML tags, including interesting attributes. You can filter and combine these to your needs. In some cases there is an option to get a simple or detailed version, here in the case of linksWithDetails:

$web = new \Spekulatius\PHPScraper\PHPScraper;

// Contains:
// <a href="https://placekitten.com/456/500" rel="ugc">
//   <img src="https://placekitten.com/456/400">
//   <img src="https://placekitten.com/456/300">
// </a>
$web->go('https://test-pages.phpscraper.de/links/image-urls.html');

// Get the first link on the page and print the result
print_r($web->linksWithDetails[0]);
// [
//     'url' => 'https://placekitten.com/456/500',
//     'protocol' => 'https',
//     'text' => '',
//     'title' => null,
//     'target' => null,
//     'rel' => 'ugc',
//     'image' => [
//         'https://placekitten.com/456/400',
//         'https://placekitten.com/456/300'
//     ],
//     'isNofollow' => false,
//     'isUGC' => true,
//     'isSponsored' => false,
//     'isMe' => false,
//     'isNoopener' => false,
//     'isNoreferrer' => false,
// ]

Null

If there aren't any matching elements (here links) on the page, an empty array will be returned.

For methods that normally return a single string (e.g. title), null will be returned in this case.

Details such as follow_redirects, etc. are optional configuration parameters (see below).

Most of the DOM should be covered using these methods:

More examples are included in the tests (opens new window).

# Download Files

Besides processing the content on the page itself, you can download files using fetchAsset:

// Absolute URL
$csvString = $web->fetchAsset('https://test-pages.phpscraper.de/test.csv');

// Relative URL after navigation
$csvString = $web
  ->go('https://test-pages.phpscraper.de/meta/lorem-ipsum.html')
  ->fetchAsset('/test.csv');

You will only need to write the content into a file or cloud storage.

404s

If the intended URL isn't available an exception will be thrown. Make sure to handle this case by wrapping your code in a try-catch block:

try {
    // ...
} catch (\Exception $e) {
    // ...
}

# Process the RSS feeds, sitemap.xml, etc.

PHPScraper can assist in collecting feeds such as RSS feeds, sitemap.xml-entries and static search indexes. This can be useful when deciding on the next page to crawl or build up a list of pages on a website.

Here we are processing the sitemap into a set of FeedEntry-DTOs (opens new window):

(new \Spekulatius\PHPScraper\PHPScraper)
    ->go('https://phpscraper.de')
    ->sitemap

// array(131) {
//   [0]=>
//   object(spekulatius\DataTransferObjects\FeedEntry)#165 (3) {
//     ["title"]=>
//     string(0) ""
//     ["description"]=>
//     string(0) ""
//     ["link"]=>
//     string(22) "https://phpscraper.de/"
//   }
//   [1]=>
// ...

Fallback-Methods

Whenever post-processing is applied, you can fall back to the underlying *Raw-methods.

# Process CSV-, XML- and JSON files and URLs

PHPScraper comes out-of-the-box with file / URL processing methods for CSV-, XML- and JSON:

  • parseJson
  • parseXml
  • parseCsv
  • parseCsvWithHeader (generates an asso. array using the first row)

Each method can process both strings as well as URLs:

// Parse CSV into a simple array:
$csv = $web->parseJson('[{"title": "PHP Scraper: a web utility for PHP", "url": "https://phpscraper.de"}]');
// [
//     'title' => 'PHP Scraper: a web utility for PHP',
//     'url' => 'https://phpscraper.de'
// ]

// Fetch and parse CSV into a simple array:
$csv = $web->parseCsv('https://test-pages.phpscraper.de/test.csv');
// [
//     ['date', 'value'],
//     ['1945-02-06', 4.20],
//     ['1952-03-11', 42],
// ]

// Fetch and parse CSV with first row as header into an asso. array structure:
$csv = $web->parseCsvWithHeader('https://test-pages.phpscraper.de/test.csv');
// [
//     ['date' => '1945-02-06', 'value' => 4.20],
//     ['date' => '1952-03-11', 'value' => 42],
// ]

Additional CSV parsing parameters

Additional CSV parsing parameters such as separator, enclosure and escape are possible.

# There is more!

There are plenty of examples on the PHPScraper website and in the tests (opens new window).

Check the playground.php (opens new window) if you prefer learning by doing. You get it up and running with:

$ git clone git@github.com:spekulatius/PHPScraper.git && composer update

# 💪 Roadmap

The future development is organized into milestones (opens new window). Releases follow semver (opens new window).

# v1: Building the first stable version (opens new window)

  • Improve documentation and examples.
  • Organize code better (move websites into separate repos, etc.)
  • Add support for feeds and some typical file types.

# v2: Expand the functionality and cover more 'types' (opens new window)

  • Expand to parse a wider range of types, elements, embeds, etc.
  • Improve performance with caching and concurrent fetching of assets
  • Minor improvements for parsing methods

# v3: Expand to provide more guidance on building custom scrapers on top of PHPScraper (opens new window)

TBC.

# 😍 Sponsors

PHPScraper is proudly supported by:

If you find PHPScraper useful to your work or simply want to support the development, please consider a sponsorship (opens new window) or donation (opens new window). Thank you 💪

# ⚙️ Configuration (optional)

If needed, you can use the following configuration options:

# User Agent

You can set the browser agent using setConfig:

$web->setConfig([
  'agent' => 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:107.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/107.0'
]);

It defaults to Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; PHP Scraper/1.x; +https://phpscraper.de).

# Proxy Support

You can configure proxy support with setConfig:

$web->setConfig(['proxy' => 'http://user:password@127.0.0.1:3128']);

TIP

If you're looking for decent prices residential proxy, check IProyal (opens new window).

# Timeout

You can set the timeout using setConfig:

$web->setConfig(['timeout' => 15]);

Setting the timeout to zero will disable it.

# Disabling SSL

While unrecommended, it might be required to disable SSL checks. You can do so using:

$web->setConfig(['disable_ssl' => true]);

You can call setConfig multiple times. It stores the config and merges it with previous settings. This should be kept in mind in the unlikely use-case when unsetting values.

# 🚀 Installation with Composer

composer require spekulatius/phpscraper

After the installation, the package will be picked up by the Composer autoloader. If you are using a common PHP application or framework such as Laravel or Symfony you can start scraping now 🚀

If you are using a framework such as Laravel, Symfony, Laminas, Phalcon, or CakePHP, you won't need this step. The autoloader is automatically included. If not or you are building a standalone-scraper, please include the autoloader in vendor/ at the top of your file:

<?php

require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

// ...

Now you can now use any of the examples on the documentation website or from the tests/-folder (opens new window).

Please consider supporting PHPScraper with a star or sponsorship (opens new window):

composer thanks

Thank you 💪

# ✅ Testing

The library comes with a PHPUnit test suite. To run the tests, run the following command from the project folder:

composer test

You can find the tests here (opens new window). The test pages are publicly available (opens new window).

This being said, there are probably edge cases that aren't working and may cause trouble. If you find one, please raise a bug on GitHub.

# 🐛 Found a bug and fixed it? Awesome!

Before you get started, make yourself familiar with the contribution guidelines. Feel free to reach out if questions come up.

# MISC: