Ever needed to gather data from the web but found it too tricky and slow? Apify Store, the go-to marketplace for web scraping tools, is here to help. This guide will walk you through Apify Actors, how much they cost, how to find the right Actor for you, and so much more.
🤖 What are Actors?
Apify Store is a marketplace full of various web scraping and automation tools we call Actors. Actors are cloud programs that run on the Apify platform. They are called Actors because, like human actors, they perform actions based on a script.
Most Apify Actors, such as Twitter Scraper, specialize in extracting data from specific websites (in this case, Twitter) through web scraping. On the other hand, there are also automation Actors, such as Content Checker, which perform automated processes like monitoring content on any website for changes.
How can the Apify marketplace help your business?
Here are 9 ways you can use Apify Actors as game-changers:
👁 Best ways to find the Actor you need on Apify Store
🔎 Search for it!
When you access Apify Store, you'll notice a search bar located at the top. Suppose you're on a quest for an Instagram Scraper to find out what hashtags are trending, or scrape comments to know what your followers think of you. How do you find such a scraper? Simply begin by typing Instagram into the search bar, and voilà, the right scrapers will make their entrance.
👉 Choose the right category
Another pathway to discovering your desired scraper is to choose from the list on the left labeled Categories and click on Social media. This action narrows down your search to Actors designed specifically for social media scraping. And guess what? The Instagram Scraper appears first.
Tip: Use “Categories” to filter your options when you know what you want to scrape but are unsure about which Actor to use.
📙 How to use Apify Actors: a step-by-step guide
Once you have selected the Actor you wish to try, it's time to run your first Actor. How to do it? Just follow this guide!
Click on the Actor of your choice. 1.1 If you’re already a registered Apify user, you'll be directed directly to the Actor and may start running it. 1.2 If you're new to Apify, start by signing up for free. No credit card needed.
What you see now is the Apify Console interface. Simply fill out fields with the required information so the Actor runs smoothly. Then click on Save & Start and watch as the magic unfolds and results are shown.
If there is an Actor missing from Apify Store, you can submit your idea in Ideas!
🚧 Actors maintained by Apify and community: what's the difference?
As you explore the Apify Store, you’ve likely encountered two labels: Actors maintained by Apify vs. Actors maintained by Community. Now, you might be curious about the difference between them.
At Apify, we believe in a free market. We not only create our own Actors — you can see the label maintained by Apify on them — but we also extend the platform to our community. This means that developers can use Apify Store as a marketplace for their Actors.
That being said, you’ve probably guessed by now that the Actors referred to as maintained by Community have been created by independent developers. In these cases, Apify only hosts the Actors on the platform and in the Store. But it’s up to the developer to maintain, benefit from, and, generally, keep things running smoothly for the users of that Actor.
You might also come across an Actor created by a community member, like the Instagram video downloader. Take a look at the image below, and you'll notice that following Maintained by Community in the top-right corner, it shows the name of the contributor, which is not Apify in this case.
💰 Are Actors free?
Yes, and no. There are three types of pricing on Apify Store. Let’s break it down for you:
If you're on the free plan, you'll get $5 in credits every month. Credits pay for platform usage. You can try any Actor you want until you run out of these credits.
Pay for usage
With this option, you can run the Actor as many times as you want, and you only pay for using the platform.
Pay per result
Some Actors are priced based on the amount of results they produce. However, even in these cases, the first few runs or generated results are free of charge. After that, you'll be able to see the cost with each run and, more importantly, even know the estimated cost beforehand.
Last but not least, sometimes you'll come across Actors for a fixed monthly rate. That means that in addition to the platform usage fee, you pay for the selected Actor on a monthly basis. In such cases, you always have the opportunity to try a one-day or multi-day trial period, after which the specified amount will be deducted from your account every month. It's a simple form of subscription.
Does creating your own automation tools sound interesting to you? Do you need a specific function and haven't found an Actor for it? Build your own! It'll be up to you whether you keep your Actor private, or publish it on Apify Store for anyone to find and try out!
Why should you publish your Actor to Apify Store?
By adding your Actor to the Apify Store marketplace, you can attract users for your solution and earn revenue. Our platform will take care of technicalities such as scaling and computing so you can focus on creating your Actor, without worrying about the infrastructure.
To get you started quickly, we offer a special pricing plan known as the Creator plan. And to make the development part even easier, you can explore our Universal Actors 🌏 that serve as templates for creating your own Actors.