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Which Screenshot Provider Should I Choose?

Discussion in '[WMTech] Link Essentials' started by wmtech, Sep 3, 2015.

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  1. wmtech

    wmtech WMTech Staff XF Licensee

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    [WMTech] Link Essentials provides the option to choose from 5 different online screenshot providers. Here is a short overview with all known PROS and CONS for each of them.

    Feel free to add a post with your own experience into this thread!

    WORDPRESS SCREENSHOT SERVICE

    It is an undocumented service and open secret that WordPress provides a public screenshot generator at one of it's subdomains. As long as you do not abuse it, it is free to use and does not even need a registration.

    Because it is undocumented and not even "official" it may stop working from one minute to another or it may change the way it works without prior notification. There is also no clear information what is considered "abuse" and how many calls are acceptable. Our experience is that this can change very often. Sometimes you can create many screenshots per hours and sometimes just a few screenshots may be considered "abuse".

    If requests are considered "abuse", there will also be no error message. It just takes many minutes until the screenshots are ready. We have also seen cases where the requesting ip address was blocked completely for some time.

    PROS:
      • Creates mostly perfect screenshots even with HTML5, Javascript and AJAX.
      • Works for all kind of links, be it html pages, pdf's or even pictures
      • Follows all server redirects without error
      • Disregards SSL errors and creates picture without error
      • No registration necessary
      • No fees no matter how many screenshots you create
    CONS:
      • Picture quality not perfect for large sizes (texts not readable)
      • Only poor jpg compression quality available
      • Often delivers old cached pictures of popular web sites
      • Not 100% reliable, because your requests can be considered "abuse"
      • No pre-defined error messages means you will recognize problems (be it "abuse" or otherwise) only after inspecting the log of our add-on when missing screenshots.

    SCREENSHOT MACHINE

    Screenshot machine

    A European screenshot service provider claiming to provide powerful, quick easy and reliable screenshots. Successful in business since several years. Provides free service for up to 100 screenshots per month if you register a free account.

    No monthly contracts! You can buy packages with a certain amount of screenshots and use them as long as it takes (this is a unique feature of Screenshot Machine). If you purchase e.g. 50.000 screenshots for $115 (EUR 99.90) you can get a screenshot for the low price of $ 0.002 (or 5 screenshots for a cent).

    See their pricing at: Screenshot machine - Premium services
    Register at: Screenshot machine - Premium Services

    PROS:
      • Creates mostly perfect screenshots even with HTML5, Javascript and AJAX.
      • Perfect picture quality, choose from PNG, GIF or JPG
      • Works for most kind of links, be it html pages or pictures
      • Follows most server redirects without error
      • Quick screenshot processing without queues or waiting times
      • 100 free screenshots per month
      • Convenient, affordable screenshot packages without monthly fees
    CONS:
      • Does not work with PDF links
      • Does not work with SSL sites with broken certificates
      • Does not follow some server redirects
      • Does not allow any SSL site with the free account
      • Restricted to certain fixed 4:3 sizes, no 16:9 processing

    PAGE 2 IMAGES

    Page2Images - Website Screenshot Generator & API

    A very reliable, appealing screenshot service provider, being in business since several years. Claiming to provide fast processing and to be HTML5, CSS3, Flash and Flex friendly. Also provides screenshots with mobile device sizes. Provides a 99.9% online guarantee. Free service for up to 100 urls per day if you register a free account.

    Monthly contracts start at $9.99 with 15.000 API credits. 1 API credit = 1 screenshot taken. Since our add-on caches the screenshots you do not need any API credits for additional downloads.

    See their pricing at: Page2Images - Plans AND Prices
    Register at: Page2Images -

    PROS:
      • Creates perfect screenshots even with HTML5, Javascript and AJAX.
      • Good picture quality, choose from PNG, JPG or PDF (PDF not used with our add-on)
      • Works for all kind of links, be it html pages, pdf's or pictures
      • Follows all server redirects without error
      • Shots pictures of web sites with broken SSL certs
      • 100 free screenshots per day
      • Affordable screenshot packages with monthly fees
      • Provides screenshots of mobile sites
    CONS:
      • Works with queue, so there will always be a waiting time and a second call
      • Does not allow any SSL site with the free account

    URL 2 PNG

    URL2PNG - Screenshots as a Service

    Very powerful, state-of-the-art screenshot service used by several large and renowned organizations. Creates screenshots as reliable and perfect as they can be, but for a very expensive price. Up to 1:1 resolution, complete viewport and image size control. You may even choose the language of the requested site (if it features automatic language detection, as many large sites do).

    No free services and no free account. Monthly plans start at $29 for 5000 screenshots, but you may try to contact and ask Dan for a special price if you do not need that many pictures per month.

    See their pricing at: URL2PNG - Plans
    Register at: URL2PNG - Signup

    PROS:
      • Creates absolutely perfect screenshots even with HTML5, Javascript and AJAX.
      • Perfect picture quality, just PNG available
      • Works for all kind of links, be it html pages, pdf's or pictures
      • Follows all server redirects without error
      • Shots pictures of web sites with broken SSL certificates
      • Quick processing, no waiting times
      • Provides screenshots of mobile sites
    CONS:
      • No free account and no free pictures
      • Very large image sizes, since only PNG is available

    WKhtmlTOimage
    wkhtmltopdf

    This is not a service, but an open source project you can install at your web server and shot screenshots yourself. WKhtmlTOimage and WKhtmlTOpdf are open source (LGPLv3) command line tools to render HTML into PDF and various image formats using the Qt WebKit rendering engine. These run entirely "headless" and do not require a display or display service.

    You need to run your own server and have some knowledge in server administration to install and configure this tool. Keep in mind that you need much time to tweak your installation and the browser features of this tool to get acceptable results.

    PROS:
      • Create your own screenshots from web sites.
      • Choose between JPG and PNG, set your own image quality
      • Works for all kind of links, be it html pages, pdf's or pictures
      • Can be configured to follow all server redirects without error
      • Can be configured to shot pictures of web sites with broken SSL certificates
      • Quick processing, no waiting times, depending on your own server performance
      • Choose any viewport and mage size you like.
      • No money needs to be paid to external providers
    CONS:
      • Needs running on your own server
      • Needs knowledge with installing and configuring software on a server
      • Complicated to deal with web pages that include modern scripts (Javascript, Ajax, etc)
      • Pictures are not always perfect
      • Software needs frequent maintenance.
     

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