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5 of The Best Screaming Frog Alternatives to Try

Written by James Parsons • Updated May 12, 2024

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Screaming Frog

If you’re an old hat in the SEO world, chances are you know what Screaming Frog is. If you don’t know, well, it just might change your life. For those of you who are fully aware of Screaming Frog and its drawbacks, though, you might be seeking alternatives, which is what I’ll give to you today.

There’s a lot to consider, so let’s get started.

What is Screaming Frog?

Screaming Frog is a website crawler and SEO spider. When you point it at a domain, it can crawl through all of the links and pages on that site and scrape information, ranging from just building a list of URLs to pulling all of the meta information and more.

You can then use this information for a variety of useful purposes, both to analyze your own site, analyze the sites of others, and get a complete picture of your presence on the web.

Screaming Frog Website Crawler

What are some of the things you can do with Screaming Frog?

  • Check every single outbound or internal link on your site and test to see if it has an HTTP error, such as a 404, with a bulk export as a to-do list to fix them.
  • Scan your domain for redirects, including redirect chains and loops, to help audit site migrations and reduce improper redirects.
  • Scrape and analyze the page titles and descriptions for your site, searching for entries that are too long, too short, missing entirely, duplicated, or otherwise malformed.
  • Compare pages on your site and seek out duplicated content via MD5 hashing, as well as partial duplications across page titles, descriptions, and headings.
  • Collect and harvest specific data at the HTML level using regex, including things like product information, page headings, and social media tagging.
  • Review page meta parameters like noindex, nofollow, canonicalization, and prev/next to make sure they’re properly used.
  • Quickly scrape and generate an entire XML sitemap.
  • Perform technical SEO auditing features.

It is, put simply, one of the most powerful site-crawling spiders available for individual use. It has been an institution in SEO circles for a very long time because of it.

Why You Might Seek a Screaming Frog Alternative

If Screaming Frog is that great, why would you want to use anything else? Well, there are a few reasons.

The first is that these days, a lot of their features are locked behind a paywall. The free version is limited to just 500 URLs, while the paid version is unlimited. Many different features, including scheduling, crawl configurations, JavaScript rendering, near-duplicate content checks, AMP crawling, spell checking, structured data analysis, custom extraction, integration with things like Google Analytics and Link Metrics, and more, are all gated.

Pricing isn’t too awful. It’s $259 per year ($5 per month, though you have to pay annually) to access the full program.

Screaming Frog Pricing

Another possible issue is that it’s starting to look and feel very dated. People who have been around computers for decades at this point and are comfortable with old-school programs are going to be fine. People used to the more modern, slick web app design might fumble around trying to get it all to work.

Probably the biggest drawback, though, is that it’s a program for your computer. It uses your computer’s processing power, hard drive space, and internet connection to crawl a site.

  • If your PC is underpowered, your crawls will be slow, and it can potentially even lock up your machine if you don’t configure it correctly.
  • If your available space is limited, it can fill you up with large spreadsheets very quickly.
  • If your internet connection is slow, it will be very slow in using it to crawl individual pages and can even time out.

On top of all of that, since it uses your connection, if you use it on a site that has anti-spam features and security (which many do today), you can end up getting your IP address rate-limited or even blocked from some sites. Screaming Frog does have the option to use proxy lists to avoid that issue, but you need to make sure to configure them properly. You certainly don’t want to have to deal with being on Google’s throttle list or being denylisted by sites you need to monitor.

Finally, there’s no cloud version, which would alleviate those issues.

Some people don’t like the restrictions Screaming Frog has on usage; others don’t have the systems or the internet connection necessary to make full use of the tool. So, why not seek out alternatives? I’ve put together a list of five possibilities you can try out.

1: Greenflare

Greenflare is possibly my favorite alternative to Screaming Frog. I use it all the time for my own sites, for client sites, and for research.

Greenflare SEO Crawler

What can you do with it?

  • Crawl sites to check link and URL status, search engine indexation status, and potential issues that could be affecting indexation.
  • Check and export lists of pages and links that don’t work or report unusual HTTP status codes, including redirects.
  • Extract page information, including titles, H1s, H2s, and consistent elements, to check for duplications and build a list of page information.
  • Check and inspect meta descriptions, including checking for length, whether or not they exist at all, and more.
  • Use XPath or CSS selectors to scrape specific data on specific kinds of pages.

Basically, it can do about 80% of what Screaming Frog can do. It’s not a total replacement, but it’s good enough for most intents and purposes, and I’ve pretty much never felt the loss of the few features Screaming Frog has that Greenflare doesn’t.

Plus, Greenflare is 100% free and open source. There’s no paywall gating it or anything.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a cloud-based web app or something that doesn’t run on a local machine, you’re going to be disappointed; Greenflare works the same way as Screaming Frog in that respect.

2: SEO Macroscope

If you were concerned about the old-school design of Screaming Frog, you aren’t going to be any better off with SEO Macroscope. It looks and feels almost identical. Like Greenflare, Macroscope is a free and open-source version of the same basic concept of a search spider and website scraper.

SEO Macroscope

With it, you can:

  • Locate internal and external broken links throughout your site.
  • Check the various statuses of robots.txt files on your domain.
  • Check and record the status of meta attributes like canonical, hrefland, and other metadata.
  • Perform technical SEO checks on titles and descriptions throughout your site, such as checking for anything over or under a specific length.
  • Check the page loading times for the pages on your site and report the fastest and slowest pages.
  • Generate XML sitemaps based on crawled data.
  • Analyze redirects and identify redirect chains.
  • Check for the presence or absence of various tracking codes like Facebook or Google.
  • Scrape specific data using CSS selectors, XPath, or regex.

Sounds familiar, right? If a free, open-source version of Screaming Frog is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with either Macroscope or Greenflare.

Why do I put Greenflare over Macroscope? One reason: Macroscope is Windows-only, whereas Greenflare works on both Windows and MacOS. Technically Macroscope might work with Macs if you use Mono, Xamarin IDE, and troubleshoot the code yourself, but the developer even warns that they have no intention of making or maintaining a MacOS or Linux version. Since I do my work on a Mac, I’m going to use the one that won’t give me trouble and has a native Mac version.

3: Lumar

Formerly known as Deepcrawl, Lumar is sort of like an enterprise-grade Screaming Frog. It takes most of the same concepts and dials them all up to 11, with a slicker and much better user interface to control it all. It’s also more deeply visual, which gives you more immediate insights that you might not get when you’re just looking at spreadsheets.

Lumar also integrates a lot of additional features you can’t get out of something like Screaming Frog. It can link seamlessly with a variety of analytics and other tools and use their data to help power insights into your scraped information.

Lumar Website Crawler

There are essentially three main benefits to Lumar over Screaming Frog.

  • It gives you a lot more options. From custom and contextual crawling to insight-driven secondary analysis, it’s very much designed for high-end and large businesses looking for deep insights, not SEO growth hacking.
  • It’s extremely fast. They built their crawler with speed in mind and can potentially crawl up to 450 pages per second once you set it loose.
  • It’s cloud-based, which eliminates many of the restrictions that were present for Screaming Frog and the other alternatives.

The biggest downside, as you might guess from my use of words like “enterprise” and “large business” in the description, is the pricing. They don’t have public pricing information either, which also tells you a lot.

4: Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Xenu’s is often brought up in discussions of alternatives to Screaming Frog and, what do you know, here it is again.

Xenus Link Sleuth

Truthfully, I don’t think it’s really the same ballpark. Xenu’s is to Screaming Frog what Screaming Frog is to Lumar: a much smaller, pared-back kind of program. It’s powerful for what it does, and it’s free, but it’s also very limited. Really, all it does is scan your site and test your links. It can find broken links, links with redirects, links with other HTTP codes, and more.

It has a few other features, but they feel more like afterthoughts. Like, one of them is to find images with large file sizes, which can impact your site speed. Sure, that’s useful, and I definitely recommend compressing images for use on your site, but let’s be honest here: you don’t need a tool to find them for you. You can just check file sizes directly, or even install a plugin that automatically compresses everything on your site.

5: Topicfinder

Hey, that’s me!

Topicfinder is cloud-based, which means you don’t need to install or run anything from your home machine. It’s also extremely fast. Check this out.

The trick is, Topicfinder isn’t quite a competitor to Screaming Frog, at least not the way most people use it. I’m not auditing the technical SEO of a site, or scanning links to see their status codes, or checking page metadata or tracking codes.

Instead, Topicfinder exists as a way to scrape and spin out meta titles and topic ideas from one or more sites and URLs as starting data points. It’s a way to spool up an incredibly fast and deep pool of potential topic ideas, which you can then use to fuel years of content marketing efforts.

Topicfinder Competitor Research

In case you’re worried that this is one of those instances of “10,000 title ideas, 9,999 of which are the same basic title” spinners, it’s very much not. For one thing, you can see it in action on the features page here. For another, you can try it yourself with the free trial.

Beyond that, though, I can tell you that I’ve used this tool extensively to power my own content marketing efforts for clients for my agency. I made it specifically for my own use, and only once it was basically a feature-complete app did I look at it and think, “you know, maybe other people would be interested in this too.”

So, while it’s not exactly comparable to Screaming Frog, it’s still a very useful tool for some of the use cases that people use Screaming Frog for, such as scraping titles from other sites to use for marketing fuel. If you want your own site audited or for link scanning or meta description harvesting, you can use one of the other tools above – I recommend Greenflare myself – but if you want something to fuel content marketing, you’ll have to try pretty hard to find something better than Topicfinder.

So, do you have any questions about any of these Screaming Frog alternatives? If so, I’d be more than happy to help however I can. Just drop me a line, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Written by James Parsons

James is the founder and CEO of Topicfinder, a purpose-built topic research tool for bloggers and content marketers. He also runs a content marketing agency, Content Powered, and writes for Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and other large publications. He's been a content marketer for over 15 years and helps companies from startups to Fortune 500's get more organic traffic and create valuable people-first content.

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