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I'm looking for a reliable (paid) service which snaps screenshots from sites and delivers the images. I know that there's quite a few out there, but the quality seems to vary wildly and the sites seem often not very reliable. Here's what I'm after:

  • API access (something like: POST URL + params + callback URL(s) —> returns status —> hits callback when done)
  • Fast response (which I'm willing to pay for)
  • Custom size (many services offer only thumbnails — I need full size shots, e.g. 1024x768 but I don't mind if the service requires a certain ratio)
  • Custom format (at least jpg, gif and png should be selectable)
  • Reliability (I'm looking for an established service which will not suddenly vanish)

"Nice–to–haves" would include:

  • Protection of the images or delete access
  • SSL support

I was hoping someone here might have some personal experience and could recommend a service. — Cheers!

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closed as not constructive by Al E., ChrisF Oct 22 '12 at 21:48

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Care to add a comment when voting me down? –  polarblau Apr 18 '11 at 12:08

5 Answers 5

BrowserShots has been around for quite a while, and they do have a paid faster service...

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Do you have experience with the paid service by any chance? And aren't they using the machines of volunteers to create the screenshots? –  polarblau Apr 20 '11 at 9:41
@polarblau: I've only used the free version, and they are volunteer machines... sometimes the machines won't want to accept cookies... and I even saw a machine once which had caught a virus... that was kind of funny. Generally I've had pretty good results w/ them though. –  aslum Apr 20 '11 at 19:01

I believe Shrink the Web has a bulk website screenshot feature. I have never used it, but I know that MakeUseOf uses them for their Cool Websites and Tools section.

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Thanks for your reply. I starting to have a feeling that if you want to use this type of service within an app, you'll have to host your own. With a considerable amount of dedicated generators I'd still have to wait for ~1min for the queue to be cleared, which might just be too slow (while understandable). –  polarblau Apr 19 '11 at 9:57
personally I just use Snagit –  mjrider Apr 19 '11 at 10:53
But Snagit is a desktop app, right? –  polarblau Apr 19 '11 at 12:44
correct... that is one way I didn't suggest it originaly –  mjrider Apr 19 '11 at 15:32

Browshot: the API uses SSL, screenshots can only be retrieved by the requester.

There are 30+ different screen resolutions, including mobile devices. There no restrictions on the thumbnails: any ratio, any size.

Right now Browshot offers PNG only. I guess you always convert to JPG (GIF files must be huge!).

The service is quite new, but already has paid users.

Response time is fast, basically it depends on how fast the web page requested. There a free instances that are shared amongst all unpaid users, but there are premium browsers reserved for paid customers, so the response time stays low.

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Awhile back, I came across this post, which mentioned that WordPress offered a pseduo-service for this. Don't know if it could be of any use.

I think also Snap used to have something, but I don't know if they still do.

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Thanks! The WP solution is nifty and does still work, but since they're not really providing this as a service, it won't work for me. Also pretty slow. –  polarblau Apr 20 '11 at 9:44

BrowserShots is pretty good, but it won't get more reliable and stable than Adobe Browser Lab. All your desirables are there.

BrowserLab was shut down on 13 March 2013.

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