Screenshotlayer API is a lightweight REST API that delivers high-quality PNG, JPEG & GIF website screenshots at unparalleled speeds through a simple interface. ApiFlash is a powerful serverless screenshot API built with Chromium and AWS Lambda. It can be quickly scaled to generate millions of screenshots per day, and has millions of clients.
Currently, Screenshotlayer and ApiFlash are two of the most prominent screenshot APIs on the market. In this blog post, we’ll compare Screenshotlayer with ApiFlash in terms of features, documentation, ease of use, price, customer support, security, and privacy.
Both the screenshot APIs come with several different features. Here, in this table, we compare those features side-by-side.
|Rendering||Powerful Rendering Engine
API depends on a powerful rendering engine that is capable of processing, storing, and returning all sorts of website content in just a few seconds
Uses up-to-date Chrome instances to make pixel-perfect screenshots while ensuring support for all modern web features.
|CDN Support||stores your valuable snapshots in a lightning-fast Content Delivery Network or CDN. It takes only a matter of milliseconds to retrieve those snapshots.||No|
|Export options||You can upload the captured snapshots directly to your AWS S3 bucket by simply appending the S3 bucket path or custom FTP server path to the API request. However, this feature is only available in professional enterprise plans||No|
|Placeholder Images||Set a placeholder image until your snapshot is available, either by setting a custom image or using the default placeholder to enhance the user experience.||No|
|Force Fresh||You can quickly force the API to capture a fresh screenshot of the requested URL by appending the force parameter to the request URL and setting it to 1.||No|
|URL Encryption||256-bit HTTPS encryption. You can generate a unique Secret Key for every API request and simply append it to the respective query URL.||Full HTTPS endpoints for all plans.|
|CSS Injection||Yes||Yes. Only for paid plans|
|JS Injection||No||Yes. Only for medium and large plans|
|Image format||JPG or PNG||PNG, JPG, and GIF|
|Full page Screenshots||yes||yes|
|IP location||No||IP location is only for custom enterprise plans. This feature allows specifying the country code associated with the proxy that captures the screenshot.|
|View Port Control||Yes||Yes|
Analysis of Features
Apart from the features described above, Screenshotlayer provides dedicated servers for their paid plans. These dedicated servers enable you to capture, process, and store concurrent website snapshots while providing you with the highest possible processing speed for each API request.
On the other hand, ApiFlash provides a few features that Screenshotlayer does not offer. For example, it allows the automatic detection of fully loaded pages before the screenshot capture. Furthermore, ApiFlash guarantees stability under heavy workloads. This is because it is built on top of AWS Lambda. Additionally, their custom enterprise plan provides managed proxies for a faster API experience.
Both APIs offer different pricing plans, including a free plan that offers 100 snapshots per month with basic technical support. Screenshotlayer also provides features like CDN support. Its advanced features include unparalleled image quality and speed, full-height captures, thumbnails, and Viewport-control. Apart from its numerous customization capabilities, ApiFlash also provides free-of-charge full-page and mobile screenshots. So if you are just looking for a screenshot API for experimental purposes, both these APIs match your needs.
In contrast to ApiFlash, Screenshotlayer has the most affordable plans, offering up to 75,000 screenshots for just $150 per month. Moreover, you will be offered a 20% discount for all the Screenshotlayer paid subscription plans if you sign up to a plan for the year. It makes Screenshotlayer a better choice if you are looking for an annual plan.
On top of everything else, Screenshotlayer paid subscriptions come with features like unlimited technical support, bank-grade encryption, and dedicated servers. So if you are looking for an option that is more affordable and offers high-quality features, then Screenshotlayer would be your ideal choice.
ApiFlash, however, is more expensive than Screenshotlayer yet has monthly pricing for a higher volume of screenshots. One thing that makes ApiFlash stand out from Screenshotlayer is its custom enterprise plan. It offers custom screenshots tailored to your specific needs. This custom enterprise plan, however, offers all the enterprise plan features, which makes it a costly option.
Both Screenshotlayer and ApiFlash come with comprehensive documentation. Yet the Screenshotlayer documentation shows you how each parameter behaves using interactive example queries. It is a feature ApiFlash documentation doesn’t share. Screenshotlayer also provides comprehensive parameter definitions and specifies in which plans those parameters are available. Finally, you can find a shortened version of the API documentation in the docs folder of the Screenshotlayer repository.
Both sets of documentation provide various code examples in different languages they support, such as PHP, Python, and Ruby. However, accessing those code examples is much easier with the ApiFlash documentation since it has a code switcher. Screenshotlayer also offers easier navigation. Each section of the documentation is accessible without scrolling to the top. Lastly, the documentation for both products provides useful information like error codes, rate limits, and access keys.
Screenshotlayer is the clear winner here. its documentation is just more comprehensive. However, ApiFlash is a little more friendly in terms of navigation.
Ease of Use
Signing up for an account is pretty straightforward and accessible with both screenshot API providers. However, as opposed to Screenshotlayer, ApiFlash provides a single sign-on option to log in using your email account. Both APIs do, however, offer you a dashboard once you sign up for a free plan. On both dashboards, you can view your account information, subscription plans, access keys, API usage, and payment information.
All in all, ApiFlash provides more information than Screenshotlayer, such as API usage statistics, a 30-day behavior history, and your last API call details.
You can also use both APIs to make API requests using different parameters. ApiFlash comes with a separate Query builder for this, which consists of the complete list of parameters. You can build a query including all the parameters, but it will display an error if your plan does not support all the features you chose. Even though this is a very helpful feature, it can be pretty confusing for new users.
Both APIs offer limited customer support for their free subscription plans. However, ApiFlash provides more options for customer support even in its free plan. On the other hand, the Screenshotlayerfree plan offers customer support only through email, via web form. Despite this, its paid plans offer you unlimited technical support.
In comparison, ApiFlash provides customer support through both live chat and direct email. However, their free plan live chat support is slower than their paid plans. Nevertheless, you always will get an answer to your query via email if you are not available when they respond to your chat request, which is quite impressive.
To wrap up, both APIs have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section where you can find additional information about each API. Screenshotlayer has a more comprehensive FAQ divided into sections, and there is even an email link that you can use to query them directly.
Security and Privacy
Security is another crucial factor you should consider when choosing an API. Screenshotlayer ensures security by using bank-grade 256-bit HTTPS encryption that is impossible to crack.
On the other hand, Apilayer doesn’t specifically mention its encryption method. It does, however, provide complete HTTPS endpoints for secure communication with all plans. They also assure that your credit card data never goes through their servers and that they keep your screenshots private and safe. They create a new isolated chrome instance with each API call and then destroy it with temporary data.
So when it comes to privacy and security, both APIs offer similar options that help secure your data at transmission.
Which screenshot API should you choose?
Considering all the factors discussed above, these two APIs are among the best screenshot APIs available. That said, Screenshotlayer is the better API of the two. It offers a lot of competitive features at a lower price. That puts it clearly at the head of the pack.