PrinceXML Alternatives for HTML to PDF Conversion

Prince is the leading HTML-to-PDF conversion engine and a big part of DocRaptor's HTML to PDF API.

Prince supports the intricate, highest-quality documents with PDF-specific CSS and JavaScript functionality. Prince provides advanced support for forms, accessible PDFs, printing, page numbers, typography, color profiles, page floats, and more. Plus, Prince also offers excellent support via their user forum.

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However, Prince comes with a hefty price tag for commercial usage. And if you need high-volume PDF generation, just maintaining your infrastructure can be a time-consuming chore. While Prince simplified document generation with its singular focus on PDFs, Prince does not perfectly mimic browser environments, leading to potential differences in rendering. This list of Prince XML alternatives has an option for every document and budget.

DocRaptor - HTML to PDF API

DocRaptor is an official Prince partner. We think Prince is the best PDF converter and DocRaptor is the best Prince XML alternative. We simply offer Prince as a SaaS API, instead of a standalone PDF converter library. DocRaptor has a free plan and our paid plans start at $15/month. We have API clients in Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, and more.

As an API-based tool, there's no need to manage additional infrastructure. You get instant scalability and reliability backed by our uptime guarantee and SOC2 compliance. You can be up and running in minutes with agents for all the popular languages and our no-signup development testing key.

WeasyPrint - Free / Open Source

WeasyPrint has a lot of merits, but also strong drawbacks. It is an open-source tool, which makes it not only free to use but also modifiable according to your project's specific requirements. If you just need to convert HTML. WeasyPrint supports an extensive range of document-oriented CSS Paged Media (albeit with many reported issues rendering HTML). Unfortunately, though, WeasyPrint completely lacks any JavaScript support and has been reported to convert much slower than PrinceXML, which could affect efficiency when dealing with larger documents.

In summary, WeasyPrint is the closest open-source alternative and free alternative to Prince's capabilities, but it may struggle with more complex files.

PDFReactor - Commercial Library

PDFReactor is the primary commercial competitor to Prince XML. It supports a similar range of PDF-specific CSS and JavaScript features. It has very similar strengths and weaknesses. It requires a significant upfront investment and can be difficult to scale, but it also enables complex and intricate documents. In general, we've found Prince's documentation to be better. PDFReactor's standard price is slightly lower than Prince's, but Prince offers unlimited CPUs by default.

Headless Chrome - Free / Open Source

Headless Chromium (usually accessed via Puppeteer, a Node.js library) gives you the full capabilities of the Google Chrome browser but without the graphical interface. This means it replicates a modern browser environment, making it a superior choice for documents that use complex, modern JavaScript or other cutting-edge web features. It's free and open source, making it a cost-effective solution. However, it can be more resource-intensive and might struggle to scale with high-volume usage.

Chrome's PDF rendering capabilities are also the weakest on this list. Chrome will struggle with PDFs containing headers/footers, varying page sizes or layouts, forms, or requiring accessibility compliance. It's best for simple HTML documents.

Wkhtmltopdf / PhantomJS - Free / Open Source

These libraries are no longer being supported or developed. They rely on heavily outdated versions of the Webkit browser. While they were extremely popular years ago, and many other HTML to PDF libraries still rely on them, we strongly advise against using them. The other tools on this list will create higher-quality PDFs with faster development time. We mention wkhtmltopdf and PhantomJs only to warn against using them. Consider these wkhtmltopdf alternatives instead.

Picking a Prince Alternative

When comparing HTML to PDF converters, focus on the most complex part of your document first. This will provide the fastest insight into whether or not the current tool will meet your needs. Consider your scalability requirements (how many concurrent PDFs do you need to generate?) and development capacity (will you ultimately save money with a more flexible commercial solution?) as well.

While Prince XML offers powerful HTML to PDF functionality, each alternative has its own strengths and weaknesses. Your selection between them hinges on your project's requirements and budget, and your technical capacity. We believe DocRaptor offers the best balance of capability and budget, but the choice is yours!