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There are times when you need to access a website where you cannot access the internet. Or you want to backup your own website, but the host you are using does not have this option. You may want to use a popular website as a reference when creating your own and need 24/7 access. Whatever the case, there are a few ways to download an entire website for offline viewing with peace of mind. Some websites don’t stay online forever, so this is an even more important reason to learn how to download them for offline viewing. Here are some of your ways to download an entire website for offline viewing at a later date, whether you’re using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Here are the best website download tools to download an entire website for offline viewing. Sometimes it is necessary to access the data of a website offline. You may want to backup your own website, but your hosting service has no way to do it. It may be the case that you want to mimic how a popular website is built or its CSS / HTML files look. In any case, there are several ways to download part or all of the website for offline access.
How to copy websites locally for fast offline browsing
Cyotek’s WebCopy takes the URL of a website and parses it for links, pages, and media. As it finds pages, it recursively searches for more links, pages, and media until it discovers the entire website. You can then use the configuration options to decide which parts to download offline.
The great thing about WebCopy is that you can set up multiple projects, each of which has its own settings and settings. This makes it easy to redownload many sites whenever you want, each in the same way every time. One project can copy many websites, so use them with an organized plan (for example, a “technology” project to copy technology sites).
How to download an entire website with WebCopy
- Install and run the application.
- Navigate to File> New to create a new project.
- Enter the URL in the Website field.
- Change the Save Folder field to where you want the site to be saved.
- Play with Project> Rules… (learn more about WebCopy Rules).
- Navigate to File> Save As… to save the project.
- Click Copy on the toolbar to start the process.
Once the copy is complete, you can use the Results tab to view the status of each individual page and / or media file. The Errors tab shows the problems that may have occurred and the Ignored tab shows the files that were not downloaded. But the most important thing is the site map, which shows the complete directory structure of the website as discovered by WebCopy. To view the website offline, open File Explorer and navigate to the designated save folder. Open index.html (or sometimes index.htm) in the browser of your choice to start browsing.
HTTrack is better known than WebCopy and possibly better because it is open source and available on platforms other than Windows. The interface is a bit clunky and leaves a lot to be desired, however it works well so don’t let that put you off. Like WebCopy, it uses a project-based approach that allows you to copy multiple websites and keep them all organized. You can pause and resume downloads, and you can update copied websites by re-downloading new and old files.
How to download a full website with HTTrack
- Install and run the application.
- Click Next to start creating a new project.
- Give the project a name, category, base path, and then click Next.
- Select Download website (s) for Action, then type the URL of each website in the web address box, one URL per line. You can also store URLs in a TXT file and import it, which is convenient when you want to download the same sites again later. Click Next.
- Adjust the parameters if desired, then click Finish.
If you’re on a Mac, your best option is SiteSucker. This simple tool copies entire websites, maintains the same structure, and also includes all relevant media files (eg images, PDF, style sheets). It has a clean and easy-to-use interface: you literally paste the website URL and hit Enter. One nifty feature is the ability to save the download to a file and then use that file to download the same files and structure again in the future (or on another machine). This feature is also what allows SiteSucker to pause and resume downloads.
SiteSucker costs around $ 5 and doesn’t come with a free version or free trial, which is its biggest downside. The latest version requires macOS 11 Big Sur or higher. Older versions of SiteSucker are available for older Mac systems, but some features may be missing.
Wget is a command line utility that can retrieve all types of files through the HTTP and FTP protocols. Since websites are served over HTTP and most web media files are accessible via HTTP or FTP, Wget is an excellent tool for downloading entire websites. Wget comes bundled with most Unix-based systems. While Wget is generally used to download individual files, it can also be used to recursively download all the pages and files found through a home page:
- wget -r -p https://www.makeuseof.com
Depending on the size, it may take a while to download the entire website. However, some sites can detect and prevent what you are trying to do because copying a website can cost them a lot of bandwidth. To avoid this, you can disguise yourself as a web browser with a user-agent string:
- wget -r -p -U Mozilla https://www.thegeekstuff.com
If you want to be polite, you should also limit the download speed (so as not to hog the bandwidth of the web server) and pause between each download (so as not to overwhelm the web server with too many requests):
- wget -r -p -U Mozilla –wait = 10 –limit-rate = 35K https://www.thegeekstuff.com
Final Words: How to Download Entire Website for Offline Surfing
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