How to download an entire website

A few months ago I showed you how easy it is to download an entire website with wget for Windows.  Setup is straightforward and the command-line tool is a perennial favorite among power users.  But what should you do if the command line isn’t really your thing?

Thank God there’s another tool on the block that get’s the job done in a jiffy.  It’s called HTTrack and it’s amazing.

HTTrack Website Copier is the de-facto tool for downloading entire websites.

HTTrack homepage

Don’t be fooled by the austere webpage that looks like it was crafted in the early 90’s. This mighty tool is no frills but all work.  It let’s you not only copy webpages for offline viewing but also pulls relative links and related data elements.

Just download the executable that matches your platform and install the app.  The last I checked, the installation is free from furtive offers and sneaky malware so you can just Next your way to the finish line.

Installed WinHTTrack

When the application loads, you’ll see all your local folders in the left pane and a new project wizard in the right pane.

Click Next to get started.

WinHTTrack New Project

I would love to read LifeHacker offline so let’s download the entire domain.

In the New project name field I named my project LifeHacker.com, created a new category called Productivity and changed the Base path for the website to my personal location for websites.

Let’s continue.

Creating the project name, category and path in HTTrack

The next screen is where you enter the website you want to download.  You can also change the default action from Download web site(s) to a few other things. (but the first option is usually what you want)

In case you’re curious, the Download web site(s) + questions tells HTTrack to explicitly prompt you about any links that are downloadable.

Also, that last option, * Update existing download, is worth noting too.  Let’s say you already downloaded a complete website but now you just want to grab the latest additions since the last update, you can do that with the last option.

WinHTTrack Website Download Actions

On the next page you can either start downloading the site immediately or schedule a download by entering the time in the On hold box.

WinHTTrack Website Copier Finish Project

I’m impatient so let’s start our download now.

If for some reason you get an peculiar error about ythe URL, try altering it a little bit to see what happens.  For example, I ended up changing http://www.lifehacker.com to http://lifehacker.com and that fixed my little downloading burp.

Downloading lifehacker.com to my computer

Since you’re downloading an entire website you want to make sure you have the space. So far I’ve downloaded about 20MiB, which technically isn’t 20MB but it’s close enough.

Actually, a MiB is technically known as a Mebibyte which is a mashup of the words mega and binary and a little different than a Megabyte.  But for the purposes of this article you can assume 1MB is roughly tantamount to 1MiB.

Site mirroring in progress

That’s all there is to it.  Now just sit and wait.  Once the download finishes you can browse the site offline.

As you can imagine, depending on the size of your hard drive you can start getting jiggy slurping sites from the web.  Just don’t get any zany ideas about downloading The Internet because…

Um… that could take a while.

Image credit w3schools

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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: , , ,
  • Thank you Vonnie! This is exactly what I was looking for! I’m taking over a project from another web designer and I need to grab everything he created for my client before things get ugly and it’s gone. I’m grabbing your ebook right now!

    Best,

    John Kyle
    http://www.johnkyle.com