Sometimes, you can’t be online all the time for various reasons, often economic or even technical. but you still need a certain website’s content. One way to do so is to copy or download the website’s content page by page. Web browsers allow for the downloading or saving of content page by page by pressing CTRL+S. But that would be time-consuming if you needed much of the site’s content. What if we told you that it’s possible to download an entire website? This time, we discuss How to Download an Entire Website for Offline Reading.
If you visit a particular website for its information again and again, let’s say as a guide or as a manual for coding or other uses, it will make better sense for the website to reside on your hard drive, especially if you have economic reasons to keep your internet connections limited. There’s also the threat that the website could shut down at any moment as internet content is not perpetual. Much of the content of the internet’s nascent years is already gone and most of them depend on a certain company’s existence. When a company falls under, the website is sure to follow. So, knowing How to Download an Entire Website for Offline Reading would be quite important for such users.
Other purposes for downloading entire websites include reverse engineering so web developers can know how a certain website works so they wouldn’t need to visit it often just to view the source code. They’re free to make any changes to see how their target site works. And lastly, these same web developers can download their entire websites in order to allow for migration to new hosts or to create backups.
And while it’s problematic for the company that owns the website, it is possible for people to download an entire website for offline reading, either through much manual grinding or through special software. This mostly applies to websites that are mostly static where the content is not database dependent, and whatever is downloaded will remain so, and won’t be updated until the next full website download. One such software that can be used to download websites is HTTrack.
How to Download Full Website with HTTrack
HTTrack is fortunately a completely free and open-source, multi-platform program, meaning that it can run on Windows, Linux, and Android. macOS users are unfortunately left out, but they have their own tool called SiteSucker. But unlike HTTrack, SiteSucker will cost about $5. Both apps are completely safe to use. Let’s discuss How to Download an Entire Website for Offline Reading using HTTrack.
❶ Download HTTrack from its official website.
❷ Install HTTrack and launch.
❸ Start the download wizard and think of a relevant project name.
❹ Select a preferred location on your hard drive. Make sure that you have enough space as some websites can have from less than a megabyte to several gigabytes of information.
❺ Enter the URL of the site’s homepage and then click on Finish.
From there, HTTrack will crawl through all of the site’s internal links. The process could take some time depending on the size of the website and its contents. If the reason to download is economic, this is just a one-time effort and still beats having to visit the website from time to time and re-downloading its contents. Those contents might include ads that affect the amount of data spent if the user’s connection is metered based on data.
Fortunately, HTTrack works in such a way that it downloads the latest content first and works its way back to older posts. The entire website does not need to be downloaded. Users can cancel the download at any time they’re sure that the needed content has been downloaded and it will still leave them with a functional offline version of the website.
HTTrack also allows for the downloading of a website’s subsection by starting with the subsection’s URL.
When the website has been downloaded, users can visit the folder they assigned to store the download. Disable the internet connection. Click on the index.html file. The website can then be browsed exactly as it’s done online.
Some websites include pages and elements that may not necessarily be needed such as images and videos in case space and speed is being considered. HTTrack has plenty of settings that can filter out or acquire the necessary content to make the downloaded site usable. Certain browsers might even treat websites differently. So HTTrack has an option where the user can select the user’s or the website’s preferred browser and restructure the offline version accordingly.
Some websites have links that can go very deep but in case that info isn’t necessary, HTTrack can also control how deep the pages are to be downloaded. And lastly, users can also control how many of the pages are downloaded by setting a page download limit. All these can be set at the Set Options at the page where the main URL is specified.
Also, HTTrack itself is rather dated, with the latest download version dated 2017. Mac users have better luck with SiteSucker since it’s updated as of March 2022. HTTrack is not guaranteed to work on all websites, especially dynamic ones, and more modern ones employing modern techniques. This software works well with websites that employ mostly static pages and content. Pages that load dynamic content and those that process inputs will be limited. Web pages that simply redirect to external sites, as well as elements referenced from other sites, will not be loaded. And lastly, HTTrack is bound by the rules specified in a website’s robots.txt file. There are many other factors but HTTrack’s FAQs should cover most issues.
There you have it. Knowing How to Download an Entire Website for Offline Reading, is quite easy. HTTrack will attempt to download all the relevant website elements as much as possible and adapt its directory structure for offline viewing.