Did you ever land on a website with many pages or lots of content that you were looking for but didn't have enough time to look through the site at the time? If so, then a website ripper is the software you needed to download the whole site to your computer.
Once downloaded you could then browse through the whole site whenever you wanted, even without an internet connection. The software products reviewed here are capable of downloading the whole website including the images, style sheets and everything else the site owners uploaded on the server. So, don’t worry about how the site looks when they get downloaded.
I hope that this review will help you to choose the right website ripper freeware that matches your requirements.
Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
HTTrack is an impressive product that does everything that you could want from a website ripper—download any website to your computer and then browse at your convenience. The entire website is there, the sub-directories, pictures, and internal links. Links to external websites are only active if you have an internet connection. HTTrack is compatible with all Windows versions, and is GPL licensed freeware. WinHTTrack is the Windows release of HTTrack, and WebHTTrack is the Linux release. HTTrack can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads. HTTrack is fully configurable, and has an integrated help system.
After a quick install you may start the program and select your language preference. You are then presented with a box to tell the program if you use a proxy for FTP transfers. If you do not use a proxy, just cancel and click next where you can give your project(s) a name and category. The default download folder is C:\My Web Sites so just click next. Now you can paste in a URL for the website you wish to download. If you click on Options this will give a number of choices. These can also be accessed on the top menu through Preferences. Click on next to get to the last screen to make any last options before one last next. Now you can watch HTTrack download the entire website.
It might take a while for the program to download the whole site, and is not as easy to use as some other products mentioned in this review.
Alternatively there is the free edition of PageNest, which allows you to download and categorize websites, as well as browse them within the programs own viewer. PageNest can also show what new or updated content has been added to an archived website. The commercial Pro version of PageNest, among other things, adds the ability to schedule auto-updates to archived sites.
The third program in this category, Local Website Archive, has a free lite edition that only allows you to download web pages and other documents on the web. However, it has good integration with Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer, allowing you to capture a web pages URL directly from the browser. Unlike HTTrack or PageNest, this program has a built-in search facility, which identifies the pages that a word or phrase appears in, and highlights the words in the document. It also has the useful ability to zip up a stored page, so it can be emailed.
QuadSucker/Web is another freeware that I tried to use, but unfortunately I found this software to be unsatisfactory. Most of the functionalities of the original website couldn't be restored by this freeware for offline viewing. But, this freeware provides an easy to use interface for downloading the websites. QSW also gives us four options to select from: Entire Site, Single Page + Images, Single File and Multi-Site Spider.
I call this software hardly freeware, as we need to wait a considerable time on each occasion we open this software before use. To avoid this waiting and being disturbed by a popup, which keeps on telling us to do register this software (nagware), we sure need to register this software for some dollars. Besides these popup distractions, QuadSucker is capable of downloading four files at a time, so we could expect a little faster download. Also QuadSucker can support both standard (http) and secure (https) websites.
Other software products to be reviewed:
- WinWSD WebSite Downloader
- wget + wget GUI
Local Website Archive
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