Have you ever wanted to copy a Website for offline browsing or backup purposes? There’s a powerful UNIX tool called wget that can do this, and much more. I’ll review a simple example of using this tool, and discuss some advanced features that are huge timesavers. GNU wget is a free utility which runs under UNIX and Windows. In a nutshell, this program can go out and effectively mirror a Website for local browsing or backup purposes. While it has more powerful features, this article will focus on the basics of the tool.
There are countless ways to copy your Website. Many Website editors actually keep a local copy of the site for you. So, why should you bother with wget? Well, there are several advantages to this utility. It’s free, easy to learn, and runs from the command line. The last of these is important, because it makes wget easy to automate through “cron” or “at” jobs. Overall, I find it’s a useful utility to have in my toolbox – fast, powerful, and easy to use.
Obtaining and Installing wget
First, we’ll need to install the software. For Linux users, it may already be there – just type “which wget” at your shell prompt to see if you have it.
Look for the latest binary, and be sure to download the ssllibs as well (These enable retrieval of https web pages). I downloaded wget 1.9.1 and ssllibs 0.97. I copied all the files to my C:\Program Files\wget directory. If you choose, add this to your system path for easy use.