How to Clone a Website?

Website cloning/mirroring is the process of creating an exact replica of the original website. This can be done with the help of web mirroring tools. These tools allow downloading a website to a local directory, recursively building all directories, HTML, images, videos, flash and other files from the server to your computer.

Website mirroring is really beneficial. You can clone a website to save lots of bandwidth. Some of the benefits are as follows:

  • It is helpful for offline site browsing
  • Website mirroring helps in creating a backup site for the original one.
  • For developers, it is useful to test the site at the time of website design and development.

Few Website Mirroring Tools

1. HTTrack Website Copier

HTTrack is an offline browser utility. It allows you to download/ clone a website from Internet to local directory, building recursively all directories, getting HTML, images and other files from the server to your local computer. HTTrack arranges the original site’s relative link-structure. Open a page of the “mirrored” website in your browser, browse the site from link to link, and you can view the site as if you were online. HTTrack can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads.  It is free to download and use.

2. Surfoffline

SurfOffline is a website download software. The software allows you to download an entire website to your local drive. After downloading the target websites, you can use SurfOffline as an offline browser and view downloaded web pages in it. If you prefer to view downloaded webpages in another browser, you can use the Export Wizard.

SurfOffline’s Export Wizard also allows you to copy downloaded websites to another computer in order to view them later and prepares websites for burning them to a CD or DVD.

It is a paid software but offers a free 30-day trial period to test SurfOffline.

3. BlackWidow

BlackWidow, by SoftByte Labs Inc. is a website scanner for both experts and beginners. It scans websites (it’s a site ripper) and can download an entire website or part of a website. BlackWidow will build a site structure first, and then downloads. It allows you to choose what to download from the website.

4. WebRipper

WebRipper is an Internet scanner and downloader. It downloads a massive amount of images, videos, audio, and executable documents from any website. WebRipper uses spider-technology to follow the links in all directions from the start address. It filters out the interesting files and adds them to the download-queue for downloading.

You can restrict downloaded items by file type, minimum file, maximum file, and image size. All the downloaded links can also be restricted by keywords to avoid wasting your bandwidth.

In addition to the tools mentioned above, some other well-known tools are as follows:

1. Website Ripper Copier 

2. Proxy Offline Browser

3. Portable Offline Browser

4. Backstreet Browser

Now lets clone a website using HTTrack Website Copier. It is extremely easy to install, use and its completely free.

Also Read: How to create a WiFi hotspot for free?

Clone a Website Using HTTrack Website Copier

Step 1: Download and Install HTTrack

Go to this download link and based on your Operating system download the setup file. The size is about approximately 4-5 MB. Once the download is completed, launch the setup file.

The installation process is easy. You have to “Agree the License Agreement” to continue installation and then select the destination folder for installation of HTTrack.

With a couple of clicks, the installation starts and finishes within a minute.

Step 2: Using HTTrack

Once the installation is completed launch the application. You will be asked to set your “Language Preferences”  at first. To start cloning a website:

  • At first, visit the website (which you want to clone) and copy its URL. For demonstration purpose, I will be downloading Semantic UI website.
  • Once you have copied the URL, return to HTTrack and click on Next to add Project/Website details. You have to give a Project name, add project category (optional) and define the base path where your downloaded websites will be stored. Once you added the details, click on Next.
  •  Now add the previously copied URL and click on Next.
  • Then you will see something similar as shown below. Go with the default option or else you can change the parameters as per your choice.
  • Finally, click on Finish and it will start downloading the website.

It will take some time to download the website. Once the website is downloaded, you can browse it offline as if you were browsing it online. It’s pretty handy to save bandwidth if you visit a similar website from time to time.

Feel free to speak your mind in the comments below.

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