How to backup a website on a Mac

Contrary to popular belief the web is not static. Neither does it retain everything. If there is a useful website that you want to save for posterity you can use the following method. Note that these instructions are for a Mac using OSX. I will post Windows instructions in the future.

Instructions:

Download SiteSucker. Get the version for your iteration of OSX. Newer versions are only available through the app store. The latest versions are not free. I’m still using version 2.3.6.

Sitesucker Screen ShotDownload, install and run the app.

Sitesucker Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 6.21.28 pmYou should be greeted by the window above. Paste the URL of the website you are interested in downloading in Web URL box, and click download.

Site Sucker Screen ShotThe lower half of the screen should start flashing with URLs and filenames. The program will continue to download all the files on the site.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 6.44.16 pmWhen the download is finished the window will look the same as before you started except that the Files Downloaded counter will have a value larger than zero.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 6.45.52 pmYou can now click on Open File to open your downloaded website in your default web browser. The website will have been “localized”, meaning all the links will have been altered to work on your local machine. This makes it possible to browse the offline copy without the internet. Lastly you can click on the Download Folder button to see where the files of the download were stored.

Have fun and use responsibly.

Warnings:

  • Most hosts of websites charge the owner for the amount of bandwidth used. Making a backup of a whole site uses a lot more bandwidth than just viewing a few pages. Thus, only backup websites that are important to be preserved.
  • There are various settings that can affect the operation, including the ability to exclude local files, settings limits etc. Interested parties are invited to view the SiteSucker manual. Make sure you are viewing the manual that matches your version of the software. In most cases the default settings will suffice.
  • It is good to keep an eye on SiteSucker when it is downloading to make sure that it is behaving as expected. Sometimes it downloads large files you don’t want or follows links to parts of a site you are not interested in. You can prevent this behavior by changing the settings.