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.

How to print a webpage onto paper (dead tree paper)

I believe in the strategy of not putting all your eggs in one basket. As such I don’t trust the internet, or the cloud for that matter, to always have a copy of articles or websites that are important to me. Sometimes I save these websites to my computer or clip them to Evernote, but for really good articles I want to print them onto good old reliable paper. Since the printing of websites has become less popular the functionality to do it properly has disappeared from my browser of choice, Firefox.

Here is my tips for printing a website using the Chrome browser.

Step one is to open the website you want to print in Chrome.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 12.58.48 pm

Now select Print… from the three stripes menu in the top right hand corner or by pressing Ctrl + P (Windows) or Command + P (Mac) on your keyboard. Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_12_59_13_pm

This will bring up the print dialog. Make sure you have the correct printer and page size selected. Then make sure that you select:

  • Minimum under Margins
  • Tick Simplify page under Options
  • [Optional] If you want the URL to be printed on the pages make sure to tick Headers and footers under Options
  • Click Print

Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_12_59_27_pm

For comparison you can see that the print would have been 6 pages without selecting the Simplify page option.