capsule review

HTTrack Website Copier

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HTTrack Website Copier

First, it can sometimes be easier to view a site at home. Sites with many small pages, for example, can be a pain to read due to slow connections when clicking links. Second, if there's a site with valuable information you rely on, having a personal archive is good for when the site can't be reached. Third, having a copy of a corporate site on a local machine allows you to experiment/explore/edit without interfering with the running copy.

So how does HTTrack work? Pretty well. On the simplest level, enter an URL, click "Next" a few times, then go away. Depending on the size of the site, it could be downloaded in minutes, hours, or days. However, some sites are more complex and HTTrack gives you a lot of options. You can set the program to spider "up" as well as down, which can be useful but which risks getting too much of the site. You can set maximum recursive depth to prevent infinitely looping back--it can usually figure out if Page A goes to Page B and Page B goes to Page A, but dynamically generated page names can throw it. (i.e, Page A1 goes to Page B1 which goes to Page A2 (same content as page A1, but a new name), so this is a helpful limit to set. You can cause it to download only .gif files, or not download .zip files. And so on. You may need to play with the settings a bit for some sites, but for most, it's "point and click."

HTTrack still has issues with PHP-style links. This is endemic to the architecture of the Web and shouldn't be held against it.

Given the low cost and high functionality (I'd been using this program for years before being asked to review it), HTTrack is a must-have for anyone who has any need to archive sites.

--Ian Harac

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HTTrack Website Copier

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