I just wanted to get some opinions on the best "web site copying" software out there (free or commercial is fine). I have a site that I've recently become responsible for managing, and the previous consultant has not provided operating system access. As such, the plan is to re-host the web site. I realize there are a lot of different issues to consider in doing this. However, I don't have much choice in the matter now. The plan is to use web site copying software (ala HTTrack) to "rip" the web site, and then modify what is downloaded back in to a maintainable site. This, of course, involves HTML, css, javascript, etc on the front-end. I'd like to recover as much of the site as possible to make re-creating it as easy as possible.

  • 4
    I hope the site isn't powered by any server-side scripting... ..or database... or...
    – jscott
    Sep 1, 2010 at 2:13
  • 3
    "wget -r..." will follow every link and grab every file referenced, but...see jscott's comment
    – Cory J
    Sep 1, 2010 at 2:24
  • jscott, yes, there is database and server side code (shopping cart, etc.) I know this is a huge pain, but what other choice do I have?
    – GregH
    Sep 1, 2010 at 3:42
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    "the previous consultant".. you could probably sue his ass.. or just contact the hosting provider directly and ask for ssh access into your server. That should give you sftp access to copy all the data, and will allow you to dump the database.. assuming you have the u/p for that too. If you can prove that your company owns the domain/site and is responsible for paying for it, they will probably help you out.
    – Grizly
    Sep 1, 2010 at 3:47
  • 1
    You should definitely attempt to get proper access. Check the previous consultant's contract, he or she probably does not "own" the website and therefore is probably legally obliged to hand it over.
    – Matt
    Feb 7, 2011 at 9:12

3 Answers 3


wget is really simple if you have it installed. wget -m will mirror an entire site. give it a -k option will also convert the links in the document to make them suitable for local viewing.


If you have physical control of the servers, you should be able to get access to the server, and change the password. A live Linux CD or DVD should get you full access to the file system. You can then copy the system off with or without changing the passwords.

Does the system create backups? If so, you should be able to restore them to another system where you do have Operating System Access.

As your site has server side code, you will be limited in how much you can rip. Some of the web site testing tools will capture the content from the pages they test. This might get you on your way, and build some test scripts at the same time.

  • Thanks for the input but I do not have physical access to the machine. There are backups but unfortunately the machine is registered with the hosting company under the name of the consultant that developed the site instead of the owner of the site. Ooops on his part. Just have to work through the back-end re-development issues.
    – GregH
    Sep 1, 2010 at 6:06
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    Who is paying the bills. If it is the company they may be able to get back control from the hosting company.
    – BillThor
    Sep 1, 2010 at 21:56

wget is definitely the better method otherwise WinHTTrack on windows has a lot of options for mirroring a website.

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