Review: Save entire Web sites for offline viewing with Cyotek WebCopy

Save entire Web sites to your hard drive with this capable freeware.

Your Web browser can save complete Web pages, but Cyotek WebCopy saves entire Web sites to your hard drive for offline viewing. Some Web sites are huge, so WebCopy's filtering rules and other options help keep things manageable. Recent updates include Windows 8 compatibility and improved options for setting the Accept and Accept-Language headers. WebCopy is freeware.

WebCopy's user interface isn't large or complex, and the tool itself isn't difficult to pick up and use without consulting the Help menu's plentiful resources. But the Rules box next to the Forms and Passwords box and the tabbed log view (Results, Errors, Sitemap, Skipped, Files, and Differences) hinted at more sophisticated capabilities. Undaunted, we copied an address into the Web site field, selected a destination folder, and pressed "Copy Website." Two things happened: WebCopy immediately began downloading and saving each separate page in torrent-like fashion, and we immediately realized why it's best to start small with WebCopy and then learn to use its filters and options to grab and save just the pages you want. Although WebCopy worked with impressive speed through our broadband connection, it takes a long, long time to download and save a modern, top-quality Web site, especially if it has a lot of ads, links, and images. But WebCopy not only let us filter out what we didn't want but also create projects that we could run during off hours. After we'd picked some more manageable sites and set our options, things went much faster. A Crawl Completed pop-up logged our finished job, including Started, Completed, Size, and Duration, as well as some Errors we could view on the Errors tab; in our case, a remote server error. To view saved sites, we merely had to select our saved project and click Open in Browser, or we could go to the Downloaded Web Sites folder and click any individual saved page or image to open it directly.

Cyotek's WebCopy is an awesome, free tool for the job, and it'll be of particular interest (and use) to researchers, academics, and others with big jobs but small budgets.

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