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How can I download a website

Hello Experts!

I am exploring options here.  Approximately 5 years ago we paid a hosting company to develop a website for us.  We provided content and direction.  Well, we hit a couple of red flags with this company and would like to move our site away from them and go with another hosting company (not yet researched at this point).  Just to be on the safe side, I want to copy the website before we decide to have our initial conversation with the current company so we aren't being held hostage (our bill is current)

Are there any applications that will copy the whole website locally?  (It errors out when I try to make the website available off line).

Thank you!


PS any recommendations for a hosting company that does excellent ecommerce would be great!
5 Solutions

It may not be as easy as that because a lot of time developers hard code links and media to their site in one way or another.
You're going to need some access other than what the public gets to see. Sites generated with PHP only show the html source to the public.

If you have FTP access you can copy the PHP source code. Even with this you can't be sure of getting all the data. If there are MySQL databases, you'll also need access to the MySQL admin to be able to dump the database and check to see if they've used any stored MySQL commands.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
With 'ecommerce', you will need FTP and database/MySQL access like @Michael701 said to back up the site and content.  And hosting companies usually don't 'do ecommerce', they rent you space and time on their servers so you can 'do ecommerce'.

That said, what kinds of issues are you having with them?
What does it mean to be "Always On"?

Is your cloud always on? With an Always On cloud you won't have to worry about downtime for maintenance or software application code updates, ensuring that your bottom line isn't affected.


I am not a web designer or host - I provide IT services, but I have had some success with HTTrack when I have had clients in the position you are concerned about experiencing:


It does a pretty good job on simple sites (brochure sites for example), but it won't be able to download a database, so if you have a MYSQL database or whatever running, or blogging software like WordPress, it won't be able to do that.

FWIW:  I always advise including a specific clause in agreements stating that the content etc of the website belongs to the client.  I also strongly advise that clients control their own domain registration, and preferably split the design / build of a website, from the hosting of it (which is just a commodity and should cost next to nothing these days).  That way, the situation is much more controllable.


Oops missed the php part.  Yea, wget won't do what you want because you will only be presented with the HTML and not the PHP running server side.
I've used the tool Alan3285 suggested. Works well. I like it.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I've HTTrack a lot but it only gets the publicly visible part of the website.  It can not get the PHP code that drives the site.
If you have access to the WordPress Admin eg; http://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin, there are a few different plug-ins that will let you download the files, and the database. I would use these if I didn't have access to my server via FTP and PHPmyAdmin to backup the files and Database.

Let me know if you have access to the Admin area of WordPress and I will send you links to the plug-ins, or if you have access to the Database I will explain how to back-up your site.
teodor bircaCommented:
I used with success Teleport Pro .. of course if site is PHP & MYSQL you need FTP and PHPmyadmin access.
You could use also a free tool like : http://webscripts.softpedia.com/script/Server-Management/PHP-Website-Backup-122.html
or http://www.mcmwebsite.com/free-backup-software.html

A website "crawler" will only get you the html produced by the php files. What you really need to save are the actual php files.

>> Approximately 5 years ago we paid a hosting company to develop a website for us
If I understand you correctly, they
a. developed the site
b. are currently hosting it.

If that is the case, you have the right to be able to upload and download the source code files.  

If you don't want to "risk" it, then tell them that you hired your nephew to do some enhancements to the site and that you need to give him access to the website's control panel.

If they have a control panel, they'll instruct you on how to access it.  I would pursue this route first because if they have a control panel, then you would be able get all the PHP SOURCE files AND you'll be able to access the db and back it up before you part ways.

Mohamed AbowardaSoftware EngineerCommented:
If you are using cPanel, there is a wizard you can use:

If you are not using cPanel, you can copy all the PHP script in "www" (public_html) to your local storage and use phpMyAdmin to export the database.
Ray PaseurCommented:
You might be able to use an FTP client to copy the scripts and data base.  However if you have the passwords for the site, your new hosting provider will be able to move it lock-stock-and-barrel to the new hosting location.  I use and recommend ChiHost.com.  Once they have made the move for you, you can change the DNS settings and you will be running on the new site.  If you have active e-commerce hooks into other sites you may want to deactivate those for a few minutes during the move.  There may also be authentication activities with your site and external web services.  Look out for checks that depend on a URL or server IP address.
the_b1ackfoxAuthor Commented:
Hello all, thank you for participating in this discussion.  I tried to award points based on original discussion points and subject matter.

fair and balanced

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