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Web Page Mirroring with Wget

Published: at 06:06 AM


In the digital age, the ability to capture and preserve web content has become increasingly important. Whether you’re archiving valuable resources for offline access, downloading specific files like PDF documents, having a reliable tool for mirroring web pages is essential.

One such tool that stands out in the Unix-like ecosystem is wget. This command-line utility is a powerhouse when it comes to fetching content from the web, offering a plethora of options to tailor the mirroring process according to your needs. In this guide, we’ll delve into the depths of wget and explore its various features, commands, and best practices for effective web page mirroring.


You can find a shorter cheat sheet version of this article here.

Table of contents

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Why Mirror Web Pages?

Before we dive into the intricacies of wget, let’s take a moment to understand why mirroring web pages is valuable. Here are some common use cases:

Offline Access:

Mirroring web pages allows you to create local copies of online content, enabling access even when you’re offline. This is particularly useful for educational resources, documentation, or articles that you want to read later without an internet connection.

Archiving and Preservation:

In an ever-changing digital landscape, valuable information can disappear or be modified over time. Mirroring web pages helps preserve important content for future reference, historical analysis, or legal documentation.

Now that we’ve established the importance of web page mirroring, let’s explore how wget can help you accomplish these tasks effectively.

Understanding wget Basics

At its core, wget is a command-line utility for retrieving content from web servers using HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and other protocols. It’s pre-installed on many Unix-like operating systems, making it readily available for various tasks.

To initiate a basic download with wget, you simply provide the URL of the web page or file you want to fetch. For example:


This command fetches the specified file and saves it to your current directory. While this works for individual files, mirroring an entire web page requires a more nuanced approach.

Mirroring a Web Page with wget

When mirroring a web page, you want to capture not only the HTML content but also all linked resources such as images, stylesheets, and scripts. wget offers a set of options specifically designed for this purpose.

Here’s a breakdown of the essential options for mirroring a web page:

Putting it all together, a basic wget command for mirroring a web page looks like this:

wget --mirror --convert-links --adjust-extension --page-requisites --no-parent

This command recursively downloads the entire website rooted at, converts all links to relative paths, ensures file extensions are correct, downloads all necessary resources, and restricts the mirroring process to the specified domain.

Advanced wget Options

While the basic mirroring command covers most use cases, wget offers a plethora of additional options for fine-tuning the mirroring process:

Handling Certificate Errors:

If wget encounters SSL certificate errors, such as when mirroring internal corporate pages with custom CA certificates, you can use the --no-check-certificate option to bypass certificate validation.

wget --no-check-certificate

Bypassing robots.txt Restrictions:

By default, wget respects the directives specified in the robots.txt file of the target website. If you need to bypass these restrictions and download all paths, you can use the -e robots=off option.

wget -e robots=off

Managing Cookies:

To avoid downloading tracking cookies or other unwanted cookies, you can disable cookie handling altogether using the --no-cookies option.

wget --no-cookies

Customizing User-Agent:

Some websites serve different content based on the user-agent string or block wget requests. You can specify a custom user-agent string using the -U or --user-agent option.

wget -U "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/68.0"

Spanning Hosts:

When you need to download assets (such as JavaScript, CSS, or images) from other hosts linked within the mirrored content, you can enable spanning hosts using the --span-hosts or -H option.

wget --span-hosts

Downloading Specific File Types

In some scenarios, you may only be interested in downloading specific file types, such as PDF documents from a directory. wget allows you to specify the file extensions you want to download using the -A or --accept option.

wget -r -l1 -A ".pdf"

This command recursively downloads all PDF files from the specified URL and its subdirectories, up to a maximum depth of one level.


In this short guide, we’ve explored the ins and outs of mirroring web pages with wget. From basic mirroring commands to more advanced options for fine-tuning the process, wget provides a powerful set of tools for capturing and preserving online content. Whether you’re archiving documents or simply creating offline copies of your favorite websites, wget is a versatile ally in your toolkit. With the knowledge gained from this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to harness the full potential of wget for all your web mirroring needs.