Downloading a Password-Protected Website for Offline Access

Ivan Kolodii
2 min readApr 16, 2023
Downloading a Password-Protected Website for Offline Access
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Recently, I needed to download a website with content for offline access.

This seems like a fairly trivial task, and it is for most simple websites.

However, if you need to download a website whose content is hidden behind authentication, it’s a different story.

There are various authentication methods, which complicates the task. For simple methods where parameters are passed through POST, most tools have options to provide the login and password.

For example:

wget --user=username --password=password -r -np -k -p -H https://example.com/

In my case, authentication occurs on the frontend, and the token is stored in cookies. Therefore, simply providing the login and password won’t work.

In this situation, the easiest solution is to pass prepared cookies containing the appropriate tokens. To do this, you need to log in to the website and use the extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/get-cookiestxt/bgaddhkoddajcdgocldbbfleckgcbcid.
Click export, and the corresponding file will be saved to your disk.

Next, you can specify this file in the wget command using the parameter:

--load-cookies file_with_cookies.txt

Example of the full command:

wget --load-cookies file_with_cookies.txt --timeout=10 --tries 3 -r -np -k -p -c -H https://ikolodiy.com

Several important parameters:

- - timeout=10 — It’s important to decrease this parameter, as it has a large default value.
- -tries 3 — Also important to reduce the number of attempts so the script doesn’t hang.

It’s crucial to understand that tokens usually have a short lifespan, and you might need to resave the cookies and repeat the command execution. The command can be run multiple times, and it will understand which files need to be downloaded and which are already on the disk.

In conclusion, downloading a password-protected website for offline access can be a bit challenging, but it’s definitely achievable with the right tools and approach. By using wget and handling cookies correctly, you can successfully download the content you need. Just remember that tokens have a limited lifespan, so you may need to update your cookies and rerun the command from time to time. Happy downloading, and enjoy your offline browsing experience!

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