How to download your website using WGET for Windows

by on 3rd February 2009

Ever had that terrifying feeling you’ve lost your blog? Perhaps your WordPress installation got hacked, or you’ve got to move to a new web host because your old ones screwed up with a “database upgrade”. Either way there’s an almost infinite array of reasons to download and backup a copy of your website, and precisely zero reasons to neglect doing it.

If you’re a Linux user, there are lots of guides out there on how to use WGET, the free network utility to retrieve files from the World Wide Web using HTTP and FTP, but no guides to doing so with Windows. Unless you fancy installing Ubuntu or Crunchbang, here’s a handy guide to downloading your site using WGET in Windows.

Summary: Here’s how to install and use WGET in Windows

  1. Download WGET.
  2. Make WGET a command you can run from any directory in Command Prompt.
  3. Restart the command terminal and test WGET.
  4. Make a directory to download your site to.
  5. Use the commands listed in this article to download your site.

Down to the details – get started:

Download WGET

Download and save WGET to your desktop. You can get wget.exe here. I recommend downloading WGET for Windows (win32) from as it’s the most up to date version I could find. For info, you can also get WGET from Brothersoft. Avoid the WGET for Windows download page, because their installer doesn’t work with Windows versions later than Vista!

Make WGET a command you can run from any directory in Command Prompt

If you want to be able to run WGET from any directory inside the command terminal, you’ll need to learn about the path command to work out where to copy your new executable.

First, open a command terminal by selecting “run” in the start menu (if you’re using Windows XP) and typing “cmd”. If you’re running Windows Vista go to “All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt” from the start bar.

You’ll see something that looks like this:


We’re going to move wget.exe into a Windows directory that will allow WGET to be run from anywhere. First, we need to find out which directory that should be. Type:

into the command prompt to find out:

Thanks to the “Path” environment variable, we know that we need to copy wget.exe to either the C:WindowsSystem32 directory or the C:Windows directory.

Go ahead and copy WGET to either of the directories you see in your Command Terminal.

Restart the command terminal and test WGET

If you want to test WGET is working properly, restart your terminal and type:

If you’ve copied the file to the right place, you’ll see a help file appear with all of the available commands

Make a directory to download your site to

Seeing that we’ll be working in Command Prompt, let’s create a download directory just for WGET downloads. *If you’re familiar with Command Terminal basics, just skip this step. Change to the C: and use to make a directory:

Change to your new directory and you’re ready to do some downloading!

Use these commands to download your site using WGET

Ok, the fun bit begins. Once you’ve got WGET installed and you’ve created a new directory, all you have to do is learn some of the finer points of WGET arguments to make sure you get what you need.

I found two particularly useful resources for WGET usage. The WGET Manual and’s Linux WGET guide are definitely the best.

After some research I came up with a set of instructions to WGET to recursively mirror your site, download all the images, CSS and JavaScript, localise all of the URLS (so the site works on your local machine), and save all the pages as a .html file.

To mirror your site execute this command:

To mirror the site and localise all of the urls:

To mirror the site and save the files as .html:

Stop WGET from being blocked

Some web servers are set up to deny WGET’s default user agent – for obvious, bandwidth saving reasons. You could try changing your user agent to get round this. Try er, pretending to be Googlebot:

And finally, here’s WGET downloading my website:

downloading seogadget

On that last note, lots of hosting companies block WGET. Mine included! Took me a while to be able to back my own site up but now, I feel pretty safe that I have backups of the database, the plugins, the images and even the HTML of the site itself.


  1. That’s quite a twist on site backup. :) I use less inventive way – Cobian Backup to backup folders from my FTP account. Fetches only needed folders (theme, plugins, images).

  2. nice article and wget is very useful tool to be aware of. You might also like Unison.

  3. Nifty technique and unique guide here Richard. Way to contribute to the community.

    2 points:
    1) Recursively mirror your site – huh? Try that again in English please, Mr. Englishman ;P
    2) How do Mac users do this?

  4. Hey Gab – ok – the -r command is the mirror command. Recursively, follow all links. As for the MAC – no idea dude! I keep meaning to get hold of a MAC to learn how. If I come across the answer, I’ll post it here. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. This works for me: wget -e robots=off -E -r -k -l inf -p –restrict-file-names=windows -H -K -D [Your Blog Name],[Your Blog Name] –random-wait http://[Your Blog Name]

  6. Hey can anyone help. Trying to download files using wget v 1.10.2 from the command prompt gives this (filenames blanked for commercial reasons):

    –2009-04-07 07:53:52–*******/******.***
    Resolving seconds 0.00,
    Caching =>
    Connecting to||:80… seconds 0.00, Closed fd 1936
    failed: Connection timed out.
    Releasing 0x009259d8 (new refcount 1).

    This actually works from about 75% of my clients but the other 25% get this error.

    Help – what does it mean/ What is ‘Closed fd 1936’ ??

    Cheers Owen E

  7. Hello,

    very nice article indeed. However, it does not help me download my site or any site. I copied and pasted all the commands here with the same result. Only the index file and a js file ( Why can't I download the site?

    Please help.

  8. Suggested wget download website
    is corrupt

    Hidden installation under Vista
    no apps, no interface

    Can you check it under Vista ?

  9. It helped me in all ways… Details are informative…

  10. i’m saving a site that’s about to be deleted as i type!

    thanks for sharing.

  11. the site I’m trying to archive has “?” in the links and wget saves files on windows replacing
    the ? with “@” – but it leaves the links with “?” so the links don’t match the filenames.
    Also “@” is problematic since it looks like an email link to the browser. Any workaround
    for this?

  12. This looks like a great 11th hour plan B option. I am sure changing the ? is easier than starting over! However if there is a way to get rid of the ? that would be great.

  13. thanks. wget helped me save the site that i wanted.

  14. great tutorial, a problem i have is download a page that auto redirects to the home page, so wget only downloads the home page, can i set wget not to follow redirects??

  15. This is the first guide on wget I have read that is fairly up-to-date and actually helpful. Thank you.

    Everything is working fine for me but I was wondering if it is possible to save directory/folder names as html files?

    Example: would be saved as /site-name/directory-name-1/index.html

    Is there no way to save as /site-name/directory-name-1.html ?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  16. Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood!
    the option –user-agent is what I looking for.

  17. Arrh … my hosting company block WGET. I can’t try this awesome tool!

  18. Thanks Richard,

    Between your steps and the other comments I finally got my problem worked out with downloading images from external site.

    For Windows users though – you might find it easier with WinHTTrack

  19. Awesome! Thanks!

  20. Better late than never. Having recovered from a hack I’ve been looking for ways to protect and better backup in future.

    Thanks for the great info…

  21. Thank you for this useful article.

    Please note: the 2 versions of wget you are linking are different in command-line options!

  22. thank you so much for the instructions!!!!! really! :D

  23. Why use wget and not just FTP your site locally for backup?

  24. Terrific instructions, very easy to follow.

    worked like a charm :D

  25. this is fake page plz don’t downlod wget it’s hacking VIRUS if clik the file dosent show any thing … I SAY IT’S VIRUS

  26. Nobody here seems to know about WHTT, a free site grabber. (Possibly the omission is because it’s Windows? – I don’t know). Once you work out how it operates, you can grab assorted sites from around Internet, for future reference. This includes forums – I have a copy of the nukelies forum, which I uploaded for reference – but any forum can be downloaded, though ones with milions of postings are best avoided, partly becvause of the size, partly the low quality.

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