Archiving Sites with SiteSucker

There is a very nice (and free!) tool available on MacOS called SiteSucker that can archive live sites into static HTML files.

After graduating from UMW, I had quite a few WordPress sites that I didn’t want to delete, but I also didn’t want to maintain and worry about future updates breaking what was there. I learned about SiteSucker and after some time I finally got a chance to try the tool–and learn how easy it was!

I installed the application, opened it up, pasted one of my site URLs, and hit download. SiteSucker automatically combs through the pages and converts the site to HTML files that are all saved to my downloads folder.

Embeds like those from Maria Chavez’s Soundcloud, the YouTube video from my final animation project, a gif from Pipilotti Rist, all turned out great, though a bit oversized than I remember. I then noticed a few mistakes I had to fix in the WordPress installation before archiving. One mistake was a featured image where I had the wrong last name of an artist I was blogging about, and I couldn’t just leave it. Luckily, I still had the original edited image file on Canva that I could edit and replace the mistake.

Once I was ready, I reran SiteSucker and compressed the folder in my downloads:

Then I could upload the file within File Manger and extract the zip file.

I lastly deleted the WordPress site from my Installatron. To make sure I wasn’t seeing a cached version of my site, I loaded it in an incognito window. What’s awesome is that the site animations still function just like they did when it was a WordPress site.

One trouble I had was I left comments turned on the original WordPress site, so that you can fill out the form to submit a comment, but when actually submitting it redirects to a 404 page. After learning how to do the process, it would be really easy to restore the WordPress backup, turn off comments, redownload the files, upload them to my account, and delete WordPress again, so I might do that in the future.

Ultimately, the archived site was nearly one-fifth the size of the original installation:

WordPress site: | 274.6 MB (including 165.5 KB database)
HTML files site | 58.9 MB

SiteSucker was incredibly helpful and easy to use, the main issues I came across were wanting to go back and edit my sites more before finalizing the archived versions. So, I am going to (try to) redirect that energy into working on my actual site!

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