HomeTechnologyNews6 Useful Websites to Download and Access Offline

6 Useful Websites to Download and Access Offline

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Hannah Stryker / Instructional Geek

You’ve probably come to rely on the Internet to find useful information when you need it, but you can’t count on always having a reliable connection. That’s why it’s a great idea to download a copy of the Internet’s most useful websites so you can access them while you’re off the grid.

First, sort out your storage

As any good data hoarder knows, building your library starts with the foundation: quality and ample storage. You could potentially store these websites directly on the internal drive of your computer or smartphone, but you probably want that space for everyday use. You have many options in external drives, from fast and reliable SSDs to affordable and spacious HDDs. Another, more compact option is a USB flash drive, but you’ll typically get less space per dollar with these, and their small size makes them easier to lose. If you want to give your library the best chance of surviving anything, get a rugged SSD like the Samsung T7 Shield. We tested and reviewed the T7 Shield, and it’s well worth the price.

The best rugged SSDs

Of course, what good is a storage device if you don’t have enough space? Since data tends to grow, it’s best to go big. To help you plan, we’ll write down how big each website is. But to give you an idea up front, downloading them all at the time of writing consumes a healthy 225 GB. That’s easily handled by cheap storage devices, but it’s also too big for the base version of today’s flagship smartphones.

Also, be aware that storage devices can fail, either due to damage or sometimes for no apparent reason. If you want to be able to rely on your Internet offline in an emergency, you need at least two separate drives containing two copies of your data, preferably stored in two different locations. If that sounds more expensive than you can afford right now, consider getting a smaller storage device (perhaps one you already have) and using it to store only what you consider to be essential data.

How downloading from websites works

There are many free tools you can use to download entire websites, including HTTrack and Zimit. However, getting the settings right so that it downloads everything you want can be tricky and may require some knowledge of web crawling.

Rather, Kiwix is ​​an application that is pre-configured to fully download many of the most valuable websites out there, sometimes partnering directly with website owners to make this possible. You can get Kiwix for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iPhone, and once you’ve installed it, finding and downloading websites is a piece of cake.

If you’re using an external drive to store those websites, before you download anything, remember that Kiwix is ​​set by default to save to the local device. Go to the Kiwix settings and change the download directory (or in the mobile app, the storage location) to the location of your external storage device.

Change your download directory to the location you want for your websites.

Once the proper download location is set, simply click “All Files” in the main menu (or tap the Download tab at the bottom of the mobile app) to browse the full list of downloadable websites.

When you find the website you want, simply click “Download” next to it on the desktop app (or, on the mobile app, tap the website) and sit back while Kiwix saves a copy for you.

Of course, the bigger the website, the longer it will take to download, so make sure you have a stable connection. Wi-Fi tends to drop out, so use Ethernet if possible (even with your phone).

The Kiwix app is also what you’ll use to navigate websites you’ve downloaded, so keep it installed on all devices you plan to use offline. The Windows app, the Mac DMG version, and the Linux AppImage version are all portable, so you can store a copy of the app on the same drive with the websites.

1. iFixit: Fix Anything

Each of your devices will break down over time, and without the help of the internet, fixing it yourself can seem difficult, risky, or even dangerous. That’s what makes an offline copy of iFixit’s database of repair guides exceptionally valuable. iFixit knows this, which is why they announced a partnership with Kiwix in August 2022.

Look up your tech on iFixit and you’ll likely find a number of repairs and general maintenance tasks covered, complete with images and information about the tools you need. Even if you don’t find a specific guide for what you’re trying to accomplish, there are sometimes disassembly guides to walk you through opening and identifying parts. General guides, such as how to remove a stripped screw, are also helpful no matter what hardware you’re operating on.

iFixit on Kiwix at the time of writing is 2.52 GB.

2. Ready.gov: Weather Any Disaster

The Ready.gov website, created by the US government, is designed to prepare you for any disaster, from avalanches to nuclear explosions. However, it’s not just for preparing; There are also tips on what to do if a disaster has already struck, which may well be the case the next time you open your database offline.

Ready.gov at the time of writing this article has 2.05 GB on Kiwix.

3. Wikipedia: you know what it is

Try counting the number of times you’ve looked up something on Wikipedia recently and you’ll quickly see what kind of hole you can leave. As has always been the dream with encyclopedias, an offline copy of Wikipedia will give you at least a cursory knowledge of just about anything without an internet connection.

Wikipedia is available through Kiwix without images at 46 GB, while images add another 95 GB. You can also use a tool called XOWA as an alternative to Kiwix, as described in our complete guide to downloading Wikipedia.

4. WikiProjectMed: Health and First Aid

WikiProjectMed, also known as MDWiki, is similar to and related to Wikipedia but with an emphasis on practical medical information. It includes critical things like recommended dosages for medications, wound care guidance, and tips on how specific types of foods and plants can affect your health. It’s also written with a 12th grade reading level in mind, which means it’s not just for medical professionals.

MDWiki with images is 1.64 GB and with videos it is 8.50 GB.

5. Kitchen Stack Swap: Eat

Even if you have recipes to work with, cooking well requires skill and experience, even more so if you don’t have electricity. You learn from the experiences of others by browsing the cooking section of Stack Exchange, a collection of questions people have asked about cooking with answers from self-identifying chefs. Topics covered that may be applicable when you don’t have stable power include cooking with fire, thoroughly cooking meat, and proper food storage.

One big drawback of the Stack Exchange for cooking is that many answers link to other websites instead of fully answering the question, and you won’t be able to visit them without the internet. You’ll have to search for more thorough users who have written complete answers.

The Cooking Stack Exchange is only 217MB on Kiwix.

6. Project Gutenberg: Read Public Domain Books

Most of the websites we’ve seen have been practical, but what about when you want some entertainment or enrichment? Project Gutenberg was created as a library of free e-books with no membership required of any kind. Much of it is classic literature that is now in the public domain, so you can spend your time without the Internet finally reading those books you said you read in school.

Most eBooks are available in various formats, including HTML for use on a computer or EPUB for use with e-readers. If you have a Kindle, learn how to transfer EPUB files to a Kindle device.

Project Gutenberg at the time of writing this article, the English version is 69 GB.

The best of the Internet without the Internet

The websites we’ve covered add and update their information frequently, so plan to re-download your library regularly to stay current.

For more tips on using your technology without power, learn how to maintain your Internet connection during outages or how to make your phone useful when there’s no Internet. You may also want to see how viable satellite internet is as a replacement for your traditional ISP.

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