The Internet is a rich repository of data and resources. Every webpage we interact with is primarily built using HTML (HyperText Markup Language), a standard markup language that structures the content displayed on the web. In various scenarios, such as web scraping, testing, or debugging, you might find the need to download a webpage’s HTML. This comprehensive guide will help you understand how to do this effectively and ethically.
Before proceeding, it’s important to emphasize that before downloading HTML or scraping a website, you should always respect the site’s robots.txt file and its terms of service. Ensure that your actions are in compliance with the website’s rules and the laws of your jurisdiction.
What is HTML?
An HTML document is essentially a text file composed of HTML elements, denoted by tags. These tags label parts of the content, defining them as “heading”, “paragraph”, “table”, and so forth.
Related resource: How to Convert HTML to PDF in Windows 11/10
How to download HTML file from a website
There are several methods to download HTML from a website, and the right one for you may depend on your use case. We’ll explore a few popular ones: using a web browser, using the command line, and using a programming language like Python.
Using a Web Browser
For the purpose of this article, we will use Google Chrome as the browser of choice. However, the process is quite similar in other modern browsers.
Downloading HTML source code from a website
If you want to download only the HTML file from a website without any associated resource files, follow these steps:
- Navigate to the Webpage: Open Google Chrome and navigate to the webpage whose HTML you wish to download.
- View Page Source: Right-click anywhere on the webpage you want to download the html and select “View Page Source”. This action will open a new tab that displays the webpage’s HTML content.
- Save HTML: Within this new tab, right-click again and choose “Save As”. Select the desired location on your computer where you wish to save the HTML file, and click “Save”. You now have only the webpage’s HTML (without any of the resource files) downloaded on your computer.
Useful tip: How to Run HTML Code in Notepad Windows 11
Downloading HTML with pictures, CSS and JS from a website
If you want to download the full webpage, including its resource files such as pictures, CSS, and JS files, follow these steps:
- Navigate to the Webpage: Open Google Chrome and navigate to the webpage whose HTML you wish to download. Within the webpage, right-click anywhere on the page and choose “Save As”.
- Save HTML: A dialog box will open, prompting you to select the location on your computer where you wish to save the HTML file. Click “Save”. You now have the webpage’s HTML downloaded on your system.
When you save a webpage as HTML this way, using Chrome or any other web browser, the browser actually downloads two things:
The browser then adjusts the HTML file’s links to these resources so that they point to the local copies in the resources folder, allowing the webpage to load correctly even without an Internet connection.
Recommended guide: How to Check When a Web Page Was Last Updated
Why doesn’t Chrome save the HTML as a single file?
If Chrome were to consolidate everything into a single HTML file, it would need to inline all these resources, i.e., insert the contents of these resource files directly into the HTML file. While technically possible, this method is generally uncommon due to disadvantages associated with readability, editability, functionality, and performance.
Therefore, to maintain the structure, functionality, and performance of the webpage, Chrome chooses to download the HTML and linked resources as separate files rather than merging everything into a single HTML file.
Using the Command Line
If you are working on a Unix-based system like Linux or MacOS, you can use the wget or curl command to download HTML from a website.
- Using wget:
This command downloads the HTML of the webpage and saves it in a file in your current directory.
- Using curl:
curl https://example.com > example.html
This command fetches the HTML of the webpage and redirects it into a file named “example.html”.
Python is a versatile programming language with several libraries for web scraping, such as
beautifulsoup4. Below is a simple script to download HTML:
import requests url = "https://example.com" response = requests.get(url) with open('example.html', 'w') as file: file.write(response.text)
This script sends a GET request to the webpage, receives the HTML in the response, and writes it to a file named ‘example.html’.
If you’re new to Python, you might face errors like “ModuleNotFoundError”, which means the module you’re trying to import is not found. For instance, if Python can’t find the
requests module, you need to install it. Python uses
pip, a package manager, to install modules. Open your command line and type:
pip install requests
This installs the
requests module. If you get a similar error for
beautifulsoup4 or another module, install it the same way.
Advanced Usage: Web Scraping
Once you have the HTML, you might want to extract specific data from it, a practice known as web scraping. Python’s
beautifulsoup4 is a library that makes this task easier. It parses the HTML, making the tree-like structure of the HTML tags navigable.
Here’s a brief example:
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup import requests url = "https://example.com" response = requests.get(url) soup = BeautifulSoup(response.text, 'html.parser') # Let's say we want to extract all the headers in the page headers = soup.find_all(['h1', 'h2', 'h3', 'h4', 'h5', 'h6']) for header in headers: print(header.text)
In this script,
BeautifulSoup is used to parse the HTML. The
find_all function is then used to find all header tags in the HTML. The script then prints the text of each header tag.
Dealing with Dynamic Content
requests won’t be able to download the complete HTML as seen in the browser.
Here is a basic example of how to use Selenium with Python to download HTML:
from selenium import webdriver # Make sure the chromedriver is in your PATH driver = webdriver.Chrome() driver.get('https://example.com') html = driver.page_source with open('example.html', 'w') as file: file.write(html) driver.quit()
Whether you’re a programmer, tester, hobbyist, or someone interested in the structure of webpages, knowing how to download HTML from a website can be a valuable skill. There are various methods to achieve this, and the best one depends on your specific needs and the tools you have at your disposal. Always remember to respect the website’s terms of service and robots.txt file, and only download HTML when it’s appropriate and legal to do so.