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I need to get a local copy of a website which requires confirming one's age before displaying content. No complex forms, just a checkbox and a button, "yes, I'm adult". I tried to use wget but with no success, it only downloads this initial screen and nothing more. Httrack failed, too.

I believe the confirmation info is stored in a cookie file, and I think I found out which one it is. So I copied it using the cookie.txt export chromium extension, then saved it to .txt and tried wget once again with --load-cookies option, but it still doesn't work.

How do I download website such as this one? Am I misusing wget or maybe there's a better way to do this?


OK, DownThemAll seems to do the work. Finally, I succeeded with wget as well, using

wget -mpkrl 0 http://example.com

maybe -rl 0 was what I was missing previously.

After investigating the page source I found that there's no reloading/redirecting involved, subpages are downloaded correctly and the confirmation screen is just an iframe on top of the page, so I can get rid of it with some simple script.

(In this particular case messing with cookies eventually was not necessary, so I'm not posting this as an answer.)

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For anything all that advanced I would look into using curl instead of wget, curl can do some pretty complex stuff with forms and cookies. I would start with this curl tutorial and work your way up from that. –  Joel Davis May 29 '13 at 11:34
@JoelDavis, wget was enough this time, but thanks for the tutorial anyway, it seems very useful! –  machaerus May 29 '13 at 12:28
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It depends on how the site is set-up, not all of them use cookies for this - some may use things like php-sessions, and I don't know if wget can handle it directly. If you manage find the session-id (that part often gets hidden in the address-line by the browser or only used once as you log-in), you may be able to use that (the URL+session-id) as the start-url for wget.

Back to cookies... I have however needed to do similar things myself, so a few tips...

Some sites use cookies that are temporarily, ie. only last this session. These are usually not stored in the cookie.txt/cookies-database, so not all cookie-exporters will export them - if it exports from file/database, then no... if it exports from the browser-"memory" (on a site-base), then yes. Personally, I've found the "cookie.txt export" extension for the Chrome-browser the best, as it saves *all* cookies (including temps) from just the active tab. (well, actually it shows the cookies as text, you must mark&copy it and save it to file yourself) For a log-in; checking "Remember Me", will often turn a temporary cookie not stored in the cookie-file/database into a permanent one, so it can be easily exported (probably won't help for age-confirmation though).

After you've stored the cookies.txt file, it may be a good idea to edit it a bit - increase the expiration-time and perhaps editing the temp-cookies into permanent ones (think it's just a "switch"). You may also delete any non-related cookies (ie. ads and such).

Keeping the browser-window open while wget works - and perhaps refreshing the page or browsing a bit now and then - will make sure your session won't be expired before wget-finishes.

There are also extensions to browsers... I like "Down-them-all" for Firefox; which let you download content (though more interactively than wget). You get a list of links of the current page, and just check the links and/or images you want to save - and optionally, how many levels in depth you want to follow links. If you first log-in and/or check your age before starting it, then Down-them-all will be logged-in and checked-in together with your browser, and should be able to download all you could download manually. Play around with the renaming-patterns and numbering, as I think it'll store all pages flatly and there otherwise may be naming-conflict (it'll ask before overwriting though).

Good luck!

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