How to Make a Duplicate Website

Written by Full-Stack Developer

May 9, 2023
How to Make a Duplicate Website

When the term "duplicate website" or "cloning website" is mentioned, the first thought that pops up in our mind is "illegal,” which is correct; cloning a website based on malicious intent is considered illegal and a violation of intellectual property under copyright law.

However, just as criminal hacking exists, so does ethical hacking, e.g. "White Hat," in which hacking techniques and tools are employed to uncover flaws or weaknesses in a system in order to improve its security. There are many reasons developers may need to duplicate a website, but before we discuss why you would want to clone a website, let's go through a brief explanation of what the term "duplicate website" means.

Duplicate Website Definition

The term "duplicate" in the English language means to make a copy, and the term "duplicate website" means to create a copy or a replica of a website. This means that you can create a website using the structure and content of an existing one.

In essence, duplicating a website means replicating its appearance and layout, as well as its underlying code and content and it is common to duplicate websites based on the following reasons;

  • To Serve as a Backup: Duplicating is another means of backing up a website, for instance, in the case of mayhem, the website can be restored to itself with all of its data.

  • For Geo-Targeting: Versions of a website are made to target certain geographical regions. e.g. certain regions may have laws that must be complied with, to do so, you may have to customize a website that complies with the regulations and requirements. In this case, duplicate websites are made to save the process of building a website from scratch.

  • Recycle/Customization Purpose: Sometimes, websites are copied to build upon their structure and add new elements to make them stand out, much like a template or blueprint for creating another website with the same features. It is quicker to do this than to start from scratch.

  • For Analysis: A Website can be cloned to examine the elements or structure. You may want to study a website through and through to understand its strengths and weaknesses, design, elements, and structure. However, this should be done only for research purposes and legally to avoid legal issues.

  • For Testing and Development: Developers may clone a website for the purpose of testing and development. For instance, if they need to add features or functionalities to a live website, the cloned website would be tested first to see how well these features or functionalities work before they are integrated into the live website, this is to avoid crashing the website.

What You Should Know Before Duplicating a Website is as Follows:

1. Intent: The intent behind building a duplicate website must be taken into account; it might be for testing, educational purposes, etc. As a result, you will know what approach to use when duplicating a website.

2. Technical Knowledge: In order to duplicate a website, you must possess technical knowledge. This will enable you to choose the appropriate techniques or tools for the site's structure, dynamic content, functionalities, and other technical aspects involving databases, server-side languages, hosting, etc.

3. Copyright Laws: If it’s an open-source project, you can clone the repository and make changes to it. In the event that it isn't, it's crucial that you understand the legal and copyright repercussions of copying a website. Copyright laws protect websites, so unauthorized duplication may have legal repercussions unless you work for an organization that permits it, in which case it would be a work project or duplicating your own website. You must make sure that you’re not violating any laws to avoid legal issues.



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3 Ways to Duplicate a Website:

1. Copying Tools

Duplicating a website is more difficult than it appears because there are numerous functionalities required. There are technologies available that can effortlessly copy websites, speeding up the process of developing a website from the start.

After copying the source code to your local computer, you can host it on your server. However, if the website does not belong to you, duplicating it without permission is considered bad practice. Website copying software examples include HTTrack, ArchiveBox, Cyotek Webcopy, and others.

The first step in using any of the copying software mentioned above is to download and install the program; in this case, we'll be using HTTrack.

HTTrack Software

After installation, all you need to do is type the name and project category (you can skip this step) and select the path where you want the project stored.

type the name and project category

The next step requires that you enter the URL of the website you want to copy;

enter the URL

Start the duplicating process;

Start the duplicating process

After you click Finish, HTTrack will begin to crawl and copy the website, which will then be hosted on your local machine. This process may take a while, depending on the size of the file.

HTTrack begin to crawl and copy the website

After it’s done copying, you can browse the mirrored website. If we take a look at the image below, we’ll see the duplicated website beside the main website. Notice that the URL is different; the duplicated website is hosted on our local machine (HTML file)

duplicated website beside the main website


Also, you can check the project folder to see all the necessary files, e.g. HTML, CSS, images, etc.

2. Copy Source Code via Extension in Chrome

To download the source code of a website, we can use an extension in the Chrome Web Store named Save all resources. We'll add this extension to begin.

Open the website you want to duplicate, right-click, and select the inspect option; it’ll show the dev tools. Click on "more options" >>, and you’ll find Resource Saver.

inspect option

Select Resource Saver, tick the boxes, and select Save All Resources.

Save All Resource

This will download all the resources to your computer, check your download, and extract the file to open the folder. Enter the folder, search for the HTML file, and open it in your browser to confirm that it works.

3. Version Control Software

Development teams or individuals can manage projects using version control software; the most popular example is Git. Git is a version control system distributed under the General Public License (GPL), which allows users to use, share, and modify it for free; this is termed "open source". Using Git, developers have access to all the source code, and development teams can work on small or large projects in a distributed server environment. To use git to duplicate a website, the website file should already be saved to GitHub.

Note: GitHub is a hosting service for git-based program management and version control. This article will help you learn more about Git, Github, and the commands involved in creating and pushing a repository to GitHub.



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Git Clone or GitHub Fork Feature to Duplicate a Website

There’s a difference between both commands, and we’ll go over them for clarity.

Git Clone:

The command [git-clone] is used to duplicate or clone a repository into a new directory. It is used to make a duplicate of an existing repository. You can make modifications to a repository after cloning it without impacting the original version. All you have to do to implement these modifications is push the changes back to the repository.

Git Clone
  • Create a new folder where you want the files to be saved, and copy the path, or you can create a folder in Git Bash by using mkdir.

  • Open Git Bash, enter into the folder by using the cd command, and paste the path e.g cd “ C:\Users\LENOVO\Documents\clone folder”

  • Go back to GitHub and copy the SSH URL, in the git bash, type git clone “insert copied URL” e.g git clone “[email protected]:Jessica-Agorye/Jess_portfolio.git”

Go to GitHub and copy the SSH URL

If you use the VSCode IDE, you can simply open it directly from git bash by typing “code .”, as seen in the image below.


We can see from the example that we’ve successfully cloned our GitHub repository.

GitHub Fork Feature:

The fork feature on GitHub is used to duplicate a website; this is used to isolate a file to have full control over it. To fork a repository, all you have to do is click on “fork"

GitHub Fork Feature

This will make an individual copy of the repository, which you can then clone with git clone to have access to the files in your local workspace.

Note: The distinction between GitHub's "git clone" and "fork" features is the level of control developers have over the repository. When you clone a website or a repository, you can work on it locally; however, you cannot submit changes to the file unless you are part of the project team. You can only push modifications to the forked file using a pull request; however, the owner must determine whether or not to pull your changes.

Consequences of Duplicating Website Illegally

The majority of websites are secure against crawling software. The Robots.txt file, for example, is used to tell search engines and other automated tools not to crawl a website.

Copying tools are used by hackers to clone websites and fool people into providing essential information for the goal of theft or other harmful intent. It is also considered copyright and trademark infringement, both of which are illegal. Duplicating websites might harm your reputation, which will harm your brand. It's fantastic to be inspired by a brand for the sake of learning. It is less likely to cause problems if permission is obtained to clone a website for work purposes.



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Creating a duplicate website can help web developers for a variety of reasons, including learning and contribution, backup, testing and development, and so on. If you are reproducing a website to learn from it or use it as inspiration for your own, making significant changes may not have an impact on you or put you in breach of any copyright laws. Nonetheless, duplicating a website without permission or for illegal purposes is neither advised nor encouraged.

Authors note

The webpage mentioned in this post was copied for educational purposes and was not meant to be used maliciously or to cause harm. We acknowledge that the example in this article may contain copyright material, and we have made sure to properly credit the primary source.

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