Wget is a free and very powerful file downloader that comes with a lot of useful features including resume support, recursive download, FTP/HTTPS support, and etc. In “The Social Network” movie, Mark Zuckerberg is seen using the Wget tool to download all the student photos from his university to create Facemash. Wget is a command line tool which can be a bit difficult to use for some basic users.
Thankfully there are free front-end GUI’s for Wget such as VisualWget that make it so much easier to use Wget by simply clicking on the checkboxes rather than manually typing the command line arguments. Download VisualWget, extract and run VisualWget.exe. Click on the New icon to open a New Download window. Enter the URL that you want to download and select the location that you want to save the files to.
If you need to download multiple folders including subfolders, go to Advanced, click on Recursive Retrieval and tick on the first checkbox “–recursive“. Finally, click OK to start downloading.
Although there are a few GUIs for Wget, we recommend VisualWget because it is free, portable, comes together with Wget and there is no need to download separately and manually unpacking it to the program’s folder or even configuring the path. Note that if you are a Windows 10 user and don’t already have .NET Framework 2/3.5 installed, you will need to download it during the VisualWget installation.
HTTrack is an offline browser that downloads the whole website for offline viewing. Software like this is capable of crawling into subfolders, downloading all or filtered files and then converting the live hyperlinks to an offline version. Some other offline browsers are Offline Explorer and Teleport but they are shareware and come with powerful parsing capabilities.
HTTrack is a good free alternative to the paid offline browsers. You can download the portable version of HTTrack, extract and run WinHTTrack.exe. Click Next, give the project a name and click Next.
Now enter or paste the URL(s) that you want to download to the Web Addresses box and click Next. If the URL requires authentication, click the Add URL button and you get to enter the login and password for the URL. Click Next and Finish. HTTrack will now start crawling the given URL and download files that it finds.
The best program to download all files and subfolders from an FTP server is of course going to be dedicated FTP client software like FileZilla. They obviously understand FTP commands and are able to crawl recursively into subfolders without problems. In FileZilla Client, all you need to do is enter the FTP address in the Host box, enter a username and password if it requires authentication, or leave it blank if not, and click the Quickconnect button.
Once you’re logged in, simply right click on a folder in the right pane and select Download which will start downloading all files and folders from the selected directory.
Please take note that FTP clients can only handle the FTP protocol and they cannot download files from HTTP web pages.
10. Windows File Explorer FTP
A lot of people will know that Windows File Explorer can access FTP sites but a lot of people also won’t know that. It’s pretty easy and quite basic but if you just want to select and download some files or folders on a site then it may be all you need and requires no extra software.
To access an FTP site all you have to do is enter its address in a File Explorer window address bar. Note that only a genuine FTP address will work and anything HTTP related won’t work. Browse and select the files and folders you want like you would in a local folder, right click and select Copy. Then Paste into the location of your choice and the files will download. A “Copy to Folder” option is also available on right click.
The useful thing about the Windows Explorer option is it will recurse into subfolders so if you select a root folder everything inside it will download. Simply close the Explorer window or browse to a local folder when you want to close the FTP connection.