Internet Outage: How to Save Online Content for Offline Viewing in an Emergency Situation
Our access to the internet is unparalleled these days and it seems like any device that runs off of electricity has an online connection. What happens when that connection stops working though? Whether it’s from physical issues or even traffic overloads, internet outages happen and when they do, you lose access to a tremendous amount of content. Today we’ll look at a few options for saving your favorite online content so you can view it even without being online.
Saving a Webpage
This option is best performed on a desktop computer and uses your web browser’s built-in features to save a webpage directly to your computer. For this piece, we’ve used Firefox as the browser for a few reasons, some of which are increased privacy settings and great built-in apps, which we’ll cover later.
Saving a webpage is pretty simple in Firefox, just navigate to the page you’d like to save, right click somewhere on the page and select “Save Page As…” It’s important on the next step to select the Format as “Web Page, complete” in order to grab all the images and other formatting for the page. Creating a folder for each article is great, but not a requirement.
Alternatively, you can just save the HTML or text from websites, but we don't recommend it, as it usually ends up in an unreadable jumble. The file size for saving a complete webpage (like we recommend) are definitely larger than text or HTML, but we usually find they’re under 5MB on average.
Once you’ve saved a complete webpage, you can simply open it using your web browser in the future, even without an internet connection. The browser uses the saved files to display all the text and images just like you’d see them on an active connection. You just need your device to have power, but that's for another article.
There’s an App for That
It’s estimated that 70% of internet traffic happens on a mobile device, so there’s a good chance you’re actually reading this on a phone or a tablet. If that’s the case, there’s still a great option for you to save content for offline viewing through the app Pocket.
Pocket is an app that offers a free and paid version for saving content for later reading, whether online or offline. The sign up was simple and once completed, we were able to quickly save articles using Apple’s built in share feature.
When you first install the app to your device, you may need to toggle the Pocket option as a share feature, but once that’s turned on you should be able to quickly share an article from your device’s browser to Pocket.
Pocket will then keep that article available to you for later reading in your list. The app is free, but uses memory management for the non-paid version, so if you have a lot of articles saved in your list it may not save all of them directly to your device for offline viewing. The paid app removes this restriction though, so if you want to be on the safe side you can snag that. (We're not earning anything from mentioning Pocket, we just think it's a neat app.)
Remember when we mentioned Firefox’s built-in apps, well if you guessed Pocket would be one, you’re right! You can log into your Pocket account on Firefox and add articles to your list from your desktop computer. This is a great option because it keeps you covered no matter what device you’re using and it’s a faster method than saving a complete webpage like we mentioned above. Keep in mind that for offline viewing, you’ll need to download the desktop Pocket app.
Another great feature of Pocket is the listening feature, which reads through the article for you. If you don’t mind a slightly robotic voice, this is a cool option for listening to an article while you’re doing other things.
If you’re looking for some online content to test out either of the options above, consider snagging some articles from our Preparedness category. We’ve been highlighting our most relevant and helpful preparedness content from the main ITS website and all the posts listed in the link above are perfect for saving offline. (Quick Note: On podcasts posts, you’ll need to click the Download link shown in the podcast player in order to download the audio file for listening.)
Hopefully this got you pointed in the right direction to save some content for reference if your internet connection ever gets interrupted. We know that without reading material, we’d all probably go stir crazy even faster.