Flatten a WordPress Website to HTML and CSS

I recently inherited a whole bunch of wordpress websites for one of my clients — in fact I think one of the first times it dawned on me that I would have to start working with these sites is when one of them got hacked and I got the call to see what I could do. I fixed it up, but once I started looking through the server, I saw many, many such websites — many archived for internal use, but all with outdated wordpress versions, numerous plugins, and obviously quite a few security issues. It wasn’t long before they all started being hit.

I’ve honestly never been too big of a fan of wordpress and the security vulnerabilities, usability issues, and overall bloat that it brings. These 12-30 page websites contain over 6,000 files — I think you could say there is some bloat in there.

Since most of these sites aren’t being actively edited, and are only really for archival and reference purposes, it made sense to see if I could just collapse them down to the minimum and do away with WordPress altogether. I found several “static website generators” that were plugins for wordpress. They all seemed promising, and they probably work on 90% of wordpress websites, but unfortunately they didn’t work on these ones.

I ended up building out my own system — it’s not even tied to wordpress, so I can use it on other websites, and it doesn’t need to reside on the same server. It just indexes the website, and copies all of the files and assets (images, css files, javascript files, etc…), repathing everything so all works correctly.

My wordpress/website static generator (I think I like calling it a website flattener actually), seems to be working pretty well. I’ve been slowly working through the clients wordpress sites, getting them back up and running long enough at least to copy down a flattened version, which I can then upload back up in place of the wordpress website and worry quite a bit less about it being hacked into.

Are you needing access to a handy static website generator? Feel free to contact me if you have a need for such a system, and I can work on creating a more polished, web-available version.