Why Clone Website? Is it Legal at All, and What is the Educational Value?

Now that the disclaimer has been given, we can begin. Today, we will be firstly talk about the educational value of copying someone else's site, why it can be useful to us at all when teaching web development, and whether it is generally legal to do it. Everything in order in this article.

Is it Legal?

To answer whether this is legal, the simple answer is no, it is not legal, unless the author or site administrator has given you such a decision. I doubt very much that all those who copy the designs of other sites ask permission from the copyright holder, but the law is the law. Even if you didn't publish the copied ZIP archive on the hosting, it is considered illegal, because in fact you downloaded the track from Spotify and sent it to your friends for free.

So before copying any site for educational purposes, it is better to write to the copyright holder or administrator. Most often, the developer contacts are in the footer of the site, or on the web wiki page you can also find developer contacts (not every site has a page here, but it's worth trying your luck). It seems to me that many ignore this step, but my job is to warn.

Code Analysis

So, when we have confirmation that the site is being copied for educational purposes, we can speculate about what this value is all about. First, you can practice reading and analyzing code on someone else's code. Working in the field of development is always teamwork, where everyone is responsible for developing one or sometimes a piece of a software product, so the ability to read someone else's code and instantly understand its logic is a very important and necessary skill.

SaveWeb2ZIP Interface

SaveWeb2ZIP Interface (source)

I will give an example from personal experience. When I worked in a small, independent online media where I was the only IT specialist (not just a developer), I inherited the entire infrastructure from a previous employee, including the code for the main site. Then I was just starting my journey in IT, I didn’t have the skill to read someone else’s code, and if I did, it was very weak. I literally spent hours looking at JS scripts and trying to understand the logic of what I see. It's like understanding a foreign language but not being able to answer in that language.

So I think it's important. It is important to be able to quickly navigate someone else's code, quickly make your own changes and know which line of code is responsible for what. This reveals you as an expert in a new way. Moreover, this way you will work more efficiently in a team and understand everyone perfectly.

Experts Practice

When I read someone else's code, I often have such a question in my head - could it really be done like that? Is everything really that simple? The point is that you need to use the experience and practices of your colleagues. If they have already figured out how to optimize the page so that the load time does not exceed 1 second, then why invent something new. If your page code consists of 1000 lines, and your colleague's code is only 400 with the same appearance and functionality, then you should definitely borrow this developer's method.

Developer Tools - Google Chrome

Developer Tools - Google Chrome (source)

This is especially true for User Experience. If the developer site that you copied (which you were allowed to do) attracts a large audience of users or readers, then it is user-friendly, then it represents some value for them, then it is SEO optimized if it collects such organic traffic. So why not take advantage of someone else's experience and not waste your own time.

This point also applies to the design of the code. When I came to work in the media, which I wrote about in this article, I received the code from a previous specialist without comments and with such garbage, which I then cleaned up for weeks. According to his logic, if he is the only developer on the team, then no one else will see this code, which means you can write it as you like. It's not the way to do it, and it's not respectful to others. Don't do that, and format the code so that others don't swoon when they see it.

In a word, this point is about using someone else's experience for your own benefit. In part, our entire site is dedicated to how important it is to share experience and why everyone forgets about it, wasting their personal time on unnecessary attempts, which they could spend on something more substantial.

Improving Coding Skills

Have you ever been told that reading books improves your speech, rids it of harmful and abusive words, and also makes you a better storyteller? What's more, reading books improves your writing, your sentences improve, and your storytelling is more logical. I don't know if this is true or not, but I do know that it works with code. The more you read the code, the faster you write it yourself.

Everything is really simple here. After all, all the previous benefits of reading other people's code that we mentioned in this article affect how you write code. Judge for yourself - code analysis and other people's experience - isn't this the ideal formula for becoming a Senior specialist?

By following these simple steps, you will have baggage of someone else's experience and knowledge, you will be clearly sure that in order to get the site on the first page of a search engine, your SEO is weak, and you still need to work, because the day before you encountered the same weak keywords and obviously a long time to load pages when analyzing the code of the copied site.


In conclusion, I would like to say - respect the work and efforts of others. If you want to use someone else's code for educational purposes, ask about it. Developers and IT specialists in general are kind and generous people. They will always share anything if you say you need it for educational purposes. You will always be helped and prompted - you just need to ask.

We have sorted out what is the value of copying someone else's site and whether it is legal at all. I hope you have found answers to all your questions in this article, and now you know what and how to do next. Good luck!


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