In the past I’ve written about some helpful tools for web developers. Anything from code libraries to IDEs and online web applications. Over the past few years there have been many advances in the realm of web design & development.
One such concept involves generating a preview image of a website’s homepage. These tools can pull a screenshot on-the-fly to display on your site or analytics dashboard. In this post I’ve outlined five online resources and webapps that you can utilize for grabbing live screenshots from any site.
If you want a quick snappy experience check out Snapito. The interface is sublime with many responsive elements on the page. There are features you can toy with even using their free screenshot tool. It can even capture websites as they appeared 1 week or 1 month ago.
The website itself has a lot more features than you might imagine. If you read over their account plans you’ll find a laundry list of extra features. Paid plans have support for mobile access to APIs and a higher limit of data requests.
This is a really cool & free option if you just need general mid-to-high quality images of any homepage. The web service can pull from any website and I have noticed it’s much quicker than some alternatives.
Interesting enough the Site2Pic webapp is run through another online web service. URL2PNG can take any website URL and spit out the cloned image screenshot. Site2Pic runs in a similar fashion but only works on homepages.
If you need a service with tremendous add-on features look no further than ShrinkTheWeb. You can pull screens from any website, the images previously resized and cropped to your proportions. STW runs an excellent API for developers and also has a small handful of CMS plugins released for engines like Drupal or WordPress.
To get started you may go through the site using their free plan. It offers plenty of resources for getting started. But if you could use their service for large-tier applications browse the order plans to see what’s available. The process is very simple and you might be surprised at how many additional features you can use.
I needed to include this site in the list because it grabs screenshots from sites in full view. This means each screenshot takes a capture of the entire page and returns one very tall image. All for free! Web-capture allows you to view the screenshot on their website or download locally to your computer.
For any free service, I have to give this one a high recommendation. There are other screenshot services which can deliver fullscreen previews so this isn’t a completely unique trait. Yet very few competitors offer this for free or deliver screencaps at such a quick speed.
The last tool in my list is Browshot. It’s another quick webapp that competes with many of the premium services you’ll find elsewhere online. Although with free use there are data caps and a limit to the number of screens you can pull.
I’d recommend taking a look over the Browshot account features to see what else is available. Free users do have access to try things out and get a feel for the interface. But with premium access you can delve further into mobile apps or building on top of the Browshot API.
Author: Jake Rocheleau
Jake is a creative designer, illustrator, and web developer. He frequently writes articles involving new-age design concepts and freelance management skills. You can find him in Google or follow his tweets @jakerocheleau