Skip to page content or Skip to Accesskey List.


Main Page Content

Accessing The Internet Offline

Rated 4.38 (Ratings: 20)

Want more?

Picture of Junglee

Ashok Hariharan

Member info

User since: 28 Jan 2002

Articles written: 5


Before I begin I am not even sure if this article is very relevant to many

people accessing this site. Let me explain why, I gather that most people have

access to high speed/steady connections, well this article would be more relevant

to people not having the above, in some cases not even having access to the



I am going to mention some ways to browse the Internet using just plain and

simple e-mail.

Why is this relevant to me?

  • I live in a land of slow Internet connectivity... forget about Internet, I

    am freaking lucky if I am able to get a dial tone from my phone.
  • On a very sunny day, with blessings of all the holy men around, I would

    be really privileged to connect at 33.6 over a telephone line.
  • Did you mention cable modems? Dude, we don't have cable TV.

A Brief Digression

I have this good lady friend who works for a relief organisation in southern

Sudan. (I hope everybody knows where Sudan is, I know: they are my neighbours).


is mostly in the field, and her organisation has provided fairly decent equipment.

Their field office has some radio equipment, and my friend has some weird proprietary

software that allows her to access email over a wireless radio. They have got

this and a radio satellite phone that fits in a suitcase but is bloody expensive

to use.

This is about the only way they've got to communicate to the outside world.

My friend is from Swaziland, she sometimes has to be in the field for quite

a long time, so she loses track of all the happenings, news, sports et al. in

Swaziland -

what's she to do now?

The Web via Email

As any decent friend would do (;-)) I offered to help her out.

If I send an email to:

with no subject, and this in the body of the email :


After a while I receive this reply:

This mail is not a spam but the automatic reply to your mail;



Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 12:38:33 +0300


After this I get the whole html results page from google news for the keyword:

Swaziland in text form with all the hrefs below it, allowing me to make further

requests if needed via email

What I had basically done was, send the title="Launches google news in a new window">

search string to a mail robot, which browsed then download, then emailed the

page back to me.

What if I wanted not just a single page but also all the pages pointed to by

that page?

No problem, the agora service has a command called DEEP.

For instance if I send: DEEP, the service would send me the first page i.e. and also all the

content of the pages which link from There are quite a few powerful

commands like this, which I will not go into. To get detailed info about all

the agora services commands send an email to, with WWW

in the body of the email.

Other services

My good lady friend used agora for a while, but she found a page referring

to a pdf document on a web page that she wanted to see very much. Again she

looked to me for help.

The www4mail Service

If I send an email to:

with this in the body:

After a while I receive the file xyz.pdf back as a file by email.

This service also sends back HTML files, if I sent the same google news search

URL to the www4mail service, it sends me back the search results page as an

HTML file.

FTP via email

There used be quite a few services available around a year ago, especially

one called BITFTP, sadly most of them seem to have met their demise, and I

couldn't find any working services.


So my friend is happy, which means I am happy, and on this pleasant note, let

me finish.

I have provided links to some sites, which provide information on these offline

services. The service locations that I mentioned above are not the only ones

in existence. These services are free, there are also some services which do

this for $$$$, I didn't mention them. The response time for some these services

is not instant (takes a few hours sometimes), and sometimes they do not work

at all. So use them wisely.

Related sites

Ashok is based in Nairobi, Kenya. When not busy dodging vagrant matatus in Nairobi traffic, he keeps himself upto date by evolt-ing.

The access keys for this page are: ALT (Control on a Mac) plus: is an all-volunteer resource for web developers made up of a discussion list, a browser archive, and member-submitted articles. This article is the property of its author, please do not redistribute or use elsewhere without checking with the author.