What is a Mirror Site?

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 10, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes

Mirror sites are a common thing on the internet. Let us tell you what they are and why they are so popular.


Mirror sites are online replicas of popular websites pulled offline for different reasons. These sites appear online to satisfy the original site’s users and evade the banning attempts. However, not all mirror sites are reliable. Often, many of them belong to scammers who attempt to exploit the original site’s popularity for malicious purposes. Therefore, users must practice caution when browsing mirror sites.

A mirror site is an exact copy of a website or any collection of files hosted on a server other than the original one.

And why would anybody just produce an exact copy of anything online, we hear you ask?

There are plenty of reasons. For example, software companies create several mirrors of their repositories to ensure access from anywhere globally. Others do it to plagiarize a successful website. Another good reason is to prevent server overload when there is an increased traffic flow. Less commonly, a mirror site can be a backup for the original one.

The types of mirror site

Mirrors come in several flavors. The most common one is the static copy. This type of mirror is a snapshot of the original one that doesn’t update itself. Keeping it up to date requires the mirror’s owner to update it by hand.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have live mirrors, which keep an eye on the original site and ensure that the mirror remains updated according to the changes on the source.

Download sites for software are often hosted in mirrors. This is meant to facilitate downloads for users by preventing server overloads and offering the downloaders a server close to them, thus being faster.

Consider, for instance, Ubuntu. Canonica, its parent company, is in South Africa. But users are everywhere, especially in Europe and North America, so it makes sense for the company to have mirror hosts in those regions instead of having everybody downloading from South African servers.

Mirror sites and censorship

Mirror sites have been an essential strategic asset against censorship, too. Thus, a website with problematic content within its home jurisdiction can be mirrored elsewhere to ensure the information will survive local legal problems or even a shutdown. This practice is most common in torrent sites as many top ones often shift to mirror domains.

Mirrors are also crucial in the vintage content world. If you are a fan of playing emulated Apple II, Commodore 64, or DOS games from the past, then you already know the mirror sites that host the files you need to play them.


It’s a website or a set of files on a server that are an exact copy of an original site or folder elsewhere on the internet. So, it’s essentially a backup hosted in a different physical location.

Use Yandex. Search for the URL you want in Yandex, and it will tell you if it’s a mirror. You can also use a tool like siteliner.com to check if a website is a mirror of another one.

It’s a server-side web proxy that hosts a dynamic mirror version of any website or set of files.

Several software programs can produce a mirror. Performance Measure Getleft, GNU Wget, Pavuk Web Spider, and Website Ripper copier are among the most popular.

It’s a network management process in which a server replica is continuously created in real time.

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About the Author

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah Hashim

Security Expert
166 Posts

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

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