TextMadeWeb: A website to browse the web while using a terrible internet connection

jadolg profile image Jorge Alberto Díaz Orozco (Akiel) ・3 min read

A small introduction

You are probably tired of me saying how bad the internet connection is overall in Cuba, so I'll skip a bit that part today :D
A few years ago I was working with a terrible internet connection. I could not have better and loading pages on StackOverflow took minutes. Can you imagine? I was so frustrated and accomplishing so little at the time that I decided to fix the problem the way I know how to: programming a solution.

Here goes the testing

When I was in college I used to use iptables to control my internet traffic. That way I could decide what I wanted to consume and reduce my internet consumption to save the scarce amount of megabytes (100) I was getting every month. Yes, I'm NOT talking about speed. That's the actual amount of megabytes I could use every month.
So my first idea was to reuse my old iptables script with lots and lots of blocked addresses. But this eventually became problematic. I needed to again start to update my lists with new addresses and deprecate some that didn't even exist anymore. It was also not portable, so I could not give it to my friends using Windows. I scratched that one really fast from the list.
My second thought was to make a proxy to do the whole thing for me. I could distribute it or share it with my friends without problems but again updating it would be problematic so I again decided not to go that way.
At the time, a lot of my friends were also using these web proxies to bypass blocked sites so I had the idea of making something like that but to strip the webs of everything but text (and some styling because reading code in plaintext is a natural cause for headaches).

The product

I'm a lazy person :-) I know I should not be proud of it, but somehow I am. Being lazy makes you work extra to find a way to do things with less effort. In my case, I just realized that If I used a library to turn HTML into Markdown and then back to HTML, the result was tremendously clean. I just needed to then remove the images and trick the links so they will open inside the same site. I added a bit of compression and that's it.

Here is the result:
Front Page

No styles, no images, no Javascript. Just plain text. You can find it hosted on https://txtmdweb.herokuapp.com/

You introduce the address that you want to "textify" and hit the "Text it!" button. The result will be something like this:

Texted page

You can also do Google searches with it, but it is not particularly good at it :')

I used Django (1.11 at the time) to write the project and the sources can be found here


  • I only implemented getting sites. No further interactions are permitted, so no login or cookies or anything but clear text which is publically available.
  • No Javascript. Sadly, a lot of websites today are mostly Javascript. If the website you are trying to convert to text is using Javascript to load its content, this is not going to work.


I hope you liked the story and if you are in need of using such a tool (I really hope you are not), well now you know it exists.
Want to make it better? PRs are open ;-) or just go open an issue.
And that's all. If you liked the project, go hit that star button on GitHub which makes open-source developers like me very happy.

Posted on Mar 17 by:

jadolg profile

Jorge Alberto Díaz Orozco (Akiel)


Pythonista and GO enthusiast. I write Open Source for fun and may attempt to Dockerize your cats.


markdown guide

Another solution for the same problem!!! Thanks for sharing!