IT Management Articles

ShrinkTheWeb Review – Reliable Tools to Capture Screenshots

by Stephanie Miles
Published on 12 September 2013

Why use 1,000 words to describe a picture, when you can post a single screenshot instead? ShrinkTheWeb is a useful platform that makes it easy for people to automatically capture, crop, shrink, save, upload, and display screenshots from any website or online property.

In this ShrinkTheWeb review, I will explain what makes the online platform such a reliable, cost-effective alternative to in-house screenshot capturing tools. Looking at the system from the perspective of a web novice, I'll test out some of ShrinkTheWeb's advanced functionality, which allows users to customize embed codes, convert URLs to PDFs, and generate inside-page previews.


About ShrinkTheWeb

Call them thumbnails, thumbshots, snapshots, or previews. The reality is that webpage images captured by screenshots have become an integral part of how people recognize sites and navigate the web. ShrinkTheWeb has developed a way for publishers to capture an unlimited number of website screenshots in very little time. These screenshots can then be cropped, resized, and saved automatically. ShrinkTheWeb has managed to create a screenshot service that provides businesses with a much better value, when compared to the effort it takes to capture and handle screenshots in-house.

Main Functionality of ShrinkTheWeb

ShrinkTheWeb has developed a reliable and accurate way for businesses- in particular, developers, webmasters, designers, and programmers-to capture large quantities of website screenshots with just a single line of code. Developers also have the option to use an existing plugin to capture, save, and display screenshots automatically on their online properties.

Although ShrinkTheWeb offers a free service, it's the platform's Pro features that really shine. ShrinkTheWeb offers Pro users unlimited scalability and unparalleled technical support. Users can create PDF files from any given website URL, and they can capture screenshots at specific resolutions (like 800×600 or 1280×1024, for example). Developers who are interested in reducing their bandwidth usage can also have ShrinkTheWeb capture screenshots at a custom quality, and they can resize those files using ShrinkTheWeb's free Thumbfly utility.

Benefits of Using ShrinkTheWeb

Developers can make their websites and mobile apps more visually appealing to users by getting rid of basic text links and using screenshots instead. The screenshots that users can create with ShrinkTheWeb's tools are always perfectly sized and scaled. Custom quality controls ensure that web designers and developers are getting the thumbnail images they need to reflect their overall website design goals.

In addition to being more reliable than the in-house platforms that developers are often forced to build when they go the DIY route, ShrinkTheWeb is a faster, more cost-effective alternative. By opting to use ShrinkTheWeb rather than staying in-house, developers get the benefit of working with certified experts who are trained to handle any hiccups that may arise during the capturing and formatting process. ShrinkTheWeb also takes the trouble out of supporting new technologies, like Flash updates, HTML5, and Shockwave. ShrinkTheWeb's IT experts maintain all back-end operations and support company servers, and they are able to replace failed components at no extra cost to the user.

The Basics: What Does the Interface Look Like?

Sign up for a free account by entering some basic information, like your email address, your name, and your website. Once you're signed up, you can visit your dashboard page to get started. Choose between copy/pasting the provided code into your own website, or use ShrinkTheWeb's "code wizard" to generate customized sample code with an example. You can also browse through known plugins if you need to request a lot of domains.

When you click "Search Screenshot Requests," you're taken to the Thumbnail History page. Run a domain search, and tell ShrinkTheWeb whether to show requests by user, filter only those items marked as errors, filter only those items in the queue, or to show you everything except errors and queue items. In seconds, ShrinkTheWeb will provide you with a detailed log of the wait time, Flash delay, and thumbnail sizes.

Click the "Manage Billing" tab to upgrade your account. On the Order History page, you'll find a list of active subscriptions. This is also the page you'll need to visit to modify your existing subscriptions, update your payment method, or cancel all subscriptions

Support Information

ShrinkTheWeb's Support Center is split into a few main categories: tickets, documentation, knowledgebase, and troubleshooting. Type in your question to search the knowledgebase, or browse posted articles by topic. ShrinkTheWeb provides users with detailed documentation files, offering a concise overview of what is required to get started using the tool, along with everything that a user should know to take advantage of ShrinkTheWeb's proprietary Pro feature set. For answers to questions that are not provided elsewhere in ShrinkTheWeb's Support Center, users can submit tickets to the appropriate department.

Pricing Information

Pricing for ShrinkTheWeb is based on a combination of bandwidth and new requests. Each new request of a specific size counts toward a user's monthly bandwidth limit. Users can opt for Basic or PLUS upgrades to add various benefits to their accounts. They can also opt for Pro features, which are optional features listed at $9.95 per month each.

The Bottom Line

There is a reason why so many major web developers, programmers, and publishers have opted to use ShrinkTheWeb to generate thumbnails for their websites. The platform simply operates better than anything most companies could create in-house, while the pricing model makes this an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. Speed is another factor that should not be overlooked. ShrinkTheWeb's automated system captures, resizes, and saves thumbnail images much faster than it would be possible for a user to do on his or her own. It is for that reason, among many others, than I can recommend this web application.

Ratings: ease of use 4/5, features 5/5, value 4/5


Apps mentioned in this article