Have you ever tried to archive a website but gave up halfway? If that is the case for you, we completely understand how you feel. Archiving a website can be overwhelming if you are not a technically sound person. Understanding all the technical jargon associated with it can make anyone go crazy.
Luckily for you, we have come up with a quick and easy method to make this confusing process simple for you. After all, website archiving is a worldwide practice. Therefore it is necessary to simplify the process and create a smooth workflow for website archives.
So without further ado, let us dig deeper into the world of website archiving.
What do you mean by website archiving?
Archiving a website simply means collecting and recording a website’s information and keeping it for later reference. The process is mainly achieved by taking screenshots during specific moments where certain details can be witnessed.
By employing snapshots, we can store the original information, both in terms of data and visuals. Archived websites can be used as a reference during a future update or simply be stored to preserve crucial information.
There are typically three types of website archiving; client-based, transaction-based and server-based.
Client-based archiving is the most common and involves any web page openly available on the web. Transaction-based archiving usually happens due to internal corporate and legal requirements. Server-based archiving is done with the help of web crawlers who store data straight from the server.
There are several procedures for website archiving, each method employing a standard technical approach. But before we dive into the specifics of it all, let us try to understand the need for archiving a website in the first place.
Common reasons for archiving websites
There are several cases where website archiving can become a necessary element. The obvious reason for archiving a website is to preserve its information and maintain a particular version. But why exactly do we need to do this?
Corporations usually archive the contents of their website for a number of professional reasons. It could be a requirement of their company, making it a general policy. It could be to protect their data from being stolen or simply to challenge a false claim made by a rival.
Some industries are often bound to do this due to legal requirements. This is especially true in the case of the food & beverage industry, where lawsuits are common. Any content making nutritional claims regarding a particular food item can lead to severe consequences if the claim is proven untrue.
This is the most common reason why companies in the food industry have to preserve their information. Claims made by food companies are often challenged based on healthcare. This is especially true in the case of food items claiming to have health benefits.
On the other hand, financial institutions are made to preserve their online information by default. Failing to do so often results in a heavy fine and seniors lawsuits in some cases.
Do we really have to archive a website despite having backups?
Absolutely, it is vital to archive a website, and having backups doesn’t make it unnecessary. Why is that? Although backups are pretty similar to archives, they are not the same thing.
Archiving allows us to literally navigate and use the website as an alternative to the actual page. This is possible even if the original page has been removed. Therefore, it is like having your very own personal copy of the actual website.
On the other hand, it is impossible to do the same with backups. Backups can only be used to collect preserved information and recreate the website for future use.
There are several methods to archive a website successfully. Which method you choose entirely depends on the specifics of your archival requirements. You might want to archive an entire website or just a single page of the website. Let us look at the different methods of archiving to understand more.
How to archive a web page offline?
Archiving a single web page is by far the most straightforward process. You don’t need any extended softwares or applications to do this. It simply involves using your web browser to save the particular page of your choice. You won’t have any issues with this as every browser allows page saving.
Archiving multiple web pages online
The easiest method is to use the Wayback machine, also known as the time machine web. This initiative made by the internet archive has stored more than 681 billion web pages till now.
All you have to do is head over to archive.org/web/ and enter the desired URL in the required box. The next step is to simply save the page by clicking on the save page button. This will result in a stored archive of the particular web page.
Although the process is quick and easy, you should know that everything has to be done manually. Therefore, archiving multiple pages will take up a considerable amount of time. What’s more, it is common to find glitchy and volatile results, making the web page impossible to use.
A similar but alternative method can be achieved by using archive.is, which is yet another archive software. Just like the Wayback machine, you can directly paste the URL and hit the submit button. It also has an extension that can be installed in Google chrome.
The only downside is that the application doesn’t allow you to archive any ads present on the webpage.
How to archive a whole website?
There are several applications, such as Fireshot, which archives a website using screenshots. However, we feel that this is an unreliable and lengthy method.
We recommend using Httrack instead, which is a helpful tool that archives an entire website by downloading it. This includes all the written information, as well as visual data such as images. What’s more, it even downloads the coding formulas used on the original website.