How to Archive your Website

Archive your Website

A dedicated backup & archive strategy is required to archive your website from Wayback Machine. Backups are essential for a site, remember, to preserve your site, there are some other ways also. You can archive a website in several flexible ways. All the ways to archive a website are user-friendly and easily accessible. It is up to you to pick the right solution according to your needs.

Here we will discuss some ways to archive a website. There are some prominent tools for archiving a site.

An Introduction to Website Archiving:

Preserving content, data, and media of a site for future reference is archiving a website. To see older versions of a website, there is a dedicated service Wayback Machine.

Technically, crawlers of Wayback Machine take the snapshots of any website from time to time, which constitutes the archive itself. A calendar is present on Wayback Machine showing the dates on which it has taken snapshots of your site. You can view each iteration in a timeline format.

To understand why Wayback Machine exists, we need to go back to the early 2000s. Many businesses were collapsing and their popular websites were either shut down or abandoned without leaving any memory behind.

Like other media formats, TV, and music, these abandoned or shut-down sites have nostalgic and historical value. It was important to give an idea to future users that how far technology earlier was.

To preserve websites, the Internet Archive launched Wayback Machine. You can have a look at the site to see how it has evolved over the years.

To archive a website, many crawlers involve. Some crawlers include huge individual crawls, it takes years to complete. In 2004, the first 100 Terabyte servers of Wayback Machine became operational. At the end of 2020, it has stored over 70 Petabytes of data. In Terabytes, it is more than 70,000.

Why archive a website?

To archive a website, there are plenty of reasons. For a real-world analogy, you can have a look at Github.

To store the repositories of a project, the developers use Github. It also stores every “commit” made. The commits are the snapshots only while repositories represent the whole website.

The archive is as much valuable as Git repositories. To influence the current design of your site, you can look at previous iterations of your site.

Archive of your site is valuable evidence if there is some sort of litigation. A complete and clear archive of a site can throw off disputes. You can present the archive of your site in front of courts also as evidence in any litigation.

Difference between data backup and web archive:

A site backup and website archive appear to be similar in general terms, but both have different jobs that complement each other.

  • Backup is data-based: Preserving a site’s data at your own level is a backup of the site. If you want to restore your site, complete backup of your data is paramount.
  • The archive preserves context over data: The functionality of a website’s archive is often patchy. In an archive, the design of a site and static content remain intact usually.

It is important to note that archiving a site doesn’t look to eschew data preservation effort. Undoubtedly, one of the main benefits of a web archive is letting users navigate your site as if it was live. Wayback Machine exists as a virtual “memory lane”. It keeps the visual intact. It takes higher priority than preserving backend functionality.

Data backups are used as daily protection of your site if something worst happens to the site. To understand the evolution of your site, archive a site is an additional way of help.

Different types of Archiving:

Types of web archiving-Archive your website


Contrary to the general conception, there are different types of web archiving. Let us break down.

There are three types of Web Archiving:

  • Client-side: To save the version of a side, the client-side archive involves the end-user. Due to its simplicity and scalability, this type lets you archive the site with no fuss.
  • Server-side: Wayback Machine and others are classified as server-side web archives. Wayback Machine uses crawlers and some sort of other technologies to archive a site. It requires a level of consent that we don’t find in the client-side type of archiving.
  • Transaction-based: The base of it is server-side archiving. But as compared to server-side archiving, it is more complex. It requires explicit consent from the owner of the site. It archives the site transactions between server and end-user.

If a website is simple with static data, also having an organized archiving strategy, then client-side archiving is the best strategy. Most of the sites favor server-side archives. For most websites, transaction-based archiving is not necessary.

Where & How archives are stored:

A local archive is not a poor choice. But the drawback in this type of archive is that it disappears if there is a computer failure. On the other hand, if you opt for a third-party archiving solution, you have less control over what is archived.

So you need to adopt a multi-faceted approach to archive a site. What we suggest is that you treat the archive like backup; you need to have three different copies of a site at different locations and must have synchronization with each other.

You take the advantage of any server-side functionality to make the archive of your website. This will result in a robust backup of your side and archive strategy.

Mazhar Iqbal