About the UK Government Web Archive

What we do and why

Web archiving is the process of collecting portions of the World Wide Web to make sure that the information is preserved in an archive for future researchers, historians and the public.

We carry out web archiving to preserve the websites and some social media accounts of central government. The archived materials are kept in the web archive and can be accessed online by anyone.

The web archive is open to all web search engines and is Memento compliant.

What we mean by 'an archived website'

We collect a series of 'captures' or 'snapshots' of a website throughout its lifespan. We call this series a 'timeline', as it tells the story of the website.

We don’t just keep a single copy of a closed website in the state it was in just before it closed down. It is a living archive, continually growing. The website archiving process begins when we take our first snapshot and continues until the website is closed.

Our archive is not a 'backup' which can be used to restore a website to live.

How big our archive is and how far back it goes

We started archiving in 2003 but some of our archived websites go as far back as 1996. Since then, we have archived over 6,000 websites and we continuously add new archive snapshots to the collection, at a current rate of around 100 a month.

Contact us

Find out how to contact the Web Archiving Team.

Accessibility statement

Our statement on how we make our service accessible.

Glossary of web archiving terms

Read our glossary of terms specific to web archiving and our web archiving programme.