How to archive a website with us

If you are responsible for a UK central government website, we will help you through the archiving process. All UK central government websites should conform to the minimum core technical standards we require in order to archive them successfully.

Which websites should be archived with us

We collect records from UK central government departments and bodies. The core content of our archives is:
• material published by departments of state either on their own family of sites or on GOV.UK;
• non-departmental public bodies; agencies; delivery channels;
• royal commissions; public inquiries and other short-term bodies sponsored by UK central government departments;
• NHS websites that are national in focus.

We make decisions about each website on a case-by-case basis. As government itself changes and government use of the web changes, we update and review our criteria for which content we need to preserve.

If you’re not sure whether or not your website is suitable for the UK Government Web Archive, please contact us. If it turns out not to be suitable, there are lots of other archiving options available to you – the UK Web Archive is a good place to start.

When websites should be archived

You should be planning for archiving when:
• you are developing a new website (including public inquiry websites), or making major updates or redevelopments to your existing website (planning archiving into your build makes archiving much easier – see our core requirements for archiving)
• your existing website doesn’t already appear in our archive (check in our list)
• you are closing your website

We may sometimes also archive on specific request, for example if there is a machinery of government change.

You need to give us at least eight weeks’ notice of your need to archive, and 10 weeks if your website is closing.

Compliance with statutory obligations

It is the responsibility of all organisations responsible for public records, as defined by the Public Records Act 1958 (c. 51), to transfer records for permanent preservation, under the guidance and supervision of the Keeper of Public Records. This covers all administrative and departmental records belonging to His Majesty, including web pages and other web content.

These obligations originate in section 3(2) of the Public Records Act 1958 (c. 51). Selecting and transferring web pages to the UK Government Web Archive may support public records bodies in fulfilling their obligations under the Public Records Act 1958.

See The National Archives' Legislation and regulations pages for further information.

How we archive websites

We archive using the remote harvesting method, which means we use automated web crawlers (provided by MirrorWeb) to collect web pages. There are limitations to what can be successfully archived.

We aim to crawl in the most polite manner possible but crawl rates can be made slower if necessary.

Archive a website which isn’t closing

Find out how to get a new website archived or to check whether a current website is being archived in the UK Government Web Archive.

Archive a website which is closing

Find out how to request an additional archive snapshot of a website before it closes or is redeveloped.