How to check your archived website

If your website is closing we will send you a temporary link to your archived site for you to check before we publish it.

Before you check

  • Read our covering email which came with the link. If we found any problems during our own check which could not be fixed, we will have listed them for you. You don’t need to tell us about these again.
  • Read our archive’s limitations. This will tell you all the most common things we cannot archive exactly as presented on the live site. If you find any problems with your archived site that match these limitations, you can tell us about them, but we may not be able to fix them.
  • Prepare to log any problems you find, so that you can send us a full list when you have finished. As a minimum we will need to know:
    • The web address of the page the problem appeared on
    • A description of what the problem is
    • A description of what you were doing when you noticed the problem

How to check

Copy the temporary link into your web browser and open it. Use Chrome, Edge or any other browser you have available. We recommend using the browser (or browsers) most often used in your organisation or by your team.

Open the live website in another browser tab or on another screen.

Unless your site is very small, you probably won’t be able to check everything. Focus on checking:

  • Content which will not be available anywhere else after the website is archived. For example, if you are removing old reports which will not be republished on another website, check that they work correctly.
  • The parts which you think will be most heavily used in the future – this is particularly relevant if your site is closing entirely.

You can check individual links by pasting the live site’s link after the temporary link prefix and date stamp, shown in the example below.

If you have a long list of individual links you need to check, please let us know as we may be able to suggest some tools to help you.

What to check

  1. Visual appearance: Compare how the archived and live websites look visually. Our banner will be displayed at the top of the screen of the archived version, but otherwise the sites should look the same. If you notice any differences, report them to us.
  2. Links: Click some links on the archived site and check that they open correctly. Click the same links on the live site to compare.
  3. Document links: Click links to download and view files such as pdf (Adobe Acrobat), xlsx (Excel) and docx (Word). They should open in the same way as on the live site.
  4. Navigation: Try different routes to navigate around the site. For example, if your site has a top horizontal menu and a browse sitemap, test that both work correctly.
  5. Video, audio and animation: We find it difficult to capture and replay video, audio and animation. If your content is hosted on YouTube, ask for it to be added to our YouTube archive.
  6. Interactive content such as charts, visualisations and diagrams: We find it difficult to capture and replay interactive content.
  7. Map content. 
  8. Publication libraries, image galleries and similar areas. We sometimes find it difficult to capture publication libraries and similar areas which have large volumes of content, many different pages and lots of different ways to navigate.

Send us your findings

Once you have finished checking the site please send us an email with details of any problems you have found. Remember, we need to know:

  • The web address of the page the problem appeared on
  • A description of what the problem is
  • A description of what you were doing when you noticed the problem

You can use this checklist to record your observations.

If we carry out any fixes for these problems, we will ask you to check again to make sure they have worked.

If you did not notice any problems please just confirm that you have checked the site and you are happy for it to be published.

Once this is confirmed, the temporary link will stop working and you will be sent the new, permanent archive link for your site.