How to ensure high quality Wayback Archive restores

If you want your PBN domains to look like they never expired, restoring from Wayback is a smart option. But due to how unpredicatable the web can be it can be something of an art getting a download just right.

After over 2500 downloads, here are our top tips for getting a perfect restore:

 

Start with the right domain

If a domain looks awful on Wayback, it's unlikely to look good when we download it either! Before you decide to restore a site, do make sure it's actually worth it. You might decide it's better to start afresh with a blog or other content if the site looks broken.

 

We often find the worst 'archive' sites have bad records because they are bad domains: unpopular, with low inbound link counts and low value overall. If the archive is looking terrible, do double check that this is a domain worth registering let alone restoring!

 

Choose the best record from the archive history

Often a site will have been through multiple redesigns - and at times, multiple owners! Sometimes you might find an older site looks better than a new one, but often you'll want to take the most recent design.

 

Once you've found the variation you like best, find the latest version you can before copying the url to our importer. So if the most recent design of a site was live from Jan 2012 - Oct 2015, select a url for October 2015.

 

Since we download all files recorded, up to the date you choose, this makes sure we don't miss any assets like images, scripts or CSS that Archive.org might have updated on a later download.

 

Be prepared for surprises: you might need to tweak after download

There's a lot of weird websites out there! There are some recurring issues we often see, which are generally down to the way the site was put together. We've made a list of the top issues below:

 

Troubleshooting

 

The site's images are broken but work on Wayback

Normally if you can see an image on Archive.org we will download it. However if a site was 'hotlinking' - eg yourdomain.com was loading an image from otherdomain.com/image.gif, we won't automatically download it. The reason for this is simple : If we start our robots downloading from sites you haven't asked for we could accidentally download the whole web!

 

The best thing to do is to replace the image or manually download it and edit the offending page.

 

The site loads another website in a frame

This happens surprisingly often. Perhaps you downloaded greenvillehomes.com, but you discover the site is blank. Often the previous owner will have thrown up a mini site that simply frames their main site, such as greenvillerealtor.com.

 

This isn't something we can automatically fix - it may be simpler to build a blog in this case.

 

The site's CSS is broken on some pages, not all

Normally if the CSS works on Wayback it should work on our site. But at times you might find the design comes and goes.

 

This mainly happens on Wordpress sites that use caching and CSS aggregation - for example, they might rewrite the filename

/wp-content/themes/xyzthem/style.css

to

/wp-content/uploads/32abcakjhch38d.css

 

The best fix for this is to edit the broken pages and change the CSS url to a file that you have already downloaded. Often you will find we have downloaded the files before they enabled the plugins - at times you might also see a different variation of the css filename that could be duplicated and renamed to the 'missing' file's filename.

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