Occasionally you may need to archive a copy of a webpage or your cloud data for future reference. You may need to retain regular (weekly or daily) snapshots of certain sites that change regularly, for example stock listings. Not just that, a snapshot of your cloud data can be useful if the site temporarily goes down. I had this problem last week as my online to-do list app, Wunderlist, went offline for several hours. No big deal you might think, but I use Wunderlist as my go to reference of tasks I have to complete next day. When I connected that morning, the site was down and I was left trying to figure out my priority to-dos for the day. Luckily the site was back in a couple of hours, but it left me thinking perhaps I should be archiving my to-do lists on a daily basis so I don’t get caught out again.
Fortunately, there are a myriad of free apps that will archive webpages or cloud data to your preferred online storage option. I had a think through some of the sites I’ve signed up to in the past and these came to mind: Evernote, Bo.lt, Minus – of course there are plenty others, including Dropbox. So let’s look at one or two options.
Applications like Wunderlist allow you to email the page to yourself so that’s one option I could use to back-up my to-dos at night. Just click the email icon in the top right corner of the main window in Wunderlist. If you have an Evernote account, you could also email the page to Evernote using the email address all registered Evernote users have to send data to their account.
Still in Evernote, another alternative is to clip the to-do list using the Evernote Web Clipper browser extension.
Some months ago, I signed up to Minus, an online storage service giving 10 GB of free storage. It’s perhaps not the most intuitive of apps and takes a little time to figure out, but in the Settings of the Desktop Tool, you can set a screen capture hotkey. As long as Minus is running in your system tray, you can use this hotkey to capture a webpage either as full screen, or a rectangular area to your online Minus account.
Here’s a recent Wunderlist to-do list captured in minus. Clicking the entry opens it up for viewing.
Sign up to Instapaper and install the Read Later bookmarklet in your browser. One click now saves your webpage to Instapaper.
Allows you to archive everything on the webpage including links and formatting. There’s a good write up of Bo.lt here.
Automatically archive webpages
All of the above are fine but they all need you to actually save the webpage. Isn’t there anything which needs less intervention to archive? Something that will automatically save a webpage when you open it? Well there is, and at the moment it’s in beta and it’s still free. It’s called Archify and it’s one of my best finds of recent months.
Archify helps you find everything you saw in your browser and search your stream on social networks. Just open a webpage and Archify will save a copy to your account – unless you blacklist the site or exclude it for security reasons (e.g. HTTPS sites). Needs a little bit of tweaking to set up they way you like it so it doesn’t continually archive pages you don’t need. Archify seems to effortlessly track and archive your every move on the net!
Schedule an archive of webpages
Sorry I can help yet on this one. I’ve looked around the net and asked on a tech forum and no-one had any great ideas. So, anyone out there have any bright ideas on how to schedule an automatic daily archive of a webpage, particularly one you have to log into first? Surely there has to be a demand for an app that will make a regular snapshot of a webpage or an open tab in your web browser?
Update (6 March 2012): I’ve just found a small utility that will take scheduled snapshots of a webpage and it’s called SiteShoter. There’s a good write-up here. You can set it to take snapshots at specific intervals from 1 minute to say 24 hours. The one downside is, perhaps not surprisingly, it won’t log in to a site before it takes the snapshot, so archiving your cloud data is probably not possible. Still, if you want scheduled snapshots of webpages, SiteShoter is worth checking out.
So that’s my suggestions to save important webpages. My current routine is to use the screen capture hotkey to save it to my Minus account. But if I forget, I should have a copy in Archify if I opened that page recently, and that’s definitely going to be the case for my to-dos in Wunderlist as I update them in the evening with the next day’s projects.
So how do you archive webpages? Drop a comment below.