Wayback Machine Downloaders Reviewed

It’s safe to say that when you’re considering backing up or restoring a website, you have a fair amount of choice when deciding on the website or system you need to complete the work. Whether you’re planning on scraping the web archives for that favourite website from your youth, or are seeking to rebuild the website you’ve lost after a traumatic loss of data. This can, of course, be caused for a whole load of reasons. Whether a missed hosting fee has led to your site being shut down, or that you have been targeted by a particularly cruel hacker, it’s a huge relief to know that there are ways of retrieving what you’ve lost – even if it comes with a fee.

One of the more accessible products is called the Wayback Machine, which provides you with the opportunity to recover lost websites and documentation by running an automated system that ‘scrapes’ the web archive at a set date and URL. By downloading the files that make up your website, it doesn’t take a web developer qualification to give you the ability to rebuild your site from the bottom up.

Take the European/Russian http://www.waybackmachinedownloads.com and the more US-centric http://www.waybackmachinedownloader.com/en/. Operating on a policy of less talk, more action, both sites provide the user with the ability to pop in a URL, pay the bill and watch as the system unleashes its bots into the web archive to find the files you need. It’s easy, it’s functional and actually very reasonably priced.

I would say that the US Wayback Machine Downloader site comes across as far more professional in tone, with some extremely smart, crisp lines and clean colour palette. The high level of support articles and dedicated tools to convert the downloaded files directly into a WordPress site are so unbelievably useful it hardly bears thinking about using any other site. When you’re looking at a mere $11 per domain (after the first, naturally), it seems possible to resurrect an entire catalogue of lost work – maybe even a career’s worth!

Wayback Machine Downloader also offers a handful of free tools, such as a plagiarism checker, privacy policy generator and – unbelievably – a logo generator! This isn’t just a website for restoring lost websites, Wayback Machine Downloader seems to be the first place to go before setting off and building your own website.

Wayback Machine Downloads, on the other hand, feels like a much more amateur site. Yes, it offers the same scrape-and-recover system at a comparatively cheaper €9 per URL, but it appears to lack the level of support and articles that come with the US-site. With the garish orange hue, it has the appearance of a children’s television show, despite having mostly the same text and imagery as the US site.

The two sites seem suspiciously similar, though aiming at vastly different audiences. Personally, so long as they exist, I’m a happy man – and if you’ve spent as much time producing content on the internet as me, you will be too.

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