I did something "amazing" on a website and my narcissistic side wants proof for posterity that I managed to actually do it, even if the website in question decides to change it's rules or goes off-line.

For example, what inspired me to ask this question was 100 year long streak on GitHub https://stackoverflow.com/questions/20099235/who-is-the-user-with-the-longest-streak-on-github/27742165 which could disappear without proof at any time since GitHub usually simply makes smaller modifications to their back-end without informing anyone. And screenshots that I upload myself are obviously trivial to falsify.

But I can see this having more serious applications, like serving as legal evidence that is simpler than subpoenaing server logs, or when those are inaccessible (e.g. foreign country). Although it has already been declined in court once.

If only there was a web service, in which I input an URL, click a button, and then it would immediately:

  • fetch the HTML and all of its dependencies
  • make the original webpage viewable on a public URL of the mirroring website. Storing a screenshot only instead of the original HTML would be acceptable, but not ideal.
  • associate a timestamp and an URL to it, in a way that I couldn't change it afterwards. E.g., it could encode that information in the URL as http://snapshot.com/view/2015-01-01/http://github.com, or simply add a custom header

Non-mandatory features that would be nice:

  • Authentication. Not sure if technically feasible.
  • send an arbitrary HTTP request instead of just a simple GET
  • retrieve other media types HTML, in special PDF. archive.org does this.
  • ignore robots.txt when I do a manual request. It's not cool to crawl those websites, but I don't see why not take a snapshot on request, which is just like me loading the page. Original motivation: prove that a website was at position N on a Google search: https://web.archive.org/web/https://www.google.com/search?q=x86+paging+tutorial archive.is currently does this: https://archive.is/vkc8B
  • archive the page even if it gives 500. Can be used as proof that I've found a bug. archive.org does not seem to do this.

Of course, the entire system would hinge on the belief that of the web service in question is not cheating, which although not ideal, is acceptable to me.

What I have found so far:

  • Wayback machine: http://archive.org/web/ . If only there was a button that I could press to generate a snapshot whenever I want it, it would solve my problem
  • many websites that take a URL and convert it into an image, but none that stores the image on their server and assigns a timestamp and origin URL to it
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think icanprove.com might fit your needs.

The screenshots are not presented online. They are stored in signed pdfs so you have to upload them themselves but on the other hand this gives you more control.

It offers a virtual remote browser (an old Firefox version) inside your browser which allows you to authenticate into websites. You have of course to trust that service with your passwords. Note that there is some delay between pressing the keystrokes and them taking effect on the remote browser, but it's usable.

After grepping the archive.org FAQ just found that it does have a "Save page now" box under https://archive.org/web/ ...

I found this after noting that if a page had not been crawled when you search for it, it suggests: "Do you want to take a snapshot now?"

This makes it the best option so far, as it also has one of the optional operations: PDF save, and feels more future-proof than archive.today. Example.

  • Also on lifehacker.com/… – Pacerier May 18 '15 at 8:18
  • Argh, I found out that it has a limitation. It ignores everything after #, so if a page displays differently based on the value of the characters after #, archive.org wouldn't work. – Pacerier May 21 '15 at 11:35

As mentioned by @Parcier, archive.is does what I want.

It stores both screenshot and HTML, and says the date.

E.g. snapshot I just took from GitHub: https://archive.today/eN836

Does not seem to have any of the non-mandatory features.

The creator said in march 2015 that they don't do authentication: http://blog.archive.today/post/114635965191/you-should-allow-users-to-send-cookie-strings-to he then points to http://www.peeep.us/ but it looks dead.

I could not find request customization either, and PDF tests failed for me.

For relevant lists, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Web_archiving_initiatives and http://alternativeto.net/software/archive-is/

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.