How to Stop Link Rot


This is a small addition to the previous post: Why I Link to WayBackMachine Instead of Original Site (archived):

This started a discussion on Hacker News (archived) where Wayback Machine responded with what they consider best-practice for linking to archived URLs.

We suggest/encourage people link to original URLs but ALSO (as opposed to instead of) provide Wayback Machine URLs so that if/when the original URLs go bad (link rot) the archive URL is available, or to give people a way to compare the content associated with a given URL over time (content drift) BTW, we archive all outlinks from all Wikipedia articles from all Wikipedia sites, in near-real-time… so that we are able to fix them if/when they break. We have rescued more than 10 million so far from more than 30 Wikipedia sites. We are now working to have Wayback Machine URLs added IN ADDITION to Live Web links when any new outlinks are added… so that those references are “born archived” and inherently persistent. Note, I manage the Wayback Machine team at the Internet Archive. We appreciate all your support, advice, suggestions and requests.


I like this strategy, as it allows the original site to get the benefit and credit of the link while giving the user a very reliable reference to the original content.

So in the future, I will most likely link to other sites like this:

This is the source (archived).

Properly Referencing the World-Wide Alexandrian Library

I think this sort of linking is a good practice, especially on subjects that involve much reference or debate. So it is a good habit to properly capture the data and lock it in time for the benefit of historical context and accuracy, as well as user experience.