A New Plugin Lets You Replace 404 Pages with Archived Versions

Hate 404 pages? Hate how the internet is rapidly disappearing and will inevitably continue its decay until nothing we’ve accomplished will ever remain? Have I got the plugin for you.

The Internet Archive, at archive.org, remains the top resource for saving the easily lost elements of the internet, and has held the position for 20 years now. But the archive wants to function where it’s needed, not just when people think to search for a page on its site, and a new plugin will allow users to directly benefit from the archived internet pages when they need them.

Once installed, “No More 404s” will allow you to see an archived version of a page that is currently broken. 404 pages will turn into the best available (admittedly outdated) version of the page you actually wanted.

It’s a brilliant idea, taking advantage of the billions of archives that the Internet Archive keeps, but presenting them in a stunningly relevant manner, seamlessly avoiding the 404 pages dotted across the internet. It only works on Firefox, though. Here’s the simple way you can install the No More 404s plugin, direct from the Internet Archive’s blog post announcing the app:

  1. Install the Firefox “Test Pilot”: https://testpilot.firefox.com
  2. Enable the “No More 404s” add-on: https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments/no-more-404s
  3. Try viewing this dead page: http://stevereads.com/cache/ephemeral_web_pages.html

If all works correctly, that dead link will be replaced with an archived version powered by the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive’s method of capturing around a billion archives a day. And you’ll be one web page more informed than you would have been otherwise.

H/T: Aram Sinnreich

Image: Flickr / John Blyberg

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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