The idea behind Perpetually.com isn’t new, but it’s definitely something that’s always been improved upon as technology gets better. Websites are dynamic things and the content on a site is often changed over time or even replaced altogether. With the exception of a few archive sites like Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine, there really isn’t a good way to keep content intact and there definitely isn’t one for keeping it in context.
Just launching a couple of weeks ago, Perpetually is a very slick startup that gives a great backup option for websites. Capable of doing entire websites or just select pages, the app does two things. First, it archives the site as it is. Then it monitors it and records updates to pages as they happen, creating an indexed suite of the site’s history.
Best of all, Perpetually is software-as-a-service (SaaS) and requires no plugins or installs. You just point it to a site and it does the rest on its own.
Sites thus backed up can be either public or private, so people who leave theirs open to the public can have users browse through old versions of the site or its content.
The browser tool itself is very nicely done. It brings up the pages in context–meaning it doesn’t just save the graphics or the text or take a snapshot, it actually does a full backup capture. So what you’re looking at (including navigation, hotlinks, and all) is just like the real thing. You can open a toolbar to one side and browse through revision histories as well as switch between different historical points in that history.
Some pretty impressive clients are publicly using the site, such as the Wall Street Journal, and the service itself is very reasonable. This is a site that will be both loved and hated. Loved for its great service and ease of use and hated by every politician who makes a promise on their website and is confronted with it a year later.
Prices to use Perpetually start at $24/month for one domain and up to 10gb in archives. Each plan has a free month’s trial to see if you like the service. Archiving is automated, so as long as you keep your account active, your site is archived.