Amber is a plugin available for WordPress and Drupal that attempts to address the problem of linkrot.
Amber is an open source tool for websites to provide their visitors persistent routes to information. It automatically preserves a snapshot of every page linked to on a website, giving visitors a fallback option if links become inaccessible.
If one of the pages linked to on this website were to ever go down, Amber can provide visitors with access to an alternate version. This safeguards the promise of the URL: that information placed online can remain there, even amidst network or endpoint disruptions.
So, I installed it on a couple of blogs I run and gave it a whirl.
For this blog, it worked like a charm. It scanned all ~10,000 entries/pages and found roughly the same amount of links that needed to be preserved.
I appreciated the ability to store the links on my own server rather than relying on some other server, even something as robust as the Internet Archive. Be warned, though, if you have a lot of links to preserve, this can take up a lot of server space. In my case, each copied link took an average of 1mb, so I had to set aside 100gb+ of server space. The main drive on my server is 2TB, so that’s not a big deal for me, but it could be a problem for people with less storage.
Of course, the plugin also does give users the ability to store their preserved links on the Internet Archive and a few other cloud-based options if your local storage isn’t adequate or desirable for one reason or another.
I tried it on another blog, however, which has tens of thousands of entries, and could never get the plugin to successfully scan all entries. In future versions, Amber should really support some sort of staggered scanning to deal with sites that have significant numbers of posts and pages.
Other than that, the Amber plugin is awesome. I’m glad to see something like this so easy to deploy and use.