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Dealing with obsolete websites hosted on Europa

Mandatory requirementThe "Archives" sites must be kept completely isolated from the rest of EUROPA at the following URL

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At some point, a website will come to the end of its life. This may be because it had a set lifespan (a campaign site, for example) or because the policy it covers is changing or ending.


Keeping the outdated website is not an option as it will prevent people finding what they are looking for. It can:

  • clog up navigation schemes
  • appear in search results – often higher than newer content
  • appear in internal site searches
  • confuse or totally mislead users
  • damage our reputation
  • cause search engine crawlers to ‘time-out’ before finding our new content.

Old websites must therefore be removed or archived.


Removing a website

If the website does not have to be accessed anymore then the easiest solution is to remove it and delete it from Europa. You may want to back up the entire website to a DVD or external storage beforehand.

Create a redirection to a page explaining that the site is no longer available. See the site relocation section on the redirections resource page.


Archiving a website

A website may have future value if it contains information of special interest for historical or legal reasons.

In this case, with the joint agreement of the DG and the EUROPA team, the website can be moved to the archive section of the European Commission site which is:

  • kept apart from the rest of EUROPA.
  • accessible only from the Commission homepage.
  • ignored by search engines (i.e. the EUROPA search and all external search engines).

After a time agreed with the content owner, the archived website will be reviewed with to see if it can be removed from the archive.

For most sites you should consider simply removing it.


Preparing your site for the archive

By definition, sites earmarked for archiving are no longer considered to be a priority and therefore get little attention. However, this step is part of the site's lifecycle and time must be spent reviewing the content.


  • The site must continue to focus on users and on the content they will be interested in accessing.
  • There is a limit (2 gigabytes) to the size of the site that can be archived.
  • Dynamic sites can't be archived. A static version must be produced and moved.

What you have to do:

  • Remove  sections that will not be of interest to users and could become outdated quickly (e.g. "how to find us", full contact lists).
  • Remove unnecessary images and documents (for example, link to Eur-Lex for legislation instead of to local copies). This will also help reduce the size of the overall site.
  • Check and correct broken links and remove orphan pages and files.
  • The user should be aware that the website they are visiting has been archived. A standard header has been created that can be added easily (see Library section). In addition, the title tag of every page should start with "[Archived content]".
  • Links to the archived site should appear on the current related policy pages so users are aware that this content exists.

Launching the procedure to archive a site

  • Send your request to COMM EUROPA management, and make sure the DG’s web rationalisation coordinator and Europa Forum representative are informed. You will need to give reasons why the site should remain online and say for how long it should remain in the archive.
  • The EUROPA management team will reviews the request. If it agrees, you should prepare your site for archiving as described above.
  • For websites managed by the CWCMS (Documentum) or the staging manager, a request to receive a static version of the website can be sent to your local helpdesk.
  • When ready, send a zip containing a static version of the content (html, css, js, pdf, jpg, …) (or send the procedure for mappings if it is required) or use the shared drive accessible to all DGs to send us the copy: \\NET1\CommonServices\File_Exchange
  • Inside the archive subsite, the path will be the same as in the root:

e.g.: will be archived at

  • Create a redirection to a page explaining that the site is no longer available. See the site relocation section on the redirections resource page.
  • Once the site is archived no changes are allowed.