Two ways to access content of Government Shutdown web pages

OK. This is mostly for you coders as it may be beyond what many folks can do, but while trying to access the FTC Spam info page, I noticed that just before the “Unfortunately the FTC is closed” page came up, for a brief moment, the original page loaded. (I was trying to hit this page: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/07/newspamemail.shtm )

So, figuring it was a simple meta-refresh command (which it was), I was able to:

  1. Use Firefox "save link as" and saved the link as an .shtml file to the desktop.
  2. Open the file in a text or html editor (btw, I use PageSpinner for Mac — a ‘glorified html typing program’ for $30 — to develop my web pages. Oh, and I receive NO compensation for this endorsement.)
  3. In the header, FIND and REMOVE code similar to this:
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=/shutdown.shtml" />
  4. Save
  5. Open file with your favorite browser

You’ll get the page content, but no page styling nor photos or graphics. Most of the links WON’T work. Much like the way the government itself functions… this is just a stop-gap measure.

This method should work on most pages that are using a meta-refresh method of redirection.

Alternative Two: The Wayback Machine

Some sites may use a different method, such as an http 301 or 302 redirect, that is harder to ‘crack’, but you may still be able to access the content through the “Wayback” machine at Archive.org: http://archive.org/web/web.php

Be forewarned though, you can get lost here. It’s not just for government sites. It’s fun to look back at some hugely popular sites to see how they’ve evolved throughout the years.

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