4chan is said to be one of the most significant and "interesting" websites in existence. It has a unique anonymous imageboard posting system, and has a disproportionate influence on English-language internet culture.
The website eventually deletes threads after they reach a bump limit. However, numerous archive sites and wikis have taken up the task of saving threads and images. Numerous others have fallen. We need to keep watch on these fragile, community supported archives, since they can easily collapse without warning.
Fuuka is a 4chan board dumper that allows servers to archive entire boards on 4chan. It was invented by Anonymous of Russia (aka Andrey Osenenko) and improved by eksopl (Github). Asagi is a re-implementation of the Fuuka dumper (in Java) with some significant improvements. FoolFuuka is a significantly improved fork of Fuuka & Asagi, (still being) developed by the FoolCode Team: with a better theme, better design, performance optimization, post-thread (ghost) comments and even a fully functional imageboard, it is used by Archive.moe, and various others.
archiveofsins.com started on June 13th, 2016, after the death of fgts.jp as an archive for the boards /h/, /hc/, /hm/, /r/, /s/, and /soc/. It archives threads completely, including thumbs and full images. Archived.moe links to images in this archive.
This site was nominated by Bibliotheca Anonoma as the primary successor to archive.moe and is currently in the process of importing content from the late site. It currently archives /a/, /aco/, /c/, /co/, /d/, /fit/, /his/, /int/, /k/, /m/, /mlp/, /q/, /qa/, /r9k/, /tg/, /vr/ and /wsg/.
Desuarchive also has a private "Archiver of Last Resort" running in parallel that archives all 4chan boards privately, as insurance against the possibility of a 4chan archiver site collapsing in the future.
This site currently archives /g/, /jp/, /mlp/, /v/ (and it's companion boards, except for /vr/, although the owner confirmed that /vr/ is being archived privately by them), and /vg/. It was designed as a temporary archive, but is now the primary archiver for the high volume board, /v/. It is also now the primary /vg/ archiver after Fireden dropped it in August 2019, as well for /v/'s companion boards /vm/, /vmg/, /vp/, /vrpg/, and /vst/.
Archival of /a/, /v/, and /vg/ suddenly ceased without warning in August 2019, with the whereabouts of the archives of those boards currently unaccounted for, leaving Archived.moe with the only current remaining copy of /vg/ albeit with thumbnails only. arch.b4k.co has full images from /v/ but they're only kept for ~2 months before being purged.
The Second 4archive.org was created by Bloo in mid-2015. It currently is the only site displaying 4chan threads from the First 4archive, which closed on May 2015. It also scrapes certain boards on 4chan regularly using a heavily modified version of the 4archive Lumen framework and some custom PHP scripts.
This site is notable as it is one of the few self-sustaining, for profit 4chan archivers (using ads). It's a different approach, but at least it keeps the admin motivated enough to deal with floods of DMCA reports for spicy content. There hasn't been an archiver like it since the Chanarchive, and at the very least, 4archive.org welcomes as many users and as much data as possible.
A small archive of Flash files related to 4chan culture. Run by 4chan and updated very rarely by the staff. The archive was originally started to stop users from posting the same flashes over and over again; any file on the page is not allowed to be posted on /f/.
A site created by /tg/ members in 2009, it has a considerable community of its own, providing reviews and RPG materials. sup/tg/ has a uniquely crated archive with full image support. Unlike most other archives listed, moderators conduct routine purges of low-rated threads, a process they refer to as "graveyarding". The only other site that had a similar policy was Chanarchive, but they deleted threads while they were incoming.
A considerably wide cross-section of 4chan's SFW boards, starting at August 8 2012. Ironically, despite being an imageboard archive, the site itself is unwilling to host images due to the possibility of legal issues surrounding content. While there is content overlap with the Fuuka-based archivers, the site's good to include for the sake of completeness. 4chandata was supplanted by 4chanarchive.net, and both sites appeared to be in a precarious hosting situation, with archiving coming to a sudden halt on November 20th 2014. In late 2018, both 4chandata.org and 4chanarchive.net were shut down with the message "Due to server performance and copyright issues, the 4chanArchive and 4chanData projects had to be closed. The >30 million images and >140 million posts previously archived on that website have been deleted".
According to the included Message from Jkid: "The following .rar consists of every thread collected from 4chan from my personal archives which were intergrated into the (Yotsuba Society Archives from the Start in 2011) from 2008 to August 2013. Some of these files predate the fuuka archivers that currently exist today to archive almost every thread of every board with the exception of /b/ for obvious reasons.
From 2011 to August 2013 the Yotsuba Society Archives existed to preserve threads from 4chan and every other imageboard in the English chanverse, plus some threads from the Russian and Japanese chanverse. At it's peak, the Archives were the most visited part of the Yotsuba Society website, and the most popular part of the site were the direct downloads of the moot video archive." The message also includes information about the history of this collection.
In 2013, Vyrd discovered that some anon (whose native language is Finnish) had this curious, undocumented public archive of very, very early handarchived threads from 4chan (along with many other period-appropriate .swfs, videos, and images), spanning all the way from 2004-2008.
This repository is known as the Penfifteen Archive, and is the most important discovery of early 4chan threads to date. The Bibliotheca Anonoma has preserved it in the Internet Archive for future generations to enjoy.
The ability to archive every thread on a 4chan board was the most influential innovation in 4chan's infrastructure. This idea was a violently controversial shift of consciousness in its heyday, because it nullifies one of the drawbacks (or benefits) of 4chan: the ability to forget.
While 2channel, based on a textboard, could archive years worth of threads for future generations, 4chan threads get constantly pruned due to the expense of storing image data. Moot, as he states in his Farewell Livestream, developed the Salmon Ladder Observation as an explanation for early 4chan's success. Essentially, like Alaskan Salmon climbing a rocky stream, only the strongest memes would be remembered and reposted, while poor content was forgotten entirely. Based on this principle, 4chan became the center of Internet Culture from 2005-2007, constantly generating memetic content by bumping the best and saging the worst. Thus, Moot was not opposed to archival by democratic vote, but was uncomfortable with the idea of complete board archival: Moot knew indefinite archival would transform 4chan's culture entirely.
Thus, from 2006-2013, the 4chanarchive/Chanarchive was built upon this same principle, requiring at least 5 users to vote for a thread to be archived. The 4chanarchive held nearly 500GBs worth of 4chan threads spanning 6-8 years. In 2012, the 4chanarchive was transferred to Edgeworth E. Euler (E), who was involved with the new Encyclopedia Dramatica (recovered by Anonymous' OpSaveED). Unfortunately, around 2013, Edgeworth E. Euler mysteriously went MIA, taking his server access keys to the grave. The admins were legally powerless to rescue the site when the hard drives failed, resulting in the complete, unrecoverable loss of the Chanarchive.
After the collapse of the Chanarchive, users of 4chan started to realize that loss of memory was detrimental to their board's subculture. The most gravely affected board was /x/, which lost all of its creepypasta, and /b/, which saw it's legendary raids and stories disappear into the sunset. Notably, /a/ and /jp/, which used a full Fuuka Archive, made it through intact (unfortunately, the early threads only have thumbnails). As a result, the idea of complete board archival was no longer looked down upon. Most of the larger boards gained their own Fuuka archives and some wikis in the aftermath.
In his final livestream, Moot states that the spirit of 4chan has changed over time, and accepts that today's users want the ability to continue discussion and have general threads. Moot noted that 4chan was becoming more than just a "zany, fun place to hang out, to be creative": 4chan was now a keystone tool for socialization between anonymous interest groups. To ease the burden on its servers and increase performance, Moot released the 4chan API for use by archivers and mobile apps. Closed threads now live on for at least 7 days on certain boards. And not long after Moot's retirement, (thanks to falling costs of server storage space), all 4chan boards have gained their own Fuuka archive.
Today, FoolFuuka is the primary scraping engine used to archive 4chan. The Fuuka engine, needed to scrape 4chan efficiently and effectively, did not come out of nowhere. It evolved through hard work and constant refactoring by hundreds of individuals over the course of 8 years and counting.
It was first invented by Anonymous of Russia Federation (AoRF) (aka Andrey Osenenko) in December 2007 to archive all /a/ threads on his home server, The /a/rchive: -info.no-ip.info/ . 4chan's /a/ was a friendly environment to start an indefinite archiver, as archival allowed general threads to maintain continuity, and helped speedsub groups that used the board for group coordination. Unfortunately, due to unknown offenses, his ISP was subnet banned and that server went offline. All three months of /a/ threads from 2007-2008 were lost. 2b1af7f3a8