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I have a client who has an annual complete makeover of their website design and content, but they still want their old sites available to view (each with that year's respective design/CSS).

Once these blogs are "archived", I don't want to have to maintain them any more w.r.t. updating plugins and core files. Previously, when I have left plugins un-updated for too long, I have had some security issues (or at least, that's what my host blamed the last few hack attempts on).

I know there are auto-updating plugins out there, but I don't know about you - I always have to check that nothing is broken with each update (whether auto-updated or manual).

I've considered just generating an html mirror, but are there any other "maintenance free" way I can "archive" my old blogs?

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I think HTML mirror is the way to go here.

There is no point keeping dynamic site that doesn't need to be. And leaving it unmaintained is not really possible on auto-pilot - even if updates are automatic there is no guarantee some plugin won't get just dropped by developer.

Alternatively you can build multi-design site. It's not that hard to load stylesheets and templates conditionally. Of course that would be considerable amount of work comparing to HTML mirror.

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Agreed, and I can recommend httrack (httrack.com) to do the mirroring job. –  ronald Oct 21 '10 at 16:31

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