The .webarchive file extension is used for only one type of very specific purpose. As the name suggests, .webarchive files are archived, single file versions of web pages which are stored on your computer's hard drive for access later, even if you are offline. You must havr the internet browser Safari installed, and be running some form of the Mac operating system; more narrowly, OS X or higher. These are the only conditions under which a .webarchive file can be read or saved, at the current time.
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While there are a few different options for archiving web pages, there are some specific positives and negatives for each method, and this one is no different. The most glaring potential pitfall is that the compatibility of this format and the conditions under which one must be operating to use it; namely, the fact that you can only use one of the three most popular operating systems in use around the world today. Unlike Linux or other Unix-based operating systems, if you want to use a Mac OS legally, you have to purchase it, and it isn't cheap. Additionally, it is not nearly as popular as the Windows OS, so if you want to back up and archive your web pages for viewing on the computers of others or public terminals, you may have a difficult time. If portability of your files is not an important issue for you, then this may not be a drawback at all.
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More Info Regarding File Extension Webarchive
One of the major benefits of this format is that it is relatively tidy; if you want to save an archived version of a web page with all media conserved within Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox under Linux or Windows, you are left with a number of various media files spread out within a separate folder next to the .html archive. The .webarchive solution is to maintain neatness while still allowing for all the graphic, video, and audio content to be contained within the page for offline viewing. For this to be an important benefit to you, you're likely the type who despises clutter.
If you're having serious issues with lack of compatibility across operating systems, there are some other options available to you; you can save the page as a .pdf file or take a screenshot of a web page to save as an image. The central drawback to this method is that you don't have clickable links, which is usually important. Saving the page as ".html only" from the "Save as..." dialogue will give you access to all your links, but no images, audio, or video. The missing media will be automatically downloaded if an internet connection is available.
If you've considered all of those options and have still not found a solution that suits your taste, then there are options still! Different standalone archival programs are available for download, but the most compatible option is a plugin for Firefox (available on all three major operating systems) called "Mozilla Archive Format" which essentially mimics the functionality of Safari's .webarchive format.
Safari has a version of its web browser available for download for the various active versions of Windows, but if you receive files from a Mac user saved in the .webarchive format, you will still NOT be able to open them from within the Windows OS. There are a few different potential workarounds for this, as all web pages are are formed from the same languages (HTML for example). Some have had success with opening the .webarchive file with a text editor, making minor changes, and then saving it as a different format that is readable with the operating system and programs that they have available. If this does work, it is not likely to be an accurate representation of the page you intended to see. If you're having problems opening this extension and are not a Mac user, the most compatible and streamlined option is the browser integrated plugin for Firefox. The self limited scope of flexibility manifested in the .webarchive format prevents it from being a viable option for anyone but the relatively small slice of users who use the combination of Mac OS and the Safari browser. Hopefully in the future the format will become more open, or at the very least give the Windows version of the Safari browser the capability of reading its own file types across operating system.