Unless a developer includes meta data with permalinks in their templates, the archive.php will not be used. Meta data is information tied to the post. For example the date something was posted on, the author, and any categories, tags, or taxonomies used for the post are all examples of meta data. When a visitor to a website clicks on the meta data, the archive.php will render any posts associated with that piece of meta data. For example, if a visitor clicks on the name of an author, the archive.php will display all posts by that author.
Commonly, the title of the page being displayed by archive.php will be the name of the meta data the user clicked on. So if the user clicked on the Author’s name, the page name displaying all the other author’s posts will be the Author’s name and frequently there might be an additional description about the meta data. Here is a code example from Twenty Fifteen on their archive.php file. This snippet is the only piece of code that makes the archive.php file different from a home.php or index.php file.