How to Find Old Versions of Web Pages
“Hi, I need to retrieve the content from an old web site but it seems to have disappeared. I don’t have any other copies; is there any way I can recover the website and get my content off it?”
This is a regular query that we get at Imagefix and it’s one that we’re happy to help out with. We tend to think that content we place on the internet will stick around for good, but that really isn’t the case. There’s any number of reasons that web pages disappear – site owners shut up shop, hosting fees lapse, records are erased. Whatever the reason, your content can disappear overnight, with only a 404 page to show for it.
Luckily, there is a way to retrieve much of the content that disappears. In this blog, we’ll explain how to find old versions of your web pages.
1. The Wayback Machine
With it’s comforting retro title, this digital archive has proved a treasure trove for thousands of people seeking out old content. Basically the Wayback Machine is a vast library which is free to access. Just to give you a sense of how big this thing is, it currently holds 451 billion web pages collected over the past 20 years.
To access archival data you simply paste the URL you’re looking for into the Wayback Machine search bar. You’ll be shown a calendar indicating the dates that the archive crawled that page and cached it. You simply click on the date you wish to view and you’ll see how your site looked on that day.
2. Google Cache
This is a great option to use if you’re internet is down and you want to access a site you’ve been working on recently. The Google Cache is the sum of all pages crawled and indexed by the search engine giant. These scanned pages are copied and stored in a cache that you can access.
To access cached sites, simply use the Google search as usual. Then click on the downward arrow to the right of the url in the result. You’ll be offered the option to view the cached copy. If you’re working on a Chrome browser, you’ll need to type ‘cache’ in the address bar and then – without leaving a gap – add the url of the page you’re looking for. For example – cache:www.imagefix.co.uk You’ll then get the results as in any search.
3. Web Cache Viewer
This is a Chrome extension that can be installed on your browser. It allows you to right click on any link in a website viewed in Chrome, and you’ll be offered the option to view the cached page using the Wayback Machine, or Google Cache. This is particularly useful when confronted with a 404 page. Here’s what to do:
- Paste your URL into Notepad or TextEdit
- Save with the .html extension
- Open using Chrome browser
Clearing Your Cache
Your hard drive has a cache of its own, made up of backup copies of the pages you’ve visited. It’s there to speed up the loading process but it can also clog up your computer with old versions of pages. It’s a good idea to clear your cache regularly but all browsers require a slightly different process. So here’s a cache refresh guide for just about ANY browser you might be using.
We’re a design and digital marketing company and currently we’re working with a range of businesses locally and across the UK. We’re there for WordPress website design, digital marketing campaigns, web hosting, branding and providing a thoroughly personalised service. And if your content proves irretrievable, we can create new content for you, tailored to your customer demographic. We’re always at the end of the phone if you need us, and we’re passionate about seeing our clients’ businesses succeed.
Hope you found this helpful. If you’d like to know more about the work we do, or you need an online solution fast, call us on 01525 715608