It doesn’t matter if you want to look at old websites or search for information that is no longer available online, it can be useful to know how to view older versions of websites.
This article will provide you with some tips and tools to help you view older versions of websites.
1. Wayback machine
Wayback Machine can be used to locate old web pages. It is a project of the Internet Archive. This non-profit library contains websites, software, movies and books.
Wayback Machine, founded in 1996, captures and stores snapshots of thousands upon thousands of websites every day. It hosts an astonishing 672 billion web pages. We believe that absolutely nothing is deleted from the internet.
Enter the URL into the Wayback Machine search bar to locate an older version. The tool displays a year-by-year timeline with black lines showing when the snapshots were taken.
Below the timeline, you will find a calendar showing the exact date and the time of the snapshot. To see the snapshot, hover your cursor over the circled dates and choose the time.
There are very few chances that you can remember the URL for a web site that was established years ago. Advanced Search is a great way to find the exact URL of a web page that was created years ago. Wayback Machine offers both a browser extension as well as a mobile application for people who want to go back in the past frequently.
Hinter the homepage archive.today is a large library of websites archived over time.
Search the URL of any website to see an older version. archive.today will then display all snapshots of the website in reverse chronological order. It also offers suggestions for search operators to help you refine your results.
You can also download the webpage in a ZIP file, and then share it. The tool can be requested, just like Wayback Machine, to capture and archive any website for future reference.
Even though its collection of archived websites may not be as large as the Internet Archive’s, it can still provide valuable information and help you find previously unavailable information. It also has a Chrome extension.
OldWeb.today doesn’t just contain archived pages. This website pulls most of its archives from the Internet Archive. However, it runs them on its emulated browsers to take visitors back to the beginning days of the internet.
You can also use this website to surf the live web with older browsers. These browsers can be used with different versions or Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Mosaic.
Sometimes the results take a while to load because the site promises to bring back the old days of the internet. However, it is a great site for browsing archives or showing your children how difficult browsing used to be back in those days.
4. Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is an official archive of the US Congress. It contains a vast collection of books, newspapers and images as well as other materials. Its Web Archive Program aims at preserving all web content, giving researchers reliable access to web archives.
Any URL can be searched on its Web Archives page to display a timeline or calendar. The Wayback Machine is very similar to the results page. You can open any page from the web in a new browser and view other snapshots with the Next Buttons.
5. Search Engines Found Pages
To do this, search for the page that you are interested in, click the drop down link beside the result’s URL and then click Cached. The search engine will now display the most recent cached version of a page, instead of the current live one. After clicking the three dot icon on Google, cached will be displayed.
If you use Chrome and already know the exact URL whose cached version you want to view, you can append cache: before the URL in the address bar (for example, cache:makeuseof.com). Google will now show you the cached version, not the live page.
You should be aware that clicking any link on the cached pages will take you to the live web. Google Cache viewer software can also be used for this purpose.
6. Web Cache Viewer
This extension makes it much easier to see older website versions. Go to the website that you wish to see the older version, and then click on the right-click to open Web Cache Viewer. This extension opens a new tab that shows the cached pages.
This extension pulls the screenshots from Internet Archive or Google Cache, but it does not contain any records. It allows you to view web archives easily.
7. UK Web Archive
UK Web Archive is another collection that preserves old websites from the United Kingdom. It aims at saving all UK websites at least once every year.
UKWA is unlike most other search tools. You can search by keyword, phrase and URL. While some content can be seen only in the library’s premises, many pages can be found online.
UKWA maintains a Topics & Themes page, which displays different archives categorized by interests. The website can also be requested to crawl and save any UK site. UKWA is a trusted and legitimate source, especially for old UK governmental websites.
8. Memento Time Travel
Memento Time Travel allows you to go back in time by serving as an archive of websites. Memento will ask you to enter any URL along with a time in your past.
It then searches the web page requested in dozens of online archives including the ones listed above and shows the most recent snapshot closest to the input date.
In addition to the ability to view the snapshot, you can also embed the web page as HTML. Memento Time Travel offers a Chrome extension that allows users to view archived pages by right-clicking anywhere on the web.