How to view archived or cached web pages in the Internet Archive

Sometimes you may want to see pages from a search engine’s perspective. Other times, people may be offline and want to check out certain sites. In other cases, users may want to view an older version of their or someone else’s web pages. All this requires you to view old, archived or cached web pages in the search engine cache. The article tells you different ways to Show cached webpage.

View cached web pages using Internet Archives

Before we see how to do that, let’s see why search engines cache web pages.

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Why do search engines cache web pages?

There are two main reasons why search engines cache web pages. The first is to manage the traffic to and from their servers. Although they store and save different screenshots on many servers, there are times when the demand for a particular page is high. When a search engine has to process more traffic than it can handle, it returns to cached web pages. In this case, the site description as it appears in the results may not belong to the last indexed page.

The second goal is to provide users with websites when they are inaccessible. Some of the reasons why websites are not accessible include: 1) the website is down; 2) the user does not have a connection; 3) The site no longer exists.

Apart from search engines, some websites also create an archive of the internet at regular intervals. They try to store as many websites as possible by indexing them and taking their snapshots. This allows people to search for a website, for example what the page looked like two years ago. It also allows users to view websites whose domains have now changed.

View a hidden web page directly in browsers

All traditional search engines allow you to use search box controls to filter search results. For example, if you want to know if a website has content for a particular keyword, you can type:

keyword site:websiteURL

Or you can type the following address in your browser to see the cached page directly:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:

Similarly, to display the last cached web page of a website, use the cache command as follows:

Cache:URL

For example, if you want to view a cached webpage from TheWindowsClub.com, type Cache: thewindowsclub.com in the address bar of your browser.

Remember that you do not have to enter the HTTP part of the URL in the command. Not all search engines will handle this. However, you can use www and subdomains. for example, Cache: news.thewindowsclub.com It will show you the cached page of the Windows Club News subdomain.

Also, do not put a space before or after the full colon. If you do, it will assume CACHE is a keyword.

Using the search results in the browser

When searching with Google, for example, you may see an inverted triangle against the URLs shown. When you click on the triangle, you will see an option that will take you to the cached page instead of directly opening the website.

View the cached web page in the Way Back Machine

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It’s not exactly a regular cache. The Wayback Machine actually stores different snapshots of different locations as they were on different dates. Visit archive.org and enter the site’s URL in its text box.

When you enter a URL and hit the Enter key, the number of website screenshots taken is displayed. It also displays your calendar so you can explore what a website looks like on a particular date. These dates will not be in any particular order. It’s random because the Internet Archive checks different websites on different days. It’s a useful tool if you want to research a website and its past. You can see how the site has evolved over the course of the days.

There are other free services like hiddenviews.comAnd the cachedpages.comAnd the viewcached.com Which allows you to define the cache – eg Google cache, Yahoo, Bing, Live, etc.

If you have any other suggestions on how to display a cached webpage, please share them in the comment boxes below.

Read: Save a web page as evidence that it first appeared on the Internet.

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