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How to View Archived or Cached Web Pages in the Internet Archive

Sometimes you might want to see pages from the search engine perspective. At other times, people may be offline and want to check out certain sites. In still other cases, users may wish to view an older version of their or someone else’s web pages. All of these require you to view old, archived, or cached web pages in the search engine cache. The article tells you different methods to display a cached webpage.

View Cached Web Pages Using Internet Archives

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

Why do search engines cache web pages?

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

The second objective is to provide users with websites when they are not accessible. Some of the reasons that make websites inaccessible include: 1) The website is down; 2) The user has no connectivity; 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 research a website, for example what a page looked like two years ago. It also allows users to view websites whose domains have now changed.

Display a cached webpage directly in browsers

All traditional search engines allow you to use controls in the search box to filter search results. For example, if you want to see if a website has content on 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 view 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 web page from TheWindowsClub.com, type cache:thewindowsclub.com in the address bar of your browser.

Remember that you should not enter the HTTP part of the URL in the command. Not all search engines will process this. You can, however, use www and subdomains. For example, cache: news.thewindowsclub.com 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.

Use search results in a browser

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

View cached web page in Way Back Machine

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It’s not exactly the normal cache. The Wayback Machine actually stores different snapshots of different websites as they were on different dates. Visit archive.org and enter the website URL in the text box provided for it.

When you enter the URL and press the Enter key, the number of snapshots of the website that have been taken is displayed. It also shows your calendar so you can explore how the website looks on a given date. These dates will not be in any specific order. They are random because Internet Archive checks different websites on different days. It is a useful tool if you want to research a website and its past. You can see how the site has evolved over the days.

There are other free services like hiddenviews.com, cachedpages.comand viewcached.com which allow you to select the cache – e.g. cache Google, Yahoo, Bing, Live, etc.

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

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

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