How to view the cached version of a website
It’s easy to forget the impermanence of the Internet. Pages are changed without warning, and websites may disappear overnight.
There are many ways to lose access to a site or web page. Maybe the the servers are down, or maybe the site owner has edited or deleted the content you’re trying to find. In these cases, one option is to view the cached version.
Google regularly scours the web for new pages to index, while saving backup copies of the pages it crawls. Web browsers do the same in order to load pages faster. These snapshots are kept in the cache, an area of your local hard drive that is temporarily accessible if a site goes down or if some content is deleted. Not all websites are indexed by Google or saved in a cache, but for those that are, here’s how to get there.
To view a page’s cache, run a search and find the page you’re looking for. In Google, click on the three-dot menu next to the result to open the About this result pop-up page. Click it Hidden in the pop-up window to view a cached version of the website.
When the site loads, Google will notify you that this is an older version and lists the date the snapshot was taken. You will also have the option to view a text-only version of the page, along with its source code. However, be aware that you will not be able to navigate to other pages and stay in the cached version; you will be redirected to the live site if you try.
Bing users just need to find the search result they’re looking for, then click the arrow next to the site URL. Choose Cached from the small menu to open a cached version of the website with a banner indicating that this is not the live page.
A much easier way to display a cached website is to use a search modifier. type hidden : in the address bar and add the URL without leaving a space. The browser will display the cached version of the website in question.
Showing cached versions of websites doesn’t go far. A number of entities are dedicated to preserving the history of the Internet; the most important is the non-profit organization Internet Archives, which hosts websites, texts, videos, audio files, software and pictures that are hard to find elsewhere. You can view even older versions of a website with the Return machine, which works for both live and offline websites.
Enter the URL you wish to crawl and the archive search engine will display a timeline showing when the Wayback Machine crawled that page. Click on a calendar date to see what the site looked like that day. The Wayback Machine is a great way to visualize the history of the Internet. archived versions of PCMag.com date back to December 19, 1996.
The archiving site Archive.Today allows users to save current web pages and also search for existing entries that have already been saved. Entering a URL for registration allows you to view a web page as it currently exists, save it to the site, and download the page to your computer.
If you want to view archived versions of a website, enter the URL in the appropriate search bar and Archive.Today will populate the results for the home page and associated individual pages. If there are multiple versions of the same page, they will be stacked for easy viewing.
The PCMag website, for example, has been archived since 2012 and currently has four different versions of the home page registered on the service.
Browser extensions can also access cached sites. Add Web cache viewer to Chrome and right-click on any page to view the Google or Wayback Machine version of the web page. Extending web archives for Chromium and Firefox goes one step further, letting you view cached versions of web pages from over a dozen search engines, including Bing, Baidu, and Yandex.
Other online tools include Cached page, which searches for a given URL in Google’s web cache, Internet Archive, and the WebCite archiving service. Google Cache Checker Also checks if a site is indexed by Google and retrieves any cached web pages it finds.