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How to View Old Versions of Web Pages

by Naomi Bolton
DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

After a Web page has been updated or removed, you cannot view the old version of the page using ordinary means. There is, however, a way to view old pages by using the Wayback Machine, a Web archive that's maintained by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization. The service stores multiple versions of Web pages, called snapshots, so you can view different versions of the same page by selecting a date.

Step 1

Open the Internet Archive Wayback Machine Page in your Web browser (link in Resources).

Step 2

Type the URL for the website with the pages for which you want to view in the input box, and then click the "Browse History" button.

Step 3

Select a year from the timeline at the top of the page, and then hover the mouse cursor over a date from the calendar displayed below. Only dates marked with a blue circle have snapshots of the old Web pages available. Larger circles mean that more snapshots of the page were taken on that particular date.

Select a time from the list of snapshots displayed to view the older version of the page as it appeared at that time.

Tip

  • It takes between six and 24 months for pages collected by the Internet Archive to appear in the Wayback Machine.

Warnings

  • Because the system uses automated crawlers to collect the snapshots, not all Web pages are archived by the Wayback Machine.
  • Files over 10MB are not archived, so not all images or links may be available.
  • Even if a page has multiple snapshots on a particular date, it does not mean that these pages are necessarily different from each other. If the page has not been changed or update between snapshots, the content will be the same.

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