As web users, some of us would have come across a situation where you are trying to find a website that once existed but has stopped appearing on the google results. Another scenario is of websites that you once bookmarked are now throwing up 404s – Page Not Found errors.
In any similar type of situation, have you felt the need to go and dig into the past and try to see how these web pages looked? Did you have the necessity to understand what the content was and how it had changed over time? For all these questions, there are solutions or ways to get the information of the old websites.
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How To Find An Old Website That No Longer Exists
First, let’s see where these vanished websites get stashed – they get stored by a non-profit organization called ‘Internet Archives.’ The objective of this organization has been to archive all knowledge at no cost.
Google Chrome browser cache is another place where the webpages get stored, but there is no certainty or time range for this existence. Hence it is better to rely on the archives to give us the deleted websites information.
The question now boils down to ‘How to find the information of the deleted website from the Archives?’. Thankfully, you can plug some extensions into the Google Chrome web browser, and they will solve the issue of finding deleted websites. Come, let us take a sneak peek into what they are and how they function.
1. Wayback Machine extension
This is an official extension directly from the Internet Archives. On visiting an obsolete page, when available on the browser, this extension pops open a small window that can help you navigate to the archived page from the Internet archives.
The most significant advantage of this extension is the user experience – you don’t encounter a wrong or error page, and there are no steps of modifying settings to bring in the archived page. Visit the Chrome store here and add the extension to your browser.
2. Memento Time Travel
One beneficial extension is advisable for web browsers if you intend to go back to the version of the lost website by date or time. Intellectually, it has been named time travel, and it lets you explore it that way.
Right-click on the webpage that you are trying to analyze for its previous versions and choose the ‘Memento Time Travel’ from the context menu. It must be noted that this option comes up only post a successful installation of the extension to your Google Chrome browser.
Navigating through the options, you will be amazed to find how easily you can navigate the website’s time travel. ‘Get near current date’ ‘Get near saved date dd/mm/yy area couple of the many options you will see. Here’s the Chrome Web Store link.
Install this extension from the Chrome Web Store to find the deleted websites when encountering dead links on Google. Whenever the browser hits a 404, Page Not Found condition, the extension launches a popup using which you can navigate to the deleted website.
The archived website opens in a New Tab while the original 404 remains. An additional feature with the extension is searching active links based on a search term yet associated with the archived page. E.g., Consider a meteorological page of live coverage of a particular storm is archived.
If you want to see pages associated with conditions that prevailed or actions taken by the Government during the storm, use the appropriate keywords to bring up Google Results associated with this deleted website.
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Other ways to find websites that no longer exists
Besides the browser extensions, dynamic web pages are also available where the URLs that have become obsolete can be entered and analyzed.
1. Go to Wayback Machine’s website at https://web.archive.org/, where you can key in the URL to find the content and information about the deleted websites.
2. Similarly – Memento Time Travel is also possible via its website. Navigate to http://timetravel.mementoweb.org/ to filter the time travel conditions based on preferred date and time
3. Primary search engines like Google, Bing, etc., give options to fetch results of web pages based on a custom range of data. Let’s say you are searching for the website of Facebook, then in the search bar of Google, enter the search term as ‘site: facebook.com.’
Select the ‘Tools’ option below the search bar when the search results appear on the browser. The results now have a filter criterion that says ‘Any time’ – pull that option to see the various time ranges and choose a custom range.
On a concluding note, explore extensions that can help archive websites locally. These extensions, available on chrome store, can co-work with your browser to archive important web pages that could otherwise become obsolete. The traditional method of saving web pages as HTML files for future use is also recommended.