The Internet is forever. That’s what I warn people from a privacy perspective. But the Internet is only forever until it’s not. Websites are redesigned or deleted all the time. Bookmarked links become dead ends. But if something you were looking for online doesn’t appear to there anymore you may still be able to find it in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
To retrieve a previous version of a webpage or see a copy of a webpage that has been taken down, enter the url or descriptive key words into the Wayback Machine’s search bar. You will be presented with a calendar showing dates when content was saved. Clicking on one of the highlighted dates will show how the site appeared on that day.
The Wayback Machine was useful to me recently. I used to write for a website called PrivacyTest.com. I knew that I should save copies of things I had written there, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. Then, when I went to grab copies the site was gone. Luckily, the content had been saved by the Internet Archive, which allowed to me grab copies of the posts I had written and use the content of one of those posts here.
As stated on one of the archive’s blog posts, “The Internet Archive has been archiving the web for 20 years and has preserved billions of webpages from millions of websites.” It can be fun to explore the Wayback Machine not only to recover deleted content but also to see how sites have changed over the years. Go try it out.
The Internet Archive is a 501c3 non-profit organization. If you find their service helpful you can make a donation to support them.
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