Sometimes you may want to see pages from the perspective of search engines. At other times, people may be offline and want to check some sites. In still other cases, people might want to see an older version of their or someone’s web pages. All of these require you to view old, archived, or cached web pages in search engine cache. The article tells you different methods on how to view a cached web page.
View Cached web pages using Internet Archives
Before we see how to do it, let us 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. Though they cache and save different screenshots on plenty of servers, there are times when the demand for a certain page is high. When a search engine has to cater to more traffic than it can handle, it falls back on cached web pages. In this case, the description of the website as seen in the results may not belong to the last indexed page.
The second purpose is to provide users with websites when they can’t be accessed. Among the reasons that make websites inaccessible are: 1) Website is down; 2) User does not have connectivity; 3) Site does not exist anymore.
Besides search engines, some websites too, create an archive of the Internet at regular intervals. They try to store as many websites as possible by indexing them and taking their snaps. This is to allow people to research a website – for e.g. how a page looked two years ago. This also enables users to view websites that now have domains changed.
View a cached web page in browsers directly
All mainstream search engines allow you to use commands in the search box, to filter search results. For example, if you wish to see if a website has content on a particular keyword, you can type:
Or else you could type the following address in your browser to see the cached page directly:
Likewise, to view the latest cached webpage of a website, use the cache command as follows:
For example, if you wish to view a cached web page of TheWindowsClub.com, type cache:thewindowsclub.com in the address bar of your browser.
Remember that you should not enter the HTTP part of URL into the command. Not all search engines will process that. You can, however, use www and subdomains. For example, cache:news.thewindowsclub.com will show you the cached page of the news subdomain of The Windows Club.
Also, do NOT put a space before or after the full colon symbol. If you do, it will assume that CACHE is a keyword.
Use Search Results in a browser
When you search using Google, for example, you can see an inverted triangle against the URLs displayed. 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 a cached web page in Way Back Machine
This is not exactly the regular cache. The Wayback Machine is actually storing different snapshots of different websites as they looked on different dates. Visit archive.org and enter the website URL in the textbox reserved for it.
When you enter the URL and press Enter key, it will display how many snapshots of the website were taken. It shows your calendar also so that you can explore the way the website looked on a particular date. These dates won’t be in any specific order. They are random as the Internet Archive checks different websites on different days. This is a useful tool if you wish to research a website and its past. You can see how the site evolved over days.
There are other free services like cachedviews.com, cachedpages.com, and viewcached.com that let you select the Cache – eg, Google cache, Yahoo, Bing, Live, etc.
If you have other suggestions on how to view a cached web page, please share it in the comment boxes below.