Insights.

Quick Tip: How to browse old websites

There are plenty of ways to reverse a single website change, roll back a full page to an older version or restore an entire website. But sometimes none of these options suit. Sometimes you just need a visual of a previous version. Sometimes you just need a quick reference of how things used to be.

I use a great resource for times like these and thought you might find it helpful. Whether you’re looking for previous versions of text, imagery, layouts or structures, this is a really handy resource to have. Hopefully you never need to use it, but here’s how:

Quick steps to see a previous website version

  1. Go to web.archive.org
  2. Paste the URL of your page
  3. Press Enter
  4. Select a year
  5. Scroll down and hover over a highlighted date
  6. Click the time.

This is a free resource, so it’s not fast or pretty. Wait patiently for the page to load, and when it does you’ll see the previous instance of the URL you entered.

You can navigate the website as you normally would, although some server side functionality won’t be accessible.

From here you can copy/paste lost text, download missing imagery, copy video URL’s, find missing information and even view historical design layouts.

It’s worth noting that web design companies have plenty of systems and shortcuts in place to help in situations like this. So I’d suggest always reaching out to your web design company first, so that they can confirm the fastest way to help.


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