Updated: 2nd August 2019
Below is a transcription of the above video which explains how to use the Wayback Machine search function.
Hello! This is Paul from SideGains.com. Thanks for watching. Today we are going to look at the Wayback Machine. If you haven’t heard of the WayBack Machine you can find out how to use it by watching the following video. But if you’d like to read about it with some background to explain how it can be useful, visit the URL on the screen
Here we are at the homepage of the Wayback Machine, which is a part of archive.org, you can see we are at web.archive.org, and what we have is a fairly straightforward interface.
At the top of the page there is a search bar, which we can use to query the Wayback Machine for snapshots of pages it has added to the archive.
I also want to draw your attention to this area here, titled save page now, which I’ll come onto a bit later.
For now I just want to run search in the Wayback Machine to see if I can find an archived version of a page.
You can search any URL but I’m going to use the CNBC homepage for this example.
What I’m hoping, and what I’m expecting for CNBC actually, is that the archive will have a number of snapshots taken over several years.
So if I add the CNBC url to the search field and press return, this will start to look through the archive and return whatever it finds.
And you can see that Wayback Machine has returned a results page.
At the top of the page there is a year timeline… and we have defaulted to the current year, 2019.
Below this there is a calendar showing each day of the year grouped together by month.
You can see that some of the days are highlighted with coloured circles, which means that a snapshot (or a number of snapshots) of the CNBC homepage have been added to the archive for that day.
The days that are not highlighted with a coloured circle mean that a snapshot has not been taken on that day. Just to remind you we are examining snapshots for the CNBC homepage only and not other pages within the site, which may or may not be in the archive.
So I’ll select one of these days to see what has been archived and precisely when… I’ll arbitrarily choose the 1st May.
Now if I hover over the 1st May, what you see is that Wayback Machine tells us that it has taken 13 snapshots on that day. I want to take a look at one of these so I’ll randomly choose 9:08… click on that… and you can see that Wayback Machine is processing and looking through the archive to load the snapshot.
So this is the CNBC homepage as it appeared at 9:08 on 1st May this year and what is interesting to note up in the URL address bar is that we are still on web.archive.org which means we are looking at the CNBC homepage through the Wayback Machine lens.
What we also see in the result for this page is another timeline, which I can use to navigate to another period to look at the snapshots that were taken then, and potentially I can also browse CNBC directly in Wayback Machine and look at other pages that have been added to the archive.
So I’ll pick one at random… perhaps a link from the footer, since I suspect this area will remain fairly similar over time, whereas other elements on the homepage for this news heavy site will likely be updated very frequently.
I’ll look at “Advertise with Us” and click on that link.
You can see it’s processing and now it’s found a page that was archived on 29th April 2019, which presumably is the most recent archived version of that page.
We have effectively browsed an archived version of CNBC.
You can see that this page too has been snapshotted on April 29th and hovering over the detail tells me it was added at 3:44 in the morning.
Now I’ll click on the Wayback Machine logo to go back to the archive homepage and try to make a search for a page that is not in the archive.
I’ll use the homepage of the site I use for my Web consultancy business, ok200.co.uk, and we’ll see if this has been snapshotted.
Again you can see from the calendar that pages from the site have been archived.
So if I go to 2018 by clicking on the year in the timeline, the calendar shows there are various days during this year that snapshots have been taken.
I’ll click the snapshot for the 22nd July 2018 we can look at how my homepage looked on that day.
And here we are.
Now I want to find a page that hasn’t been archived so I’ll click the Portfolio link in the footer.
This has now loaded and you can see that’s a page that has been archived. So if I try one of these links on the portfolio page itself… and you can see clearly Wayback Machine is telling me it doesn’t have a snapshot.
There are a couple of things we can do here to submit the page to the archive.
We have an option to save it to the right here by clicking the link titled “Save the URL in the Wayback machine”.
We can also go back to the Wayback Machine homepage and look at the “Save Page Now” box I highlighted earlier on.
I add the URL of the page I want archived and click the “Save Page” button. This submits a request to add the page and as it’s processing you can see at the top of the page it tells me that the page is being saved.
And there we go. The timeline shows 6th June 2019 and is showing 1 capture so it looks to have been successful.
So if I go back to the homepage again by clicking on the Wayback machine logo and search once more for this particular page we can see if it now shows an archived page for today.
Again I add the url into the search box and press return… and there we can see that page has now been added.
It’s as simple as that!
Find out more about how Wayback Machine searches can help you manage your webpages: The Wayback Machine & How it is Useful.
Thanks for visiting!
Please share your own experiences in the comments section below or feel free to ask me a question.