This tool gets used by me nearly every day. It is amazing to be how useful this machine can be. Sometimes, I wish that it was BETTER on a task, but I’m quite grateful for the productivity that this site delivers.

So when you first approach the topic of a website for a client, they frequently says things like

I used to have a site

Todd, a recent Client

Well, I have a hard time making up the CONTENT of a web page and on many occassions I’ve saved a large amount of time by looking up the older version of a site. I mean, there IS a website that runs around and takes an archive of every website every day, or however often a noticeable change is detected.

Here is the website:

If you click on that link, and then scroll down about one third of a page, there is a field that says SEARCH. I have highlighted it in RED below. Just paste the URL that you want to see the history for, and then hit the black button on the right that says ‘Go’.

Once you hit OK you were get a calendar that shows you like a Green Circle, or a Blue Circle that refers to the days that the Wayback Machine detects as unique. There is no point in storing the same words, in a repetitive manner, and it’s just amazing to me that they are officially the LARGEST dataset in the world.

Here is a descripton of their scope:

The nonprofit Internet Archive’s system doesn’t crawl the entire Web but has made more than 468 billion archived webpages available and is adding over 1 billion new archived URLs a day, Graham wrote. It does this “via a variety of different methods, such as ‘crawling’ from lists of millions of sites, as submitted by users via the Wayback Machine’s ‘Save Page Now’ feature, [websites] added to Wikipedia articles, referenced in Tweets, and based on a number of other ‘signals’ and sources, such [as] multiple feeds of ‘news’ stories

It boggles my mind that any company can be bigger than Google. This company, at has helped me as a Web Developer and Designer more than anyone else. I hope you find this tool useful.

Now, I just am reading a report about some people that are suing the Internet Archive organization. I’m sure that they will prevail in court. If I had to choose ONE TOOL to be my favorite tool above all other tools, I mean, there is NO DOUBT that I would choose this site.

Here is one more example of how The Wayback Machine will give you older versions of a site. Note, it might take 60 seconds for the Page to Load, but that is OK in this situation. As long as I don’t have to pay for their storage bill, they can run as slowly as they want!

Search For The History Of*/

Go ahead and click on it, and then in the bar at the top that lists 1997 through today, choose a time frame that you want to look at. Once you have chosen a year, then choose a month and a day, and then even multiple times a day there are snapshots detected of a hundred different permutations. It’s AMAZING to me how well this works.