What Can the Wayback Machine Do For Me?

small business website

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine found at http://www.archive.org is a library of Internet web sites. Access is free to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. The Wayback Machine claims to have 85 billion+ web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. The Internet Archive was established to preserve web sites by taking regular "Snapshots" of web sites. These Snapshots are automatic and contain archived pages that allow you to view older versions of web sites. Snapshots become available 6 to 12 months after they are archived.

To use the Wayback Machine, type in the web address of a web site where you would like to look at and press enter. Next you select from the archived dates available to look at the archived pages. An example is below:

wayback machine sample

The Internet Archive does not want to preserve access to web sites or other Internet documents of persons who do not want their materials included in the library. To stop the automatic inclusion of a website into the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, the domain owner would simply place a robots.txt file that disallows indexing of the site. The line would read:

User-agent: ia_archiver
Disallow: /

If a site blocks the Internet Archive, any previously archived pages from the domain will be deleted and no new Snapshots will be created. In cases of blocked sites, only the robots.txt file is archived. This can be detrimental to researchers looking for information about a domain that was available in the past.

The Wayback Machine is very helpful if you plan to buy a domain name or website from someone. Before you make your purchase, visit the Wayback Machine. Type in your domain name and see what comes up. If you see spammy things (lots of ads, inappropriate content, etc.) this will give you an indication that the site might have been used for spam. The Wayback Machine also tells you the age of the domain. I see a lot of times someone will offer a site for sale and state the site has been active for 3 or 4 years. When you look at the Wayback Machine you'll see the site has been registered to the owner for 3 months. The Wayback Machine is a good way to protect yourself from scammers.

If you have every had a page and messed around with that page hoping to get higher up in the search engine rankings but by doing so you find that you've dropped down ... access the Wayback Machine and you can find an old copy of your page. You can use that copy of your old page to try and get back UP in search engine rankings where you were before. This is useful for any time that you mess up one of your pages and don't have a back up on your hard drive.

The Internet Archive also contains Movies, Live Music, Audio, and Texts.


About the Author:

By: Gina Hoover © 2007-2014. Gina Hoover can be reached for questions about this article at http://www.hooverwebdesign.com. Gina's company, Hoover Web Design specializes in professional website design, web templates, flash photo galleries and flash music players for beginning Webmasters. Google Plus


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