You can also use the structure cache:lifehacker.com.au to search for a particular site, but getting Google to search on the address is easier for most people. And if Google is set as your default search provider, you can paste the address straight into your browser search box (typically in the top right corner).
Using Google’s Cache is not an infallible solution. Google updates its index very frequently — it doesn’t like to say exactly how frequently, but in recent years it has been emphasising news in its results, which requires near-real-time indexing. As a result, if you’re looking for an old link, it may have been purged from Google’s cache already, and the search won’t be helpful. In some cases, there’ll be no cache results at all, either because of high-frequency updates or because the site owner has configured their site to not store cached data.
Google also won’t cache all the images and multimedia associated with a site, so attempting to view the cached copy might not actually highlight the stuff you want. And caches aren’t any help at all if you’re trying to access an in-demand service (such as tickets for a concert) which requires you to definitively be on the actual site.
One other nuisance with Google cache is that all the links on the cached page will still be from the original site, and hence won’t work if the overall site is down. You can dodge that problem with the Google Cache Continue Redux script, which converts all the links on a page to Google cache references.
Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?
Angus has been writing professionally about technology since 1994 and breaking it for even longer. He is based in Sydney but spends a frankly unhealthy portion of his life on the road, tracking down the latest stories. In 2011, he won the IT Journo Award For Best Consumer Technology Journalist and Consensus IT Writers Award for Best Technical Writer for his work on Lifehacker; about time too.