Perhaps you noticed that Hurricane Sandy did a number on some of your favourite websites’ data centres and temporarily removed them from the internet. When sites go down, there are quite a few ways to access them through the magic of caches and archives.
Access Cached Pages Through Google
Google caches a large portion of the internet, and it’s easy to access those caches when a site isn’t available. All you have to do is search for a URL prepended with
cache: like this:
That will take you to the cached version of Lifehacker Australia. You can replace it with any URL to get the latest version Google currently has in its cache.
Alternatively, the Google Cache Bookmarklet helps you access the cached version of any page you visit with just one click. Just visit any page, and if it fails to load, you can click the bookmarklet to visit the cached version immediately.
Dig Up Pages In The Internet Archives
Another place to find old versions of pages is the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. While you won’t find quite as much as you will on Google’s cache, you will be able to go back further and see what a certain site was like in the distant past. The more popular the site, the greater the number of archived pages the Wayback Machine will provide. You won’t be always able to access too many individual pages — often it’s just just the landing page of the site.
Access Overwhelmed Sites With Coral Cache
Sometimes a web page goes down due to excessive traffic. In this case, a service called Coral Cache may be able to help. Simply append
.nyud.net to the end of the domain name you want to access (such as
http://lifehacker.com.au.nyud.net) and you’ll get Coral’s cached version. This may not work for every site, but it’s worth a try when you’re unable to get through.
In the end, a cached version of a page will only get you so far. You’re not going to be able to access the site like you could if it were up. But if you’re simply looking for an old post and need to access it right away, searching the internet’s biggest caches can help you out.