For those of you who are unfamiliar, The ‘Way Back Machine’ is a search engine that lets you browse a massive online archive of web pages dating from 1996 to today. The database was launched by Archive.org in 2003. You can use the archive to see snapshots of all kinds of websites and how they looked and how they have changed over the years all the way back to 1996. On Friday the Internet Archive announced that over the past year they increased their database by over 160 billion URLS, bringing their landmark total to over 400 Billion URLS indexed.
To view how a site used to look, visit www.archive.org/web. Enter in the desired URL, such as ‘Yahoo.com’. It will then bring you to a page with a calendar where you can navigate to what year and what date you want to view. Dates highlighted in blue are dates that have an indexed entry. It’s crazy to see how different Yahoo.com looked in 1996. Not all entries are perfect, however. You will often see broken coding or missing pictures, this is common and depends on how your website was built, and how much of your site was indexed.
To add your website to the way back machine, go to their website at www.archive.org/web. You will see a form in the bottom right under ‘Save Page Now’ that allows you to enter your URL and document how your site looks today at this very second. The Way Back Machine only works on sites that allow crawling.