How to See Old Versions of Any WordPress Site
May 13. 2021
Considering the amount of information on the internet today, we may think that almost everything can be found at each moment. But, like many other things, websites change, often replacing old information with new. The problem occurs when we need some of that old information but it’s nowhere to be found. It can be some old designing solution, a particular content, or specific images. Fortunately, thanks to several archiving solutions, we can see old versions of any WordPress site and get access to information that is no longer available.
The best ways to see old versions of any WordPress site
The way it works is that some websites and apps crawl the internet, indexing the states of existing websites. They have been doing it for a long time, allowing us to take a look at the past. When you want to see how websites are evolving, what did they do to make them better, need access to deleted pages, or are simply looking for some creative inspiration, you can do it with these practical solutions.
From a business perspective, you may want to check on your competitors to get an insight into what they are doing. This will allow you to find more proper ways to maintain your website by looking at its older states. Or, reverse engineering your competitors’ steps to create more effective strategies that are already showing results. Either way, here are several tools you can use in many situations when you want to check the old version of any WordPress site:
- Google Cache
- Wayback Machine
- Domain Tools
- Library of Congress Web Archive
- Time Travel
1. Google Cache
Google Cache is a quick option when you want to see how a particular website was looking recently. It will provide you with a snapshot of the site, with the option to choose between a full, text-only version, or to view the source. Some internet users don’t realize it, but it’s right there on the screen every time they search for something. That little downward arrow right next to the URL in the results gives you access to “cached” pages. And, it’s quite similar to do this on other search engines as well.
2. Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine is probably among the oldest and most popular ways to see old versions of websites. Unlike with search engines’ cache option, Wayback Machine allows you to check websites at different points in time. For example, you want a specific WordPress theme, but don’t know how to recognize it today since it’s removed from your favorite website. For this, it has a simple yet convenient calendar option to make your pick. In essence, this is a digital library of the internet where all you need to do is to type the URL of a website. Then, it will give you a calendar with numerous dates where a screenshot of a website is made. The only downside is that it may take time to completely load websites with thousands of pages.
Archive.today is another free way to access the older versions of websites. Once you open its page you can choose between two options:
- You can enter the website URL to save a snapshot of its page so it stays online when the original disappears.
- Or you can search their archive for already saved snapshots.
Oldweb.today is a quite specific and unique online tool. Not only you can use it to see old versions of websites but you can also see them using old browsers. Basically, it will emulate old-school browsers so you can check how approximately was user experiences were in the past. In essence, all you need to do is to enter the URL address of a website, choose between live web and archive browsing, and enter the date and time.
5. Domain Tools
When you need more than just a past website snapshot, Domain Tools might be the right option. With this tool, you can also historically inspect all the Whois information for a given WordPress website. Among numerous options, you can use it to see hosting history, historical IP addresses, registrars, name servers, and many more. However, if you want to fully explore its possibilities you will need to register first. After all, it’s a serious tool used by numerous companies that need an efficient way to track past and forthcoming changes on various websites.
If you belong to the group of authors, publishers, academics, or journalists, there is a specific tool made just for you. WebCite serves as an archive of important educational materials and references. WebCite stores the old versions of pages so people can use them for citing and research. Conveniently, this can be used when you need to see how an older version of a particular WordPress website was looking. Of course, they won’t store just about anything, but there is a great chance you will find what you need here. Especially if you need some older scientific publication long gone from the original website.
7. Library of Congress Web Archive
Generally speaking, this web archive is a huge collection of numerous digital recordings and websites. The number of books, audio and video files, publicities, software, and various documents is just amazing. On one side, it relies on Wayback Machine to display older saved versions of any website. But, on the other side, is a perfect platform if you need more than that.
8. Time Travel
Like many other solutions on the list, the Time Travel archive tool makes it possible to see how WordPress sites were looking before. It’s using the archive.today API and is much similar to Wayback Machine. But, the Time Travel repository consists of recordings of websites with full visual complexity that existed at some time in the past. If you are looking for a certain gallery effect you saw before, Time Travel can deliver it for you. And, when it’s necessary, it can even reconstruct various components such as HTML, images, style sheets, and more.
When you want to recreate and see old versions of any WordPress site, all of the tools on the list can help you. Some will give only you a simple snapshot of pages throughout time. While others will go further than that, providing you with other historical information as well. Whether you need them just to remind how things once were, or you need this for specific business analytics, it’s good to know they exist.