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Discover the Wayback Machine

Things can change often and quickly on the web, but for a record of past websites, the Wayback Machine has always been a great point of reference. Now, the tool has added a new ‘change’ feature so that users can more easily identify what changes were made to a site over time.

The Wayback Machine is part of The Internet Archive, a non-profit organisation that has been building a digital library of Internet sites since 1996. It now contains over 20 years of web history with over 330 billion web pages.

For most users it can be an intriguing look-back at previous versions of websites and how design and content has changed over time. It is also a valuable history of the web and can be a great research tool to see when significant changes may have taken place on a site.

As reported by Search Engine Land at the end of last month, the Wayback Machine has recently added a ‘changes’ function which is designed to help users identify when changes were made over time to a website or page, so that it’s easier to see what design or content changes were made. You can select two different archive dates for a URL and then see the degree of relative change from one archive to another.

Every website has a range of capture dates over the life of the domain and it can go back over many years. Once you select 2 different date points, the tool also allows you to see the comparison of the two versions of the page, side-by-side, with changes highlighted in Yellow (content deleted) and Blue (content added). It is currently in beta but will hopefully become a regular part of the service.

To give this a go, visit the Wayback Machine and see the Changes option once a website has been selected. You can also view the dates and times when a site was archived under Collections, and use the Site Map tool to see a visual site map of the chosen website, with a radial-tree graph of pages recorded for each year.

If you’d like to know more about the Wayback Machine archive and how to use it, please contact us for help.