Take Me Back, Wayback

Ever get frustrated with the organization and design of your website? Do you feel like you aren’t making progress during a revamp? Put the URL of the website in the “Wayback Machine” and marvel at the how the website has evolved and changed to become more aesthetically pleasing and usable.

Wayback Machine is a “digital time capsule” created and maintained by the Internet Archive. The archived data comes from “crawls” – computer programs that browse and collect data from the Internet in automation. The collected data does not include information restricted by a publisher or stored in a database. Websites also have the ability to opt out so as not to be included in search results.

When you first open up Wayback Machine, type in the URL and press “Take Me Back”. You will then have the option to pick a year and specific date. You can also see how many times the website has been crawled and the date of the first time it was crawled. Not every website is available on this archive, nor every date. Some websites may have changed in design, but others, like Google, have some of the same basic organization.

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As of January 2013, Wayback Machine has information of over 240 billion URLs and over 3 petabytes of data. Although this service has been questioned for legality purposes and copyright laws, it has become especially useful for web designers, and lawyers have even attempted to use some of the archived pages as evidence of a crime. For more information on how Wayback Machine works, visit their FAQ page.