If you need to restore a page (or more) of your site, the first suggestion is to restore a copy from a backup. So, what do you do if you do not have a backup you can restore from? In a previous article, we walked you through using Google's cache to restore a page, but that isn't an option if Google's cache has updated and no longer contains the page you want to restore.

Fortunately, there is another option you can try. The Internet Archive is a non-profit group whose goal is to create an Internet library. Using their "Wayback Machine" you can search their archive for a prior version of your site (and pages) which you can then use for rebuilding your page.

How to Restore your Website with the Internet Archive

  1. Begin by navigating to the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  2. Type in the full URL of the page you want to look for (e.g. yourdomain.com/index.html)
  3. Click the "Take Me Back" button.
  4. On the next page you should see a calendar showing years near the top of the page and the months of that year in the middle of the page. Blue highlights denote days that the site was archived (referred to as a "snapshot"). You can click on a date to open a snapshot of your page from that day.

  5. wayback-calendar

  6. If you would like to see a list of the pages contained in the archive for a site, add an asterisk after the domain name (e.g. http://yourdomain.com*). You can also filter this list by file extension if you like (.html, .pdf, etc.).

  7. wayback-filter

  8. When you open a page in the Wayback machine, you'll notice a header at the top with information and navigation for the Wayback Machine.

  9. wayback-header

  10. To view the page without this code so that you can easily restore your page, add "id_” (without the quotes) between the date and the forward slash before your URL.

  11. wayback-no-header

  12. Now you can view the source code for the page (in most browsers simply right click and select View Page Source or something similar). Copy the code and paste it into either a text editor where you can save it as an HTML file and view it locally or in a blank test HTML file on the server. Once you are satisfied with the recreated page, rename it as the page you need to replace.

Please note, there is no guarantee that the Internet Archive will have a copy of your site files or that the files will work as you expect them to. This should be an alternative to restoring an actual backup of your file.

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n/a Points
2015-08-15 9:56 pm

I've made a tool to generate a backup from the Wayback Machine: https://github.com/hartator/wayback-machine-downloader

n/a Points
2015-10-17 2:34 pm

thanks hartator...working like a charm

n/a Points
2018-04-11 4:42 am

Hey Hartator,When using any wayback downloader, will I be able to reupload the file and have full functionality of the site?

17,314 Points
2018-04-11 3:39 pm
The page is typically a cached version of the website. Code that can be captured in the displayed page can be used to help rebuild the site. Anything server-side that is part of the back end of the original site may not necessarily be caught by the service.
n/a Points
2015-10-05 5:12 am

hartator... if you really made that, it is f'n awesome !!!

n/a Points
2017-08-14 12:49 pm

nice downloader

n/a Points
2017-11-02 10:40 pm

I coded a web-based tool that recovers entire website - and removes any reference to archive.org.

You can test it here: https://www.waybackmachinedownloader.com/

Also, this article is a bit outdated, as a "blue circle" isn't the same anymore of what it used to be. You now also have red, yellow and green circles. From our FAQ:

  • A blue circle means a status code of 2xx, such as 200. This is the normal status code for a regular web page on the Wayback Machine. A blue circle is usually a safe choice.
  • A green circle signifies a 3xx status code, which means a redirect. Try to avoid the green dots when picking a date to scrape. It's better to get the target URL which the redirect leads to.
  • Orange means an error with a 4xx status code.
  • A red dot around the date means a server-side error, which carries a 5xx status code.
n/a Points
2019-10-24 7:51 pm

please help me i can not get data through access into the "https://web.archive.org/". how can I get access?

12,339 Points
2019-10-24 9:30 pm
Access to the Internet Archive is free. The only available archive of your site is on June 29, 2019. If that does not have what you are looking for, you will have to find an alternate backup to restore.

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