WayBack Machine - The Internet Time Machine

Wayback Machine - The Internet Time Machine

Yes, you read it right.
What do you mean from The Time Machine? Any Machine through which we can go in our past time, right!
Well, the Wayback Machine by the Internet Archive does the same. It can take you in the past time of the Internet.
Read this article full to know more about this Wayback Machine.

Hey there, I am Madhusudan Somani and you are reading this article at MSS Articles, let's continue...


What is the Wayback Machine

Wayback Machine is a Digital library of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the information found over the Internet. It was started in 1996 by the Internet Archive and publicly launched in the year 2001. It was launched to solve the problem of finding old vanished content over the Internet. Within five years of starting from 1996, Wayback Machine contained over 10 billion archived web pages.


Screenshot of the homepage of the WayBack Machine Website.

As technology is grown over the years, the storage capacity of the Wayback Machine is also growing. As of 2003, it was increasing with a rate of 12 Terabytes / Month.

As the stats of 2018, the Wayback Machine has stored data over 25 Petabytes.
You can guess how big this number is by the formula,
1 Petabyte = 1000000 GB, so 25 Petabytes = 25000000 GBs.


What is the Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a non-profit organization which is working on its stated mission, "Universal Access to all Knowledge". It provides Websites, Softwares/Games, Public domain Movies & Books and other collection of digital materials accessible for free. Wayback Machine and Archive-it are two projects of the Internet Archive.


How Wayback Machine Works

Thousands of Web Crawlers are there in the Wayback Machine. They periodically crawl different web pages automatically and manually. As the crawler crawls a web page, that web page is then stored in data clusters of the Wayback Machine.

You can get an overview of how those crawlers work in the backend to find new and updated pages from this graphical representation below...

Graph Visualization via Galaster - Web Crawlers in Action from Kristin Cowalcijk on Vimeo.

Along with Web Crawlers, there are also bots and spiders, which helps web crawlers to crawler old pages as well as to find the newly generated pages of websites over the Internet.

The interesting fact is that those crawlers can crawler some sites within a few minutes while may take as long as a few years to fully crawler a website, like Google, YouTube etc. But in the meantime, while crawling these websites, the crawlers can also crawl some other websites to the work is done simultaneously.


How Can We Use WayBack Machine

WayBack machine can be used professionally and also just for fun. On a major scale, we can do two things on the WayBack Machine, we can access old stored pages from this site and can also manually store a website on this platform.

To view a webpage just enter the URL of the page in the search box, and then you will have a calendar on your screen. Select a date from the calendar, then it will load the web-page as it used to look then.

WayBack Machine - MSS Articles's on the WayBack Machine

As you can see the above image. This is how this blog 'MSS Articles' used to look in May 2018.
You can see any website if you know the URL of that website. Want to give a try, go to the Wayback Machine.

Another thing we can do is Save a Page on the WayBack Machine, there is a block on the home page of the WayBack Machine with a heading, "Save Page Now. After writing the URL of the website, we can instruct it to crawl the website and save its pages.

Conclusion

You can find almost any archived web page from the Wayback Machine if you know the URL of that page. It is beneficial for everyone since anyone can access deleted content over the internet.
If you are a website owner, then you can manually make it's crawlers save your updated website.

Do you want to add something, please let me know in the comments below.
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