Where Do Web Pages Go When They Die?

Sometimes websites change. Sometimes they straight up die. There’s nothing we, the collective internet, can do about that. But if you’re looking to recover a lost website, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is your tool.

A fantastic database for both research and nostalgic purposes, the Wayback has taken on the overwhelming task of archiving the entire web since 1996. Thus far, it’s crawled and copied over 240 billion web pages. Though that doesn’t amount to the entirety of the internet since 1996, it’s still enough to be a helpful window into the past—whether you’re looking up a webpage that no longer exists, or want to remind yourself of what, say, Yahoo’s very first homepage looked like.* The Wayback’s timeline display is especially helpful for tracking the lifespan of a website, marking the frequency in which it was updated, along with screenshots of the web’s homepage from specific calendar dates.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about the Wayback machine, you now have approximately 240 billion more things to look at on the internet. You’re welcome