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Web and Social Media Archiving

An introduction to user-friendly technologies for preserving web and social media material

Using the Wayback Machine

You can use and the Wayback Machine to find older editions of websites saved in their public collection. 

Search the Wayback Machine box on the page. 

Screenshot of searching the Wayback Machine on Internet Archive

The results will let you navigate by date, and select a version of the site saved at some time in the past. 

Screenshot of Wayback Machine results page


Limitations of the Wayback Machine and Internet Archive

While this public collection is incredibly useful, it does have limitations. 

  • The site you're looking for, or a particular page within it, might not have been saved for the time period you are interested in. The list of URLs that makes up this massive collection is largely automatically generated, and it certainly does not represent the entire internet. 
  • The page might not display correctly. This happens especially with dynamically generated web content, which is more difficult for this technology to save effectively. 
  • Embedded video might not play. This happens often, depending on the encoding used. Because this collection is automated, no one is checking to make sure all of the media has downloaded properly. 
  • The site has changed URLs, making it difficult to find earlier versions. For example, it appears that has only existed since 2018. You'll need to do some more research to find that was the more appropriate URL from 2001 to 2012. 

Internet Archive Browser Extension

This can be made easier by using one of the Internet Archive's browser extensions or apps. These can be found at

As of March 2023, downloads are available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, iOS, and Android.