Web caching is a feature in most browsers which helps to downloads text, images, tables, other web objects embedded in web pages. The main advantage of web caching is that all these static pieces of information can be made available later on, with our without the internet.
What is a Cached Web Page?
A cached web page is a copy of a web page that someone has published online. Sometimes when you visit a web link, it conveys this page is no longer valid, or the contents have changed, you might want to visit the cached link/option that comes with the header of several search results that surface on your screen. By doing so, you will be able to view the past stored copy of that web page and the contents it carried.
However, sometimes you can face challenges in accessing a website that you have visited, and you can face errors or failure in loading that web page on your screen. For example –
- The web page has been removed by the website administrator, which will give you Error 404: Page not Found display.
- A previous static site now prompts you for registration before allowing you to go further.
- High traffic on the website servers, leading to slow loading of the web page and often failure despite multiple attempts.
Compared to most web browsers, Google servers are faster than most and help you load cached pages instantly. So let’s understand how we can view caches pages in Chrome.
Google search your link
The most common thing to do is open the browser and go to Google, then do the following –
- Type your web page link (if you remember) or the web page keywords in the search field
- Google will throw up a series of search results, consider the one which best fits the one you were looking for
- Now at the end of the link/breadcrumb, you will see a tiny arrow pointing downwards; click on that – it will offer two options, i.e. Cached & Similar
- Click on the cached option, and instantly your page will throw up the latest cached version of the intended link. It will indicate the date and time that you last visited that page. Moreover, it will offer three options for you to visit –
- Full version – will take you to the page the way it was when last visited.
- Text-only version – will eliminate any objects (images, tables, etc.) and show up only the textual content.
- View source – will share the source code of that web page as on that date & time.
The chances are that the live version of the web page has changed and hence a cached page can give you the information you were seeking.
Prompting Cache via Google address bar
You can also prompt your Chrome browser to display cached web page links by doing the following –
- In the address bar, type cache:
- Continue typing and input the website link you want to visit
- Press ‘Enter’
Chrome will display the latest cached version of the web link you just typed, along with the date and time you last visited it.
Enable the ‘Show Saved Copy’ feature on your Chrome browser
Another simplistic solution to accessing cached web pages is to enable the ‘Show Saved Copy’ feature on your Chrome browser. You can do this with a few clicks, as easy as follows –
- Ensure your PC/laptop does not have the internet active; if yes, then turn the internet off.
- Now open your Chrome browser and input the following Chrome://flags/show-saved-copy
- You will get the Show Saved Copy Button option & next to it a drop-down enabled button set at “Default.”
- Click on this drop-down list and select “Enable: Primary” option & you will get the ‘Show Saved Copy’ button enabled on your Chrome browser web pages that are dead or non-existent.
- You can click this button to access the latest version of such non-existent web pages.
Wayback Machine on Archive.org
Archive.org is a free-to-access online digital library. Besides allowing you to access online texts, books, AV files, images, it also helps in accessing stored web pages & web links, with its fantastic feature called ‘Wayback Machine’.
Its libraries are so vast that it promises access to over 431 billion pages and links on the worldwide web.
Try the following –
- Visit Archive.org
- In the Wayback Machine search bar, type the URL or the site you are looking for
- Press ‘Enter’
The results that are displayed will contain web links either matching the URL or closest to the keywords you typed in the Wayback machine search bar. In fact, in line with its library concept, it gives you a calendar trail, wherein you can select the date or period during which you want the cached web page.
Suggested Reading – Best Wayback Machine Alternative Sites to Check History of a Website
Caching Options on CachedView.com
Yet another online portal, which gives you options to access previous web pages by using –
- Google Web cache
- Archive.org cache
- Live version
In case you typically visit past web pages or need to view previous content, then saving CachedView.com to your favorites list on your browser too is a super easy and quick option you could consider for regular use.
WebCache – A Google Chrome Extension
WebCache is an extension that can be added to your chrome browser and allows you to view a cached version of the current webpage.
All you have to do is set your primary cache to the following options – Google Cache, Archive.is and Wayback Machine.
This tool will then keep checking the URL or web page keywords keyed in, across these cache options till it finds the cached versions of the page you are seeking. There are three ways to use WebCache:
Step 1: Go to the web page you want, then click the extension button to view the cached version of that web page.
Step 2: You can obtain the cached web page with a simple right-click & picking WebCache option from the menu (you have to enable this a list option through the options page)
Step 3: You can be proactive and choose to auto-detect a webpage when it goes offline or is down and get the cached version displayed (again this is something you need to in the options page)
Web Cache Viewer – a Google Chrome extension
Web Cache Viewer is another utility extension that you can add to your Google Chrome browser. Just visit the Chrome web store and add the ‘Web Cache Viewer’ extension to your Chrome browser.
The Web Cache Viewer has a built-in Wayback Machine smart feature, which redirects you to the most recent archived version of the page you are seeking. With this, you don’t have to bother about visiting Archive.org and then typing in the URL or keywords of the web link you are trying.
If Wayback Machine isn’t your thing, you can also resort to the Wayback Machine alternative of using Google Cache instead.
Third Party Software to View Chrome Cache
Yet another method is to be able to access cached web pages with the help of third-party software. Once you download the software, you don’t even need the internet. The software helps you locate the cached web page, provided you have visited that web page through your Chrome browser previously.
ChromeCacheView is a light software program, which serves as a browser tool. It is freely downloadable from several online application download sites such as Softonic.com, Softpedia.com, amongst several others. However, this program is so far published only for Windows OS and not other operating systems.
While most of us don’t actively seek/scan the cache of our Google browser, it is good to have this knowledge because it can help you access past information, no longer available on the live webpage. With the eight steps listed above, you can access cached pages of websites, right from the latest to even a select prior version (specific date and time) of that web page.
Cache facility saves you from being wholly deprived of valuable information that you had once visited online in the past. Often when such pages are no longer there, either because the site owner has removed/replaced it, or because the online route is too congested. In either case, the cache facility helps you access past versions of online web pages.
So, with the above hacks, you can either gain access to web pages that are cached online with Google, Archive.org, etc. or your best bet is to access Google Chrome’s cache locally on your computer.