Learn How (and Why) to View a Cached Website on Google

You do not need to go to the Wayback Machine in order to find the latest cached version of a website. You can find it directly from your Google results.

In order to find all those websites really quickly, Google and other search engines actually store an internal copy of them on their own servers. This stored file is called a cache, and Google will let you see it when available.

This isn't normally useful, but maybe you're trying to visit a website that's temporarily down, in which case you can visit the cached version instead.

How to View Cached Pages on Google

  1. Search for something like you normally would.

  2. When you find the page you want a cached version of, click the small, green, down arrow next to the URL.

  3. Choose Cached from that small menu.

    Cached submenu on Google search results page
  4. The page you selected will open with the https://webcache.googleusercontent.com URL instead of its live or regular URL. The cache you're viewing is actually stored on Google's servers, which is why it has this strange address and not the one it should have.

You're now viewing the cached version of the website, meaning that it won't necessarily have current information. It just has the website as it appeared the last time Google's search bots crawled the site.

Google will tell you how fresh this snapshot is by listing the date the site was last crawled at the top of the page.

Sometimes you'll find broken images or missing backgrounds in a cached site. You can click on a link at the top of the page to view a plain text version for easier reading, but it, of course, will remove all graphics, which can actually sometimes make it harder to read.

Woman using Google on tablet device

You can also go back to Google and click the real link if you need to compare two recent versions of the same page rather than view a site that isn't working.

If you need to find your individual search term, try using Ctrl+F (or Command+F for Mac users) and simply searching for it using your web browser.

See How to Search Cached Pages in Google for more information.

Sites That Aren't Cached

Most sites have caches, but there are a few exceptions. Website owners can use a robots.txt file to request that their site not be indexed in Google or that the cache is deleted.

Someone might do this when removing a site just to make sure the content isn't retained anywhere. Quite a bit of the web is actually "dark" content or items that aren't indexed in searches, such as private discussion forums, credit card information, or sites behind a paywall (e.g. some newspapers, where you have to pay to see the content).

You can get a comparison of a website's changes over time through Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, but this tool also abides by robots.txt files, so you won't find permanently deleted files there either.