Tip: use cache: to load cached website copies in most browser

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 6, 2018

Search engines like Google or Bing maintain a cached copy of sites they crawl. They need to do this for a number of reasons, for instance to find out if content on a site changed.

One side-effect of search engines keeping a copy of any site they crawl is that some provide frontend access to the cache so that users may load it.

Useful if the website is down, has been deleted, or has changed in the meantime. Google and other search engines that provide access to cached copies do so only for the most recent snapshot. Other services, The Wayback Machine for example, provide access to all cached versions.

While you can load your favorite search engine, run a search, and click on the cached link that it may display next to search results, you may find the following faster option useful.

load cached websites fast

First reported by Lifehacker, all that it takes is to prepend cache: in front of the address or search term to open a cached page of a website in any browser.

The main caveat is that the method works only if Google Search is the default search provider as cache: is only recognized by Google. You may still use the feature even if Google is not the default search provider as you may open Google Search directly and run the cache: query there directly.

It is still faster than searching for the address on Google and selecting the cached link from the extra menu that is displayed next to each search result.

Another caveat is that the method works only if Google has a cached copy of the website. Sites may request that no cached copy is kept.

Browsers that support keywords support the trick even if Google Search is not the default provider. All it takes is to write keyword cache:URL, e.g. g cache:https://www.ghacks.net/ if g is the keyword for Google Search.

The trick works in most browsers but not all; it works fine in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Vivaldi. The only browser that I could not get it to work was Microsoft Edge as it redirected the query to a Store search.

Plenty of extensions are available to load cached or archived copies of web pages in web browsers.

Other options mentioned in the past here on Ghacks:

Now You: Do you access cached versions of sites occasionally?

Tip: use cache: to load cached website copies in most browser
Article Name
Tip: use cache: to load cached website copies in most browser
Here is a quick tip to load the cached copy of a site quickly: append cache: in front of the address to load it provided that Google Search is the default search engine.
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  1. Jerzy said on August 8, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Really was it first reported by Lifehacker? I have been using the cache: method for many years already! It is yesterday’s news.

  2. Tom Hawack said on August 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

    No Google Search here, or *really* exceptionally. If a cached version is required (to be found or to save) I rely on archive.org and archive.is. Need it be repeated, Google is avoided as much as possible.

  3. Yuliya said on August 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Great. It works if your default search engine is not Google too. But you have to send to Google your search string somehow. I have “g” defined as Google search keyword, so typing in the address bar “g cache:ghacks.net” will lead me straight to a cached version of ghacks.

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