Web Archives: view archived and cached versions of webpages

Web Archives is an open source browser extension for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and other Firefox-based and Chromium-based web browsers, which you may use to display archived and cached versions of webpages.

The extension was known previously as View Page Archive & Cache.

Webpages may come and go, entire sites may be pulled from the Internet or content may be changed. Sometimes, content is temporarily inaccessible, for instance during server issues.

Archive and caching services such as the Wayback Machine save copies of webpages so that the information is not lost.  You may even preserve webpages using services such as the Wayback Machine.

Some web browsers include functionality to open cached or archived versions of webpages automatically if a page can't be loaded. Brave Browser supports this.

Web Archives

web archives

Web Archives is an open source extension that integrates functionality to display pages using more than 10 caching and archiving services. Here is the list of services it supports currently: Wayback Machine, Google Cache, Bing Cache, Yandex Cache, Archive.is, Memento Time Travel, WebCite, Exalead Cache, Gigablast Cache, Sogou Snapshot, Qihoo 360 Search Snapshot, Baidu Snapshot, Naver Cache, Yahoo Japan Cache, Megalodon.

To use it, simply install the extension in a supported browser and activate the icon in the browser's toolbar. Web Archives displays a selection of services and an option to look up the page on all services at once. Only six services are listed, and you may open the options with a click on the three-dots and the selection of options to configure the services that are displayed when you activate the menu.

You may add more or less services to the menu. The options page lists several more configuration settings:

  • Define right-click context menu behavior.
  • Enable "show in address bar on server error".
  • Load page archives in new tabs.
  • Open new tabs in the background.

Positive

  • Supports more than ten different archiving and caching services, increasing the chance that a copy exists.
  • Option to customize the services that you want to use, and open individual ones or all of them.

Negative

  • No information if cached or archived copies exist before you open the services.

Alternatives to Web Archives

Web Archives is not the only extension of its kind. We have reviewed several in the past, here is a selection of quality extensions that you may want to check out as well:

  • Vandal (Firefox, Chrome) uses the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. It offers several usability improvements over using the Wayback Machine directly, including comparing archived copies.
  • Wayback Machine (Firefox, Chrome) is a browser extension that supports only the Wayback Machine archive. May act automatically if certain server errors are thrown when accessing webpages.

Closing Words

Web Archives is a useful extension for Internet users who run into issues opening webpages regularly. Dead or inaccessible content may be resurrected using the extension, and journalists and researchers may use the extension to display previous copies of webpages. All in all, a well designed open source extension.

Now You: what do you do, when you can't access a webpage?

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Comments

  1. Tom Hawack said on August 6, 2021 at 10:49 am
    Reply

    If I cannot access a Web page because it simply isn’t available anymore, searching for it in Web caches is the only alternative. This very seldom occurs in my own experience.

    I’ll consider two caches, [Archive.is] and [Archive.org]
    I’ll access these two via an extension which provides redirection (hence not specifically targeting Web caches) : ‘Redirect Link’ [https://github.com/fluks/redirect-link] and its AMO page at [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/redirect-link/] with these filters :

    Search on Archive.is : [https://archive.is/%u]
    Search on Archive.org : [https://web.archive.org/web/*/%u]

    as well as saving an available page on these servers :

    Save to Archive.is : [https://archive.is/?run=1&url=%u]
    Save to Archive.org : [https://web.archive.org/save/%u]

    Frankly : I forgot last time I’ve used either of them …

    1. Brandon Sewnop said on August 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm
      Reply

      I appreciate the informative reply. I’m going to set things up your way. I’m sure I’ll have a use for it eventually.

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