Webpages come and go; sometimes, it is a temporary thing that prevents you from accessing a webpage, at other times, it may be because a page has been deleted, redirected, or edited.
It is quite frustrating to follow a link only to find out that the resource is no longer available at all or has changed in the meantime; this happens to text-only pages but also file downloads, image galleries, and any other type of content.
One of the better options that users have in the case of deleted or changed resources is to check the Wayback Machine for cached copies. Extensions like Wayback Machine for Google Chrome or the 2010 Firefox extension WaybackFox (no longer available) aim to improve the process through automatic lookups. Some browser developers have tested integration of the functionality in their browsers. Mozilla ran a Test Pilot experiment in 2016 called No More 404s which provided a quick link to the Wayback Machine to search for archived copies. The feature never made it into the Firefox browser though.
The browser displays a prompt at the top when certain page errors such as 404 not found are detected. Wayne over at Betanews notes that the errors 404, 408, 410, 451, 500, 502, 503, 504, 509, 520, 521, 523, 524, 525, and 526 are covered by Brave. Check out HTTP Status Codes to look these up.
The message “Sorry, that page is missing. Do you want to check if a saved version is available on the Wayback Machine?” provides users with an option to check for copies on the Wayback Machine website.
A click on the “check for saved version” returns whether a cached copy was found. Brave either loads the cached copy right away if it has been found or returns that no cached copy was found without loading anything.
The Wayback Machine has archived over 900 Billion URLs over the years and there is a good chance that it has a copy in its archive if the page was at least somewhat popular in the past.
The Wayback Machine is an excellent resource to restore downloads from sites that are no longer available. I used it numerous times in the past to download a program that was nowhere available anymore on the Internet.
Native integration in the Brave browser improves usability when a user encounters dead webpages.
Now You: Do you make use the Wayback Machine?
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