There was a time that whenever you looked at search results on Google, you could click the “Cached” button to view an archived version of the page. Unfortunately, Google has decided to remove the feature. The company’s stated reason is that the feature was created to allow users a way to see the content at a time when sites would go offline frequently, and that the basic functionality of the internet has improved to the extent that it’s no longer necessary. Whatever the reason, it means yet another useful feature has found itself in Google’s graveyard.
While Google may profess that feature isn’t relevant any longer, that’s not the case. Posts are deleted all the time, link rot is very real, and entire sites are regularly purged from existence Any time you want to access a post that has been removed due to corporate or political censorship, you now have one less tool to see what was published. Google’s cache was also among the most reliable ways to access pages that would take a long time to load or keep going down frequently, something that still happens with smaller blogs or with sites run by the government in plenty of regions in the world.
Any time a web page failed to work as expected, you could easily access Google’s cache directly from the search results, but that button has now been removed—if not the functionality itself. Because at the time of this writing, there remain a few easy workarounds that allow you access Google’s cached webpages.
Use a Google search modifier to load cached pages
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The easiest method is to use the cached: operator when you use Google search. Here’s an example:
Replace the URL in the search above with a link to the web page you’re trying to visit. Google will load the cached version of that page instead of the live version.
Create a bookmarklet to load Google’s cached pages
A simple bookmarklet can also help you load the Google cached version of any webpage you’re visiting. This bookmarklet was created by Mac app developer Michael Tsai. In your browser, add a new bookmark and name it Google Cached (or any other name that you like). In the URL field of the bookmark, paste this bit of code:
You can now open any webpage and click this bookmarklet to load its Google cached version.
Use the Wayback Machine to access cached web pages
If nothing else works, you can use The Internet Archive’s excellent Wayback Machine to open cached web pages. On the Wayback Machine, you can paste the link to any web page to load a cached version—you’ll likely even be able to view that same page at multiple points in time, so you can see how it changed or was updated.
Create a personal cache of important web pages
There are times when you really need to access a webpage repeatedly, such as when you want to be able to easily refer back to important information. For such times, it’s best to create your own archive of a web page. Every web browser allows you to save web pages for offline viewing if you press Ctrl+S on Windows or Command+S on a Mac. You can also use Chrome extensions to easily archive any web page you like.