Using Google’s cache to restore a web page
In case that you need a file restored and you do not have a local backup, there is an alternative you may use.
When indexed by Google bots your website, they take a snapshot of your webpage. That snapshot shows what your site looked like when the bots crawled it. The snapshot is available to see using the “Cached” link in Google’s search results. Restoring a page using Google’s cache, in short, is using the html Google saved when crawling your site to rebuild the file you need restored.
Please note that, this method may not work! The steps outlined below are only recommended to be used if there is nothing else to do. Google’s cache will not work on php or other pages using server side scripting as Google cannot see your php code, only the html that is generated. The cache won’t be available for sites that have not been indexed, and for sites whose owners have requested that Google doesn’t cache their content.
Search Google for site:yourdomain.com. You need to replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain name and tld and do not insert any spaces between site: and yourdomain.com.
You will see a list of all pages that Google bots have cached that are in yourdomain.com. Click the Cached link next to the page you need to restore.
At the top of the page, Google will display a message similar to: This is Google’s cache of http://www.yourdomain.com/. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Mar 14, 2011 10:34:21 GMT.
The snapshot date listed is the date that Google bots crawled your site. If your page shows correctly below this message, then you should be able to use the html code in Google’s cache to attempt to restore the file.
To view the page source In most browsers, you can right-click and choose View Page Source. The source code is the html code that is used to render your website. Select all the code in the page source and copy/paste it into a test file in your account. For example, if you are trying to restore index.html, place the code in a file named index_test.html. Google adds a few lines to the top of the page, so you’ll want to remove the first few lines of code at the top. Those first few lines is what Google uses to display the information at the top of the cached page, for example, the snapshot date.
To test the new file in your browser you should upload it in the directory where your original index file is then test domain.com/index_test.html. If this version of your page in Google’s cache work for you rename the test file and replace the original index.html with it.
If you have a dynamic website (one that uses MySQL to store page content), you’ll have to be a little more selective. If you’re looking for the content of an article for example, you can copy and paste the text directly from the cache and enter it into your CRM or database.
Aside from Google Cache, there are some other services that may be storing historical snapshots of your website. Here are a few:
In addition to the above, most popular search engines nowadays also have their own cache. While we’ve mainly referred to Google Cache, you can essentially use Yahoo or other similar search engine caching services to retrieve older copies of your website. This is useful because most search engines only store one cache instance at a time, so if one search engine does not have cached data of your website, others might.