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Go back in time with the Wayback Machine

10th April 2017

Back to the FutureI'm sure we've all wanted to travel back in time at some point in our lives, and now you can, with the aid of the Wayback Machine (sort of).

The Wayback Machine - a tool by Archive.org - allows us to look at what any website looked like in the past, and lets us navigate through the pages and view the content as if it were live today. While this could be seen as a fun tool to use as you can see how old fashioned your website was all those years ago (seriously, just look at Cosmic's website back in 1999), it's also a great resource for website administrators.

The Wayback Machine periodically takes snapshots of websites and archives them in its database - this essentially freezes your website in time even if you completely revamp it and change all of the content. The older your website, the more snapshots you are likely to have. This tool can be really useful as it'll allow you to retrieve any old content you may have deleted and now need again. While we would always recommend you take backups, this is a good option to have in your back pocket should you need it.

This can be especially useful if you have had a new website developed and left out some content which you now need - there's a chance the Wayback Machine will have archived your website with this content that you can now extract and input onto your new site.

Aside from its actual usefulness, the Wayback Machine serves as a fantastic nostalgia trip, allowing us to look at what our websites (and other websites) used to look like in years gone by. Writing this blog prompted me to have a look through Cosmic's site over the years, and something I found particularly interested was reading our news articles from over the years.

Back in 2003, there was a blog post titled "Julie's New Year Wish", and in the blog, Julie stated that:

Cosmic holds such wonderful potential, and has so much to offer people in learning about technology. It would be great to have more volunteers and members at Ridgeway House to help us get better still. We could also look forward to opening the centre in the evenings and weekends with greater input from the local community. I would like to see us offering new areas of training and exciting new courses for everyone, to build on our excellent reputation as a regional leader in website production, and to see new services benefiting the local and regional community. Most of all I would like to see Cosmic deliver more of the same to more and more people who need IT the most!

Looking back at her goals for the future, Julie said:

Cosmic has gone from strength-to-strength since those early years at Ridgeway House, and has enjoyed so many additional successes and experiences in those years. The difference we’ve continued to make to everyday lives and people in our local communities has been a regular point of celebration here on the team, and particularly as we passed our 20th year of operations recently.

It was great to look back at the services we were offering at that time, the aspirations of the company and what we're offering now. We had 12 staff at that time (4 of which are still with us), and we've grown exponentially since then, offering new services, doubling the size of the team and reaching out to an incredible number of people, helping them to understand the benefits of technology and how they can use it to improve their day to day lives.

If you want to use the Wayback Machine to see how your website looked over the years, you can go to www.archive.org and type in your website address into the Wayback Machine search bar. Be sure to send us some screenshot of what your website looked like!