7 Wayback Machine Alternatives to Explore Website History

Even the biggest, most popular websites had to start somewhere, right? Well, have you ever wondered what these websites used to look like back in the day — or how they evolved over the years?

That’s where tools like Wayback Machine come in:

These resources give you access to billions upon billions of archived web pages — with Wayback Machine being one of the oldest examples of digital archives.

If, for whatever reason, the Wayback Machine doesn’t meet your needs, no worries — there are quite a few Wayback Machine alternatives worth checking out.

Wayback Machine (Web Archive): Why is it important?

Wayback Machine — one of the oldest digital libraries of its kind — was first introduced by the non-profit organization Internet Archive in 1996. Since then, it has grown into one of the most comprehensive digital archives, accumulating a staggering 866 billion archived web pages across the Internet. 

The idea behind Wayback Machine was to provide access to a website’s historical records and show you how it looked in the past. 

The question is, why would you need access to a web archive? 

As it turns out, tools like Wayback Machine can be quite useful for SEO. Here are some common use cases and scenarios where Wayback Machine — and similar alternatives — can be useful: 

  • Viewing site changes — both in terms of design and content — over time is one of the most obvious use cases for digital archives like Wayback Machine and can be particularly useful when trying to identify specific changes that might’ve led to a sudden drop in ranking or traffic 
  • Retrieving deleted content is as simple as looking up the archived version of the page at a previous date (before the changes took place)
  • Checking the website past content. It is especially important to ensure that the website was never assosicated with any shady topics and niches when purchasing a domain.
  • Legal evidence. Lawyers can use archived web pages as evidence in copyright or trademark disputes. Companies can prove compliance with regulations at specific points in time.

As useful as it can be, Wayback Machine has its limitations — especially when it comes to data ownership and control over how often the web pages are being archived. Plus, it can be slow and unresponsive at times.

And, of course, it’s important to note that no service in the world can archive the entire web. That’s why there are quite a few services that specialize in certain areas, such as scientific publications, newspapers, and more.

So, depending on why you need access to archived versions of web pages, there might be better tools for the job than Wayback Machine.

Wayback Machine alternatives

Here’s an overview of the leading Internet archiving software that can be a great alternative to Wayback Machine. 

1. Ahrefs Page Inspect Tool 

Ahrefs — one of the leading SEO software suites available today — has a feature similar to Wayback Machine. 

The standalone Page Inspect tool — introduced in 2023 as part of Ahrefs’ toolkit — allows you to view changes to the text and HTML code on any web page. 

To my knowledge, it is the only SEO tool that has this feature.

Here’s how to use it: 

  • Open Site Explorer 
  • Paste the URL of the specific page you want to check 
  • Go to the Page Inspect tool 
  • Choose two dates you want to compare 
  • Switch between the “HTML” and “Page text” buttons, depending on the changes you want to check

Ahrefs’ Page Inspect goes beyond Wayback Machine by allowing you to compare the versions of a specific page at two different points in time side by side and even indicates the dats when the changes happened.

Now, Ahrefs might not be the most affordable option, especially if you’re just looking for a simple web archiving tool; the cheapest Lite plan starts at $129 per month. But I wouldn’t label it as “overpriced,” either: 

You’re getting a complete SEO solution with a wide range of tools — including Site Explorer, Keyword Explorer, Content Explorer, Site Audit, and Rank Tracker.

2. Archive.today 

Archive.today — one of the most popular Wayback Machine alternatives — is a free-to-use web archiving tool that allows you to save snapshots of individual web pages in real time. 

It essentially allows you to create a permanent record of the page as it currently is — much like taking a screenshot — that will remain online and accessible for later use. The tool will archive both plain text and images found on the web page and create a short link you can use to access the saved page.

That way, you’ll be able to see what the page looked like by simply retrieving the specific snapshots — even if the original page changes or is removed at some point in the future. 

In addition to creating and storing a snapshot of a web page, you also have the option to search Archive.today’s existing archive by typing in the domain or exact URL of the page you’re looking for into the search bar.

3. Pagefreezer

If there’s one thing that Pagefreezer is known for, it’s security. 

This Cloud-based platform boasts SOC 2 Type I and II and ISO 27001:2013 certification and additional security features — including Single Sign-On (SSO), two-factor authentication (2FA), and advanced user management. Plus, all data is encrypted and transmitted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.

That alone makes Pagefreezer a tool worth considering. 

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a paid tool. Starting at $229 per month, it’s one of the most expensive options featured on this list. That could be a potential deal-breaker if you’re looking for a more “casual,” budget-friendly solution. 

Then again, you’re getting more than just a basic web archive. 

This type of comprehensive digital recordkeeping solution can be used by businesses for eDiscovery and legal purposes, evidence collection, social media monitoring, as well as proving compliance with CCPA and GDPR. 

Additionally, Pagefreezer has a browser extension — Web Preserver. It makes it even easier to capture full websites and social media content — including entire accounts and embedded videos — complete with authenticated timestamp and a legally-admissible Collection Report.

4. Stillio 

Stillio automates the process of capturing screenshots of web pages: 

You simply paste the URL of the page you’d like to track and set a preferred frequency at which you want to take screenshots — and Stillio does the rest. The available options include hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly screenshot captures — but you also have the option to set custom intervals. 

You’ll get notified whenever a new screenshot is created. Plus, you can share screenshots with others — even if they’re not a Stillio user.

Stillio is not a free-to-use platform, but it’s far from the most expensive option on this list — and you can choose from five different plans: 

  • Snap Shot starts at $29 per month and is limited to tracking only five web pages
  • Hot Shot starts at $79 per month and can track up to 25 web pages
  • Big Shot starts at $199 per month and can track up to 100 unique web pages
  • Top Shot starts at $299 per month and can track an unlimited number of web pages with new screenshots created every five minutes
  • Enterprise plan with custom pricing 

Plus, all Stillio plans come with a 14-day free trial.

5. Perma Links 

Perma.cc — a web archiving platform developed by the Harvard Law School Library — specializes in generating permanent records of linked citations through so-called Perma Links. 

This service is geared toward academic and legal communities and is mainly used by researchers, academics, journals, courts, and educational institutions. 

On that note, if you frequently incorporate web citations in your content, you could benefit from using Perma.cc to keep a long-term, unalterable record of those citations and avoid “link rot” — namely, broken links

Here’s how it works: 

  • You copy the URL of the page you want to cite and paste it in Perma.cc 
  • Click “Create Perma Link” 
  • Perma.cc then generates a Perma Link that you can use in your citations

It’s as simple as that. 

Creating a Perma.cc account is free, and you can create up to 10 Perma Links with the free trial. From there, individual users have to pay for a subscription, with plans ranging from $10 to $100 a month, depending on the number of links.

6. Google Cache 

Google Cache is a long-standing feature provided by Google that allows users to view a snapshot of a webpage as it appeared the last time Google crawled and indexed it. This cached version can be useful when the original page is temporarily unavailable, has been changed, or removed.

Google’s cached pages offer a way to access content even if the website is experiencing downtime or if you need to see the previous state of the page.

Unfortunately, Google announced removing the feature, and today, the link to the cached page is no longer available on SERP.

However, you can type “cache:” in front of the page URL directly in your browser, and it still does the trick.

E.g.
cache:https://bloggerjet.com/how-to-find-all-backlinks-to-your-website/

Although you can only see the most recent snapshot, it’s still very helpful for accessing unavailable pages or checking the most recent changes on a page.

Additionally, the snapshot date can give you an idea of how often Googlebot visits the page to search for updates.

Wrapping up 

As you can see, quite a few tools provide access to historical web content and allow you to keep track of website changes over time. So, your choice is mostly a matter of what you hope to achieve and why you need access to these digital archives in the first place. 

I hope you’ve found the Wayback Machine alternative that meets your needs on this list.

Nick is a product marketer and a seasoned SEO specialist at Ahrefs. He is also a regular contributor to the Ahrefs Blog, dedicating his remaining time to enhancing the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar.