First.. what’s cache? Here’s a simple definition: copy of data stored in a computer database which is usually used to refer to the contents of site/page. This is a definition in context of cached pages, okay?
If you’ve read How Google (Search) Works article, you should know that Google’s web crawlers/servers, like Googlebot, crawl from one page to another and save a copy of that page to the Index. This cached copy is later utilized when a query is made and Google uses cached version trying to find a query matched page/website.
How Cached Pages Work?
Web crawlers don’t just crawl a page and forget it. This is not “set it and forget it” kind of thing. It’s rather like a subscription model. Web crawlers have to return to that page every once in a while (depending upon site’s XML Sitemap & how often a site is updated) and make a new copy of the same page, in case the page has been updated. So cached pages are updated & there’s always last time cached version.
Fortunately, Google lets you access and see how a page looked/looks like the last time Google crawled it. Any page crawled and indexed in Google will most certainly have a cached version.
Why Cached Pages are Useful?
Cached pages may be useful for many reasons:
- You need to access a page/website, but site went down recently. Access its cached version & enjoy!
- When site maintenance is in place and you need access
- When page/site you’re trying to view is temporarily unavailable
- For fun!?
So you see cached pages may be handy in various scenarios, right? So how do you view/access a cached page?
How to View Cached Pages with Google?
First.. there’s not just Google, saving and updating copies for all indexed pages in its servers. There is Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) which does similar type of thing, except motives vary. Internet Archive intends to keep an archive all the information, pages and data on the web as well as data from books, ebooks, audios, videos, softwares, etc. for reference in future and preservance of information. Read this to access history of page/website with Wayback Machine.
Here’s how to quickly view/access cached pages with Google:
- Copy & paste URL (web address) of page whose cached version you want to view in address bar
- Put operator cache: right to the left of URL like in example below:
- Hit enter and there you go!
On the top of the cached page there’s a box detailing the date & time of caching. Also.. there are 2 options: Text only, which disables CSS & JS files and display text-only (or HTML) version of page and View Source, which shows HTML & CSS going behind.