The Internet Archiver is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.
One of their coolest features for webmasters is the Wayback Machine, aptly named for the WABAC machine used by Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman (from the Rocky & Bullwinkle show) to travel back in time.
The Wayback Machine pulls results from the Internet Archiver and allows you to view how a website used to look. This is similar to how Google allows you to view a cached version of a website, except that it keeps multiple copies. In most cases, if the images in the archives are stored on the website’s own server, which means many results will appear with missing graphics.
What this means for webmasters is that in a situation where a client might have lost content from their website, the developer can copy the text from the Wayback machine results and then rebuild the page. It’s a bit of a bummer that many images won’t be available, but then it often takes much more time to write good copy than to create simple graphics.
If you want to be able to use the Wayback Machine, you will need to ensure that your website’s Robots.txt is not blocking the internet Archiver.
If your site doesn’t show up, check your robots.txt file and remove the following if found.
User-agent: ia_archiver Disallow: /
User-agent: ia_archiver/1.6 Disallow: /
This won’t allow you to go way back, but it will start a new clock.