How to Find Out When a Webpage Was Published

When you’re doing research on a topic, it’s vital to ensure your sources are up to date. If you’re writing an academic paper, dates of publication are often required in the citations. The majority of the time, getting the date is easy: simply look on the site and find the “published on” date to find out how recent it was. Things get a little more complicated when there is no date listed on the webpage. When this happens, how do you know when the page was published?

Using Google

You can get Google to display the publication date of webpages via a simple search. First, head to the Google site. Then, type inurl: and plug in the webpage immediately after it. Hit enter and Google will bring up a search result with your webpage in it.

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Go to the address bar and add &as_qdr=y15 to the end of it, then press Enter. When the page loads, you’ll see that the search result for the website now has the publication date assigned to it.

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Using the Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is a site that keeps tabs on how websites progress over the years. If a webpage isn’t too popular, it might not appear in the Wayback Machine; however, if you do get a hit from the machine, you can get a rough estimate on when the webpage was published.

First, head over to the Wayback Machine, and then enter the address of the site you want to check into the address bar on the site.

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When you click “Browse History,” the Wayback Machine will do a check to see if it can find logs of the website. If it does, it’ll display a calendar showing all the snapshots it has collected. Find the earliest possible date for a rough estimate on when the page was published; at the very least, you’ll know the page was around during that period!

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Using Carbon Dating the Web

Carbon Dating the Web is a handy tool that gets a rough estimate of when the webpage was created. When its developers tested it on pages where the creation date was known, it had a 75% success rate when guessing when it was made. It’s very easy to use: simply plug the webpage’s URL into the box and click “Carbon Date!”

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The site will then give you an estimated creation date for the site you provided.

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You can even download the Carbon Dating the Web application for local use should you find yourself doing a lot of searches. Just click the link on the site to download.

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Save the Date

Regardless of whether you’re doing research for a paper or just want to know how current a webpage is, it can be frustrating when the webmaster doesn’t add a date to their articles. Thankfully, there are ways to get a rough idea on when a page went up. It may not be precise 100% of the time, but it can give you a good idea on how topical the article is.

Which method do you like best? Do you know of a method that we missed out on? Let us know below.

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