ALL of us have some favourite websites, which we keep visiting regularly for news or some other service. At times you must have been struck by the curiosity about what the website must have looked like say four years ago, or even ten years ago. The Internet is evolving at such a fast pace, that the websites are getting re-branded all the time. If your favourite website had been in existence four to ten years ago, it would definitely be much different from how it seems today. Here is a list of some interesting tools through which you can investigate your website:
Archive: The Wayback Machine
Archive (http://archive.org) is an online library that provides universal free access to thousands of documents, books, e-books, music, movies and much more. The Wayback Machine is a part of Archive. To reach the Wayback Machine, you have to point your browser at: http://archive.org/web/web.php. On the top of the page, you will find the text box, with “Take me back” button beside it. Enter the URL of the website in the text box, and click on the button. You will reach a new page, where different periods of time will be listed. Click on the period of interest and you will be able to see the archived page from that era. This website can also be used to find the exact age of a website.
Check the age of domain name
For investigating the age of a particular domain name, you can use the Domain Age Tool, which can be accessed at: http://www.webconfs.com/domain-age.php/. In the middle of the website, you will find a large search box in which you have to enter the URL that you want to check. You are allowed to enter more than one URL. Click on the “Submit” button and the information that you require on each of the websites, will appear on the screen. For instance, when you enter the domain name of http://organiser.org/, you learn that the website had a tryst with the Internet exactly 12 years and 5 months ago. For professionals, this is a useful tool, as it can be used to find out the age of competitor’s website.
When you or any organisation registers a new domain name, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires your domain name registrar to submit your personal contact information to the WHOIS database. Once your listing appears in this online directory, it is publicly available to anyone who chooses to check domain names using the WHOIS search tool. Perhaps this entails a loss of privacy, but it is also true that the Internet is all about transparency.
There are lot of reasons why you or anyone else might want to check domain names. You might be simply curious to know more about the people who have founded, what seems like an interesting website. You might be interested in knowing the expiration date. Registrars typically check domain names when transferring ownership. Finally, the authorities check domain names when investigating criminal activity. If you are the founder of a website and you don’t want to have your identity revealed to any stray individual, you always have the option of going in for private domain registration. For a small monthly or yearly fee, the registrars will act as your proxy, which means that any one looking at the WHOIS database will find their information, instead of yours.
Who is behind a website?
DomainTools (http://www.domaintools.com/) is a popular place for finding out WHOIS related information for some of the top-level domains like .org, .com, .net, etc. There is a text box at the centre of the website, and beside it there is a button saying, “Lookup.” Enter the URL in the text box and click on the button. You will immediately be transported to a new page where you will be able to view website’s WHOIS, IP Address (website hosting), Name Server, Registrar and Screenshot history. With this information you can easily have a comprehensive view of the domain name’s life cycle. NS Network solutions (http://www.networksolutions.com) is another interesting website for finding out the WHOIS behind any domain.