TLDR: The Wayback Machine is like a time machine for the internet. It lets you see how websites looked in the past.
The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of the World Wide Web. It was created by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California. The Wayback Machine allows you to go "back in time" and see how websites looked in the past. It was launched to the public in 2001, but it was created in 1996 to preserve archived copies of defunct web pages.
The Wayback Machine has saved over 833 billion web pages as of August 2023. It started archiving web pages in 1996 and has been continuously adding to its collection ever since. The Wayback Machine is like a giant library of the internet, preserving websites and web pages for future generations to access.
The founders of the Wayback Machine, Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat, wanted to provide universal access to all knowledge by preserving web pages. They named it the Wayback Machine as a reference to a fictional time-traveling device from a cartoon. The Wayback Machine has become an invaluable resource for researchers, journalists, and anyone interested in exploring the history of the internet.
The Wayback Machine has faced legal challenges and censorship issues. Some website owners have requested the removal of their archived pages, and there have been cases where content was removed due to copyright claims. The Wayback Machine has also been blocked in certain countries, like China, and has been temporarily blocked in Russia.
Despite these challenges, the Wayback Machine continues to be a valuable tool for researchers, journalists, and anyone interested in exploring the history of the internet. It provides a glimpse into the past and allows us to see how websites and web pages have evolved over time.