Wayback Machine is an Internet portal that provides older versions of websites. The website data is stored at regular intervals so that different versions of websites from all over the world are accessible. It is assumed that the database currently contains several terabytes of data volume. Wayback Machine is a service of Internet Archives from the USA, a non-profit organization.
Internet Archive, under its founder Brewster Kahle, has made it its mission to offer a publicly available service to allow researchers, historians, and scientists to access the digital archive with the assistance of the Wayback Machine. The company was founded in 1996 in San Francisco and uses the Database of the Internet company Alexa. Internet Archive contains not only archived websites, but also texts, audio, moving pictures and software, in other words, the entire content of older websites.
The Wayback Machine is a useful tool in many ways. However, the service has been increasingly criticized in the past few years, because in some countries it is infringing on copyrights. The Wayback Machine works with the opt-out method. This means that all content is initially indexed. The affected website operators can have their pages removed from the archive if they do not wish it to be there. They can prevent the Indexing only by using a robots.txt.
Another issue is that a lot of content that would actually get removed for legal reasons, is retained. As long as a website exists, the rights holder can block it at any time. But if it no longer exists, it becomes much more difficult, for example via robots.txt to block. This includes, in particular, forums or Social Media services, in which the individual user does not have the possibility to remove the content, even if they no longer agree with their earlier statements or are unlawful (libel, for example).
Another disadvantage is irregular and incomplete Indexing. Multimedia files are missing, making it impossible to access the original version of a webpage. If a subpage’s URL has changed, you can find it only if you know that specific URL.
The Wayback Machine can be used in Search Engine Optimization. If a webpage has crashed in the Google SERPs, it is not easy to find the root cause. The Wayback Machine makes it possible to compare the code of the current and older versions of the webpage, thus identifying potential weaknesses.
In addition, the Wayback Machine allows you to search for older links and to adapt them to new URLs (for example, by changing the CMS). Moreover, Dead Links can be found that way, since many links that are no longer working can weaken the Ranking of a website. The Wayback Machine is not to be underestimated with regard to its evidence function. The service documents the earlier version of webpages. If another webmaster copies the contents of a webpage, it can be used to prove that the respective content already existed at an earlier date.