Lost website backup, am trying to find cached content
July 30, 2021 9:04 PM   Subscribe

I had to emergency manage a website in the last month. I did manage to run a backup, but I didn't download it to my local drive in time. For a few reasons, the hosting provider had to suspend the site, and we can't access the cpanel at the moment. How do I access previous versions? The usual methods (Wayback Machine etc) only managed to cache the main landing page but not the other sections.

Because I had to post new content etc, naturally I had been going to the website almost daily to monitor and manage. I had assumed I could at least browse my cached copy (on Chrome). I'm having trouble doing this. Googling led me to check for the chrome://flags and look for 'show saved copy'. I don't have it in my version of the browser. Got any ideas?
posted by cendawanita to Technology (3 answers total)
 
Ask the hosting provider to give you access to the originals? Generally suspension just means it won't be displayed to the public. It shouldn't stop the admin from getting to the site...
posted by kschang at 1:40 AM on July 31, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Your hosting provider is probably going to be your best resource for getting these files back. I'd assume they might charge for this service, but they may or may not.

Spelunking through your Chrome cache assumes a number of things, all of which may be untrue:
  • The site was sending HTTP headers that would allow the content to be cached in the first place.
  • Chrome saved the cache to disk. It has an in-memory cache that goes away when the browser re-launches.
  • The cache is complete - HTML, JS, CSS, images, etc all may be cached differently for different lifetimes depending on what Chrome decides to do with them, and if you browse other sites, there's always a chance that that browsing evicted some of them from the cache.
If the Internet Archive wasn't able to crawl your site, I'd place low odds on being able to get something useful from your local browser cache.

As far as extracting data from your cache goes, it looks like most places recommend using ChromeCacheView to examine it, assuming you use Windows. I don't know if similar software exists for Mac.
posted by Aleyn at 9:42 AM on July 31, 2021 [2 favorites]


Sometimes Google will cache pages, too. If you can bring up any links to the site in Google search, look for three dots in a vertical line to the right of the URL. Click that, and look for a button labelled "Cache" (I'm seeing it in the lower right of the popup). Clicking that should bring you to a cached version of the page.

One way to try to get all of Google's cached links at once is to use your site URL in search, with a word you had on every page, like this:

"copyright" site:my.examplesite.com

I agree with Aleyn, though, that your hosting provider is your best bet.

Good luck!
posted by kristi at 11:22 AM on August 1, 2021


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