I was minding my own business today and looking at some links on my "Web" page when I realized that Stella, Zack and Rocko's Home Page on AOL Homepages had been taken down.

Back in the late 90's/early 2000's, I had AOL for my Internet access (dial-up). On the free space I got with an AOL user name, I had a created a simple page that had a picture of my 3 cats at the time, along with some comments about them. What I learned today when visiting the link, was that as of October 31, 2008, the AOL Homepages service is no longer in operation.

Determined to find some hidden, cached copy of my old (and mind you, not that valuable at all) stuff, I Googled the URL to no avail. There weren't even any cached copies of the page listed. It seems that Google only maintains cached copies of pages that currently exist. Of course, this does make sense, but didn't help me in the least...

After some more Googling I struck gold! I found a little gem that I think everyone should know about:

The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine"

This cool web site lets you find content that has been taken down or deleted. At least this worked for my old AOL cat page... Entering the link URL in the search box of the site revealed a timeline of content (see here for details). I could select any of the links to old versions of the content from here. And voila, here is the last known copy of my stupid, meaningless, insignificant, and otherwise useless, deleted cat page:

Stella, Zack and Rocko's Old Home Page

So if you're looking for some web page somewhere that got deleted or taken down, or some free web hosting company nuked all your files, journals, photos, etc., you may be able to recover some or all of the content using The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine". Note that material typically becomes available there about 6 months after collection.

I hope you find this as interesting and useful as I did!