Find the Date When a Web Page was First Published on the Internet

Generally, site owners mention a published date or last updated date or both within the articles to tell users about the validity of the content. This is often a best practice for webmasters, especially for the time-bound blog posts. Without the published date it’s difficult for users to return to a conclusion on whether the article is valid on the current date or not. However, many websites don’t mention the published date, and sometimes you’ll need it for understanding the validity or citing or linking it on your page.

How to Find Published Date of an internet Page?

  • Check the metadata on an internet page
  • Look at the URL structure
  • Check the XML Sitemap
  • View website ASCII text file
  • Check-in Google Search
  • Use query in Google Search

1. Scan Through the online Page

The published date is one of the metadata required for creating an internet page online. This is often a part of the schema and search engines need this date to know the originally published date to point out within the relevant search results.  However, some authors may display the published date below the article depending upon the planning of the location.

Find the Date When a Web Page was First Published on the Internet ...

In our site, we show the published date below the title. We replace the published date with the last updated date to point out the last modified date which has relevance for readers.

2. Check out the URL Structure

There are alternative ways to point out the URL of an internet page within the browser’s address bar. Popular content management systems like Word Press, allow website owners to line the URL with month and year based structure. Check out the URL of the page. If the author uses a structured way of making URL with month and year then this might assist you in understanding the possible month/year on which the page was published. For instance, the URL might be like this – https://www.webnots.com/2015/05/this-is-my-page/. Here you’ll assume the article was published in May month of 2015.

Here is an example of the URL from CNN, published on 02 May 2019 –https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/02/asia/mount-everest-trash-cleanup-scli-intl/index.html

If the online page URL has a different structure then check the image URLs on the location. Sometimes, the pictures can have month based URLs though the page URL has a different structure (we use images during this manner).

3. Check XML Sitemap

If you can’t find the published date on the article then check out the XML sitemap of the web site.You can access the XML Sitemap using the URL “https://www.website.com/sitemap.xml”.

You should find the published date if the online page isn’t updated after publishing. Otherwise, the generally published date is going to be overwritten with the last modified date.

4. Check ASCII text file

View the page source by right-clicking and appearance for the header section between <head> </head> tags. The <meta> tags may contain published or last updated date of that page. Most of the time you discover the last modified date because it should be a part of HTTP header data of an internet page. You’ll check the header of any website using this HTTP header checker tool.

5. Check Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has a history of all publicly available sites. you’ll look for the online page and find the primary indexed snapshot. Though this is often not the published date, it should be approximately nearer to the published date.

6. Find with Google

If you are doing not find the publication date of a page within the above-mentioned methods then Google may help find that.

Besides the first published date of a piece of writing, there’s another date referred to as “Indexed date”. This is often the date when the search engines first index the page to point out it within the search results. Given the very fact that Google has the capabilities to index pages within few hours of publication, generally, the published date and indexed date shown within the search results are the same or with a mere difference of hours or each day. So finding the indexed date in Google may help to seek out the first published date of a webpage or blog post.

Step 1 – Open Google, type “inurl:https://www.webnots.com/” in the search box, and press enter. You’ll see search results showing all pages containing the https://www.webnots.com/ within the URL.

Step 2 – Now attend the address bar of the browser and add “&as_qdr=y15” at the top of the URL and hit enter.

Step 3 – You’ll see an equivalent search results but with the date of indexing before Meta description, as shown within the picture below. And this is often the approximate published date of an internet page which you’ll refer to.

How to Cite a Website in MLA: A Complete Guide

The date shown within Google is that the indexed date which can match the published date if the article wasn’t updated after the initial publication. However, if the article was updated then Google will re-index the updated content and therefore the date shown within the search must be considered as the last updated date.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you’re doing research for a paper or simply want to understand how current a webpage is, it is often frustrating when the webmaster doesn’t add a date to their articles. Thankfully, there are ways to urge a rough idea of when a page went up. It’s going to not be precise one hundred pc of the time, but it can offer you an honest idea of how topical the article is.

One of the opposite reasons for site owners trying to find the published date of articles is during migration. Assume you’ve got a site build with individual pages and you would like to migrate the whole site to a replacement hosting platform like a blog. A typical example here might be migrating a content site built with Weebly to blogging platforms like WordPress. Generally, pages don’t have published date mentioned and blog posts got to have the date mentioned. When migrating you’ll want to assign the published date because of the original published date of the page rather than the present date. Here you’ll find the first published date of pages of old site using the above method.

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