What is Essential to Know About Last Website Updates

There are many cases when, for specific purposes, the user needs to retrieve the data about the last modification made on the page. The reasons for such actions are greatly varied, depending on the specialization or main purpose of the seeker. It can be related to programming issues or proofreading of the posted content in more routine-like cases. Sometimes, the data like this can be noted within the page openly, as happens with news articles, but most of the time, the owner does not care about such details. This makes the user search for the date manually, using various methods with different accuracy rates. Some of them are adapted to the novice, some are easy to get but way too unreliable, and some require advanced knowledge that cannot be obtained in regular circumstances.

Why is There a Need to Check the Latest Page Update?

Some may think that the publication or modification time does not matter much, but for some fields of work or search, such information is quite valuable. Especially noticeable the impact can be from:

  • academicians and students. Whenever scientific works are prepared, the chapters are always presented with information sources. For the web citations, the date of the latest updates on the site is included in an obligatory way, defining the reliability of the source given;

  • clients of certain products or services. Through the latest modifications, it is easy to figure out whether the site is active or when the page's recent update was dedicated to specific offers. For the owners, this builds up the credibility of their work, attracting more customers with up-to-date information;

  • journalists. The news publications, in order to check the actuality of the material, often have to work with the dates of initial posting, page updates, or periods of their existence. Some of the branches, when searching for the fakes and changed articles that tried to mask the failure, are especially interested in deep searches related to time;

  • lawyers and the ones involved in legal proceedings. With the laws, the information is constantly updated, so the person can easily miss their next move just because of ignoring the factor of old publications. Including the fact that some clauses of the law change rather severely, it is for the best to stay safe and make sure to check the dates thoroughly;

  • programmers or people working with specific software. There can exist multiple guides or collections of tips applicable to the application, but most parts would not work just because of the relation to previous updates. From the design changes to major transformations in the principles of work, the posts created a year or even less before are no longer useful, demanding for most recent information;

  • promoters and jobs aimed at increasing website traffic. Whenever the site introduces quick and regular content publishing and updates on the categories, it has quite the chance to get more attention from the users. The more recent the publication, the higher probability of receiving more visits and views.

As can be seen from above, the last modification holds quite a lot of importance, making it an irreplaceable criterion to keep in mind during searches. The examples clearly show how even in everyday life, without many necessities, the retrieved knowledge about updates on the page can improve the situation. This is why so many methods of actuality check exist, showing the user the approximate or exact modification time, depending on the needs expressed.

Recommendations on How to Check for the Latest Update

From the check of URL text to the use of side applications, there are multiple methods to see when the page was created or updated. The result for the different purposes can hold some variations or allow the diversity within the acceptable range, or be exact up to the seconds. For example, as proof, the modification dates are listed in the journalists’ revealing articles up to the latest accessible notions. On the other hand, the regular user feels content with the day only, which can be shown within the Google search tab without any actions.


The most popular methods include:

  • Checking the Field “Last-Modified” directly from the page;

  • Entering the Internet Archive source;

  • Reviewing the Google Cache in-built feature;

  • Searching for the sitemap of the website;

  • Seeing the Google Search result directly;

  • Using the HTTP Header with the help of different tools;

  • Web page URL verifying through a direct link or additional elements.

If one needs to go for the most precise answer, they combine the results via several ways to check the results' compatibility. Unfortunately, for now, little is known about how to retrieve the information, detailed enough, from only one method, as the internet is still in its active development phase. Whether the centralized data center will be developed in the future, including all existing links with exact timelines, is currently unknown because of the high requirements for its operation. The current powers can handle only the limited information within one source or with the support of enthusiasts in the same sphere.

Checking the Field “last-modified” Directly From the Page

The HTML code holds a lot of information about the source it maintains, including the dates of content publishing and the latest modifications made. However, the common user easily feels lost in the variety of notions that are also folded under general categories that do not give clear clues. Of course, they can manually search for the information, which is usually kept in the “head” section, not requiring them to go far. But, in order to conveniently find the necessary notion without wasting much time, one needs to:

  1. Enter the page they are interested in.

  2. Right-click on the area without any media content, like blank space, as the safest choice.

  3. Search for the option that includes the words “Page Source” – depending on the browser, the formulations slightly vary between each other.

  4. Check that the HTML source page has opened.

  5. Apply the combination “CTRL + F” that activates the search bar within the HTML page.

  6. Type in either “modified” or “published”

  7. Supported by the “content” attribute, the results should present the publishing and editing dates right next to each other.


There is, however, one important nuance to such a method that should be taken into account. Although the accuracy of the modification point is high, the user should not trust it right away because the text can be edited with the corresponding authoring tool. No one introduces the guarantee that the update time point is real, so it is better to be supported with another method of checking the information.

Entering the Internet Archive Source

One of the most popular tools, which receives real people's support, is the “WayBack Machine” project by the Internet Archive. From the historical point of view, this is a truly valuable source that contains the actual images of different sites or their pages throughout the time of their existence. Depending on the popularity, the archive collects data for different intervals and, what is important, recreates the look even if the source is long gone due to the support timeout.

The most important factor lies in the fact that it is tightly connected to the visitor’s demands. When the source is known only among the little group of people who keep it niche, then the archive will unlikely even discover it, not talking about its updates. Even if some information is added, no guarantees are given about capturing the side links, making the full resource image. So, for the full operation, there has to be someone updating the resources, adding side pages that the machine did not record manually, and doing it frequently enough to represent the whole picture.

As a stand-alone idea, WayBack Machine is truly helpful, but for its perfect representation, there are not enough powers to make it work to the fullest. The project is able to evolve into something grandeur, but it will take in process way too many sources the developers do not obtain now.


Among the main advantages of the Internet Archive platform, there are:

  • Ability to contribute personally – everyone can enter the site even without registration and enter the link for the pages they want to preserve. The update does not take much time, includes all the media content available through the link, and, after adding other categories, supports moving to different sections.

  • Reliability of the snapshots – all images are taken right after submitting the request and kept separately according to the timeline. The content does not intersect with each other, representing a clear view of how the page looked at the chosen time.

  • A replay of the lost media content – if the audio or pictures were taken down for some reason, the WayBack Machine can recreate the file in case it was saved in the system before. For this reason, many call the source not only the “website archive” but the “storage of digitized materials” in general, including their different types of content.

To work with the Internet Archive, there is no need to be proficient in technology. It is enough to open the source, type in the upper bar the URL or related keyword and sort out the appeared results. The list is represented in the calendar with tagged appearances, where the number and dates of snapshots appear with precise timing. Other tabs can show statistics, diagrams, included links, and more useful additional information to their liking. If the page is not included, it is enough to look for the last field, which offers the save and enter there the address to the source they want to save, conserving the image of how it looks nowadays. With time, such users can become contributors to the preservation of a legendary website that holds significance to a certain group of people.

Reviewing the Google Cache in-built Feature

Another method to try retrieving the last modification of the website is using the Google Cache service. Unlike the Internet Archive source that collects data for long-term saving with the help of enthusiasts, Google Cache saves all accessible links for a period of 90 days since the last update. During the endless loadings or temporary site breakdowns, it helps to represent how the website looks like from the last save point. But there are no alternatives – only one version of the website is available at once, so, for earlier references, WayBack Machine is more effective.

cache cache-date

The Google Cache feature represents its potential not in calculating the last modifications but in finding them out while comparing saved and actual versions. For example, this system is helpful during:

  • searches for duplicate content. With high similarities in the presented links, the actual page and its cache can be two different things in practice. In SEO optimization, this can be a negative signal, so it is better to find a way to separate the associations built by the system;

  • notifying the search consoles about attachments to the updates. When the actual version appears in the cache, too, then the optimization is proceeding as planned, definitely taking the changes into account;

  • following the success of competitors in one’s niche. When another site appears at the top of searches, the cached version can still fix the previous variant of how the page looked before and what adjustments were made. Such a strategy of market analysis helps to keep track of every change, improving the owned content accordingly;

  • looking for alternative backups. Not every source remembers about creating website copies, so the risks of losing all the updates are really high for them during the breakdowns. Through Google Cache, they have at least some chances to save the previously made content and use it as the base for the new version.

As for the last modification date, the owner or user has no opportunity to see the actual update or the exact date for the last changes made by the developer through it. The copy is made automatically once in a time, and the exact period for it is undetectable and not synchronized with the author updates. So, its goals poorly correlate with the searches of the last modifications but can be useful for other purposes.

Searching for the Sitemap of the Website

The feature of the sitemap is mainly concluded in technical work with search engines, listing for it all the relevant links the owner wants to be indicated during searches. However, one of its additional tags, “lastmod”, indicates the time when the page was updated for the last time. Together with it, the full link, its priority for the search, and the frequency of updates can be found. Of course, on the condition that the sitemap was provided by the owner – not every source remembers to create one for themselves.

To find the relevant file through the direct links:

  1. Open the main page, the sitemap of which should be extracted.

  2. Try to enter different combinations, adding them to the initial link: sitemap.xml, sitemap_index.xml, sitemap-index.xml, sitemap-categories.xml, sitemap-en.xml and so on.

  3. When none of the methods work, search for the sitemap via the /robots.txt documentation.

  4. After finding the XML file, look for the necessary link with the “CTRL + F” combination.


The “lastmod” tag is usually included, but it is still an additional point that can be omitted when compiling the sitemap in its final edition. With mentioned frequency updates, the date of the last modification can be pretty accurate, although not reliable for every case, so one should be careful with it. For this reason, one should be careful with such sources of information, but among other methods, it is comparatively safe to believe in while searching for latest updates.

Seeing Directly the Google Search Result

Separately from the Google Cache, the approximate publication date can be accessed via the main page of Google search after entering the request.


Same as with the HTTP heading, there are ongoing debates about figuring out the true meaning of the mentioned time period. Among them, one can meet:

  • obtaining slightly different content after page scanning;

  • reposting the initially mentioned metadata on the actual page of the article;

  • the date of the first or last indexation by Google;

  • or similar versions that, in reality, do not show the last time of page modification.

In case one does not require high accuracy and needs only approximate notions, there is a way to set the Google page to show all of the available dates for every presented website. Unlike what happens in the usual mode, when only several links have a time tag added, the applied setting makes all pages reveal the date, allowing one to see the most recent links.

For this feature to be activated correctly, the following steps should be ready step by step:

  1. Entering the start page of Google search.

  2. Figuring out the keyword that will be used for the actual search.

  3. Adding before the phrase the combination “allintitle:” with separation by space.

  4. Proceeding with the command that should reveal the dates attached to all of the options below.

Sometimes the issue may happen when the last modification is still not revealed even after using the keyword despite completing the said conditions. Then comes another tip: to the final URL, after launching the search process, the combination “&as_qdr=y10” is added. The final number can vary, depending on the age of target websites – it indicates “the results for the past __ years”. With this, the system should accept the command properly and show all the time tags that were omitted.

Using the HTTP Header With the Help of Different Tools

Among the most accessible tools for figuring out the last modification data is also the HTTP header, which carries a significant amount of invisible information to the common reader. As it transfers to the client all the server’s information, there is a lot of data that can describe the website more from a technical point. The list includes their content type, server information, and, surely, the date of the last modification. But, according to the official quotation, the criterion shows the time “at which the origin server believes the variant was last modified”. So, this means that for the majority of modern websites especially, the last modified parameter can equally include:

  • creation of the response;

  • change for the page layout;

  • website caching;

  • restoration of the backup copy;

  • the actual last content modification time.

But, contrary to the inaccuracy rates, there are many different ways to retrieve information about this feature – from the easiest tools to ones requiring some knowledge in coding or writing scripts. They are rather helpful for websites of comparingly simple structures or sources with seemingly dated interfaces.

Developer Tools Adjusting

While difficult to use by non-proficient users, this method is used similarly to the cases when JavaScript is applied. To run the command revealing the last modifications, one has to:

  1. Launch the page and make sure it is fully loaded before proceeding.

  2. Look for the blank area and right-click the suitable piece, opening the menu.

  3. Search for the option that includes the word “inspect” – if there is no such option, try again with another piece.

  4. Open the Developer tool with the help of the previous step. Some browsers activate this feature in another way, so if nothing similar to “inspect” appears, it is better to search for answers in the Help section.

  5. Switch to the tab called “Network”.

  6. Reload the page while keeping the Developer tool open – for a better experience, the cache should be cleaned by the F5 button.

  7. Look through the reopened requests list, selecting the first link with a partial match to the website name.

  8. Open the “Headers” side menu, switch to the “Response Headers”, and select there the option of “last-modified”, which should be situated not too far from the top.

Although the method may sound as difficult, the main secret of its use – is to be able to orient by key notions listed in the instruction. The other part of the steps will be performed much smoother after pointing out the essentials that have to be worked out.

Free Tool Application

So as not to spend too much time, the use of online instruments for HTTP decoding is the most convenient way to start. The work with them consists of:

  1. Copying the necessary link.

  2. Searching for the online tool for interacting with HTTP headers, for example - GeekFlare.

  3. Pasting URL in the corresponding field.

  4. Clicking on the option named “Test headers” or in a similar way.

  5. Selecting the row with the header “last-modified”.

The data format should include the exact date, weekday of the corresponding year, full-time value, and the mention of timezone, usually – in GMT.

JavaScript Command Running

This method can be performed in two standard ways – either from the URL field or Developer tools, searching for the line with the last modified date. In some ways, they are similar to the described HTML code section but with a direct cut to the data and a clearer understanding of the code content.

In order to launch the JavaScript via the URL field:

  1. Load the page that is required for retrieving the date.

  2. Click on the link until it is selected as a whole, and clear it from the field.

  3. Enter the command “javascript:alert(document.lastModified)”.

  4. Make sure that the prefix with the JavaScript part is added, especially after copy-pasting the code.

  5. Launch the command by pressing “Enter”.

  6. Wait for the pop-up notification that identifies the date required.


There can be the issue of a message showing a timestamp with the current time or no activated response on the code. It can usually be fixed by changing the browser, but sometimes even such a move is to no avail. Then the problem lies in the source itself – it does not show the last modification because there is no such field in the initial code.

When trying to work through Developer tools:

  1. Launch the page and make sure it is fully loaded before proceeding.

  2. Look for the blank area and right-click the suitable piece, opening the menu.

  3. Search for the option that includes the word “inspect” – if there is no such option, try again with another piece.

  4. Open the Developer tool with the help of the previous step. Some browsers activate this feature in another way, so if nothing similar to “inspect” appears, it is better to search for answers in the Help section.

  5. Switch the tabs to the “Console” option.

  6. Type in the same command as in the previous method, “javascript:alert(document.lastModified)”. There may appear warning messages from the system and requests to confirm the action, but they hold no actual importance in such cases.

  7. Confirm the code and wait for the pop-up, indicating the date and time for the “last update” line.

Web Page URL Verifying

Similar to the prior method, if there is no message appearing on the screen, the source of the issue lies in either of two reasons: the wrong browser to work with JavaScript or simply the absence of the code. If it did not work on the second try, then no need to proceed with other consoles of software.

Web page URL verifying

Sometimes the answer can be hidden right in front of one’s eyes, and the modification – or, at least, creation – dates lie on the surface. The thing is that some websites, mostly projected as blogs or managed with the help of construction tools like WordPress, attach to the post link the date of their publication. So, sometimes it is enough to just look up at the screen top to get the idea of the date when the article was ready.


Or, in a more hidden manner, the same can be said about media content – when opened in a separate tab, it can show the file name with a time of creation or upload data, sometimes up to the seconds. Sure thing, it is not to be trusted completely, but this becomes one of the most reliable methods to figure out the modification date from the direct source.

Additional Methods of Update Discovery

As it was slightly mentioned before, there are other methods to figure out the publication or latest upload time, which are less reliable, but still can be taken as evidence. With no other supporting information, they serve as the last possible option that provides at least some data about approximate dates for release.

  • Asking the developers for cooperation. For this method to work, the person should present some really strong arguments about why such information should be passed to the, basically, unknown person. Sure thing, such data is hard to be classified, but the success rates for the response are incredibly low in the standard situation.

  • Orienting at the commenting section. If the source is popular enough to have frequent visitors, the comments will greatly help in tracking the page history, with someone noting updates or changes in comparison to the previous version. However, in most cases, despite organizing one, it can be eerily empty, becoming a simple addition to the site functionality.


  • Selecting the clues given in the content itself. Many do not recognize this one as a reliable method, as neutral articles usually avoid any mentions of time. From case to case, the feature can work, but for its decoding, one should know about major or local events, and different time specifics. The best narrowing of the period in such cases – within a month or so, the accurate calculations are almost impossible.

  • Taking as given the on-page content metadata. For respectable sources, the timing set is as accurate and trustworthy as possible, establishing a crystal-clear reputation for them. But it should be just kept in mind – this feature is also adjustable, allowing the manipulation of the content timing in different ways.

All things considered, there is a great choice of options that can be applied to figuring out the data modification time. They vary by their accessibility, requiring only basic use of the Internet, or some specific knowledge that cannot be applied as easily. Some of the sources introduce accuracy up to the seconds, while others show the date or simply the month, introducing an approximate period. And all of them present different degrees of authenticity because of manual adjustments or differences in criteria provided by the system. For this exact reason there are so many recommendations to not believe only one source, double-checking the information with other, more or less independent methods. With its application, one would be able to figure out the relatively reliable date concerning the issue of the last modifications made to the site page.