How to know when a website was first published or launched

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Matthew M. White
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We've probably all had our fair share of problems finding a website's release or launch date. Some need it for a school essay, some need to prepare a work presentation, while some just want to know the actual age of the content. This article explains the different ways to find when a website was first published. Note that the information you find may not be 100% accurate in many situations.


Search the website (and URL) to find the date of publication

The easiest way to identify an article's original publication date is to check the website carefully, as often an online article will have a date of first publication and/or last update. Note that not all websites include publication and modification dates. In fact, the dates appearing on the page are often inserted manually. Either way, it's a good option if nothing else provides the information you need.


When looking for the publication and edition dates, they are usually located at the beginning or end of an article. Alternatively, you can search for a copyright date, which appears at the very bottom of the website. Note, however, that not all websites have this and the the copyright date only displays the year of creation of the whole siten or the year of its last update.

Before looking at other more complex methods, keep in mind that the URL may also contain the response. Some sites like to keep their articles tidy by putting their publication date in the URL.


Use Google to find the publication date

Google primarily displays the publication date next to each search result in most cases. However, if this is not the case for you, here is what you can do to find the date of publication of a particular web page:


  1. Go to Google and type inurl: in the search field.
  2. Now copy and paste the page URL right next to inurl: and press "Enter" or click the magnifying glass (Google search).
  3. In the URL box at the top (not the search box in Google), add «& As_qdr = y15» without quotes at the end of the URL, then press " Enter. » A date should now appear in the page results.

Check the source code to find the page's published date

The source code helps with many aspects of the website, including how it was created, since most of this information is not available otherwise. Here's how to open the source code and find the release date using Google search on Firefox, Chrome, and probably most other web browsers:

  1. On the webpage you want to view, right-click and select “View page source”. The default shortcut for this option is « Ctrl + U » under Windows, and “Command + U” on Mac.
  2. The source code for the website appears in a new tab in your web browser. hurry « Ctrl + F » under Windows or "Command + F" on Mac to open the "Search" function.
  3. To find the publication date, it's best to just type "publish" in the search box.
  4. The terms you are looking for are Date published, publication date, date_published, etc You can use the "Search" function again if necessary. You can also search for “date modified” to find out when the site was last modified. The year should be listed first, followed by the month, then the date.

Use "Dating on the Web" to find the date a page was posted

There is a free online service called Carbon Dating on the Web that is specifically designed to find the approximate launch date of a website. It's free and easy to use, but it takes a bit of time to estimate the date. This tool had a success rate of 75% when its developers tested it on pages whose creation date is known.



People who cite a lot of websites can also benefit from the ability to install the program locally.

Use the Wayback Machine to find the original publication date of a web page

The Return Machine is a tool that keeps track of existing sites over time and stores pages (snapshots) and information in its database. It was released in 2001 but has been around since 1996. It gives you the opportunity to explore the history of over 366 billion websites. Although this does not represent the original post date, snapshots may display one on the page. At the very least, the first URL capture gives you an idea of ​​how old the web page is. Here's how to use the Wayback Machine to optionally view published dates.


  1. Go to the Return Machine website.
  2. Type or paste the desired URL in the search box and click the button "Browse History" or press "Enter".
  3. If the search is successful, you'll see how many times the Wayback Machine recorded site information and when, represented by colored dots behind the days each snap was taken.
  4. In the timeline towards the top, click on the first year with marks on it, which indicates that snapshots were taken.
  5. Hover over the first marked date (colored dot) to view the snapshot details. This is the first snapshot taken of the webpage.
  6. Click on the first time listed (often only one is shown) to view the page snapshot. Look for any information about the publication date.

Check the comments to find the page's original post date

Before you lose hope, try checking the reviews. Webpage comments can help you get the approximate date or at least see that a particular website existed at the time the comment was made. Sure, comments are often managed by an admin as approved or denied, but that gives you a rough idea of ​​how old the webpage is.


Finally, if you can't even get an approximate publication date, consider using the notation "(nd)", which means "no date". It's usually fine as long as you tried to find the date in advance. Alternatively, if you need a date, you can use the earliest date you found using one of the processes above.

In conclusion, the most accurate way to find the original publication date of a web page is to search for the published information on the page, which often appears with the word "Published" or Created. The other methods aren't as accurate, but they can provide a good estimate if the site itself lacks detail. If all else fails, just use undated notation or mention the date of your last visit.

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