Google Cache: An Emergency Web Backup?

Richard CummingsTechnologies/SolutionsLeave a Comment

You have often seen that little “cached” link that appears in every google search query result.  Have you ever thought about why it is there?  I had not used it until a new client called and said, “I’ve Lost Everything!  Help!”

I received this call from a frantic business owner who was referred to me by an existing client.  He was in the process of moving his web site from web hosting company to another.  He had a backup of his web files but he had relied on his web host for backing up his MySQL database.

So, after he had fully migrated his files over to the new web host, he closed down his account with the original.  Later that night, as he was verifying his new setup, he realized that the pages with the MySQL results were not showing up.  He quickly realized that he had not migrated the MySQL database had no backup of it.

He called the original web host, who he had moved away from because their service was abominable, and politely asked if he could have one more day of service to retrieve his MySQL data.  They told him…”sorry, but your account has already been deleted.  We may be able to retrieve the data if you sign another contract.”

He was frantic because this MySQL data contained a lot of link information that was earning him money.

I received his call after the existing client referred him to me.  “What can I do?” he asked.  “I spent at least 1 month worth of time creating the information that was in MySQL.  It would be impossible for me to recreate.  Can you help?”

I did not know what to tell him at first.  How could I retrieve data that was gone?  I thought he would probably have to haggle with the former web host to get the data back.  But then it hit me.

Would it be possible to retrieve the data using Google Cache?

I told him that I had an idea and would call him right back.

Sure enough, I searched for his website and right below the main links there was the “cached” feature.

Google cache was originally designed in the event that a web page may be experiencing Internet congestion, deleted, or temporarily unavailable.

However, I realized then that Google Cache has one more very effective use:  An Emergency Backup.

I clicked the google cached version of my new clients website to see what I could retrieve.  Sure enough, all of the data was there.

I called my new client back and mentioned a few bits of the data and then said, “Would that be what you are looking for?”

“Yes, that’s it!  Holy Sh*t.  How did you do that?”

I then told him…”a little Google cache goes a long way!”

My client had to put the information back into a MySQL database but he did this in the better part of an hour.  He was ecstatic.

I obviously do not recommend using Google Cache as any form of reliant backup.  But, if you are ever in a pinch, and think that you have lost your web data, don’t forget about Google Cache…it might just save your a*s  🙂

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