How To Find A Lost Article In Google’s Cache

442 Words. Plan about 2 minute(s) to read this.

I had moment of confusion when a 1,200+ word analytical piece I’d written on HP networking utterly disappeared from my WordPress site. I still don’t know what happened. The piece was written, published, and linked all over social media. It was picking up page views immediately after publication. I’d seen some re-tweets and gotten some comments. I noticed on Saturday that the piece wasn’t seeing anymore traffic, but I was on a long hike, and didn’t have much time to think about it. Sunday I was traveling, but again noticed a surprising dearth of attention. But…it was the weekend and lots of other folks heading to VMworld like me. I just didn’t think much about it.

Gone

Monday, I was going to simply re-tweet it to get the ball rolling again, since a Friday afternoon publishing time isn’t too smart. I just figured the piece had died due to poor timing on my part and the pending conference. Nope. The piece was GONE. Not moved to trash, or some funky URL got out there in the wild that pointed to a 404 that I could fix with a 301. Just absolutely gone from my WordPress database as if I’d never written it at all. Ugh. Slight panic. I had put a lot of thought into the piece, and was hoping to engage some folks in conversation about it, etc. Recreate it? I have too much to write as it is. I didn’t want to try to reimagine that burst of creativity.

Saved

Google cache was thankfully to the rescue. Finding something in Google’s cache is straightforward if you know the URL you seek. In my case, the missing URL was “http://ethancbanks.com/2014/08/22/missing-synergies-hps-sdn/”. To retrieve this URL from Google’s cache, I simply requested “http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://ethancbanks.com/2014/08/22/missing-synergies-hps-sdn/”. And there it was!

What happened?

The question still remains as to why the article was gone to begin with, and I have two theories.

  1. My web provider had to go to a backup copy of my server due to a failure, but didn’t notify me.
  2. My CDN provider had a caching problem, where the actual server and cached content was not synced, and the article got clobbered during the synchronization process.

Either way, this issue never happened before. But it did reveal something bad about my writing process. I write in WordPress via a browser directly far too much. I need to write locally, then publish remotely. I have been working in Scrivener, and need to do more work there first. I have also used Evernote to compose articles, but Evernote isn’t especially good at text editing.

Ironically, I composed this very article in WordPress directly. Sigh. Old habits…


Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
about | subscribe | @ecbanks

4 thoughts on “How To Find A Lost Article In Google’s Cache

  1. Unfortunately this the cloud attitude but for every cloud service, there is no replacement for a local copy (articles, photo, videos …). Use whatever program you have at your hand: Evernote, OneNote, Word, Notepad ;) but keep your articles, notes on your NAS ;).

  2. That was a close call Ethan… I’ve accidentally lost drafts from time to time but never a published post. Great idea though looking through Google cache, some of us less popular writers might not be so lucky as to have Google indexing our every post. ;)

    1. You are correct. There’s another one missing as well, both very popular articles. Something more sinister is afoot. Time to change passwords and delete some plugins.

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