Firefox ditches 404s in favour of archived pages

Mozilla's browser is trialling showing older versions of a webpage instead of an error message

Sick of stumbling across pointless 404 pages when looking for something online? Mozilla's got your back - and the Wayback Machine to help. 

The Firefox maker is trialling an add-on that shows an archived version of a webpage rather than a 404 error, which is the message shown if a page has been deleted or is otherwise no longer available, but is still being linked to from other sites or search engines.

The archived pages will be sourced from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, which takes snapshots of websites. 

"Tired of dead ends on the web?" Mozilla asked. "We'll let you know when there's a saved version of what you're looking for on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine."

If there's an archived page available, Firefox will give users the option of viewing it, so you won't see an old page and think the information on it is up to date. And as not all websites are archived by the Wayback Machine, you'll still see some 404 pages.

The system works via a Firefox add-on or extension, which scans the text on the page to see if it's showing a 404, and then checks if the Internet Archive has a version to display. 

To test the system, you'll need to be running Mozilla's "test pilot" version of Firefox, which trials experimental new features in the browser, before deciding whether they should be rolled out to everyone else. To use the add-on, you'll need to install the Test Pilot extension, and then install the 404 No More trial. 

As ghacks notes, there are existing third-party add-ons that do a similar job, notably the Resurrect Pages extension, which checks for cached versions of pages. Google also lets you view cached pages directly from search result pages by clicking the drop down button next to links. 

Featured Resources

Defeating ransomware with unified security from WatchGuard

How SMBs can defend against the onslaught of ransomware attacks

Free download

The IT expert’s guide to AI and content management

How artificial intelligence and machine learning could be critical to your business

Free download

The path to CX excellence

Four stages to thrive in the experience economy

Free download

Becoming an experience-based business

Your blueprint for a strong digital foundation

Free download

Recommended

Chrome vs Firefox vs Microsoft Edge
web browser

Chrome vs Firefox vs Microsoft Edge

7 Jul 2021
Mozilla and Brave release one-click method for online privacy requests
web browser

Mozilla and Brave release one-click method for online privacy requests

7 Oct 2020

Most Popular

What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
Citrix mulling potential sale after tumultuous 2021
mergers and acquisitions

Citrix mulling potential sale after tumultuous 2021

15 Sep 2021
Hackers develop Linux port of Cobalt Strike for new attacks
Security

Hackers develop Linux port of Cobalt Strike for new attacks

14 Sep 2021