How to Find the Most Recently Updated Date of a Web Page

A website is made up of multiple web pages that hold content. As each page’s content gets updated, it’s most recently updated date changes. There is the date when the page was created, and then there’s the latest updated date. These dates are important to know if you’re citing the web page or linking to it on your page. You might also need to know the dates for content validation purposes. Whatever your reason, here are six ways to find the most recent updated date of a web page.

What Are the Different Web Page Dates?

Every web page on the internet has three important dates attached to it. The first is its Published Date. This is when the author of the page originally published the content on the web. The second is the Last Updated/Modified Date. This is when the author last updated the web page. The third is the Indexed Date. This is the most recent date that search engines crawlers indexed the page for search results.

You might need to know these dates if you were a webmaster looking to follow a tutorial that uses screenshots. Knowing the validity of these screenshots is important because it ensure you’re looking at the screenshots the author intended and the most current and accurate screenshots for the instructions.

These are the six ways to find the most recent updated date for a web page.

Check the HTTP Header

The HTTP protocol is what allows web pages to send data and receive data. The HTTP details are included in the web page’s header, and if you know how to check it, you can find the latest updated date. One way to check the page’s header is with an HTTP header checker tool online. All you must do is enter the URL and it will produce a report that includes the latest updated date, the server, the content-type, and more.

If you don’t want to use the free tool, you can also right click on the web page. Select “view page source.” You will be shown a selection of code and within one of the <meta> tags you will see the latest updated date. If you can’t see it, simply press “crtl + F” to search for it.

Using XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps are included in all current websites as a method of telling search engines about the site’s structure. Some sitemap structures all you to see the latest updated date. To check, type in the website’s URL and add “sitemap.xml” to the end of it. If it has a current sitemap, you will be able to see the “Last Modified” date. You can also see the most recent modified date of each page on that website.

XML Sitemap Last Modified

Using Google Search

Google’s search engine has a relatively simple method for finding a web page’s latest updated date. First, go to the Google search bar and enter “inurl:sitename.com/page-url” and put the website’s name where it says “sitename.” Then, go to your browser’s search bar and add the following to the search URL, “&as_qdr=y15”. When shows up is a search result with a date at the beginning of the meta description. This is the last indexed date. Usually, this is close or exactly matches the latest updated date.

Using Command URL

If you’re familiar with JavaScript, you can use a code to find the latest updated date of a page. This is an excellent method for finding the date on static pages, but not for finding the date on dynamic pages.

Start by opening the webpage in your browser. In the address bar, type the following, “javascript:alert(document.lastModified)” after the web page’s URL. When you press enter, you will see a popup that displays the latest updated date.

Using Google Cache

The Google cache is useful for finding all sorts of information about a web page. To find the last updated date, simply use a free Google cache checking tool. Or, find the cached data in your Google Search. After entering your query which will bring up the desired web page in the results, select the small arrow at the end of the URL. Then, press the “cached” option. This method also shows you the last cached date that it was indexed by a Google crawler. 

Google Cache Checker

Using Internet Archive

What is Internet Archive? It’s a non-profit that operated Wayback Machine, a crawling engine. This tool captures snapshots of data on all public web pages. This data includes the most recent updated date.

wayback machine internet archive
wayback machine internet archive

To use this method, go to the Internet Archive website. In the Wayback Machine’s query box, enter the URL of the web page you’re seeking data for. After pressing enter, it will supply you with every version of the page between its first indexed date and the date it was last found. This method shows you all the updates that have taken place on the website, but not necessarily the most recently updated date.

How to Display the Most Recent Updated Date in WordPress

For webmasters and site owners, displaying the most recently updated date on your WordPress web pages might be a good idea. It shows visitors and Google how recent the content is. To manually add the date, all you must do is add the text and date in HTML in the backend of the page. But, if your WordPress site is PHP-based, you may need to know some more complex functions. Luckily, most standard WordPress themes have this coding automatically included and thus the date is already shown. If you want to get the latest modified date of your page and display it inside your dynamic WordPress PHP page, use this function :

<?php echo get_the_modified_time();?>

In conclusion, there are several effective ways to find the latest updated date of any public web page on the internet. If one of these methods doesn’t work for your system, try a different one. The most reliable of the options are checking the HTTP header and using the XML Sitemap.

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