How to See Craigslist Ads That Have Been Removed & Cached

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If you're looking for an ad on Craigslist, you may notice that it's disappeared after a certain amount of time.
Image Credit: Natalia Shabasheva/iStock/GettyImages

If you're looking for an ad on Craigslist, you may notice that it's disappeared after a certain amount of time. Sometimes this just means that the ad has grown old and automatically been cleared, but it may also have been removed for violating Craigslist terms of use, being off-topic or because whatever was being advertised is no longer available. You can sometimes access old Craigslist ads via the cache in search engines like Google or Bing or via the Internet Archive.

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View a Deleted Craigslist Post

Sometimes you may be planning to contact someone from Craigslist, the popular classified ad platform, about buying or selling something, renting an apartment, applying for a job or another type of transaction but don't have time to do so immediately. In such cases, it can be frustrating to find that the ad you want to respond to has disappeared from Craigslist.

Luckily, there are still sometimes ways to access a Craigslist ad after it has been removed from the site. One way is to use the cache feature of search engines such as Google and Microsoft's Bing, which stores a publicly accessible copy of many websites for at least a short amount of time.

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To find a Craigslist ad or other content in Google's cache, search for terms in the cached page, such as the approximate title and city of a Craigslist post. You can also include the term site:craigslist.org in your search to narrow your results to hits from Craigslist. If you find a Google hit for the page you want, click the downward-facing arrow and click the Cached button. That will give you the most recent cached version of the page available in Google's cache.

Bing has a similar feature which allows you to click to a cached page in its cache. Keep in mind that since the search engines capture page content at different intervals, they may have different saved versions of the same page from different times.

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Using Other Archives

Search engine caches aren't the only way to find old versions of pages. If you know the exact address of a Craigslist ad, you may be able to find it in the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, which stores historic copies of many websites. If you have visited the ad before, you may be able to find its address in your browser's history, which is searchable in most modern browsers by clicking the History button on the menu bar at the top of your browser window or top of your screen.

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Other archives may keep copies of Craigslist ads in particular, such as Harmari's tool to search historic classified ads. You may need to pay to use certain Craigslist archive tools.

You can also search Craigslist to see if the post has been reposted under a new address. Search for terms you recall from the original post.

Things to Keep in Mind

If you find a Craigslist post you think is interesting, it's often a good idea to print it, save it with your browser's save feature or take a screenshot on your computer or phone. That will let you have a copy even if you can't find it in a Craigslist cache or on the original site.

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Remember that if a Craigslist post disappears, there may be a reason for it. It may have been reported for fraud or other disallowed activity, or whatever good or service was being advertised might no longer be available. Use caution when responding to historic Craigslist ads, and keep in mind that whoever posted them may not be that excited to hear from additional respondents after the ad has been taken down.

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