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Berserker's avatar

What are some of the first websites you can remember?

Asked by Berserker (33548points) November 20th, 2016

As the title says. And what were these sites, what did you do there? How long ago was this, and are these websites still active?

I can remember in high school, in grade nine I used to go to the computer class during lunch and after school, going on a website called TheBelly. You could chat with people, play some mini games, it was all pretty basic but I made an online friend there. I didn’t have Internet access at home, so we sent each other letters through the mail for a little while. Wherever you are Beth, hi! Lol.

There was also GoreGallery, where it showed nasty pictures of dead people and accidents and such. As far as I know that site still exists but is badly maintained, as in, not at all.

And then there were the various Sailormoon fan sites I liked to visit, back when “webrings” were the shit. All this was done on AltaVista, Yahoo and Webcrawler.

What about you?

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35 Answers

Stinley's avatar

I’m so old I remember the internet before the World Wide Web. It was very basic. I used a news database but can’t remember what it was called

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Yahoo when it was a directory – they manually maintained a list of web sites. The web was small enough that it was feasible to keep a list of most of the interesting.

I was probably using it in 1994, but the earliest version archived at the Wayback Machine is 1996. You can click through a few layers and see the hierarchy.

Yahoo in 1996

Seek's avatar

I used to spend a lot of time in chat rooms when I was way too young to be using chat rooms.

ICQ was the biggest. I remember that was my first exposure to South Park, because someone shared the “Kyle’s mom is a bitch” song to me. It took over an hour to download and I was in complete stitches over it.

This was when internet was charged by the hour… My grandmother nearly took it out of my hide.

But she thought the song was funny, so it worked out.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Early AOL chat rooms, before there were really any websites with content you could go to. I remember the frog in a blender interactive cartoon, enjoyed the hell out of that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Archie, Gopher, Veronica and Jughead. All “finding tools” before the search engines on the Web. I remember using “Finger” for my wife, so she could get an email address for daughter at college. All early to mid 1990’s.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

This sounds hilarious now, but I bought The Internet Starter Kit to learn how to get online and the book was 990 pages.

It was well worth the money. It was a good way to get all the necessary software (computers did not include it) plus a guide to different services.

As everyone else mentions above, the Internet was not just the Web, there were lots of other services.

I spent a lot of time browsing FTP sites looking for software and a lot of time in Usenet. Google Groups includes the Usenet newsgroups archives. I can see my posts in there back to 1996.

Dang, I was sharing some arcane knowledge 20 years ago. I see myself in:

dappled_leaves's avatar

I remember being on some Angelfire forums to talk about TV shows (ahhhh! I just remembered Whoosh!). I remember using Altavista for searches, and MapQuest to find directions.

Pachy's avatar

The one that stands out for me is a branding website I and my marketing team did for Motorola around 2001. It was way ahead of its time, with lots of bells and whistles that were so popular at the time like Flash, audio and video. Looking back, it was as primitive as you can imagine, but at the time, we thought it quite impressive.

The technology we were pushing on the site never got off the ground because it wasn’t really technology, it was simply market branding, something Motorola (despite geniuses like me) hadn’t a clue how to do.

That was sad, because this was the company that came up with the first car radio, introduced the amazing StarTAC clamshell mobile phone and at one point made chips for Apple. But by 2000 they were in a serious technological slide—didn’t have an intranet until well into the ‘90s.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Louvre museum. You could download a picture of the Mona Lisa in 30 minutes.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I also remember when a website was made by a spider.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Gosh. I looked in on some chat rooms in the early 90s. Very weird! I’d say Snopes is what comes to mind first.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I remember playing some internet game that was set in a cave and had the player collect a vase, a pillow (for setting the vase, so it wouldn’t shatter), a trident, a giant pearl, and other items. The game was just words on a DOS screen; no graphics at all.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I played a lot of zork back on the 80’s as a kid.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I cannot even remember. I know I chatted way too much. I used Netscape as a browser… I also used ICQ… beyond that… I don’t know.

Cruiser's avatar

The year was 1983 and the website was the MLS…multiple listing service for Realtors. You had to connect to the web by putting your phone into a “receiver” and then dial in. Lots of R2D2 noises later you were connected to the internet and MLS service. No pop ups or spam…a beautiful thing. Can you say DOS?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I clearly remember the first moment I heard music streaming on the Internet.

I was reading the TidBITS newsletter on a Saturday morning in 1995 and it said this: ”[I have] Progressive Networks’ new RealAudio program playing some John Lee Hooker in real time over the Internet. If I was wearing socks, they would have been knocked off some time ago. Although I do have a 56K direct Internet connection, I’m in the middle of testing providers for the third edition of Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh (due out in late June), so I’m currently connected via a 14,400 bps PPP connection to Northwest Nexus. In other words, I’m jamming real-time audio through a standard modem…One of the reasons I’m tremendously excited about the potential of RealAudio on the Internet is that it could easily enable you to preview a low-quality (RealAudio has nothing on a CD player) version of an artist’s work. If you decided you liked the music, it’s trivial even now to order the CD over the Web from places like CDnow.”

I followed one of his links to find one of the handful of streams online and I was blown away, too.

Berserker's avatar

@Love_my_doggie A pillow! That game wins already.
Seems like a text based game such as those fantasy ones on old ass game consoles where the computer and monitor are stuck together.

@Cruiser Damn, there was internet back then?

Mimishu1995's avatar

I first had access to the internet in a language center, when I had to do a research on a computer virus with some kids. It was around 2005 or 2006. I didn’t know what the internet was, something that made me look like some sort of underdeveloped kid in front of my classmates (can’t blame my younger self though, while the kids were busy making friends on Yahoo Blog I was stuck with a computer with no connection playing solitaire). I still remembered my feeling when they typed It felt like they had just done some magic trick!

Some time later I finally had time alone with the center’s computer. I realized that I could do the same magic trick. I wanted to explore more, and ended up typing some unthinkable keyword on the address bar (back then the address bar wasn’t connected directly to Google): “lovely doggy .com”, “I hate school .com”, “my friend’s birthday .com”... notice I always put spaces in every “address”

Finally for some reason I ended up on this site that fueled my Sherlock Holmes fan instinct last time I check the site wasn’t the same as when I first saw it. Then that site took me to, which was like a magical kingdom (and yeah, Youtube was much better back then). I started creating an account, which led me to Yahoo! Mail in the process, and started posting comments on Sherlock Holmes videos using horribly broken English. I also used a software and managed to download about 10GB of videos, many of which are still in my computer to this day.

I could go on forever about my crazy internet adventure. There were a whole lot of site I found too, Wikipedia included, but most were discovered using Google, and I can’t remember most of them.

Cruiser's avatar

@Berserker Don’t get too excited…It was clunky and all business. My attention was more on my Atari game consul playing Pong and Tron.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@Berserker “A pillow! That game wins already.”

The goal was to wander around this cave, complete with a twisty maze of tunnels, and avoid homicidal dwarves while gathering treasure. The player could carry only so many items at a time. If the player tried to put down the priceless vase without first placing a pillow on the ground, the vase would shatter into countless shards. Fun stuff, learned by trial-and-error.

“Seems like a text based game such as those fantasy ones on old ass game consoles where the computer and monitor are stuck together.”

I played this game on a monitor with an attached keyboard. The computer was a remote mainframe that I had to access by calling and placing the telephone handset into a coupler with two suction cups. This all seemed very spiffy in its day.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Love_my_doggie Sounds a bit like this game (based on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). No pillows, as far as I can remember.

Berserker's avatar

Not playing it then. Everything should have pillows.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Berserker come to think of it, around 2010 there was a site in my language that had dead stuff similar to GoreGallery. Back then dead pictures were very popular around the internet (you only needed to type “scary pictures” and they were all over the place), but that site was the best of them all. Basically it was some sort of forum, each thread had some dead pictures with a weak description and you couldn’t really know what the pictures were until you clicked on the thread. The thread names were the most hilarious things to read. There were threads with clear description, but there were also a lot of clickbaits with ridiculous names, things like “if you see this, please don’t die” or “bon appetit motherf**ker” (yeah, jokes about meal were quite common in that site)

The site seems to have been taken down and dead pictures are being heavily moderated at present. There is now only one site that caters for this stuff but it requires registration. Some random sites still have dead pictures but as far as I can tell they are mostly re-upload of the 2010 site.

Berserker's avatar

Interesting. There are tons of sites like this in North America still, although my interest has long phased out.

Also in my details I just realized I meant Rotten, (nsfw, appears to be more maintained than I thought, don’t go there, nasty) not GoreGallery. Both are the same, but last I heard GG became accessible only to medical students. But that was more then a decade ago.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Dutchess_III But can you say Lotus 1–2-3— ? ?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I never used Lotus but I was an Excel user – when it was Mac-only.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay VisiCalc was Mac only; Excel was written and sold by Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Microsoft Excel was a Mac-only program released in 1985, there was no Windows version until 1987.

VisiCalc was an Apple II program, not Mac.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I was there!

AshlynM's avatar

Lycos where I used to chat. Angelfire.

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