Our Favorite Websites from the 90s
November 16th, 2016 | Natasha Englehardt
Yes, it’s true: there was an Internet in the 90s! Some of these sites are actually still active, for reasons that are mysterious to everyone but whoever maintains them. While these sites aren’t really useful from a modern perspective, they’re hilarious to visit and instructive in terms of how far web design has come. In case you don’t remember or weren’t really online back then, we present for you our favorite websites from the 90s.
For 15 years GeoCities was one of the Internet’s most-visited destinations. Originally launched in 1994, it was filled with “homesteaders” who created their own web pages in little neighborhoods based on interests. In this sense it was sort of a grandparent to today’s Tumblr, with “homesteads” or sites instead of profiles, contests, art, and Web 1.0 GIFs. Users could even participate in events to win GeoPoints, which you could as currency in the GeoStore.
Yahoo acquired GeoCities in 1999, and finally closed the site down in October of 2009. Since that time a GeoCities web archive project has been in progress, so if you’re still raw about your old, deleted homestead, you can check that out.
Why wouldn’t we love this ancient movie website? The entire movie was sort of like one big 90s commercial, and it was first feature film in history to combine traditional animation, 3D computer graphics, and live action to such a huge extent. The site is still up, and you can go there to see visual proof of Hollywood trying to figure out what to do with the Internet.
Before there was Google, there were search engines like AltaVista. A fugitive from December 1995, AltaVista allowed users to search the web and Usenet, but it was also intended to foster community, hosting contests with prizes. AltaVista also offered Creative Web, a website building tool.
As the search engine grew older, the homepage became more of a web portal with trending stories and popular searches featured alongside a breaking news section and an online shopping area. If that format sounds vaguely familiar, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that today AltaVista is actually part of Yahoo.
In honor of election season, take a look at the Dole/Kemp ’96 website which is still alive today. Ironically, although the campaign was not that robust, it was a decent site for its time, and given that it’s still kicking, it’s safe to say that the site has proven tougher than most whatever else was floating around during that election. Bonus: you too can still have tiling photos of Bob Dole grinning as your wallpaper.
Yes, Angelfire was born in 1996—and although it is now part of Lycos, it’s still out there. Today’s Angelfire is an HTML5-based drag and drop interface for paying subscribers. If you love the look of the old-school 90s website with that textured wallpaper and those clunky GIFs, you may feel right at home on this site.
If you’re still in love with the 90s (or you are just curious about the Internet’s early awkward, pimply days), you may want to take a few hours to explore our favorite websites from the 90s. Sure, these were our less than stellar days online, but they’re an undeniable part of our Internet history—and they’re also pretty funny.