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Timeless Thoughts – Geocities

Timeless Thoughts - Click to join the linkup
Timeless Thoughts – Click to join the linkup

Hello, yes I’m still here. Just in time for this months Timeless Thoughts from Georgie and Tara. Click the image above to join in if you have something you want to write about that gives you a little nostalgia.

Recently, I was discussing with a friend the internet of old. It started with a mention of Alta Vista on Google’s 18th Birthday. For those of you that don’t know what Alta Vista is, it was Google’s predecessor. It was Google before there was Google. The very best search engine of its time. In the end Yahoo ended up owning it and, not surprisingly, ruined it. Because that is what Yahoo does it seems.

Our discussion then moved from search engines to webhosts, reminiscing about Geocities, Angelfire and Tripod, to name a few. Geocities is definitely where I got my start. It was the place I found when I realised that “hey, I can make websites too?” and yes, they were very basic and very terrible until I learnt more and technology started improving.

The thing I really enjoyed about Geocities was that they had a bit of fun with choosing your url. You got to choose your address based on the neighbourhood you chose and the number you wanted in that neighbourhood. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any screenshots of this but Geocities had different cities/neighbourhoods with different themes so you could set up your website in Hollywood if your website was entertainment themed, for example.
Once you chose the neighbourhood you wanted you were then presented with little houses and you got to choose one. This also meant you could choose your neighbours! Once you made these decisions you got to move in and start on your website. Geocities did try and make a little community for their budding website builders.

Geocities was so iconic that there are now silly websites where you can ‘geocities-afy’ your website. Here is mine! – That’s a little scary!

In the end Yahoo bought Geocities and, well, ruined.

On my trip down memory lane last week I stumbled upon Neocities whose aim is to make the internet fun again – Geocities obviously also had an effect on them too. They want to make website building accessible and about skill and interest rather than about money making, “pin me” covered websites. This spoke to me as I really do miss the website building of old where the aim wasn’t to be the best (no one was making money anyway so what did it matter?) but to be the best you could be and there was a community around to help you out if your layout just wasn’t doing what you wanted it to do.

So that prompted me to sign up for Neocities and make my own little slice of the internet (away from this slice of the internet) where there is no php or divs or even layout images. It’s just a basic website that I had fun creating. This is very similar to something I would have made back in the day, I always liked using black/charcoal and a bright colour, usually blue or pink. I’ve always been more interested in using colour to create a layout rather than images, something which continues today.. in fact, I realised while writing this post that the colour scheme is the same as All The Me. I guess some things never change!

While I’m not sure I’ll do anything else with the Neocities site, it was fun playing around with everything again. I can’t believe how rusty I was and that a simple table was a stretch of my memory. I used to make sites like this all the time and now I barely remember how, it really shows how tools like WordPress make you a little bit lazy.

Did you ever use sites like Geocities to create websites or other free hosting providers? Did you make websites before the days of wordpress?

9 thoughts to “Timeless Thoughts – Geocities”

  1. Haha I would say even your Neocities website looks better than the atrocious mess that the Geocities-izer made of your website. And mine! I had a look and I have a computer chip background with lots of use of the Courier font. Great!

    But I thoroughly agree… making something simple with tables and inline font tags and other old technologies was the way we did it back then. And we didn’t really get bogged down in proper design. We just wanted a page where we could write a bit about ourselves and slap a photo on. Back in the day, before I started to use iframes, I would have a really simple layout with just one photo or image, use image mapping for navigation (hahaha) and then have a blank boring div underneath with all my content. It worked and that was all I cared about :P

  2. AHAHAHA! Geocities was where I started my web page making, too! That, along with Angelfire and Tripod . . . but I was mostly on Geocities. I forgot about their URL naming scheme, so thanks for the reminder. I wasn’t on Geocities long — maybe about a year or so. It was a good place to start, but I discovered it was so limited! That’s why I began to bug my dad for paid webhost, and I finally convinced him when I was sixteen to pay for DreamHost, and I’ve been with them since!

    Your Neocities page looks nice! It definitely looks better than the Geocities pages back then, haha! I totally agree with Georgie on that.

    1. I always kept my website making a secret from my parents so I had to think of other ways to get away from Geocities :P Usually a nice friend would sub domain host me thankfully.

  3. I used Geocities to create many websites when I was first starting out. It was so much fun and I learned a lot (eventually haha). Man. Seeing your site in all that wonderful styling and Geocities magic is… out of this world.

    I like the site that you made and it’s wonderful that you enjoyed it! :D Makes me want to have a play on there haha.

  4. Omg, the nostalgia! I started out on Geocities too :D
    To be honest I sort of miss the craziness of old time web design. Back then nobody gave a crap about SEO or responsiveness or anything like that, it was all about expressing yourself and your personality. In some ways, we had a lot more artistic freedom then than we have now. We can do more now, web development is constantly moving forward, but we’re also so much more limited and confined to standards. The Internet as a whole is better designed and more user-friendly now, but it’s also slightly more boring.
    With that said, I can’t say I miss all the horrid gifs and auto-playing music, haha! Some things are better left in the past :)

  5. I really cut my teeth on Geocities and, although it was a bit awful (let’s be honest!), I can’t say that I didn’t miss it when it was gone. Just a wealth of information on the internet, gone in no time. At least we had it while we had it, right?

    Now it’s Tumblr that’s full of the awful gifs, auto-playing music and tiny, tiny, tiny frames and font sizes. Some things never change!

  6. Yeah somehow web design seemed more…fun then. I guess we weren’t so worried about impressing people maybe?

    That said I used to use geocities some. I mostly used homestead though. My sites of course looked awful, but I had a lot of fun with it!

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