Talk:List of websites founded before 1995

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


I founded the Gnosis Archive in 1993 (haven't maintained it or really been involved with it since 1995), as Wikipedia itself acknowledges in the Gnosticism in modern times article. "It was the first web site to offer historic and source materials on Gnosticism, and continues to do so." Surely that qualifies for inclusion? The site has remained in operation continuously since then, although the domain was only registered in April of 1995.

tvleavitt (talk) 23:04, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

I co-founded Web Communications in May of 1994 with Chris Schefler (RIP). Our web site went up shortly thereafter, and we launched our beta in September of 1994. While we officially launched our service in January of 1995, we were serving pages in 1994, including several dozen customer web sites during the beta period, and we started hosting the "WebCom Power Index" shortly after the company was founded (many references exist to the "Power Index" still exist, although the "Power Index" is no longer available and the company was sold in 1999 and the web hosting service itself was shut down a couple of years ago). Web Communications was the world's first self-service web hosting company. That should also qualify it for inclusion, I would think. At one point, we hosted over half of the sites on the Internet using Netscape's SSL enabled web server. I still have the install CD's for Netscape Server version 1.0 somewhere.

tvleavitt (talk) 23:18, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Here's a list of sites to be folded in (or not, your call):

Here's a reprint of an artcle from 1994 with some interesting info: [1] The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rodii (talk • contribs) .

I'm thinking that stopping at the end of 1994 (ergo founded before 1995) is a good scope for this list; although there's plenty of good sites which showed up in 1995, the web grew dramatically in '95 and I don't think we could be fair by picking and choosing sites from then, but pre-1994 is a nice small set. KWH 07:53, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
  • "The WELL" was started as a community dial-up BBS in 1985 in Sausalito, California by Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant. It was bought by in 1999 and is still run as a community chatroom. [[2]]
  • The WELL launched on the web in January 1995--just missing our cutoff! [3]  ·  rodii  ·  13:16, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
  • CompuServe has been around as a dial-up portal since 1969. It was purchased by AOL in 1997 [[4]]
  • Prodigy was started in 1984 as a dial-up BBS and internet portal. America Online was begun in 1989 as an outgrowth of Quantum Link, a BBS designed for the Commodore 64 and 128 computers. [[5]]
  • Granted there were quite a few of them, but is it worth it to include a list of the universities that first put themselves up on the Web? There's a good number of them, but I think they should get some credit here. Domhail 20:35, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Do you have a list? How many are we talking about? If it's hundreds, it might be best handled as a separate page. If it's dozens, perhaps as a single bullet point for each year. Zompist 14:40, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
  • came online very very early. I think it might have been online before the alleged earliest north-american site, though I'm not sure and haven't found documentation. It may have been included in built-in menus of early web browsers, if those are available. In 1992, Steve Romig began writing the earliest precursors to CGI programs. The first was a zippy-the-pinhead program, which would randomly select a zippy quote, and turn the capitalized words into hypertext links back to itself for more quotes (until you found one with no capitalized words). He also wrote a gateway which could grab an rfc from our ftp server, convert it to hypertext and serve it. There was also a man server, although it was initially a static conversion tool; I'm not sure when it was turned into a gateway. And a WAIS interface. Around February of 1993, the hypertext Usenet FAQs project came on line at this web site and grew steadily for a number of years. We also put a pair of cameras on the web in late 93 or early 94. I can document it to May of 1994 based on an annular eclipse that was documented with a long video cable and a battery pack. Spinwebbe documented it (although I believe he incorrectly attributes it to 1995). The website does not exist today only because of departmental reorganization, but is it's direct descendant. It was an important early web site and it's a shame to leave it out. Thomasafine (talk) 20:29, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
So far as we can tell, there were only about 3,000 Web sites globally in August, 1994, when the very first coral-reef related Web site, ( was displayed via a Macintosh server from NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, in Miami, Florida. That page has operated continuously since that time. -- Jim Hendee and Louis Florit, originators of the site. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hendee (talkcontribs) 17:34, 12 October 2010 (UTC)


I'd like the list item text to primarily link to a WP article on the site or the organization... then in the summary text we can include links to the Current site (if still exists) and/or archive of the site (if exists). KWH 07:51, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Agreed as a goal--that's why I left the redlinks above here. It's a work in progress, though. Some of those external links can be turned into wikilinks eventally.  ·  rodii  ·  13:30, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

What I'd like to see (also) is links to the original pre-1995 site, courtesy of Mdmcginn (talk) 18:31, 8 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Seeing added made me wonder about the first "site as art" site I remember. I can't figure out when they came online,though--anyone? (See Jodi.) · rodii · 19:23, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't have time to read it fully, but this article indicates that was in 1994 or 1995, along with others... if this is something which interests you maybe you can find out for sure and update the Jodi article with this info... KWH 21:14, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
I surely will do that--it seemed reasonable to ask, though. 1994 sounds right to me. The trouble with jodi is that the site itself was so inscrutable. Maybe there are old domain registration records somewhere. · rodii · 22:38, 1 April 2006 (UTC)


  • Why is IMDB listed as being founded on 2 seperate years?
No good reason; this is a list of websites, not databases, so I removed the earlier reference. Zompist 22:44, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I think this might be better off deleted[edit]

This seems abritrary using 1995 as a cut off point, POV in that it mentions only some websites founded before 1995 (there were many more websites than this before 1995), and Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 00:25, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

It's not indiscriminate; the article begins with an explanation of what is being collected. As for a cutoff date, that's what makes it a list of early websites. Zompist (talk) 02:17, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

To me, this article is valuable and interesting. Mdmcginn (talk) 18:30, 8 October 2008 (UTC)


How does Gopher qualify as a Web site? I don't see how it belongs here any more than do newsgroups and FTP servers. (talk) 14:24, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

It's not a web site. It's not even primarily a search engine. It was (primarily) a menu-driven document server that let people read documents stored elsewhere on the internet, like the web. But it lacked hypertext capabilities and essentially lost out to the web. If any search engine belongs on this list, it would probably be WAIS servers, which were capable of searching multiple information sources including the web. I wasn't directly involved and my memory is sketchy, but I believe interfaces to WAIS were on the web around 1992. Battling McGook (talk) 17:50, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

bianca's smut shack 1994 first Vbulletin style forum[edit]

This is significant because it was the first site to utilize the 'Vbullitan" type of format still used in internet forums today Cosand (talk) 17:02, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


I have a problem with the entry for TuCows on the list of websites before 1995 - I can find no real evidence that this is the case. The first appearance of tucows in NCSA whatsnew pages was July 1995. Likewise the first mentions of Tucows on usenet archives occur only after this date. At that time, it was not a separate domain (which I'm fine with for inclusion, just trying to pin down a progression of events).

I see on tucows own website they claim a history going back to 1993. They say Scott Swedorski had a personal website in 1993. This could only mean a personal web page at his place of work in that era, which is possible. Even that would be fine for inclusion if it existed. However I also searched for Swedorski on usenet archives, and only found a couple of messages before this time period which make no mention of the web or his personal website or tucows. I similarly find no signs that his library was on the web before february 1995, in either usenet or NCSA whatsnew. I did find an announcement message from swedorski in 1995 that had been forwarded to a usenet group:!search/before$3A1995$2F7$2F31$20swedorski/

Normally I just delete these things straight away, but since tucows claims on their website to date back to 1993, I'm willing to wait a bit. But all the evidence I can find seems to indicate that swedorski wasn't really doing tucows in any substantive form until mid-95. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Battling McGook (talkcontribs) 17:37, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

World-Wide Web Worm listed twice[edit]

The World-Wide Web Worm is listed twice. Jidanni (talk) 23:23, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. Looks like it was announced in March 1994 on NCSA what's new pages. And the 1993 entry says it began development in 1993. So even if it was crawling in 93, it was not a significant resource until it was announced. I'll merge the two. And I'll add WebCrawler while I'm at it, announced in June '94.Battling McGook (talk) 17:52, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Amnesty International -[edit]

Hi there. I set up Amnesty International's first web/ftp/gopher site in September 1994, in collaboration with the organization's International Secretariat.

The site was hosted from 1994 - 1996 with Internex Online, an early Canadian ISP. Internex Online mapped every site's disk space to their web, ftp, and gopher servers so that a site was accessible via any of those protocols. Here's a Usenet post from 1994 referencing the site [Ray Mitchell's post, bottom of his post]:!topicsearchin/soc.rights.human/Amnesty$20AND$20Interntional$20AND$20before$3A1995$2F01$2F01/soc.rights.human/1ygd30lmzY0

The site was discussed in the 1995 book "The Canadian Internet Advantage" and refers to the site by its web protocol address (p. 233): "Amnesty International ( provides press releases and other documents that provide press releases and other documents..." :

In 1996, the site was moved to my own ISP (Ontario Internet Link) and renamed; here's an Internet Archive snapshot from October 1996:

A WHOIS entry will show the domain was first created in 1992. It was created by a far-sighted amnesty supporter who donated the domain name to Amnesty International sometime between 1994 - 1996.

The site has become perhaps the largest repository of human rights documents in the world, and I'm hoping to have it included in this list. I trust the above documentation is sufficient to establish that the website did in fact exist prior to 1995.


Mike blackstock (talk) 03:26, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

The bad news is that the only one of these in 1994 above is the mention from Usenet. But this is an ftp site, not a web site (even though it is serving HTML files). That's kind of a gray area. But the good news is that the august '94 NCSA whats new included a different link for Amnesty International, under the domain. So the gray area is irrelevant. Battling McGook (talk) 18:34, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Darwin Awards removal[edit]

I removed Darwin Awards.

  • was registered in 1997
  • I find no reference at all to the darwin awards anywhere in NCSA What's new pages.
  • I can find no references to a website at all in old USENET postings until 1997, at which point it was apparently a single webpage hosted off of an unrelated server (

If you find any references please provide them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Battling McGook (talkcontribs) 02:56, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

The Vatican Library?[edit]

I am fairly sure that the Vatican Library belongs here. I recall getting an email at work (Leeds University) saying that this new thing called the World Wide Web had been invented, and two of the sample web sites were CERN and the Vatican Library. I had thought that this was in 1992 but we used NCSA Mosaic so that makes it no earlier than January 1993. I remember it because it seemed such an odd organisation to be an early-adopter of new technology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bodgesoc (talkcontribs) 10:15, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Marc Andreesen was experimenting with a web interface to the Library of Congress' Vatican Library exhibit in May of '93. While interesting, it was just part of NCSA, which already has an entry here.
In Novermber of 1993, CMU put some Vatican manuscripts online, but I don't think this amounts to an individual sharing a private collection, rather than a real Vatican site.
In June of 1994, NCSA what's new mentioned that the Vatican had plans for a digital library, but no link.
If you can find something more concrete than this, then it should go on, but based on what I can see so far, there's not enough evidence. Battling McGook (talk) 15:37, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Happy 20 years ?[edit]

It seems the web as we know it only happened on late 1994, and truly in 1995. Now in 2015, shouldn't we have some kind of celebration ? Renmiri (talk)

Hob Nob Anyone?[edit]

There's slight evidence that a Reading FC web page existed by November of '94, but no evidence it was called "hob nob anyone?". But perhaps more to the point, there is a LONG list of many football club websites I found only a couple of months later, and plenty of earlier messages of other clubs with websites prior to this. From what I can tell, it was hosted on a server that already served several other teams. There may be something interesting to say in all that about early web history of football clubs but "Hob Nob Anyone?" can't show that it actually existed, and certainly can't claim to have any special contribution. Battling McGook (talk) 18:19, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Why 1995?[edit]

First off, I just want to say, happy 20 years since the release of the majority of these websites! However, why is this article called "List of websites founded before 1995" in particular? Why not name it "List of websites founded before 2000"? As there were also big websites, such as Google (1998) and many others that came out before 2000 and contributed towards the popularity of the Internet as we now know it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marioluigi98 (talkcontribs) 01:22, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Probably because by the year 2000, there were over 17 million unique websites. Even in 1995, there were 23,500 websites.[6] NotaBene 鹰百利 Talk 16:08, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

Guidelines for Inclusion[edit]

This page is a bit of an oddball in the Wikipedial realm, and I'm going to suggest some particular guidelines for it that go above and beyond what other Wikipedia typically uses. This is because this page is particularly prone to advertising attempts. It also seems to be particularly prone to a website's own description offered as a reliable source, sometimes pulled directly from the website, and sometimes pulled from promotional materials that have been reported by the press. And it seems to be prone to misunderstandings of what is meant by "website".

The page itself lists three criteria for inclusion, which do NOT all have to be met.

  • They still exist (albeit in some cases with different names).
  • They made contributions to the history of the world wide web.
  • They helped to shape certain modern Web content, such as webcomics and weblogs.

Clearly a complete list of all websites founded before 1995 is not feasible. The goal of this page is to list websites that are in some sense notable. Based on this, I'll add one more item that I feel should be required for inclusion, and is perhaps more important than others:

  • It had to be reasonably well-known by 1995.

This means that we need to have some source that demonstrates that the website in question was actually in use. A website's own "History" or "About" page is NOT sufficient. As it happens there's a relatively short list of acceptable sources that seem to come up repeatedly in this particular context:

  • A published article in a newspaper or magazine, ideally before 1995 (care should be taken with modern articles that might merely be news coverage of website publicity).
  • Mention in NCSA What's New pages before 1995.
  • Mention somewhere on USENET before 1995
  • Mention on the www-talk mailing list before 1995
  • Mention on some other significant and topically related mailing list before 1995

If a website can't meet any of these criteria, it probably didn't exist at all, and even if it did and no one anywhere was talking about it, then it wasn't notable.

I also want to cover what a website is:

  • A domain name is NOT a website. You can't simply look at the domain name registration to see when the website came online. Today, there is almost a perfect correlation between websites and domain names, but in the early 1990s, domains were primarily registered just for email.
  • A gopher site is NOT a website. Gopher had no hypertext abilities built in.
  • An ftp site is NOT a website. However ftp sites COULD serve HTML documents in a way that SOME browsers could handle as if it was a web server. So extra attention needs to be given if it turns out that the earliest server was an ftp server. If it was serving plain documents, then it is not a website. But if it is serving a web of interconnected HTML files, it MAY be considered to be a website.
  • Ideally, a new website came online before 1995 with its modern domain name but this is NOT a requirement. Many sites started out as a subtree on some educational site. Based on the way NCSA What's New covered this, and the way people spoke about websites in online forums, its clear that a topical subtree of a larger site was very often viewed as a separate site, and we should honor that. BUT we should be careful. The standard should be the same - that subtree should have been notable on its own (that is, not merely a part of the parent web site) before 1995.

This is just intended as a starting point for discussion. Let me know if you feel this goes too far, or not far enough, or if I've left out any issues.Battling McGook (talk) 16:17, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on List of websites founded before 1995. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 14:34, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on List of websites founded before 1995. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 01:58, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Change to "Before 1994"?[edit]

At the end of 1993, there were 623 websites. At the end of 1994, there were over 10000 websites.

The easiest way to deal with listcruft, IMO, is to change the cutoff year from 1995 to 1994. Power~enwiki (talk) 03:58, 23 July 2017 (UTC)