The internet has come a long way. A really, really, really long way. Though since I don't remember much of the early internet, I often forget about the fact that it used to be a lot different than what we have today. After all, I'm only 22—I haven't been around for that long.
Despite that—or, perhaps, because of that—it was always quite interesting for me to hear stories and learn new facts about the old-school interwebs. That's why this particular Reddit thread was just right up my alley. A few weeks ago, a Reddit user @DevilYouKnow posted on the site asking fellow users to name the weirdest things they remember about the early days of the internet. As per usual, redditors delivered. In addition, while looking through the users' answers, I happened to learn quite a few new things that I had no idea about. For instance, I didn't know that back in the day, people weren't able to simultaneously use the internet and the phone!
Without further ado, Bored Panda invites you to look through some of the weirdest things people remember about the early internet. As always, feel free to add your own in the comment section!
The Simplicity Of Recipes
I dunno. But, I really miss the way recipes used to be shared online. No scrolling through a giant website of background story of the recipe and countless ads. It was literally just the text of the recipe, with comments under of how to tweak that recipe. We were so spoiled by the simplicity and immediacy of ingredient lists back then and we didn’t even know it.
Downloads Taking Literal Hours
Starting a download before you went to bed so it would be done when you got up the next morning.
Mom, Put Down The Phone, I Want The Internet!
Telling people not to use the phone because you were on the internet.
"I Miss The Independence And Creativity Of The Early Web"
I miss the independence and creativity of the early web. You could surf it for interesting topics developed by people as a hobby for hours and not ever run into anything corporate. That has completely reversed now, sadly.
Who Remembers "Netscape Navigator"?
Who here remembers Netscape Navigator being the best browser?
The Badger Song!
"BADGER, BADGER, BADGER MUSHROOM MUSHROOM!"
The Fun Of Customizing Your Cursors
I remember entire websites dedicated to customizing your cursor
"It Was An Assault On The Senses, But It Was Also Glorious!": Overburdened Web Design
The early days of CSS & HTML with cursor effects, far too many different fonts, visitor counters on every website, inexplicable scrolling text, animated gifs everywhere, etc. It was an assault on the senses, but it was also glorious!
"Under Construction" At All Times
The always present 'under construction' sign as well.
The early internet was awash in black background with dayglo fonts and it was glorious. And they were all connected in little rings.
Having To Pay For Every Single Minute Online
Dial up that would charge you by the minute. People today don't know how good they have it.
Extremely Intricate Fonts
I remember my friend showing me some flaming text on his school intranet page and I thought it was the absolute f****** future
Absolutely No Rules
I must be older than anyone here, because the "early days" of the internet was back when years still started with 19. And there were NO RULES. There was no online tracking, no ad-bots, just no enforcement of any kind. Essentially the internet then was what the dark net is now. Anything could be found, but only if you knew where to look. Search engines were all but useless and nothing was protected for s***. A few hours in a dumpster full of paper could get you access to nearly anything. That was the early days of the internet.
The fact that muting your computer didn't get rid of the dial up noise.
We Somehow Survived Without YouTube
YouTube wasn’t around.
Viruses Weren't As Sneaky
It your computer had a virus, you knew. Nowadays, aside from ransomware, viruses are a bunch of uncreative sneaky bois that steal passwords or slow your computer down for a botnet.
Hamster Gifs Everywhere
It was just hamster gifs
The Good Old AOL Chat Rooms
Aol chat rooms. I do miss those tho.
You Had To Figure Things Out Yourself
This just gave me flashbacks. This is why I think a lot of GenX/early Millenials are pretty tech saavy. There were no GUIs for software, no pretty websites on the internet, nothing to "Google" for help. You had to be so damned persistent but it made you really understand things. Now I teach GenZ students and although they mostly have superior social media skills, they really struggle to understand how parts of a computer function together. I've spent hours trying to explain the difference between a local and remote drive, browsers and enabling extensions, clearing a cache, using suites of apps like Google Apps or Office, etc. Especially with so much college learning shifted to a remote format this year, it really showed some of the holes in our childrens' education in using technology.
Personalizing AOL's Notifications
My friend's mom's reaction when I replaced AOL's "you've got mail" with "you've got porn"
The Horrors Of The Dancing Baby
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t see anyone mentioning the dancing baby??? He was so creepy! My mom was stunned that technology could create something “so lifelike” and was obsesssssed. I miss the program I had to create ‘storybooks’, it let you edit the stickers and recolor everything, clicking tiny little pixel boxes for hours Clickclickclick
Never needing to pay for AOL. Free discs were everywhere. I used them as frisbee.
Random Stuff On Limewire
All the random s*** on Limewire under completely different titles
Waiting For Pictures To Load
Trying not to blow your load waiting 30-50 seconds for a picture to load fully from top to bottom
Internet Explorer Owning The Place
Every software you download was a toolbar on internet explorer
Who Needs URLs Anyway?
How AOL didn't use URLs. Every "website" had a keyword, meaning that every topic literally only had one website. I remember when Nickelodeon would constantly promote themselves on TV and said "Log on to AOL keyword 'Nick!'" meaning that that was literally the only place you could see Nickelodeon content.
Everything Being Much More Complicated
An email costing 5p. Every minute of being online costing 1p. Having to manually write http://www. Otherwise the website wouldn't load. Trying multiple times to log on using a dial up modem. Some days it just wouldn't work. The fact that you couldn't be online if someone in your household was on the phone. The agony when after logging on after 10 attempts someone in the household would pick up the phone which would instantly drop the connection.
Loading Taking Hours. Well, Minutes, To Be Less Dramatic
Waiting 5 minutes to load one email page (AOL)...You've got mail.
Websites With Psychedelic Colors
The idea that websites with psychedelic colors was a thing
Trying To Find Music. Unsuccessfully
Mp3 sites where you'd click a link, and be transferred to a similar site... in which you should click and repeat the process, only to find nothing in the end. Some had names like "illegal-mp3s.com" or something.
Note: this post originally had 40 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.