The Internet in 1996

By Deane Barker on January 25, 2008

Internet ‘96: A fascinating look at the Internet back in 1996. It wasn’t a greatest of places, actually. Many screencaps. McDonalds…wow.

I decided to peruse the Wayback Machine’s earliest archives to see what the internet looked like in 1996, when I was 14 and evidently had much less free time than I do now. Much to my chagrin, few websites from these early years have been successfully archived, and many of the best preserved ones were created by fast food and soft drink corporations because they were some of the earliest adapters of the internet.



  1. Deane, I of course always like to go back to the “old days” of the Internet. A time when you were a pure genius for just knowing a little bit of HTML. I had a different take on this at posted my thoughts back at my site. It’s not only the look of the sites that has my attention, but also what was our excuse for not providing better content than what we did?

  2. Actually, it’s probably only that the Fast Foods were the only one’s to bother to archive a site that it seems the were the early adapters.

    As I remember it in 1992 the major adaptors were software sites, universities (before the edu domains), consulting firms, advertising firms, and plenty of geeky sites.

    As Bryan said, just knowing a little html made you a genius. Using the internet then, just made you geeky. Then again there is the precursor to the internet, the old BBS, beieve me there was no fast food chains there.

  3. Springer: In some ways, I miss the old BBS (as well as my old Commodore Vic-20 and 64). Since I grew up in the Kansas City area, I had plenty of numbers to call in the area. I attended my first, what would be called now, meet-up with some of those BBS folks in the late 80s. I thought I was a geek until I really met the true geeks of KC.

    Before the Internet, most people saw working with the computer as anti-social and isolating. Those BBS were the first hint that the biggest benefit of computers was that they could connect you with other people. In fact, I would say that the BBS (when done right) were the first true social sites.

  4. I remember when the first Virus hit computers in 1983, and we “all” we worried if we were get some type of Virus infecting our computers. I got to were I didn’t use our computer much, because I was in college and sure couldn’t afford to replace my computer if something happened to it. I also remember in 1996 I got on the Internet back then using a Webtv, we had a computer but I let my husband have ust that, and I used the Webtv mostly. It is amazing how much has changed in the past 20 yrs when you stop and think about it. There weren’t alot of people that had computers when I was in College, and I remember that when I started in the fall of 1981 that the girls on my hall in the Dormitory would come to my room and use the Internet, or play games in the evening. My roommate was the worst, i would wake up at 2 or 3am, and she would be on the computer. How she ever managed to go to class I’ll never know, but back then we didn’t seem to get or need much

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