Today, I want to tell you all about Geocities!
As well as its fan reboot Neocities, which this website is hosted on!
Geocities was a website hosting service created in the mid ‘90s by David Bohnett and John Rezner. The service was released under the name Beverly Hills Internet, or BHI, in November of 1994. In 1995, it was renamed to the iconic name of Geocities. Because of its accessibility and lack of editing restrictions, Geocities became the hub of an unique internet culture where people of all backgrounds and interests could create websites as long as they had a computer, internet access, and basic HTML skills. This website showcases a few of tens of millions of user-created webpages created from 1995 to 2008. I also talk about some Neocities pages that I think are worth checking out :3
Each website is linked below the thumbnail image. I encourage you to explore them yourself and see what you find!
Maria's Backstreet Boys Page
Last modified: December 13th, 1997
One of the most common types of blog you'd come across on Geocities were fandom blogs for bands, TV shows, etc. Maria's Backstreet Boys Page was , well, the title is self-explanatory. Her blog has profiles written for each of the band members, lyrics for their songs, and a dedicated page to her favorite member Brian. The website was hosted in Hollywood, which was one of the six original "neighborhoods" that users could create webpages on when the service first launched. While the background gives me a headache, this site does great job of showcasing the more innocent side of Geocities where teenagers could write about and share their interests with others online.
Joyce Hill: Mixed Media Artist
Last modified: March 10th, 2000.
Geocities was also used for more "professional" websites, like this portfolio for Joyce Hill, a mixed media artist from Grand Island, New York. I'm not sure if this was programmed by Joyce herself, but it does feature a lot of her work and some of the exhibitions she's appeared at. I'd like to think that my portfolio will be a Neocities blog, but that probably wouldn't be very professional?
Last modified: May 22nd, 2006
The website title is technically Georgeson's Scrapbook, but the heading says Dave's Scrapbook so I'm going with that. This is Dave Georgeson's online scrapbook! It's filled with low quality images from moments in his life from moving into a new home to going on a vacation to Mexico. It's not clear if he intended to share these memories with everyone on the internet or if he just wanted a easier way to share them with friends, but this website provides a cute example of how simple the internet used to be.
Last modified: June 26th, 2006
Not all websites were designed in plain Times New Roman. Forever Angelic has a sleeker design with a charming CRT effect overlayed on the background. Regardless, this website is another blog where someone wanted to share their interests and their art with the world.
In 1999, Yahoo would acquire Geocities in a $3.57 billion dollar purchase. This was during the Dot Com bubble, where many companies were going out of business due to poor investment decisions. However, Geocities managed to survive for another decade until Yahoo decided shut the service down on April 23rd, 2009. By October 26th, any website that had not been archived was lost to time, and many of the websites that were archived lost their images or other pieces of media.
Forturnately, a Geocities clone by the name of Neocities was launched in 2013, which provides users with the same freedom as its precessor, but with a modern text editor and more storage. Below are a few of the websites that inspired me to do this as a project.
Last modified: November 12th, 2023
tofokyo is a website that hosts art and animation drawn by Andrew. The entire website was programmed, designed, and drawn by him as well. It even features a music player with its own equalizer and playlist! It's still written from scratch but updates to programming languages and the worldwide web as a whole enables creators to present their artwork online the way they want it to be presented.
Last modified: July 4th, 2023
Another artist website, this time with a more relaxing interface. I discovered the artist prior to learning about Neocities, so finding this page was a nice experience.
Nowadays, people lean towards social media to create their spaces on the internet, which is cool and all, but these websites come with a lack of creative expression. The closest you can get to a fully customizable website in mainstream social media is Tumblr, but I believe that still has its restrictions. The freedom of expression that comes with designing and programming your own website from the ground up is something I want to take advantage of as an artist, and I want to convince other people to do the same. There's a slight learning curve, but HTML is one of the more welcoming programming languages out there, and there are plenty of tutorials! While I've experimented with it in the past, this was my first time creating a webpage from scratch, so if I can (sort of) do it, I'm sure you can as well!
If nothing else, I hope this was fun to look at ^-^