Lighting a Candle for Geocities

I dedicate this dripping blood bar to the memory GeoCities, which was shut down by Yahoo last week:

GeoCities – or GeoShitties, as we all oh-so-cleverly called it – began in 1994 as a community of themed “virtual cities.” There’s a list of all the GeoCities neighborhood names that ever existed on this page, which also offers an illuminating explanation of how the whole process worked:

When GeoCities first started offering free web pages to the public, they decided to create themed neighborhoods. Each neighborhood was then divided into blocks (each block was numbered between 1000 up to 9999). A user would then adopt a block and thus create their own pages within that block. Thus, a user would then have their own web pages located at a URL in this format: (“XXXX” would be a four digit number). The whole management of each Neighborhood was run by volunteers – known as ‘Community Leaders’ (CL’s), which is what made the GeoCities experience so special.

This whole process was known as “homesteading”, and each user had their own  “homestead”. Community Leaders helped out each “homesteader”, and created a friendly atmosphere which contributed to the rapid explosion of personal web pages on the internet.

And though it’s probably been years since any of us have even looked at a GeoCities page (and that’s probably a good thing), to some of us, those pages, with “BourbonStreet” and “SoHo” in their URLs, represented a special time: the period in which audiovisual sharing first really took off on the web. Geocities, along with Angelfire and Tripod, were among the first wave of free personal self-expression sites for the masses. It was the first time that people who weren’t born-and-bred web geeks began to establish an earnest online presence, clumsily piecing together basic HTML (“hello! border = 0!” was the big insult to fling at someone whose page lacked a certain finesse). Sure, it contaminated the web with a lot of bad poetry, but it also brought us a plethora of wonder: band fan sites, zine reviews, scanned photos of interesting strangers from across the world.

GeoCities will completely cease to exist by the end of the year, and all its sites will be wiped from the face of the web forever. Feast your eyes on few of the relics that will be soon be gone [edit: But there’s hope! æon writes in the comments, “jason scott of bbs documentary fame and a team of volunteers are archiving the whole thing.” Click here to learn of their valiant efforts.]:

So… anyone here remember a beloved Geocities site that they’d like to share? Anyone here guilty of actually having ever made their own Geocities page? Let us take a moment to commiserate and recall our first memories of the web, our favorite haunts, the ways we discovered one another. Efnet. Dalnet. Undernet. Midgaard. Webrings. Guestbooks. X of the Y sites. ASCII-embellished sigs. BBSes. Alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die.

What was your first circle of friends on the web? Do you still keep in touch with them? Where did you get your first taste of this great series of tubes?

32 Responses to “Lighting a Candle for Geocities”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Just a couple of weeks ago I was doing a search on Google for 90’s nostalgic value.

    The blood drip bar! Gah, what a relic!

  2. Daniel Says:

    Oh, and I still use Usenet quite a bit. I keep looking for the day for that to sort of disappear but it simply hasn’t yet.

  3. æon Says:

    you should probably mention that jason scott of bbs documentary fame and a team of volunteers are archiving the whole thing.

  4. celestyna Says:

    I raise an animated ankh in remembrence of Cryptie and all my fave old Geoshitty haunts.

  5. Nadya Says:

    æon: How fascinating! I’d never seen that link before. Thank you for sending it over! I’ll amend the post.

    Celestyna, when this news first broke, my FIRST THOUGHT was “oh my god, what about Crypite? NOOOOO!”

    Thankfully we are safe, for he and his magnificent forklift live on… on Angelfire.

  6. poppy Says:

    I can remember my first efforts at making a website – I was doing the colour, font and size I wanted in Word and then copy/pasting it into the html box on Geocities… I soon learned how to make large neon text on contrasting backgrounds with animated clip art gifs, although I am sure I never used Marquee.

    I’m sure I’ve got a whole bunch of embarrassing things from when I was 12 still somewhere on Geocities.

  7. jessu Says:

    oh man! I *did* have a geocites page, though I remember using tripod more.

    -clumsily piecing together basic HTML

    -contaminated the web with a lot of bad poetry

    -scanned photos

    The quotes, the embedded midis, the bad fantasy artwork… man. I spent an entire summer learning html, and I think I’ve still got that notebook kicking around somehere.

  8. Lydia Says:

    Oh, usenet! My first internet friends were probably (embarrassingly enough) on I discovered it in 1989. Those were the days. Now bring me my cane and prune juice!

  9. autosloth Says:

    There is a good chance that the Wayback Machine ( has much of geocities archived — and without the grandiosity the Archive Team seems to embrace.

    At least some Geocities sites are archived, especially before Yahoo! assumed control:

  10. Chris Maestro Says:

    Until reading this i totally FORGOT i had a site on geocities once. I did remember having it on XOOM later, which was aquired by Lycos…looking back you never noticed how these places vanished out of view from one day to another.

    Free hosting was the greatest thing, it had us ‘recycling’ a total of probably only 4000 animated gifs on about 2 million sites totally devoid of any practical use. Good times.

  11. Tequila Says:

    @jessu…guilty of all that. I still see some stuff from that era pop up now & again on sites that migrated to other hosts but never fully got rid of their geocities era graphics. I miss a lot of the old stuff now considered tacky and in poor taste.

    If I remember right…I know when The Matrix came out you could make a free…wait…FREE!!!!… Matrix themed site on one of the many Geocities like web destinations. Wish I kept the files for that…I miss all the gimmicky stuff people would use to grab your attention. Not unlike bad flash of today.

    @Nadya…Angelfire was awesome. Where else could cosplay Anime junkies post their low rez pics, gifs, and fanfic? I had my first website on Angelfire. I however won’t admit what its content was for fear of endless laughter :P

    All the old web haunts I had are dead and gone now…people went and got married, had kids, and just didn’t have the 8 hours a day to kill online. Though now they’re all on Twitter. So I guess it never really died fully…but all the chat rooms and BBSes I would frequent did fade into memory. A shame too…met some pretty good people that way.

    Now we all argue on assorted forums. Not really the same and far more hostile.

  12. Kale Kip Says:

    In 1997, me and some friends ran the first high school paper in the country with a website of its own. We made the news a few times, like being the embodiment of a future where the internet would play an important role in mass communication. A year later we all went to university. The school board took the opportunity to pull the plug and replace our paper with a teacher-run newsletter that was less supportive of drug-use, promiscuous behaviour and awful poetry.

    We continued to keep in touch through one of those horrible prefab guest books on a geocities site, where we would dump our most depressing experiences with college life. After the first year our crappy guest book site stopped, because we decided that since we were all in the same shit, we might as well start living together in the same house in the same city. I kept a copy of all those stories on my personal harddrive until I got my first masters degree, and then I forgot to take them with me on a cd. Now all those stories are lost, thank God.

  13. "Greg" Says:

    I still read the Outlaw Vern’s movie reviews, and his site was hosted on Geocities until just a few *weeks* ago:

    His review of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” movie remains one of my favorite pieces of online review/criticism ever.

  14. thekamisama Says:

    Oh man, you mean I won’t get anymore of those once every 6 months emails that my guestbook was still being graffiti’d or being asked to borrow/steal a picture by a 12 year old who just now discovered my old Jhonen Vasquez /Invader Zim fanpage?

    My fondest memories were of Geoshitties Chat. Before Yahoo! bought them out and razed the place. I am going to pour out some 40 oz. malt liquor tonight for my old virtual homies….

  15. Infamous Amos Says:

    It has just dawned on me. With the death of Geoshitties, 8-bit game consoles, and non-MP3 ringtones, I am of the last generation that will ever have to hear songs like Thriller or the Immigrant Song in midi format. From now on, kids will no longer have to hear re-makes of popular songs that sound like they were made on Fisher Price toys.

    Oh God, I officially now have a “day”, as in the “back in my day” day. I’m twenty fuckin’ three! Break out the ben gay and the colostomy bag, grampa need to go to youtubes and watch his stories.

  16. R. Says:

    I had a Geocities site also. >_< My Tori Amos shrine…er…site. I never updated the damn thing though and I pretty much forgot about it until I saw this. All my memories of early internet and surfing its vast oceans lead back to Geocities. Those were good times.

    Infamous Amos, if you’re feeling old then I’m a relic. I’m 26 and have more “back in my day” moments then I should be having at my age.

  17. bleiu Says:

    I had a Geocities website. It was like my baby. I put my paintings on there and poems (I hope not bad). I took pictures of myself in all kinds of ways to put captions underneath because I thought the messages would stick better in minds with the pictures attached. I loved it and worked on it daily. Hahah oh remembering some of the pages I had. I had a whole page on suicide and how it wasn’t you you wanted to kill but the negative energies from the world. Anyway I could go on and on. I eventually let it go just a bit before they decided to close the doors. I have a new site now that I made for free on Blogspot. It’s a work in progress for sure. bye bye Geocities.

  18. atavistian Says:


    I haven’t thought about Geocities in ages. And at the same time, for a while, they (it? singular or plural here?) comprised the bulk of my surfing. For part of the 90’s they had more interesting and diverse information for a research whore like me than any commercial site available. That’s not to mention, of course, the user-built feeling you got, the sentiment that the person who built the page cared enough about the particular subject to build it, rather than being paid to.

    Geocities gave me my first tastes of scandalous poetry (Ginsberg), my first juvenile back-seat fumblings with alternative religions (Paganism), and my first experiences with self-publishing (an idea I’ve been jazzed about ever since).

    I’m beginning to notice a trend here, between this, the Matrix post and a few others. Coilhouse makes me feel old, but it’s not an aching-back sort of old. Coilhouse makes me feel old because, despite all the accusations by other generations about how shallow and empty culture has become, us kids in our twenties and thirties have a lot of goddamn culture under our belts.

  19. Tincho Says:

    Argh, I am also guilty of a geocities page, back in 90-something, with an ugly bricks wall background and very bad taste.. too bad I can’t remember the url… Or maybe that’s good for keeping that memories repressed away!

    About old relics, I started in the BBS era, and my first online friends were made there and in the fidonet boards. That was a really great time! We were so angry with the intarweb that quickly killed it all… The old skool stuff that is still alive and kicking is IRC. Maybe undernet will never be what it used to, but free software projects still communicate mainly by IRC

  20. Nadi Says:

    I never new about geocities really. But dose anyone remember (spelling?) I had a poetry page when I was like 13 I think only like 5 people ever visited it and it was probably because I told them to. I remember spending all my after school time on message board and met like 3 friends on that page, one turned into a hip-hop tragedy, one grew up and the other committed suicide….oh youth.

    I remember when people where afraid to show their real faces on the internet…what happened to that?

  21. Typhoon Says:

    hee! I still have a Geocities page for a Transformers MUX! How retro is that? I’d already started moving it to a Google Site before I realized a wiki is 4000 x more useful.

  22. Jess Nevins Says:

    I still have Geocities sites–my Pulp Heroes site, my Fantastic Victoriana site, my Comic Book Annotations site. Never could be arsed to do my own site, too much writing to do. So I guess this is a good thing, since it’ll make me construct my own site.

  23. January Says:

    I never did Geocities, or any of the others. My first circle of online friends were three girls on OpenDiary- one of which was a transgendered ftm that I fell very much in like with. None of us keep in touch any longer, but I still think about SkinFire sometimes. Sigh…

  24. Shay Says:

    Funny, I was just reminiscing with a friend about Ye Olde Days of the internets.

    I wrote a post about it once upon a time titled How The West Was 1.0 but never wrote the sequel.

  25. Miss E Says:

    To Nadi-
    It’s I think I may have had one at some point in time. Wait no i didn’t I had a Tripod page. expage was where I used to play all of those Harry Potter email rpgs. Man, I remember getting in soooo much trouble for having an email account. I think I got punished for a month over that. My parents were SO afraid about someone over the internet finding out too much about me, but within a few years my sisters had gotten their own emails, downloaded AIM and had Myspaces covered with pictures and my parents didn’t bat an eye. When I did that, I got a beating!

    Where is the justice?!

  26. Exitmould Says:

    Ah, this reminded me of the glorious Geocities site my sister made when she was a teenager. It was the place to be if you wanted a shrine to Jhonen Vasquez and/or Johnny Rotten.
    Because, I’ve always thought the two are pretty similar, right?

  27. Zoetica Says:


  28. Madame Curare Says:

    A large segment of the Pagan population had their first tentative steps into our world via Geocities. Oh, hideous purple starlight wallpaper, oh burning times Wheel, how I will miss thee.

  29. Luxxy Says:

    I was an avid geocities freak between the ages of 8 & 14…
    Oh good memories.
    But I’m also glad I’m wayyy past that!

  30. Beth Says:

    Erm… probably. Collecting dust somewhere. Completely forgotten.

    But I do remember me and my best mate taking ages to get it recognised on google. NECESSARY!

    @Zoetica – AAAHAHAHA amazing!

  31. Ashbet Says:

    My first site was on Xoom, and it was mostly scanned art with a few photos. Amusingly, the first contact my now-husband made with me was to fix a scanned image that needed to be rotated (I’d scanned it at Kinko’s and had no photo-editing software), e-mailing me with the corrected image as a gift. :D

    I first got online on Usenet (alt.gothic REPRESENT!) back in 1992 — I *horrified* Sexbat when I recently introduced him to my daughter (now 16) and told him that she’d been subconsciously influenced by him IN THE WOMB. I do believe he wandered away clutching his head and muttering “I’m so old!”

    I’m so glad that the immortal Cryptie is being archived somewhere!

  32. Automaton » Blog Archive » GeoCities Says:

    […] Een paar GeoCities highlights, voor zolang ze nog online staan (via Coilhouse): […]