What Browsing the Internet Before the Year 2000 Was Like
Sometimes you need to remember the past to realize how good we have it today. This is what browsing the internet 20 years ago was like.
Online Wasn’t Default
Only 42% of Canadian households had a member who used the internet regularly in 1999. Chances are you were in a household that didn’t deal with this new-fangled internet.
There Wasn’t That Much to See
If you saw our post on what major Canadian sites looked like in 1999, you’ll know that you could do things like read the news, do some online banking, and buy tickets online.
But it would’ve been hard to do the kind of mindless browsing we do today. Most newspapers and magazines didn’t even post their own articles, let alone post short, web-only content. Entertainment sites, like TV stations, were more interested in telling you how to see their content instead of writing web-only content. Plus, video was not much of a thing.
Download Speeds Were Awful
In 2000, the average download speed was 127 kilobytes per second. That’s why a lot of websites weren’t photo-heavy.
There Were a Lot of Spinning GIFs
Graphics were ugly and web design tools weren’t great. Maybe that’s why there were so many spinning GIFs on websites. Want a blast from the past? Use this search tool to find all your favourite Geocities GIFs. Your website can have a dancing baby once more!
Downloads Took Forever
If you were downloading songs on Napster (or later on other more explicitly illegal peer-to-peer filesharing sites), you probably set it up overnight so that maybe, just maybe, your songs would be done in the morning.
Y2K Was a Thing, Maybe
If you were in IT, you probably spent a lot of 1999 fixing your databases so they wouldn’t ruin New Year’s Day. If not, you probably heard a lot of ignorant fearmongering and wondered what it was all about anyway.
Online Gaming Just Started
If you had a decent internet connection, you might have been able to play Quake 2 in deathmatch mode with buddies online. Or Warcraft II. But you would’ve been more likely to lug your entire computer over to a friend’s house for a LAN party, because that was easier than relying on your poor 127 kilobyte per second internet speed.
You Probably Had Dial-Up
In 2000, only one million Canadian households were using cable internet. The rest of us, if we had the internet, were using dial-up. If you were lucky, your household had a second phone line and you could use the internet without tying up the phone line. Otherwise, you got kicked off ICQ if your mom needed to make a call.
ICQ Took Over Your Social Life
Before Facebook Messenger there was Gchat, before Gchat there was MSN, and before MSN there was ICQ. ICQ may have been the first time you had to think of a cool username and the first time you had to explain to a parent that you were talking to real live people, not just goofing off online.
And This Sound Gives You Nightmares
Crank it to 11 and listen through headphones for the authentic jarring experience.