With talk of web 3.0 surfacing recently, we wanted to hark back to a simpler time online. If you’re anything like us, some of your earliest internet memories will be on web 1.0 – the dawn of the online age.


What is Web 1.0?


Simply put, web 1.0 was the first iteration of the web as we know it.  It is often referred to as read-only web, with static pages connected by hyperlinks that were hosted on ISP-ran web servers, or on free web hosting services.


What was Web 1.0 Used For?


If you can remember using the web in the 1990s, you may have fond memories of looking for information on a range of interests, printing out images, or leaving comments in online guestbooks.


When we refer to static pages, we mean pages that offer information or images, with no interactive features that we are so used to seeing on the web today. Websites were for the most part informational, with sites dedicated to celebrities, queries and images. Personal blogs weren’t anywhere near as popular as they are today, however people still built unique web pages on hosting sites such as GeoCities or Tripod. Any amateur with coding knowledge could build their own webpage with none of the uniformity or structure that we are familiar with on the web today.

Google 1990s
Here is a screenshot of what Google looked like circa 1997 – when keying in your query would help you find sites dedicated to information on any subject, without the commercialisation we are all too used to today.

The web was a more light-hearted place in the 1990s, with websites such as

http://hampsterdance.com/ being one of the first single-serving sites, showing rows of GIFs of dancing hamsters set to a song that auto-played as soon as the site loaded. Through email chains and blogs this site became popular with the early users of web 1.0.


Visitors were invited to leave comments on web pages during the era of web 1.0, with guestbook pages being prominent online at this time. This is largely because dial-up internet connections were at the peak of popularity, and a page with a large number of visitor comments would take too long to load over a dial-up Internet connection. Thus, guestbook pages were born, creating a space for visitor comments without slowing down the load of content on other pages.


Netscape Navigator is another core memory of web 1.0 – probably the original web browser that people will remembers. Throughout the 1990s Netscape Navigator became the readily available standard web browser, and because of its ease of use an increasing amount of people were using the Internet. By the year 2000, however, Netscape Navigator had been overtaken by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and this marked the beginning of the shift from web 1.0 to web 2.0.

Netscape Navigator

We will explore web 2.0 in the next Insights on the Equity Digital blog.

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