Weird Things About The Early Internet You May Have Forgotten Shared By People On Reddit

The internet has come a long way. A really, really, really long way. Though since I don’t remember much of the early internet, I often forget about the fact that it used to be a lot different than what we have today. After all, I’m only 22—I haven’t been around for that long.

Despite that—or, perhaps, because of that—it was always quite interesting for me to hear stories and learn new facts about the old-school interwebs. That’s why this particular Reddit thread was just right up my alley. A few weeks ago, a Reddit user @DevilYouKnow posted on the site asking fellow users to name the weirdest things they remember about the early days of the internet. As per usual, Redditors delivered. In addition, while looking through the users’ answers, I happened to learn quite a few new things that I had no idea about. For instance, I didn’t know that back in the day, people weren’t able to simultaneously use the internet and the phone!


Without further ado, Bored Panda invites you to look through some of the weirdest things people remember about the early internet. As always, feel free to add your own in the comment section!

#1 The Simplicity Of RecipesI dunno. But, I really miss the way recipes used to be shared online. No scrolling through a giant website of the background story of the recipe and countless ads. It was literally just the text of the recipe, with comments under of how to tweak that recipe. We were so spoiled by the simplicity and immediacy of ingredient lists back then and we didn’t even know it.

Image credits: rawsugar87

#2 Mom, Put Down The Phone, I Want The Internet!Telling people not to use the phone because you were on the internet.

Image credits: omegaclick

#3 Downloads Taking Literal HoursStarting a download before you went to bed so it would be done when you got up the next morning.

Image credits: Nightdave

#4 Who Remembers “Netscape Navigator”?Who here remembers Netscape Navigator being the best browser?

Image credits: UndeadWarlord

#5 “I Miss The Independence And Creativity Of The Early Web”I miss the independence and creativity of the early web. You could surf it for interesting topics developed by people as a hobby for hours and not ever run into anything corporate. That has completely reversed now, sadly.

Image credits: jjc157


Image credits: rickrolo24

#7 “Under Construction” At All TimesThe always present ‘under construction’ sign as well. The early internet was awash in black background with dayglo fonts and it was glorious. And they were all connected in little rings.

Image credits: ClancyHabbard

#8 “It Was An Assault On The Senses, But It Was Also Glorious!”: Overburdened Web Design

The early days of CSS & HTML with cursor effects, far too many different fonts, visitor counters on every website, inexplicable scrolling text, animated gifs everywhere, etc.

It was an assault on the senses, but it was also glorious!

Image credits: TransientSignal

#9 Extremely Intricate FontsI remember my friend showing me some flaming text on his school intranet page and I thought it was the absolute f****** future

Image credits: OmarGuard

#10 The Fun Of Customizing Your CursorsI remember entire websites dedicated to customizing your cursor

Image credits: Nlbf-Supreme

#11 Hamster Gifs EverywhereHamster dance It was just hamster gifs

Image credits: UndeadWarlord

#12 Having To Pay For Every Single Minute OnlineDial up that would charge you by the minute. People today don’t know how good they have it.

Image credits: malgranda_azeno

#13 We Somehow Survived Without YouTubeYouTube wasn’t around.

Image credits: TimTheTooth

#14 Amazon Was A Bit DifferentAmazon was still a bookstore.

Image credits: HumongousBratwurst

#15 Absolutely No Rules

I must be older than anyone here, because the “early days” of the internet was back when years still started with 19. And there were NO RULES. There was no online tracking, no ad-bots, just no enforcement of any kind. Essentially the internet then was what the dark net is now. Anything could be found, but only if you knew where to look. Search engines were all but useless and nothing was protected for s***. A few hours in a dumpster full of paper could get you access to nearly anything. That was the early days of the internet.

Image credits: jk013x

#16 Dial-Up NoisesThe fact that muting your computer didn’t get rid of the dial up noise.

Image credits: eddmario

#17 Viruses Weren’t As SneakyIt your computer had a virus, you knew. Nowadays, aside from ransomware, viruses are a bunch of uncreative sneaky bois that steal passwords or slow your computer down for a botnet.

Image credits: wehosh

#18 The Horrors Of The Dancing BabyMaybe I missed it, but I don’t see anyone mentioning the dancing baby??? He was so creepy! My mom was stunned that technology could create something “so lifelike” and was obsesssssed. I miss the program I had to create ‘storybooks’, it let you edit the stickers and recolor everything, clicking tiny little pixel boxes for hours Clickclickclick#19 You Had To Figure Things Out YourselfThis just gave me flashbacks. This is why I think a lot of GenX/early Millenials are pretty tech saavy. There were no GUIs for software, no pretty websites on the internet, nothing to “Google” for help. You had to be so damned persistent but it made you really understand things. Now I teach GenZ students and although they mostly have superior social media skills, they really struggle to understand how parts of a computer function together. I’ve spent hours trying to explain the difference between a local and remote drive, browsers and enabling extensions, clearing a cache, using suites of apps like Google Apps or Office, etc. Especially with so much college learning shifted to a remote format this year, it really showed some of the holes in our childrens’ education in using technology.

Image credits: useless_instinct

#20 The Good Old AOL Chat RoomsAol chat rooms. I do miss those tho.

Image credits: starshine8316

#21 Personalizing AOL’s Notifications

My friend’s mom’s reaction when I replaced AOL’s “you’ve got mail” with “you’ve got porn”

Image credits: UndeadWarlord

#22 Random Stuff On LimewireAll the random s*** on Limewire under completely different titles

Image credits: pdxblazer

#23 Free StuffNever needing to pay for AOL. Free discs were everywhere. I used them as frisbee.

Image credits: UndeadWarlord

#24 Waiting For Pictures To LoadTrying not to blow your load waiting 30-50 seconds for a picture to load fully from top to bottom#25 Internet Explorer Owning The PlaceEvery software you download was a toolbar on internet explorer

Image credits: Thefakewhitefang

#26 Who Needs URLs Anyway?How AOL didn’t use URLs. Every “website” had a keyword, meaning that every topic literally only had one website. I remember when Nickelodeon would constantly promote themselves on TV and said “Log on to AOL keyword ‘Nick!'” meaning that that was literally the only place you could see Nickelodeon content.

Image credits: redxrain86