How the Internet worked in the Late 90’s

computer-internet-slow-customIf had not been a user of the Internet during the late 90’s you will find this post very very funny. Just start to imagine if this was the case today [after reading this blog post] 

– I am sure you would look like the girl in the picture that you can see to the left of this post.

If you were one of the users in the late 90’s you I am sure you would read and vet very nostalgic and would feel it as the “Good old days of the Internet”

When I did a post on Compuserve being shut down I thought I should share those exciting old moments with you working on the Internet during the late 90’s.



Even though I did not reside in USA and did not use the Dial-up of Compuserv, I did hold a Dial-up connection at my place. I Still remember the acoustic sound the modem used to make to connect and my speed was 8Kbps. If you would like to hear the same and enjoy the sound here it is modem sound. I was tempted to hear this sound after I came to knew CompuServe is being shutdown.

Bulletin board services

I also remember using BBS. It was real fun using it them. There were very small host with limited hardware and software availability. But every bit of it was being put to use for the best. I also remember the days when downloading a 1 MB file was like downloading a 10GB. I used to request a friend to do it and then we will later share the same using floppy disks.

Then one fine day we found out that 2 modems can talk to each other. So insted of connecting to an ISP we started hosting BBS in our own PC’s and downloaded files at a extra ordinary speed for 14.4 Kbps. One small step for man became a giant leap for file sharing between our friends.

Downloading from Internet

As we file size grew and our Internet speed did not, we could not download more than 2MB – 3MB files as either the net got disconnected or the the server requesting the same got too bored with as and left us alone. So we found out a work around. We were allotted public temp directories by our ISP’s [Internet service provider] were we can download/upload files and keep it for a day or 2. So we downloaded them to the IPS hard drive then downloaded them to our local PC’s. Later use a software called split files write them to multiple Floppy disks of capacity 1.44MB and distribute them.

Major Change in OS – Windows 95

I even remember receiving Windows 95 on a pack of 12 floppy disks. When I installed it, the last disk did not work, I got tensed, nevertheless windows worked because the last disk was a printer driver disk. I did not mind because printers were too expensive to be bought.

First mail account – Hotmail

I still remember creating my first mail account on Hotmail[Back then was not owned by Microsoft, but by a person with the name Sabeer Bhatia]. Used it for sometime after bought by Microsoft did not work with my Internet account because mine was a Shell version and not a graphics version. Had created some other mail account for the same.

First online Chat

There was this first time I used to connect to a chat server, it was called as IRC [Internet relay chat]. Funny thing, we talk so much of privacy now a days; when I used to log-on to the chat server, my email address used to be displayed to everyone when I logon, logoff to a chat room. Also using a simple command I can get all the e-mail addresses of of everyone on the chat room. But back then the word “SPAM” and “HACKING” did not get invented. So no problem.

First Graphics browsing – Netscape

Then one fine day I upgraded my Internet connection to a Graphics oriented one [non graphical broswers are like browsers that looks like your command prompt C:>]. I was running windows 95 and Netscape, meaning I can use Netscape and actually see HTML pages with images. After waiting for 10 min, the first page I typed to see timed out and the icon that used to display image not loaded properly with the “X” mark did show up. I was all excited because I saw my first image on a browser. Because that “X” mark is also an image.

Later I used to chat in with a piece of software called MIRC. I saw multiple chat windows in multiple chat rooms. It was like travelling on a rocket to outer space from the usual riding of bicycle on the road.

First Web Hosting

When I did learn HTML for the first time, I wanted to host a page, back then there was no free servers. And the servers that allowed hosting was 20 times more expensive than what it is today, let alone buying a .com. – [Did not happen in late 90’s]


Rest if history. Here I am blogging now with such a rich interface. Just can’t imagine so much change in the last 10 years.

4 thoughts on “How the Internet worked in the Late 90’s”

  1. Pingback: Special Sunday: India News Digest | special Sunday

  2. As far as I can recall, I get my PC in late 90s. I was around 12 back then. Remember the day dad brought a modem and told me “we can read the newspaper of any country using this!”

    Nostalgic moment.

  3. I read that the first search engine came in 1990 called Archie (V missing in Archive) and then came WebCrawler in 1994 … the Archie downloaded the webpage titles and links and stored while not indexing the content which was implemented by webCrawler

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