Right now, you can download the bulk of Geocities in a single, giant 652GB file over BitTorrent.
The seminal free web hosting site has been off the tubes since last year, when its owner, Yahoo, shut it down.
Most of us probably didn’t care about Geocities disappearing. Its content was outdated. The design of most pages made MySpace look like something created by Edward Tufte. And the HTML tables — oh, the tables!
However, enough people did care about the demise of Geocities to form a group that calls itself The Archive Team, which began grabbing as much of Geocities as it could before Yahoo killed it. On Sunday, that archive of Geocities was made available in torrent form — a 652GB torrent.
If you don’t want to download 0.65 terabytes of the web equivalent of space junk, you can merely browse one of the several mirrors the Archive Team has set up at reocities.com, geociti.es, geocities.ws and oocities.org. At once of those sites, you can get your fill of jazz midi files, learn about the totally amazing all-female grunge band L7, and pay a visit to Spanky’s mushroom-infested link compendium without downloading the entire payload.
It’s easy to joke about Geocities. After all, Geocities looks very primitive from this web X.x vantage point. But the archive team has a point, both about our “digital heritage” and the short-lived nature of popular websites.
What we were facing, you see, was the wholesale destruction of the still-rare combination of words and digital heritage, the erasing and silencing of hundreds of thousands of voices, voices that representing the dawn of what one might call “regular people” joining the World Wide Web. A unique moment in human history, preserved for many years and spontaneously combusting due to a few marks in a ledger, the decision of who-knows for who-knows-what.
But you see, websites and hosting services should not be “fads” any more than forests and cities should be fads – they represent countless hours of writing, of editing, of thinking, of creating. They represent their time, and they represent the thoughts and dreams of people now much older, or gone completely. There’s history here. Real, honest, true history. So the Archive Team did what it could, as well as other independent teams around the world, and some amount of Geocities was saved.
If you’d like a little bit of internet history (OK, a massive bit of internet history) head on over to The Pirate Bay. And please, remember to seed.
Screenshot: Red Turboranger’s Home Page.