The ways in which we access the Internet are quite complex. We go online with our computers, tablets, phones, watches and even glasses. We use it to read, watch, listen, share and like. Through a lot of trial and error, we’ve reached a point where these interactions seem to be designed with great user-experience at the forefront of web design.

As great as things are now, it wasn’t always this way. It’s taken a lot of effort to get to where we are today. Those of us who fondly remember the day when our houses first plugged a network cable into our computer (note: there was one freakin’ computer in the house, and *gasp* no wifi) will also remember the “amazing” features that every website had. The Internet allows for so many different experiences, so surely we would want to experience all of them, right?

Well, as it turned out, just because we were able to do certain things didn’t necessarily mean that we’d want to. A number of elements of the web have gradually been phased out as it’s become more and more clear how we prefer to experience websites.

If you’re ready for a healthy dose of nostalgia, let’s take a look at 10 things that were everywhere back in the early days of the Internet that you hopefully won’t ever see again (and what site creators were probably thinking while making them).

Hit Counter

What’s the point of having a website if not to show people how popular you are? Since this couldn’t be measured in likes or followers, many personal websites would put one of these bad boys at the bottom of the page:

If you had a Geocities website, then you’ll remember the excitement when your counter went up 20 hits from when you last checked the site last night. “Wow, 20 people looked at my site? Who could they be?!?!!”

Guest Book

If people came to your website, surely they would want to leave a note before they leave. After all, it’s only polite to say hello before you leave a website. Don’t think about whether you have content that actually warrants a comment; people will say hi just because.

Autoplaying MIDI Music

What better way to greet your visitors than setting the mood with some music? It’s too risky to rely on them hitting play themselves, though, which is why many websites felt the need to have audio blast through speakers with no warning whatsoever as soon as a website loaded. Plus, slow Internet speeds meant that large audio files were out of the question, so MIDI files that allowed the computer to generate noise were the go-to standard.

It’s easy to understand why this soon began to fade away. No one wants to be checking a website at work and have some lame track blast over their speakers.

Intense Backgrounds

Forget making your text or images the focal point of your website: everything should be the focal point. Sure, it’s called a background, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve some sort of intense colour or pattern. For the final touch, be sure to place your text directly overtop so it’s almost impossible to read.

Clip Art

What’s cooler than clip art, honestly? Images designed with a computer?? The future is here!

GIFs Everywhere

If you really wanted to make your website come to life, what could be better than an image that moves? Two images, of course. Even better than that? Three! Or how about four? Screw it, just add every GIF that you can find.

Don’t get me wrong, GIFs are great and still used today (I’m known to write the odd GIF post here and there myself). Let’s just not forget the lesson learned from the early Internet days: there’s a time and place for GIFs, and it’s not all the time & everywhere.


When you’re cramming as much text, links & GIFs as possible, it’s important to keep them organized. If you’re a fan of Excel spreadsheets then 90s websites were a dream come true, because plain-looking tables were everywhere. And this wasn’t just for information on the page; the website’s frames on the sides, top & bottom were often organized with the same look as well.

Under Construction Notices

As stressful as it is trying to create an amazing site as quickly as possible, what about your legions of fans anxiously waiting by their computer for your website to finally launch? Better throw up an “Under Construction” notice to reassure them that you’re hard at work and haven’t forgotten about them.

3D Fonts

Why would you just limit your font to the second dimension? That ain’t gonna cut it on the web. Make your text jump out at visitors by setting it on fire! Or go the opposite route and make it look like it’s made out of ice. For added impact, turn it into a GIF – because, as we went over earlier, you can never have too many GIFs.

Incompatible Browsers

The web is always evolving, but your computer could never quite evolve fast enough. Chances are you wouldn’t have the latest version of Flash, Java or Quicktime installed. Or, you were using Netscape when the site worked best on Internet Explorer.

Want to create a new website and bring some of these gems back? Start by searching for a great domain name from Hover below:

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