– Ben Martens

RIP Geocities

A recent story on (the newest addition to my RSS list) notified me that GeoCities is closing its doors! I have a soft spot in my heart for the service as it hosted the second version of my website.

I started my website in 1996. To put that in perspective there were 250,000 websites in 1996. (Note that all the personal pages on GeoCities would count for one website). Now it is estimated that there are over 150 million. Too bad I don’t get some sort of stock award for jumping in early.

Anyway, the demise of GeoCities got me thinking about the various homes I’ve had on the web. Here’s a rundown:

  • CompuServe: 1996-1997
    My very first website was started during my junior year of high school. used to have an old version of this site on display but it’s not showing up anymore. Too bad. It was a gem. This site started off with all the no-no’s of web publishing: animated gifs, blinking/marquee text, and background music. The highlight of the page was calendar for our baseball season that had a little write up about each game. The above link won’t work as CompuServe deleted the files a while back. Coincidentally, CompuServe is closing its doors on June 31.
  • GeoCities: 1997-1998
    GeoCities was all the rage when it opened. A free place to host your web content? Sign me up! This site got me through the rest of high school and was when I really started learning more about the HTML standard. You can still view some of the content by going to this link and clicking around on the menu. I was able to salvage some of the files off of the server and the GeoCities site is now archived on my server. Note that I have never actually owned the domain name but for some reason I thought that would make a good banner. If you can somehow snatch that domain for me, I’ll be your friend forever. Oddly enough, the guy who owns it did a lot of Lego raytracing too.
  • Purdue: 1998-2001
    Purdue offered me hosting with 200MB of storage (wow!) and no ads so I quickly switched to them when I was a student.
  • Tripod: 2001-2002
    As I neared the end of my career at Purdue, I knew that I needed a plan to get off the Purdue servers. I headed to Tripod with a new site design. Unfortunately this brought me back into the land of ad-supported hosting. There’s a decent historic view of this site on Most of the navigation links still work.
  • 2002-present
    I ran out of my apartment for a while on custom blog software, but that quickly got old. I switched over to GoDaddy and never looked back. Now when something goes wrong, I call a phone number and complain instead of spending my evenings trying to figure out why the web server is down. 2002 is also when i started pumping out content on a daily basis and my traffic numbers have been growing ever since.

It gets more painful to move each time so I don’t expect to change anytime soon.