I'm not sure why anyone would want to go back to the early days of the Internet, but if you do, you can relive that past even more accurately by using an old web browser on top of it.
Probably the best option to check out how a website looked ten or twenty years ago is to head over to the Internet Archive as it stores snapshots of websites in the archive.
If you wanted to know how Ghacks looked like in 2005, you'd just have to enter the address of the site to get started and pick one of the available snapshot dates afterwards.
Oldweb adds on top of that the emulation of old browsers such as Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer 4 or NSCA Mosaic so that you can embrace the past fully.
The service is swarmed by users currently and you may very well get added to a queue before the selected page is rendered in the selected browser.
The emulated browsers are not just a shell either as you can use all buttons and features they provide. You may click on the url field to open another web address, open the options, or make other changes to the browser.
Sessions are limited to 10 minutes however and if you are not finished in that time, you may need to refresh to start a new browsing session.
The service is rather slow currently which likely comes from its popularity currently and not from the fact that you are using old browser versions.
It has been designed for entertainment purposes and it serves that purpose well. While you may be able to get some insights on the Web ten or twenty years ago, it is usually faster to head over to the Internet Archive directly. Yes, those old browsers may add that special feeling to the process but that would work better if the site would not be that slow.
If you need to use older browsers, you may want to consider downloading old versions instead and using virtualization (for security) and the Internet Archive for the same experience. Mozilla offers all Firefox releases on its public FTP site for instance so that you can check out how today's web or the web in the past work in those browsers.
Now You: Is there anything that you miss from the old web?Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.