What do you miss most about the early days of the Internet?



The exitement and thrill of being "on the internet". Waiting for my 28.8 modem to dial, handshake and connect. Opening mIRC and chatting to students at the University of New Hampshire (and I live in Northern Denmark)! I enjoyed many evenings just chatting about everyday stuff. Being able to talk to people on the other side of the world at an instant was breathtaking.


Posts: 5,556   +4,523
TechSpot Elite
Besides the sense of wonder of using something new I miss nothing. It was slow, barely worked (god the modems and hubs were awful back then) and had so many technical problems that made everything a chore.
Back then using mIRC was basically the only reliable fun to be had using it.


Posts: 8   +3
Nothing. Whats there to miss?
I agree, there's nothing I miss at all. Way too slow and not much of interest. Nowadays you have access to lots of valuable info never accessible before. Finding any tech documentation, drivers, news was nearly impossible. The bad of course is junk, crap, trolling and more clogging the "pipes". But if you're an adult you can filter that out pretty much and indulge in all the benefits. The other big bad is big government watching and recording your life and hackers out to rip you off. Short of ditching all your tech and living in a cage all you can do is be knowledgeable and aware of what you're doing.


Posts: 353   +110
That sound brought back memories of my first times on the internet, and how after a while you could tell when you were connecting if it "sounded right" - the frequent failures to connect always had a different sound. It was slow, but it was new enough to still feel "magical". Then I got my first DSL line, and speed improved, and it was "always connected" (except the fairly frequent down time). I loved the feeling of being able to find info on almost anything, like online manuals for old appliances and equipment. What used to require a trip to the library or a long wait for the US Snail was now accessible in a few seconds. I still love it, and online shopping is so much better now, I rarely bother with the high prices and limited selection of brick-and mortar stores. Yes, it requires some skill now to avoid the pitfalls, but it's not difficult.

Brock Kane

When AOL was King! AOL was a noobs way to learn the Internet! The Internet was so small until people learned to browse outside of AOL.

And even today, and this is true....There are people still paying AOL a monthly fee to dial-up to the Internet! Even if broadband is available, (and probably cheaper) they do not know anything but, AOL.

Also AOL, still pulls a profit from enough fools that don't know any better. Or just don't want to change.

Brock Kane

What I miss most was the Netscape Browser. Very fast, hardly cluttered, and had a real nice Interface!

I remember the first time I downloaded Netscape, and when dial-up modems were still in their early phase of being reliable. Got to 99% before my connection failed and had to redial back into AOL and start over. That was after about 2 hours downloading a file less than 10 megs.

Remember those days, trying to stay connected and hoping Aunt Mary doesn't call while you're checking out the latest tech toy.


Posts: 18,745   +7,680
Other than the lack of security on porn sites, not much really.
I'm not exactly sure of your meaning here. With modern browsers, script killers, ad blockers, and even free AV products. I feel a whole lot safer going anywhere on the web, than I did with IE-6, Active X controls, and Norton products...

And then I don't miss AOL in any way, shape, form, or function, whatsoever.

Besides guys, what the heck is the matter with a bit of sport trolling?

Not to mention all the "you're ugly, you're stupid, and you should kill yourself", hard core bully trolls are all over at Facebook and Twitter anyway.

If "Homo Moronus Vulgaris" wants to hang out at those places, I say that's super, it gives them less time to annoy us.
Last edited:
I miss Bulletin boards...

Logging in and seeing discussions and the fun of being invited to join private servers.

When you actually felt like you knew the server admins and there was a real sense of community.

I miss the days when there was "new" software, and there was hope that something new would come out just next month.

Everything today is been there done that and all software seems derivative now.

OH, one more thing..

I miss the time I used to have before the "contemporary" internet...

Can we get that back?

Oh, My addled brain keeps remembering other things...

Kali! Anybody remember that system?

I remember that was the first and likely LAST "lifetime subscription" I ever bought :)

It was fun while it lasted, but I think my favorite memory of that time was playing DOOM for the first time.

being able to connect 2 systems and play against each-other was nothing less than amazing.

What a trip, real 3D gaming, on hardware which has more in common with pocket calculators compared to what exists today.
Last edited by a moderator:


Posts: 124   +52
I loved the fact that on a dial-up connection, realistically, you did not require a firewall.


Posts: 1,388   +72
I don't miss anything about it. Crashing browsers and no one could call because the modem tied up the phone line. Dialing it up and no firewall caused your computer to be infected just like that. Had a bs in computer science and it was only bs; my neices who were in high school taught me the techniques of web crawlers, etc. It was only invented by the university of illinois to show porn. Playboy wasn't good enough. Another utility bill too. I find the modern day one to be worth the bill and wouldn't know how I would join the boy scouts or something and live without it. The modern day one does show some people in a creepiness so strong you wouldn't believe the human brain could work in such a perverse way, as sometimes I receive death threats, for what I don't know. Telling the truth.


Posts: 996   +93
Other than the lack of security on porn sites, not much really.
I'm not exactly sure of your meaning here. With modern browsers, script killers, ad blockers, and even free AV products. I feel a whole lot safer going anywhere on the web, than I did with IE-6, Active X controls, and Norton products...

Let just say it was really easy to feed a porn site a fake credit card number and it took 24 hours to properly verify. A lot of them gave you full access until the verification failed.


Posts: 2,404   +948
The very early days of the Internet mostly meant web browsing for me. Now, I wouldn't say I miss it per se, but it does bring a deep sense of nostalgia. From how it took some effort to get connected, dial up sounds and all, once you were "in", launching Netscape and looking at its iconic animation -- while waiting for pages to load -- there was this sense of discovery, it was definitely special.
OH Brother

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
The ILLUSION of privacy was nice I suppose.... but if you think you had privacy back in the early days, you're sadly mistaken - if anything, you were under HIGHER scrutiny, as there was less traffic for the NSA and others to sort through...

Now that there is practically infinite net traffic, you're actually a lot safer than you used to be!

I miss the old CyberArmy and its hacking challenges (Zebulun was awesome, I made it to General).

Lastly, I miss the innocence that other people had about the net - SO many people assumed that if something was stated on the internet, it was true! I actually got a few interviews on various radio stations after hosting a cribbage website claiming that my organization was the most powerful and influential in the Western Hemisphere! My organization (Cribbage Inc) has even made it into an actually published book ("The Slang of Sin") thanks to the net :)


Posts: 1,782   +415
I mostly miss being younger. Which amongst other things mean having more patience for crap such as connecting with a slow phone modem, trying desperately to find a relevant Usenet group for what I want to find, having very little presence from companies, etc.

There are some good points posted, in particular about the internet being more limited in scope, and therefore allowing more easily to hook with like-minded people.

One thing I do miss is being able to play with web tech and produce crappy looking sites that were the norm at the time. These days I'd have to pay much more attention to design, and that would make things less fun.


Posts: 1,425   +324
It was 1993. my medical technology school still teaches BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Intruction Code) as programming language for 2 semesters. at an off-school internet café, we did online research on how to add more functionalities on some programs we created. I can't recall if what we used in the internet research is windows 3.1 and/or early version of internet explorer but heck it was a real exploration: 30 minutes have gone and the webpage is still loading... ;)


Posts: 187   +44
The purity of it all being created and doing what was seen as impossible and crazy. and the fact that no one could spy on you when your discovering things never seen before. also for the struggle it took to be creative and deemed a criminal simply by being innovative


Posts: 296   +73
I miss the extra work I used to be able to get done while waiting for a then "large" file (4 to 5 MB) to download on a US Robotics 14.4Kbps modem. Start the download and get all my house work done before it finally finished. And if it was a day that the internet was slower then normal, I could get my yard mowed also. Oh and all those AOL disks you would get in the mail and use as a drink coasters.
I don't really miss it though. Its just nice to talk to my daughter and her friends about the technology of the past and how we thought it was "awesome". Most children of today will never know the troubles of the slow internet speeds as compared to fast speeds we have today.
Reading a RFC for the first time, and feeling like you were handed a map of the holes in time....waiting to be exploited

Gopher, realizing that you could request any book from any connected college....

And the U of I having zero controls on the xterms. I could open a xwin on any monitor, a little larger than the physical monitor so my target couldn't click the image closed......fun for messing with pre-raid mudders
Psycros speaks so much truth. Online communities used to be crews where people treated one another like actual people, not disposable platforms. False information got someone shamed out of a community and being factual mattered.

Multi-player games were free if you could get online. Modem peer-to-peer, IP direct connections and readily changeable matchmaking servers. Now people pay a monthly fee for DNS routing services, especially on consoles, where you end up playing off a player-hosted server and if they disconnect the whole game drops. Patch and fix mentality abused vastly more than the video game industry. Too much half-baked deploy get paid maybe patch but keep on failing. So on and end rant flash backs
You could buy ANYTHING over the internet! Pre-Google, if you were willing to do some digging, you could easily find all sorts of things that were illegal and probably unethical for sale openly. I didn't buy anything too bad -- a few recreational pharmaceuticals here and there -- but I'd regularly show other people what they could acquire.