GeoCities – What is It and What Happened to It?

What Happened to GeoCities

Founded in November of 1994 by David Bohnett and John Rezner, GeoCities was among the pioneering web hosting services back in the days. But before it was called GeoCities, David and John named it Beverly Hills Internet (BHI) which only lasted a very short time.

GeoCities in a Nutshell…

GeoCities is a web hosting service that was initially only available in the United States. For those of you who don’t know what a web hosting service is or does…

“A web hosting service is a form of internet hosting service that provides individuals and professional organizations to make their web page accessible worldwide via the World Wide Web.”

So… What Happened to GeoCities?

Let’s do a quick history recap…

The Start of GeoCities

Originally, GeoCities’ site users were asked to choose a “city” to categorize their web pages, hence their name. These cities were named after real cities and even regions which represent a unique set of content.

For example, websites with content related to science fiction and fantasy were placed in “Area51” while websites that contain films and actors were placed to “Hollywood and Hills”. More of this below.

In 1996, GeoCities had a total of 29 “neighborhood” cities (with their respective content):

  • Area51 and Vault: Science fiction and fantasy, conspiracy theories
  • Athens and Acropolis: Teaching, education, reading, writing, and philosophy
  • Augusta: Golf
  • Baja: Off-road SUVs and adventure travel
  • BourbonStreet: Jazz music, Cajun food, New Orleans and Southern United States topics
  • Broadway: Theater and performing arts
  • CapeCanaveral and Lab: Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and aviation
  • CapitolHill: Politics and government
  • CollegePark and Quad: University life
  • Colosseum, Field and Loge: Athletics and sports
  • EnchantedForest: Topics of interest to children
  • Eureka: Small business and home offices
  • Fashion Avenue: Fashion
  • Heartland and Plains: Parenting and family (originally also focused on pets)
  • Hollywood and Hills: Films and actors
  • HotSprings: Health and fitness
  • MadisonAvenue: Advertising
  • MotorCity: Automobiles and racing and dodge cars
  • NapaValley: Wine, gastronomy
  • Nashville: Country music
  • LeftBank: Romance, poetry, and the arts (for Paris-related topics such as food and culture around 1996)
  • Pentagon: Military
  • Petsburgh: Pets
  • PicketFence: Home improvement and real estate
  • Pipeline: Extreme sports
  • RainForest: Conservation
  • RodeoDrive: Shopping and luxury lifestyles
  • ResearchTriangle: Research and development, technology
  • SiliconValley, Heights, Park, and Pines: Computers, hardware, programming, and technology
  • SoHo and Lofts: Art and writing
  • SouthBeach and Marina: A “high-style hot spot for hanging out, meeting and greeting, seeing and being seen.”
  • SunsetStrip, Vine, Alley, Palms, Studio and Towers: Music such as blues, grunge, punk rock, and rock ‘n roll
  • TheTropics and Shores: Travel and vacations
  • TelevisionCity: Television
  • TimesSquare and Arcade: Computer and video games
  • Tokyo: Far East-related topics, including anime
  • Vienna: Ballet, classical music, and opera
  • WallStreet: Business and finance
  • Wellesley: Women-related topics
  • WestHollywood: Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender topics
  • Yosemite: Outdoor recreation including climbing, hiking, rafting, and skiing

But this has changed since Yahoo! purchased GeoCities on January 28, 1999. Instead of categorizing their website content by using names of “cities”, users then use their username or even their names in the URLs.

But before Yahoo! Acquired GeoCities, a subsidiary of GeoCities located in Nihonbashi area of Chūō, Tokyo was made. This, too, had developed neighborhoods:

  • WallStreet (ウォール街 Wōrugai): Finance and business
  • Epicurean Table (エピキュリアンテーブル Epikyurian Tēburu): Dining
  • Colosseum (コロシアム Koroshiamu): Outdoor sports and health
  • SiliconValley (シリコンバレー Shirikon Barē): Computers and the internet
  • SilkRoad (シルクロード Shiruku Rōdo): Travel
  • Technopolis (テクノポリス Tekunoporisu): Science and high technology
  • Berkeley (バークレイ Bākurei): Education and student life
  • Heartland (ハートランド Hātorando): Family and pets
  • Hollywood (ハリウッド Hariuddo): Films and performing arts
  • Playtown (プレイタウン Pureitaun): Video games
  • Broadway (ブロードウェイ Burōdowei): Pop, rock music, and concerts
  • Milano (ミラノ Mirano): Fashion, design, and shopping
  • Milkyway (ミルキーウェイ Mirukīwei): Dating
  • MotorCity (モーターシティ Mōtā Shiti): Automobiles and motorcycles

How Did It Come to an End?

It was in 2009 that Yahoo! GeoCities was announced to shut down, leaving GeoCities Japan to still maintain as of February 10, 2016. And finally, as of March 31, 2019, Yahoo! Japan announced the closure of GeoCities Japan.

Can We Still Use Geocities Today?

With the latest announcement made by Yahoo!, it’s clear as day that GeoCities is finally over. Mix this with the new web hosting services at everybody’s disposal today, and it’s going to be unlikely that GeoCities will be missed.

But which web hosting service is the most ideal choice for your specific type of business or website? We have a list of some of the most reputable and the most trusted names of web hosting services in 2019 below so make sure you check that out.

What was User’s Experience Towards GeoCities Back Then?

Short answer: Satisfied!

Compared to the web hosting services at our disposal today, GeoSites was free. This means anyone can design whatever their imagination can feed them– regardless if the website was poorly designed or not.

This feature is the main reason why GeoCities was able to feature millions upon millions of sites around the globe. It was also revolutionary at the time so it’s easily one of the most popular back then.

In fact, by the time Yahoo! Acquired GeoCities on January 28, 1999, it was allegedly the third-most visited website on the World Wide Web.

Alternatives to GeoCities in this 2019

It’s not to say that GeoCities was the only free web hosting service. And even though paid web hosting service is the meta, there are still free alternatives you can get ahold of. Some of our favorites include:

  1. 50megs.com – $0 monthly fee with a generous offer of 50 Mb disk space. But it does have larger space packages if you wish to go for a paid service.
  2. TheFreeSite.com – As the name suggests, it offers a free service like 50megs.com and is also open to giving you more space for a price.
  3. Free-WebHosts.com –  this is a directory list of free web hosting providers that are said to be updated daily.

If you’re looking for a more efficient option, there are plenty you can find these days, but some of our favorites include:

  1. BlueHost – Top-rated web hosting company with a 99.99% uptime.
  2. HostGator – Offers users unlimited bandwidth, storage space, and email accounts.
  3. GoDaddy – One of the most popular domain registrar and hosting provider on the market.
  4. SiteGround – A reputable name in the marketplace you can count on– for a price.

No matter the case, it still boils down to which web hosting offers the most efficient and the most reliable service for your type of domain.

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Brian Stone has always been around computers since he was 8. After discovering he had a burning interest in computers, he aims to help the entire community of gamers by dedicating his time and life to help gamers and computer enthusiasts alike. Through his work, he wishes to help readers choose the best products and make the smartest investments.

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