You Know It’s an Old Website If…

November 23rd, 2011 by Benj Edwards

You Know Its An Old Website If...

Just a little while ago on Twitter, I started spouting out some one liners, Jeff Foxworthy style, about how you know if a website is old. I love coming across old websites, so it’s fun to spit these out.

I can’t guarantee that they’re funny, but I think they’re at least amusing. People liked them enough that I decided to post my lines here and ask you guys to continue the list. I may add more to it over time.

  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …every image on the site rotates.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …they refer to AltaVista in the present tense.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …you found it through a web ring.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …it says “Best viewed in IBM WebExplorer.”
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …your browser complains that there’s no MIDI plug-in installed.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …it forces you to enter the site through a splash page.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …it asks you not to hotlink the GIF images.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …every single link on the page ‘404s.
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …the owner claims it’s “under construction.”
  • You know it’s an old website if…
    …it brags about having 1,000 hits.

Now it’s your turn. Add your one-liners in the comments below.

50 Responses to “You Know It’s an Old Website If…”

  1. Nacho Says:

    …it uses frames.

    Bonus points if you can see the divisions.

  2. CPBelt Says:

    …it says “best viewed in 800×600.”

    …it asks you to bookmark the site.

  3. Dementropy Says:

    …you see a Netscape logo like it’s a professional badge of honor.

    …it cites usenet links as resources.

    …there’s a heavy usage of blink tags and rainbow gradient lines to separate text as examples of superior page design.

  4. technotreegrass Says:

    …it asks you to sign the guestbook.

  5. Jon Says:

    … scrolling marquee.

  6. SirPaul Says:

    …it looks PERFECT on Internet Explorer 3.0.

  7. aliennerd Says:

    … there’s a hit counter that looks like a car mileage counter.

    … there are animated GIF’s plastered everywhere.

    … barely legible, garish text on a background that looks like a 1970’s curtain.

  8. Geoff V. Says:

    … you see

    … it has any copy in Comic Sans.

    … it boasts “now listed in Lycos.”

  9. Ronald E. Says:

    … it doesn’t show any link to social media πŸ˜‰

    … the HTML source mentions “generated with HotDog”

    … the website builder has had an excellent time figuring out the features of the tag

    … it states that you can reach the website owner through an IRC channel

    … it’s loaded with animated .gif images

  10. Zoyous Says:

    …it has a button link to download Macromedia Flash.

  11. Tandyman100 Says:

    “Ò€¦ it states that you can reach the website owner through an IRC channel”

    Oy, my site has that πŸ˜‰

    As a joke, I actually went and purposely tried to make the ugliest website I could. Animated gif background, animated gif buttons, text that is almost identical to the background color, and an animated banner on the top.

    Oh, and of course, “welcome to my web-site”

  12. BDD Says:

    … if it has a rotating yellow “Under Construction” sign, signaling that the site will always be “under construction”…

    … there’s a link to a font that says “download this font to view the site as it should look”…

    … there are myriad “Download NOW!” badges…

  13. BDD Says:

    The last one was supposed to be “Download *insert browser here* NOW!” Guess I shouldn’t have used > or

  14. Ariella Says:

    Green, red, yellow, blue, and white text are used on a starfield background image.

    There’s a badge that says, “Made on a Mac”.

    Every button has a red arrow pointing to it.

    There are centered links in their own paragraph labelled “Click here”.

    The contact-us submission form has “/cgi-bin/” in its URL.

    The “last updated xxxx-xx-xx” text hasn’t been changed since 1995.

  15. s1500 Says: has a “top 10% of all websites” or whatever that award was with the eye.

  16. Al.H Says:

    …if it doesn’t use CSS or has a basic CSS layout.

  17. idisjunction Says:

    …it links to a gopher server.

  18. Ant Says:

    Hey, I still use some of those. [grin]

  19. Mxx Says:

    … if it has index.php in its url.

  20. PS3D Says:

    …your eyes start burning from the garish text colors and background.

    …EVERYTHING is in Times New Roman.

    …it loads ultra-fast (hey, there’s one plus)

    …the copyright date is in the 1990s.

    Here’s one I featured on my blog recently: it has a LOT of things wrong with it in terms of old website design. See how many you can count.

  21. jim Says:

    …it’s one I made.

  22. Alex Says:

    … its a template.

  23. Andrew Says:

    Has a link to the gopher site.

    Mentions Mosaic.

    Uses “ISINDEX” instead of a form.

    Explains that “WWW” means “World Wide Web” and describes what hyperlinks are… on the main page.

  24. idisjunction Says:


    I counted about 9 things I would change, not including repeat items (such as each broken offsite image). Then again i took a class my junior year of high school that used FrontPage, so what do I know?

  25. tgroff Says:

    … still uses .pl scripts from Matt’s Script Archive – πŸ™‚

  26. James M Singleton Says:

    I had to laugh because my website is always under construction.

  27. Moondog Says:

    @ James: Nothing is ever finished. Only abandoned. You’re just being honest. Projects would never be released if perfection was the goal.

    You know it’s an old website ifÒ€¦

    it says “Best viewed with Mosiac or Arachne.”

  28. Mark Says:

    …it has an animated gif of a burning torch.

  29. Teksonik Says:

    It has the word “Vintage” in the title.. πŸ™‚

  30. Knight Says:

    Has any form of ASCII art on the page….

    Has a link to a MSN chat room….

    Has a red/green flashing .gif anywhere on the site….

    Is considered “good” code to have gotten its table usage down to 7 or 8 nested tables…..

    Uses spacers….

  31. SirPaul Says:

    …Two words: BLINK TAGS.

  32. BoraxMan Says:

    ….its url starts with

    ….has animated sprites from Doom

    ….has a 16 colour image of the web sites author

  33. idisjunction Says:

    Isn’t Geocities closed?

  34. woniak Says:

    If it says “Best Viewed in the newest version of NCSA Mosaic (Lynx users won’t see the picture)!” or “Breaking news: HTML 1.1 compliant”

  35. woniak Says:

    AltaVista wasn’t around until many years after the first websites existed. AskJeeves, WebCrawler and Lycos predated AltaVista by a long shot.

    @BoraxMan: its URL would have to start with http:// because older browsers required the user to specify the protocol, which IS, after all, an essential component of any URL.

  36. Torch Wood Says:

    You know a site is old when…

    * it recommends using a modern browser like Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape.
    * Still uses frames
    * It has a badly exposed e-mail address.
    * The browser detection says “Your version of Internet Explorer 9 is not compatible with this site. Download the latest version from Microsoft”

  37. BDD Says:

    … it has scrolling text in the status and/or title bar of the browser…

    … the background is either garish in color or that flat gray with embossed tiled images…

  38. Donn Says:

    …it asks you to install Shockwave, so you can punch the monkey.

  39. BDD Says:

    One more:

    … it has a link to a channel that can be installed on your Windows 98 desktop, so that live “push” updates can be done to keep the channel up to date.

    Ugh. Remember the Windows 98 desktop-as-webpage thing? Talk about a resource hog, and those channel were absolutely worthless even when they *did* work…

  40. Terry Wilkinson Says:

    ……it advertises Lotus 1-2-3….

  41. Florian Says:

    Hows about don´t posting your thinking
    instead of Posting

    WEBSITE ADRESSES (oldstyle)

  42. deegeejay Says:

    . . . it is live (I’m about to upload the new one and then start again).

  43. Melanie Gretchen Says:

    if you get a 404 error when you click on a link posted on that website.

  44. David Spalding Says:

    The site proudly says at the bottom “Coded in Notepad” or “Code in BBEdit” or “Made on a Mac.”

    Or you see one of these:

  45. Schartz Rehan Says:

    After a whole laughing, and reading all the above opinions I can see its an old website.

  46. Terrible Juan Says:

    * The webpage has an gif icon of a mailbox to email the webmaster

    * “Best viewed in 256 colors”

  47. Invader Says:

    … when it touts Netscape For OS/2 as “NEW!”
    … when its written almost COMPLETELY IN CAPSLOCK.
    … when the flashing text isn’t a image.
    … when it advertises a contest from the early 90s

    oh and i found one of the oldest webpages i’ve ever seen, EVER here is the hypertext hyperlink to this site on the world wide web.

  48. Invader Says:

    … when it plays Diablo music upon entry
    … when the visit counter is a broken image file
    … when its last entry is from 1997
    … when its guest book -is- WAS on
    … when most of its banners and images are broken
    … when it uses the now defunct “REPEAT=TRUE” function of QuickTime
    … when it pulls nearly ALL the tropes listed above and still manages to be epic

    Best old site I’ve seen yet… (last version pre-Geocity Crisis)

  49. carmen Says:

    … if the graphics are terrible
    … if it gives you a virus

  50. TheDogOfChaos Says:

    …it still uses java applets, marquees, or blinks

    …the background is just a random photo that they took 10 years ago that does not look good if tiled, but the person tiled it anyway

    …it uses those 3D gifs that were cool & popular many years ago

    …it advertises hardware/software that is heavily underpowered nowadays

    this is probably necroposting, but i don’t care

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