Bill P. Godfrey et al

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Adventures in websites - Student days

Welcome to the first of a series looking at personal web hosting. We start with a bit of a tardis journey to the year 1995. (Note: Its quite possible my memory is faulty.)

Coventry University, 1995. We see a twenty year old Bill Godfrey hanging about in a computer lab called DY35 or "The Dungeon". He is talking with his friends Mandelorian and ShadowDweller about starting a personal website.
(We all had silly nicknames back then. I was Bill the Hamster.)

We had looked at professional web hosting services. A .com domain cost $100 for two years up-front and the cheapest hosting service I could find cost £45 a month.

Then, in a day that changed history, Dave told me about a free service for personal web pages. Geopages! The adresses you were given were inexplicably goofy ( [StupidName]/ [FourStupidDigits]/) but I didn't care. I was finally on the web.

Today, a .com domain today costs me £21 for two years and my professional web and e-mail hosting service costs me £50 a year for one domain. That's about a ninth of what it would have cost me eleven years ago. It frankly amazes me that MySpace and its ilk are so popular with students and teenagers when a fiver a month can get you a website and there is so much free PHP based software for blogs, forums, photo galleries, etc. Clearly I have different values.

With a touch of irony, that old website I had once sought has become an embarrassing millstone. I've long since lost access to it and its terribly out of date. I try asking them to delete it, stating that I can't get in to do it myself, but its still there.

At least its not the top Google search for my name any more.

(Coming up in part two: From the Bishop to


  • Why spend five pounds when free does the job?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 7:07 PM, July 17, 2006  

  • geopages?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:31 PM, July 17, 2006  

  • If you say "geopages" 3 times, they'll come and get you... like any number of horror-movie bad-guys...

    Geopages [well, geocities really - jog your brain Bill] were bought up by yahoo about 6 years ago; of course, you're missing out some of the fun stuff - the Link Exchange banner links - and discovering it really didn't make that much difference - the discovery of and similar sites that let you freely redirect to a slightly more meaningful name. And the Chops, the mysterious Ph, of course not forgetting Cod week...

    And yes, it may have been free - like myspace and their ilk now; but it did the job - and you had that sense of community - something myspace seems to foster quite well.

    [as to google searches - using my name doesn't give anything for me on the first 4 pages and I couldn't be bothered to check the rest. Yes! Anonymity is mine.

    [of course, as well as geocities there was briefly a who were free, then bought up by four eleven who charged, followed by the deluge of free sites; tripod, angelfire.. you name it... them were the days]

    [ of course, back then, you'd've probably been on compuserve, pipex, assholesonline, or any number of oddly named ISPs that have been eaten up by the passage of change; or a big furry hamster with belly ache. I forget which one.. ]

    By Blogger M., At 10:14 AM, July 18, 2006  

  • To anonymous #1...
    (Why spend five pounds when free does the job?)

    I guess I have different values.

    For me, the big thing is that our ability to use the freebie services is at the whim of the operators. If I don't like it, my only negotiating position would be to leave that service and find a new one.

    When hosting was mega expensive to likes of me, the disadvantages were not that much of a problem. Now I can afford my own domain and professional hosting service I don't have to beholden to the whims of MySpace or GeoCities.

    That sort of control is worth the fiver a month to me. Maybe I'm just odd.

    By Blogger Bill P. Godfrey, At 9:44 PM, July 18, 2006  

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