Midnight Pub

how to make a true 90s website?


Recenly I got an idea of making a little website for sharing my drawings (im not an artist. yet.), and I wanted it to be like typical Geocities page. I shared the result with my friend. He answered "dude..." with attached screenshot of my code where I used "display: flex" for positioning.

So my question is: how to make a truly old website? I'm researching geocitites archives rn, but I dont understand some elements (like a half-screen frame here: https://www.oocities.org/collegepark/1003/).

Any help would be appreciated!


Speaking as someone who wrote his first webpage in 1996 or 1997 - you could follow everyone else's instructions in this thread, and get pretty close. You could also do something "in spirit" - mostly text, CSS to give pleasant margins and colours, that sort of thing. A lot of the sites you'll find on NeoCities today are copying a very specific, garish aesthetic. But websites in the 90s weren't all ugly. Some were beautiful, with complementary colours, all kinds of tricks to get what we get for free in CSS now (spacer gifs, etc). So you might also consider an in-spirit site - one that doesn't look like unicorn vomit, or something scraped out of the depths of the Wayback, but which would very much feel correct if viewed in Netscape 4.



xiu listed a lot of good stuff, especially using tables for your layout instead of divs. You can still use CSS to style the tables. I'd also suggest looking at some of the old html 4.01 specs: https://www.w3.org/TR/2018/SPSD-html401-20180327/.



Oh yes, we used frames because it saved time instead of manually updating your site menu across every static HTML page XD It also meant people could stay on your site while also visiting other sites (so to speak) before tabbed browsing was a thing.

Stuff I remember that you could use...

1. HTML tables instead of CSS to control your page layouts. Feel free to play with table border widths too. There was a time where a thick bevel was trendy.

2. Image maps for site navigation. There was lots of that back then.

3. Code your html tags in all caps. That was more prevalent back then than it is now.

4. Use HR tags liberally, and don't bother styling them.

5. Fonts you can pick from: Times New Roman, Courier New, Arial (cos Macs weren't as widespread either), Brush Script MT, and Comic Sans.



I remember sidebars with old-school scrollbars attached being a thing, and that the side bar wasn't just text, but also had run off paragraphs and random gifs.

I also remember web pages being distinctly rectangular in style. No smooth corners, and lots and lots of WordArt (https://www.makewordart.com/)



In my mind it's as simple as sticking to only html tags necessary for one's page to seem a thoughtful landing loci in a web, i.e.: html, head, title, body, p, a, ul, ol, h1 .. h6.

Add CSS if you need it to look more spiffy for reduced personal maintenance/time cost. But that tends to makes me suspicious a site owner is more concerned with appearances than thoughtful content. I mean, I suppose being concerned with both is possible, and yet it's funny how appearances find a way of outpacing thoughtful content in this world.