I discovered Neocities in 2015 while researching ways to create a simple, retro-style personal website. I fell in love with its 1990s GeoCities aesthetic and hand-coded pages reminding me of my early internet days. More importantly, it provided an easy, affordable platform for publishing my random thoughts without needing domain registrations or hosting.
NeoCities is a free and open source web hosting platform allowing users to easily create old-school personal websites with a retro 1990s aesthetic. It emerged in 2022 following the shutdown of the similar service Neocities, which cited growing costs as unsustainable.
Created by Arailem, NeoCities aims to carry the torch of providing a friendly, non-commercialized space for hobbyists and non-profits to host pages reminiscent of the early GeoCities era internet. Its purpose is keeping the indie spirit of the web alive versus today’s social media dominance.
Like classic site builders, NeoCities offers free static web hosting for HTML pages augmented through CSS alongside community message boards tied to profiles. Builder tools require manual coding but allow creators to fully customize lo-fi sites.
The platform runs on donations rather than advertising or venture capital. By using open source software and efficient shared resources, NeoCities hopes to avoid the financial hurdles undoing predecessors.
For those yearning for the creativity and quirky personal sensibilities defining the web’s early decades before corporate standardization, NeoCities aspires to welcome users home by sustaining a corner uncompromised by algorithms and apps. It’s a nostalgic refuge for indie sites.
With the sunsetting of beloved old school web hosting community Neocities scheduled for later this year, many hobbyist site owners now seek new platforms embracing the vintage aesthetic without costly resources hampering the Drakes’ shoestring operation.
Thankfully, several alternatives exist continuing the classic GeoCities and Angelfire style alongside modern conveniences. While none fully replaces Neocities’ intangible charm, the options below attempt filling its niche for nostalgic, affordable sites.
Geocities ruled 1990s personal pages until getting acquired and shuttered by Yahoo in 2009. Geocities.ws revived the service using archived Geocities content to perfectly recreate retro pages down to the era-authentic web rings and grainy background images.
The platform adds modern features like SSL encryption onto its gloriously outdated templates. Free memberships and reasonable premium subscriptions make it a cost-effective substitute for vintage web builders. Just beware annoying forced banner ads.
If you want to pretend it’s still 1998 online, OldWeb.today tries transporting users back through flawlessly replicating antiquated interfaces into an immersive period web environment. From GIFconstruction set builders to guestbooks and hit counters, it nails the nostalgia sweet spot.
Its only downside is volatility from tech complications or domain issues occasionally interfering with reliability. But OldWeb feels like accessing a web portal into the past powered by passion alone.
Looking for more stability with a transparent company mission? Member-owned web cooperative Webhosting.coop provides old school site building tools modeled after 1990’s pioneers built entirely by volunteers donating time.
With affordable tiers and an emphasis on data ethics shunning targeted advertising, Webhosting aims funding open source platforms rather than pursuing profit. Supporting it means supporting a healthier internet ecosystem.
Wix GeoCities Skin
If migrating existing Neocities content easily is a priority, the best fit may be retaining overall site architecture imported into Wix using GeoCities skins available. These open source custom skins transform Wix into a recognizable GeoCities facsimile skin helping ease transitional headaches.
Wix affords modern reliability missing from true vintage platforms but smart skins provide aesthetic continuity during your move. Just prepare for bloated code compared to hand-coded purity.
Losing Neocities hurts given its community and charm. But its spirit lives on through continuing old school sites however you choose. We thank the Drakes for the memories as we pass the DIY web torch to a new generation.