Yahoo Pulls Killswitch on Geocities Hosting

Dennis Faas's picture

One of the Internet's most popular free web hosting services, GeoCities, is closing down for good. Yahoo, which has owned the service for the last decade, announced in April it planned on shutting off the pages remaining in operation, and yesterday the lights went down on GeoCities for the very last time.

Started back in 1994 under the title "Beverly Hills Internet," GeoCities early on adopted an operating design that emulated its name. For example, a site about celebrities might fall under the city-themed title "Hollywood," while those constructed for the purposes of blogging about PC software development became the property of virtual town "SiliconValley". That format was eventually scrapped, but up until recently there were still sites using it.

GeoCities a Dot-Com Dominion

GeoCities' heyday, as you might expect, was during the dot-com era of the late 1990s and early 2000s. As the economy rose and more and more people could afford web-enabled computers, and as web services became more robust, the demand for sites dedicated to anything from random philosophizing to high school sports teams exploded. GeoCities was there to offer cheap web sites for those who wanted their voice heard worldwide.

During its height, users could create their own page for free, with the service offering a limited amount of storage for uploading simple music tunes and images.

Millions of Sites Shut Down

Millions of pages have gone offline now that Yahoo has disabled the service. Those with sites that don't want to risk seeing all of their hard work sent forth into web purgatory are encouraged to archive material themselves.

Although Yahoo has said its Internet Archive was archiving content from GeoCities servers, it hasn't offered any guarantees that every page would be saved. If you've missed the cut-off date and can't gain access to the site, you'll likely have to contact Yahoo directly. (Source:

Yahoo Nudges Users to $5/month Service

It was earlier this year that Yahoo stopped accepting new registrations for the GeoCities service, which most web users forgot even existed. Yahoo is now encouraging users make the transition from the free GeoCities pages to its $5/month web hosting service, a potential pay-day for the struggling search engine.

Yahoo's reasons for shutting down GeoCities remain a bit of a mystery. Despite its fall from uber-popularity seven or eight years ago, the network is still ranked amongst the top 200 on the web. According to a company representative, the service's end is "part of [their] ongoing effort to prioritize our portfolio of products and services in order to deliver the best products to consumers." (Source:

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