Gopher

What is Gopher?

The Gopher protocol was invented at the University of Minnesota in 1991.  It was intended to be a quick and simple way for scientists to share text information on the pre-Internet.  However, about a year later, Mosaic and HTML were created and the World Wide Web was born.

In spite of the fact that HTML took over the world and led to the explosion of the Internet, gopher is still around.  It is fast, easy to use, and contains no garbage overhead like ads, etc.

Gopher sites are text only.  You can set up sites that allow downloading other types of files, including images.  But what you see when you surf gopher sites with a gopher browser is text files in different directories.  It is faster, more efficient, and easier to use and set up than web pages.

How can I view gopher sites?

HTTP to gopher proxy

Modern browsers no longer support the gopher protocol, so if you’d like to explore “gopherspace”, the easiest thing to do is to use a gopher proxy.  A gopher proxy is a web server that is set up to fetch gopher pages and present them to you directly in your web browser.  Click this link to use the Ratthing.com Gopher Proxy to visit my Gopher site:

http://ratthing.com:7780/ratthing.com/1/

The “master Gopher server” is Cameron Kaiser’s server at Floodgap.com, and you can view it via my gopher proxy by clicking on this link:

http://ratthing.com:7780/gopher.floodgap.com/1/

Overbite Addon for Firefox

Another option for viewing gopher sites is to install the OverbiteFF addon for Mozilla Firefox, or the Overbite for Android app for your phone or tablet.  You can find all the information to get started here:

http://gopher.floodgap.com/overbite/

After you’ve installed the software, point your browser to the following URL to get started with gopher.

gopher://ratthing.com

I think you will find it to be a lot faster and cleaner than web browsing.  Enjoy!