Allan Pollett

Toronto SEO Consultant

The Death of Geo Cities

Before there was Facebook, MySpace, and Blogger, there was GeoCities. Back in 1994 GeoCities opened with the offering of free web sites for all. It grew to 3.5 million web pages hosted and to become the third most visited site on the web.  In 1998 it was purchased by Yahoo for a whopping $4.6 billion. Also, in 1998 I launched my first Internet site and business from a GeoCities. I learned HTML and how to build a site from Geocities. I even began learning about web marketing from my humble free site.

That was then…this is now: Yahoo has announced that on October 26, 2009 GeoCities will be no more. All previously hosted sites will be discarded. It always amazes me how a company can go from a $4.6 billion buy out to nothing. Part of the reason for the demise of GeoCities was the brought on by the merger with Yahoo. GeoCities staff was cut and the key players who had made the business successful were lost. Geocities also failed to keep up with technology its once prized HTML editors and upload capabilities became outdated and slow compared to newer sites like MySpace and Facebook. The bandwidth issues (maximum of 4 Megs per hour) GeoCities members had to endure also meant they were less likely build popular sites and ones that made the best use of broadband. Basically, sites offering larger photos and videos won out. Social media sites hopefully will learn a lesson from this that they need to keep pace with technology or go the way of the GeoCities, an Internet dinosaur.

Saving your GeoCities site

If you are like me and a little nostalgic about your old GeoCities site here is the way to save it and not have to pay Yahoo $9.95 for the privilege. Realize there is no FTP to Geocities, so you will need to go to your GeoCities File Manager. One way to get all the files is to click them individually and download them. The bandwidth cap will cause issues, took me 5 hours to get my files. But afterward I learned of an easier way (isn’t that always that case?).  Firefox’s add-on DownThemAll!, which you can get here or here, allows you to save multiple files at once. Here are the steps:

  1. Login to your GeoCities account.
  2. Click the ‘Manage’ tab, then click ‘File Manager’
  3. Select the ‘Show’ button; check all the checkboxes; then choose ‘Any’ in the dropdown box.
  4. Click the ‘Open File Manager’ link.
  5. On your Firefox browser, click the ‘Tools’ menu, then select ‘DownThemAll!’
  6. The DownThemAll! window will show up. Expand the ‘Filters’ option and make sure all checkboxes are checked except ‘All files’.
  7. Then in the ‘Save files in’ field, choose the GeoCities folder you created earlier.
  8. Click the ‘Start!’ button and DownThemAll! will start downloading your files.

Follow the steps above for every folder and sub-folder. It will not download your html files or your sub-folders.
For the HTML files there are two ways in doing this – 1)  repeating the steps above, and check ‘All files’ in the filter option of DTA; or 2) edit each HTML file in GeoCities editor and copy-paste it to your HTML editor.
If you chose to take option #2, follow these steps:

  1. Click the ‘Manage’ tab, then click ‘File Manager’
  2. Select the HTML file you wish to back up.
  3. Click on the “Edit” button at the top of your File Manager.
  4. Click the box to the left of the file you wish to edit, and click the “Edit” button at the top or bottom of the File Manager.
  5. This will open the HTML editor. Highlight all of the code on the page, then select “Copy” from the “Edit” menu of your browser’s toolbar.
  6. Use a text editor on your computer to save the file as an HTML document.

For those who might be curious you can see my old Geocities site at Warren Magazines (it was a site devoted to an old magazine publisher from the 60s and 70s.) The site incredibly out of date so don’t expect the external links to work. It’s my time capsule and I plan to leave it as it was until it can be unearthed a hundred years in the future 😉

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Any questions, please feel free to contact me at 905-417-9470 or by email at

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