The 'small web' and why you should care...

What’s up everyone.

Hope you are doing well. :)

You see… Recently I’ve stumbled across something pretty niche that I felt like sharing with you. The so called gemini protocol.

You might be thinking. What is this? Why should I care? What should I eat later for lunch? (Okay maybe not the last one… But you get the idea.)

Just like the http/https protocol is used for serving different kinds of web page related content, there are many different variations of different protocols for this usage, some more useful than others.

I don’t wanna go in detail what exists out there and their historical background they might’ve had. That might be another blog entry for sometime as well. :D

Today I just wanna focus on two different ones you might not know about.

So let’s get started.


The Gopher protocol was actually around before the http protocol and you could see it as it’s predecessor when it comes to usage in this field.

But due to questionable licensing decisions it’s decline began and http prevailed.

That isn’t the end of the story though. Just like everything else it stayed somewhat alive by a small niche community and new gopherholes (websites made with the Gopher protocol).

Why is that though… It’s simple. Just like it’s sites… Because it just contains basic textual content.

In a world with way too many flashing pictures/videos, ads and bloated websites with way too much JS, this minimalistic approach is quite refreshing and very appealing in my opinion. So I can see it’s appeal in that sense.

It just let’s you read the freaking content, so it never died because of that neat aspect.

But there lies a problem… It’s a protocol from the nineties with it’s server security problems and the way of creating a page is a bit different “weird”. (You have to append a tag in front of each line to symbolize it’s content type, even if you use plain text…)

Luckily there’s improvement.


I already teasered this one before but let’s go into that one. Gemini first appeared in 2019, so it is a pretty recent one in this world of protocols but it aims to improve a bit compared to Gopher just as it’s “tagline”. (Lighter than http, heavier than Gopher)

In it’s core it seems to be pretty similar. It’s webpages (capsules) are made up by text-based webpages with some smaller features sprinkled in it like links etc. and it’s syntax feels like markdown in a way but a bit more limited in a way.

But compared to Gopher it has fixed up a lot of the different problems like the security aspect, by using TLS and it’s syntax is way better since as I said… It uses markdown.

And the great thing. It keeps its advantages with the vision of a clutter-free web. This feels really great as a reader since you can just explore different corners, different capsules and their content, what they think or just whatever. It gives one a flash back to the past with a touch of modern features.

This is basically why one might use these protocols. Gopher or Gemini won’t be replacing http… They have their niches and they co-exist and this is why they exist, because they are there for different things. I hope you get my point there. :)

How can one start?

Maybe you find this vision of a clutter-free appealing and you want to join but you might be thinking… How can I join?

You can’t just type up “gemini://” and expect something from your typical browser.

There are two ways.

The easiest one is a traditional web-based proxy, a website which sends your request by itself and shows you it’s content inside the http protocol-based web. Just look one up with your search engine of choice and you can start.

The second one is using a special browser which can access Gemini capsules or gopherholes. There are many of them out there and there are even browsers which can access different protocols at once, so you don’t need to install two browsers if you want to try both out. I use “kristall” but there are many different browsers out there. :)

So what to do now?

A great starting point to check out for Gemini might be the official website gemini:// and the biggest Gemini-based search engine gemini://

For Gopher a good starting point might be also be a search engine to start your journey.

Or you might as well check out my personal Gemini capsule or gopherhole if you made it this far…

So yeah…

That’s it for today. Don’t wanna drag this one out too far.

Have fun surfing.

See ya.