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Gopher is an earlier, alternate protocol to HTTP. Gopher pages are more stricly organised, and do not reder images (though they can make images and other files downloadable).


Support in web browsers has mostly fallen off, but Lynx still works (w3m doesn't).

There are also a few proxy browsers you can use within you browser of choice. You feed them the Gopher URL and it renders the page for you. They each have their own style:

I haven't tried any dedicated clients yet.

There is a Firefox extention, though it is no longer compatible with new releases. Might still work in Seamonkey?


Gopher pages are pretty simple text files.

Like in HTML, a directory has an index file, in Gopher's case it's called gophermap. Other files will have their usual extension. Other pages are plaintext files with a '.TXT' extension.


There isn't a lot to Gopher's syntax. Any text is entered plainly, and the only other page elements are links. The most unique thing about them is that they start with a number to indicate what kind of file they link to: an image, another page, a binary file, etc. These links separate the domain and the directory within that domain too, and include a port number. Each section of the link is separated by a TAB.

1My Cat	/mycat	70

To break it down:

Item type User display string Selector Hostname Port
1 My Cat /mycat 70

(From Wikipedia)

Canonical types
0 Text file
1 Gopher submenu
2 CCSO Nameserver
3 Error code returned by a Gopher server to indicate failure
4 BinHex-encoded file (primarily for Macintosh computers)
5 DOS file
6 uuencoded file
7 Gopher full-text search
8 Telnet
9 Binary file
+ Mirror or alternate server (for load balancing or in case of primary server downtime)
g GIF file
I Image file
T Telnet 3270
Non-canonical types
h HTML file
i Informational message
s Sound file (especially the WAV format)

URL Link:

hMy Website	URL:	70


Gopher servers seem to be pretty lightweight. I'm gunna give GoFish (gofish) a try :)

Cool Things

This 3-D Gopher browser: Gopher VR.


See Also

form/gopher.txt · Last modified: 2017/10/10 12:16 by rjt