Skip to main content

Home Gopher protocol

Gopher protocol

Gopher protocol definition

Gopher protocol is a communications protocol developed in 1991 at the University of Minnesota and named after the university's mascot. It was created for searching, distributing, and accessing files stored on Web servers and was potentially an alternative to the World Wide Web. However, it was developed to meet the campus’ need for an information system.

The Gopher protocol was initially compatible only with text files and documents but later received support for some multimedia formats, such as GIF and JPEG files.

Gopher use

Although Gopher was considered an alternative to the World Wide Web, it eventually succumbed to the HTTP protocol. It has very few uses today, and most modern browsers do not even support it. However, some enthusiasts still use the protocol and create Gopher-HTTP gateways to access resources via this technology.

Gopher enthusiasts value its minimalistic style and ability to work well in low computing power environments since Gopher has mostly stayed the same since 1991. The “Gopherspace“ (the Gopher version of the World Wide Web) includes news, weather forecasts, and even proxies for accessing Reddit and Wikipedia.