The Gopher protocol was a text-based protocol for distributing, searching, and retrieving documents online. Developed in the 1990s at the University of Minnesota, Gopher provided a simple hierarchical structure for organizing information.
Gopher organised resources into menus and submenus, similar to a file directory. Users could navigate menus to find documents and files hosted on Gopher servers. These resources could include text documents, images, and other files.
Unlike the web, which became dominant with the rise of the World Wide Web, Gopher focused on simplicity and efficient data transfer. However, as the web gained popularity with its graphical interface and hypertext capabilities, Gopher’s usage declined, and it eventually became overshadowed by the web.
Today, Gopher is still used in niche communities and has a nostalgic appeal for some Internet enthusiasts. However, its usage and relevance have significantly diminished compared to the widespread adoption of the World Wide Web.