What is a Gopher?
© 2001 Walt Howe
(last updated 18 September 2004)
A gopher system is a simple menu based interface that can connect you to
text files, downloadable binary files, file searches, telnet
connections, or to another menu. The selections can be local or can link
to any other gopher, web, telnet, or ftp site around the world. In a gopher
system, you type a number or click on an icon to select the menu item
you want. The first gopher was developed at the University of Minnesota, which until recently would link you to gophers
from all over the World.
Gophers around the world used to be indexed by a search utility called
VERONICA, but the
various VERONICA servers, even when they were current were very busy and hard to connect
Gopher was the first easy to learn and use protocol that opened the
Internet to everyone, until the massive growth in popularity of the World Wide Web in 1994 replaced the gopher as the
leading interface for navigating the nets.
For more about gophers, see the Internet
History and the Glossary.