Famous Homepages: Then and Now! (2021)

Take a trip down memory lane or discover the origins of the most popular websites around!
Michael Michael (179)
0

Ever wondered what some of the homepages you visit daily looked like when they first launched? Some of the transformations have been minimal, while other homepages have completely changed as the companies grew larger.

In this list, we've curated the top-visited websites in the US and show you what they looked like originally compared to how they look now. In order to research this guide, we used our own internet time travel trick to obtain the look of each website. We encourage you to try it out, too, for other websites you visit daily.

Enjoy our list of famous websites, then and now!

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Google homepage 1999

The first post-beta Google homepage looks remarkably similar to the current Google homepage. Their design aesthetic proves that simplicity and functional design will stand the test of time. One difference that some viewers will note is that Google changed the font of its logo in 2015, dropping the shadow-effect just a year earlier.

Did you know?

Google started in 1997 with only 21 employees! Today, Google employs more than 135,000 people.

Google homepage 2021

Google's current look blends function and simple design to give us the most iconic search engine ever created. Google's grown so large that they replaced the verb "search" with "Google" for searching for things on the web.

Did you know?

The only time Google changes its homepage (Google Doodles) is on special days and to commemorate people and events. Google's first doodle was on October 8, 2010, when they commemorated the 70th birthday of John Lennon with a short animation set to the tune of Imagine.

original Amazon website

Is this even Amazon?! Well, yes and no. It's certainly not the Amazon.com that we've come to know that offers just about everything for purchase online. Amazon.com first began as a new and used online bookstore with an aim to be the largest bookstore in the world. (See, Jeff Bezos set his sights high, even back then.)

Did you know?

Amazon's first foray into offering more products came in the form of "Z Shops," which were ways for 3rd-party sellers to sell their products. And...Amazon even tried to get into online auctions with a failed bid to compete with the likes of eBay.

Amazon homepage

Today, Amazon is the world's largest online retailer, earning more than $20 billion in 2020. It has its own streaming devices, smart home devices, data service (AWS), and even its own video streaming service, Prime Video. And if there's anything you need, even your next grocery order (via Whole Foods), then you can order it on Amazon. It's come along way from its bookstore roots.

Did you know?

That if you type relentless.com into your browser, you'll be redirected to the Amazon homepage? That's because when Amazon.com was searching for its company name, they others in mind. Another contender was Cadabra. Imagine that!

Original Youtube homepage

When we first saw this original YouTube homepage, we had many of the same questions you probably do. Was Youtube a hookup/dating website? Yup! It turns out the YouTube was originally intended to be a kind of dating site where users could upload videos themselves as introductions to find potential partners. They quickly realized that their platform was perfect for uploading hard-to-find videos, and they quickly changed the intent of the video-sharing platform. And the rest...is history.

Did you know?

Google bought YouTube just a little more than a year after it launched for $1.65 billion in stock.

Youtube homepage 2021

The current YouTube homepage features the most trending videos uploaded by its users and influencers. Today, YouTube content has become a lucrative career for many online streamers and content creators. Some YouTube gamers earn millions every year! And if you need something to make you feel good, then there are tons of videos of kittens, gerbils, and other cute animals.

Did you know?

It would take more than 70,000 years to watch all the videos on YouTube (as of 2021). And that's only if people stopped uploading!

Facebook original homepage

Before it was Facebook, it was The Facebook and listed its extremely small working staff right on the homepage. Facebook's origins were to connect people at college and universities together. In order to sign in to Facebook, you needed to be a college student, in fact, and use your school email. It became so popular that people really wanted to use it who weren't in college, and, thus, Facebook as we know it was born.

Did you know?

Al Pacino was the first face ever on Facebook. An early version of the website (pictured above) used Pacino's face behind some binary code. It's had to tell who it is, but it was revealed to be none other than Al Pacino.

Current Facebook Homepage

Used by more than 70% of Americans, today's Facebook maintains its initial idea of connecting people to one and another; though, of course, it's no longer limited to college students. Facebook has more than 350 million active users and has defined the term social media for many years. Even amidst various scandals with Facebook selling user data, the social media empire remains a strong force, even beginning to get into Virtual Reality with its Oculus headset.

Did you know?

The US and Canada account for the lowest overall Facebook audience in the world. Meaning Facebook is the least popular in the place in which it originated.

Twitter

This has to be the website that's proof that big things sometimes begin...well...not so big. Twitter has always been more of a mobile experience, of course, so it's no surprise that the Twitter homepage didn't receive very much love early on. Still, you can see the origins of people tweeting about their food, their day, etc. Twitter began with the idea of micro-blogging and has pretty well maintained that idea even today.

Did you know?

Founder Jack Dorsey sent the first-ever tweet, which read: "just setting up my twttr."

Twitter homepage 2021

Today, Twitter's logo can be seen attached to nearly every name you'll see in the media. Twitter, along with Instagram, has become the force behind the idea of the personal brand. You can see what Kayne West's thoughts are on his dinner the minute he's finished or hear about your favorite band's new tour instantly. And whenever a company has its own verb in the dictionary, tweet, to describe how it functions, then you know it's pretty big.

Did you know?

There are 500 million tweets sent every day! That's sort of incredible.

original wikipedia homepage

Wikipedia began as a completely community-built project in 2001, and users quickly began to devote serious time to this open-sourced knowledge wiki. Even the homepage could be edited by users in 2001. The idea was that articles would gain accuracy over time, as more users began to revise and add to them. Eventually, errors would find their way out of the articles. The homepage is quite minimal and text-based, and we're certain the founders never thought it would explode the way it did.

Did you know?

The oldest article with an edit history on Wikipedia is titled, "UuU." It was intended to be a list of countries beginning with the letter "U."

Wikipedia homepage 2021

20 years later, and they've finally added a little color to their homepage! Today, the Wikipedia homepage looks quite different, though still minimal. The homepage has a featured article each day, relevant to the date, and it highlights recent news that's appeared in Wikipedia and even has a "Did you know?" feature. You can also see Wikipedia's globe logo on the upper left, symbolizing the global reach of this wiki encyclopedia. They've amassed a huge collection of articles and entries and have added citations to their entries to help ensure the accuracy of their information.

Did you know?

As of this writing (2021), there are more than 58 million Wikipedia pages.

original Yahoo homepage

If you're old enough, you can remember when Yahoo! was the most dominant force on the internet, and almost everyone was using their email accounts and search engine. Here's what an early version of the Yahoo! homepage would have looked like back then. Many users would have seen this as their homepage every day. Yahoo!'s reign of internet dominance didn't last long, however.

Did you know?

Yahoo turned down the opportunity to buy Google in 2002 for $3 billion. That must have seemed steep back then. Of course, we know that it was a steal, given what Google has become.

yahoo! homepage 2021

The decline of Yahoo! is a storied subject in the business world with a history of failed purchases, poor judgments, and a lack of awareness of social trends. Today, Yahoo! retains its email service but essentially only highlights news articles and crams its homepage with advertisements. It stills gets around 700 million visitors to its homepage each month.

Did you know?

Yahoo made a failed bid for Facebook for $1 billion in 2006. Many executives at Facebook wanted to sell the company, but Zuckerberg reportedly did not. Apparently, when the executives asked for $1.1 billion, Yahoo! refused...tragically for them.

original instagram homepage

Like a few others on this list, Instagram was designed to be mobile-first apps, with homepages that were fairly limited. You can see in the image of one of the earliest homepages for Instagram both the early Instagram camera logo and how the app looked when it first started, as well.

Did you know?

The first-ever Instagram photo uploaded was of the founder, Kevin Systrom's dog while at a Taco restaurant. It seems fitting that a dog was the first Instagram personality!

Instagram homepage 2021

You'll notice some similarities between the Then and Now images of the two Instagram homepages. Instagram still features its mobile app, with links to download it on the App Store and Google Play store. And it still keeps things simple in terms of design. (Noticing a trend?) This is the homepage when signed out of Instagram. If you're signed in to Instagram, then the homepage features the latest uploads from those you follow.

Did you know?

There are more than 40 billion photos on Instagram as of this writing (2021)!

Netflix original website

While Netflix has been around technically since 1996, it really didn't hit its stride until a few years later when it began to expand to national movie rental distribution for a monthly fee (as opposed to paying per film). While we might now know Netflix for its distinctive red design and logo, originally, the logo was much less design-forward, and its color was violet.

Oh...and remember the movie Blade that you could rent for $4.00! Yeah...that was a while ago.

Did you know?

Blockbuster had the chance to purchase Netflix in 2000 for $50 million. Netflix was suffering serious losses due to its reliance on the Postal Service and thought that Blockbuster could help distribute the films. Blockbuster rejected the offer! Oh, Blockbuster....

Netflix homepage 2021

Netflix has come a long way from its mail-order roots. Today, Netflix doesn't even bother with shipping DVDs anymore, as most viewers prefer to stream their video content directly and immediately. They've also updated their logo since their early days. Netflix today now has its own Netflix Originals, which are shows and movies that they've produced exclusively for their own members.

Did you know?

The first Netflix Original was the show Lilyhammer in 2012. In 2013, they released the incredibly popular House of Cards.

Reddit original homepage

Reddit has been known for illuminating life's toughest questions, like: "Why do men have nipples?" Reading through the highlighted Reddit posts from 2005, it's easy to see that not much has changed about the average Reddit user and what's popular there. Reddit began as a user-generated forum website and quickly grew to encompass multiple interests and fields.

Did you know?

Subreddits began as an effort to remove certain kinds of content from the homepage, such as adult content, programming content, and other things the developers didn't want to be highlighted on the main page.

Reddit homepage 2021

Today's Reddit looks much brighter with images and photos from its major trending posts. It also highlights the latest posts in any subreddit to which a user may be subscribed. Think of just about any interest in the world, and there's likely a subreddit full of posts about that interest. If you're looking for the extremes of people on the internet, then head on over to Reddit.

Did you know?

You can still use the older Reddit design by going to old.reddit.com, which is an older version of the Reddit site that still updates.

Zoom original homepage

Zoom was founded in 2011 by a former Cisco employee, Eric Yuan, who with 40 engineers designed a group video conference platform that could be started via Facebook. They eventually left behind the idea of keeping it to Facebook. Instead, they offered the Zoom video service via a B2B model and quickly gained lots of investors.

Did you know?

Zoom draws inspiration for its name from Zoom City, a children's book by Thacher Hurd.

Zoom homepage 2021

Zoom continued to grow slowly over the next 8 years until the Covid-19 crisis hit the world in 2020. That's when Zoom saw its stock price rise astronomically and its user base grow with it. It's now the preferred video conferencing software for many school systems and at-home alternatives to business.

Did you know?

In 2020, Zoom's stock value gained 635%, putting it above the energy giant ExxonMobile!

Windows Live 2006

Live.com or Windows Live was a standalone suite of web services provided by Microsoft that was separate from their Windows operating system. Windows Live included email, a web search (later Bing), messenger, and their cloud-based Skydrive.

Did you know?

Windows Live was essentially a rebranding of the MSN suite of products that many may remember for its butterfly logo.

Live.com homepage

Today, Live.com is still one of the most popular URLs on the internet, even while Microsoft has discontinued Windows Live, and the URL redirects to Microsoft Outlook. Many of the products offered in Windows Live are now part of Microsoft's 365 software package.

Did you know?

Outlook and OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) still use the Windows Live brand in the URL even though the brand name has been dropped. This is likely because so many people still use the URL.

Pinterest homepage 2010

The social media site famous for its pinboards started small with tentative prospects as to whether it would survive. Its homepage shows just how minimal its start was, with only a few options for uploading images and searching for content. Still, there's something powerful about the idea of spreading "ideas," which led to its early success.

Did you know?

Pinterest is famous for personally reaching out to its first 5,000 users for feedback when it first launched its Beta-version in 2010.

Pinterest homepage 2021

Now, Pinterest is the go-to place if you need some inspiration for a party, cake, recipe, or renovation. There are countless lists and DIY ideas for just about everything. There are more than 335 million active users on Pinterest today. Its homepage and logo, too, have changed with the times, becoming much more visually appealing.

Did you know?

While Pinterest users used to largely identify as women in the past (around 80%), today, that number has fallen to only 60%.

Microsoft original homepage

We all know the saga of Microsoft and its influence on all of our lives. Its foray into the internet, however, was where it really strode forward. Besides the Netscape browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer was one of the only browsers available to most users. And while its homepage may look dated, that's just because...well...it is!

Did you know?

Windows 95 Plus was the first time an operating system came bundled with an internet browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Homepage 2021

Today, Microsoft's web browser might not be the most popular (or even close), but they've branched into other revenue streams with things like Office 365, Xbox Live, and their Surface tablets. And of course, there is still the Windows OS that's their bread and butter. Their website reflects their new brand personality, which was necessary for the company to compete with Apple.

Did you know?

PacMan inspired Microsoft's original logo with a much more retro-feel than their current modern-looking logo.

CNN original homepage

CNN was founded in 1980 by Ted Turner and Reese Schonfeld as the first 24-hour cable news channel. Its website didn't launch until 2000, however. CNN.com made available the kind of breaking news that CNN covered on its channel to the web, so that users could follow an election, for example, in real-time. Because many websites did not support the widescreen aspect ratios we use today, its website looks...well...a bit scrunched on today's monitors.

Did you know?

The first newscast on CNN was anchored by David Walker and Lois Hart, a husband and wife news team.

CNN homepage 2021

CNN is one of the only websites on our list to maintain the same logo—that classic CNN lettering—since its inception. And we can see that the news has certainly changed since 2000, though the website maintains the kind of web newspaper feel that many news sites use, like The New York Times and Washington Post. Now, CNN has the ability to embed its own broadcast video content into its articles to give them that extra something.

Did you know?

CNN has more than 3,000 employees stationed at 30 operational sites around the world and reaches 402 million households daily.

Bing original homepage

The only real competitor Google had in 2009 was Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves (later known as Ask.com), but the latter closed down in 2010 because it could no longer compete. Microsoft introduced Bing as a potential competitor to Google's monopoly on search data. The original Bing website didn't quite find its bearing at first and didn't offer much in the way to sway its users away from Google.

Did you know?

Bing is an extension of an early version of MSN search. Its name was chosen for being short, memorable, and able to be used as a verb. (I "binged" the answer.)

Bing homepage 2021

In terms of sheer look, Bing has separated itself from Google by making its homepage much more dynamic and colorful. Bing also features relevant news stories below the search bar, similar to Yahoo!. To compete, Bing has incorporated its search crawler into many built-in features on phones, notebooks, and computers.

Did you know?

While Google is still overwhelmingly the most used search engine in the world, Bing does have a decent presence in the US, with around 36% of people using Bing exclusively.

Twitch original homepage

Twitch launched in 2011 as a host for gamers to stream their gameplay to audiences worldwide. Early versions of the website show Twitch's old logo and its fairly limited user interface. However, even at its earliest, Twitch was garnering hundreds of thousands of viewers every day to watch people play video games and chat.

Did you know?

Popular streamer, Ninja, was one of Twitch's first streamers. Ninja has since become extremely popular, making our list of the highest-paid video gamers in the world.

twitch.tv homepage 2021

Since its early days, Twitch has grown into the #1 platform for live streaming games. Its website now employs its recognizable air quote logo and purple color. It's also expanded from its early concentration on pure gameplay. Now, there are streams for music, chatting, and other types of live content. Twitch is now owned by Amazon and hosts an annual conference called TwitchCon.

Did you know?

Twitch averages about 15 million unique daily viewers per day. That's better than the combination of almost every cable TV channel as of 2020.

ebay original homepage

eBay began as an extension of a personal website and grew into an online bidding empire, so it has that classic startup story. It's also for that reason that we don't have the actual original website for the company. Still, this early version of eBay looks remarkably similar to today's eBay, which shows how simple website design can remain visually appealing for years.

Did you know?

The first online auction was founder Pierre Omidyar's used laser pointer, which went for $14.83. When he emailed the buyer to make sure they knew it was used, the buyer reportedly said they were collectors of used laser pointers.

ebay homepage 2021

On any given day today, there are over 1 billion live auctions taking place on eBay. It's become the largest online used retailer in the world and has become a means of earning extra income for many with things they no longer need. eBay changed its logo slightly in 2012 but kept the color scheme and minimalist website layout.

Did you know?

There are lots of really wild listings on eBay. Someone once bought a "ghost in a jar" for $10,000!

walmart original website

While known as the largest in-person retailer in the US, Walmart established a web presence pretty early on in the internet's early days. While Amazon's online model was unstoppable, Walmart was certainly an early competitor. Its early website showcases the classic blue logo of Walmart and the crazy deals that made Walmart famous.

Did you know?

Sam Walton was a former employee of J.C. Penny and saw an opportunity to sell products at lower profit margins with higher volume.

walmart homepage 2021

Walmart came to define the megastore, the store where you could get just about everything done under one roof. Today, you can go to Walmart for eyeglasses, a doctor's exam, a vet appointment, groceries, and some new patio furniture. Many criticized Walmart over the years for monopolizing retail, but that hasn't slowed its growth even during the pandemic years of 2020-2021. Its new website features its new name (from Wal-mart to Walmart) but retains the classic blue color.

Did you know?

The largest Walmart is located in Albany, NY. The store is almost 260,000 square feet, about 25 percent larger than any other location.

Discord original homepage

Like its early motto suggests, Discord set out to compete with the rising popularity of private servers and channels for those playing video games to communicate with one another. This is one of the newest websites on our list, but its rise in popularity makes it one of the most visited webpages today. Its first homepage really highlights the video game audience it was looking to capture.

Did you know?

Discord got its start when teams working on Final Fantasy XIV and League of Legends saw how difficult it was to communicate tactics to one another.

discord homepage 2021

Today, Discord has outgrown its video game roots. It now hosts private channels for all kinds of interests. It's used by colleges, organizations, and friends who want to have a private channel to hang out. This is reflected in Discord's new website and slogan, "Your place to talk," which opens it to a more general audience base.

Did you know?

The largest Discord server is a discord server for Genshin Impact, the mobile game with around 500,000 members.

howchoo original homepage

Howchoo began as an online community for people to share their DIY ideas and guides with the world! You can see the Beta version of our website, as well as our earliest attempts as answering some of the most pressing questions our audience has, like "What can I bring on a plane?"

Did you know?

Howchoo grew out of an interest in sharing simple projects with the world! The good news?! That's still what we love to do!

howchoo homepage 2021

Today, Howchoo has come a long way and has thousands of guides on everything from Raspberry Pi, 3D printing, and even ukuleles! Our website now features our many guides and highlights our focus on tech and tools — two things we love!

Did you know?

Howchoo now has more than 200 interests full of great how-to and project guides!

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