I completely rewrote my original History of Webrings page in July 2021, a couple of months later in October, Ash posted to my Guestbook that perhaps I was wrong and that webrings are making a comeback mostly due to the interest in creating personal websites created by Neocities.
Most of the sites I've looked at on Neocities seem very retro in appearance, about the same as this site when it was started around 20 years ago. Several sites have manifestos, such as the collections at Sad Girl Online and Yesterweb. These manifestos bemoan the fact that social media and commercial sites have taken over the internet, which they have, but there's been places to write personal sites for over 25 years and Neocities aren't doing anything particularly new.
The original webring systems privided a list so you could choose to join an existing webring or create your own and these were usually confined to single subjects, some of which were very loosely defined. Neocities and other new webring systems have a different view in that most of the webrings I looked at are not confined to a particular subject, so you jump from site to site not quite knowing what you are going to get. Worse still in my view is that the writers of the various sites forget that for the webrings to work you have to be able to find your way back to the webring links.
There are also pages around calling themselves webrings but they are not. They are simply a page of links to other sites and are not even reciprocal. I have tried not to include simple site listings or reciprocal links in mine as I do not consider them true webrings.
I did a search for these new-style webrings and have so far found the following. Most are for non-commerical, personal sites which is what webrings were originally made for. As the big webring systems have gone, it's just as easy to list the individual rings. I make no promises about this directory, just that when I visited them they were working.
This list cames from a Google Sheet using the Google Charts API to display it. I know from previous experience of doing this it is certainly faster and easier for me to update and maintain. For example the links only have to be made once.
If you know of a webring not listed here, please email me atand I will add it.
Missing and Defunct Webrings
Unfortuantely even since beginning to find and list the new style webrings in December 2022, there are rings that have disappeared, no longer function or are not accepting new members. There could be any number of reasons for this including boredom with running them, technical issues and time.
Of the rings that I applied to join but never got a reply, it could be that I have been ghosted, that is they looked at the site but rather than telling me that it has been rejected didn't bother replying at all. Rather than lose the information and because the rings may reappear at some later date, I have listed them here.
These notes were mostly written to help me understand some of what is happening on today's internet and what it is being used for. I'm old!
Some rings are for people who identify as alterhuman or otherkin, someone who believe themselves not quite, more than, or different to the rest of us. There's are various sub-cultures connected with being alterhuman, they may identify with creatures from fiction or mythology or believe they have some sort of power or insight not accessible to anyone else.
A rejection, at least in part, of the masssive commercial internet companies that has evolved into a network of interconnected servers which communicate with each other based on decentralized networking protocols. The servers run individual instances of software for almost every use and service such as social media, file sharing of all sorts, blogging, hosting websites and so on.
If you have a presence on the internet you rely on big companies and some very clever people to provide the infrastructure, technology, hardware, services and software to enable us to do what we do, but what I find most strange about some of what the Fediverse does, is that they are not truely self-hosted as my sites are, "The Server in the Cellar" but are hosted or rely on gigantic server farms such as AWS and Cloudflare. This can be seen in various forums such as r/selfhosted on Reddit where the standard reply to most posts is something to do with Cloudflare, Docker, containers, some sort of VPN, or proxies.
You may have seen some webrings refering to furry or furries. They are mostly art sites about anthropomorphized animals, such as Sonic the Hedgehog or the Pokémon characters. It may be some authors may well identify more deeply than othes with the characters, a type of alterhuman or otherkin.
All sorts of rubbish has been written and said about them. Some say that furries are fetishists with an interest in sex in animal costumes. Others that they live their lives as part animals such as the idiotic litter boxes in school bathrooms trope that you see here and there.
A nostalgia for simpler, smaller, personal, sites that were around when I first started mine in the mid-1990s to around the mid-2000s. Some sites have even brought back the old aesthetics of being bright and sparkly with every animated or site button GIF they can find. Another design feature being brought back by some is where the background and foreground colors are so similar the text has to be highlighted to read it.
Some of the above may be described as Chuunibyou, a Japanese word roughly meaning "middle school 2nd year syndrome", more generically "middle-schooler disease" and even more generically, a symptom of teenage angst. If older, it could be some sort of mid-life crisis or simply a hankering for the "good old days." My own feeling towards them is whatever floats your boat, so long as you're not hurting yourself or anyone else, it's all part of life's rich tapestry. What a world we live in!