SA’s top websites – then and now

South Africa’s top websites currently attract millions of unique visitors per month, offering rich media content, online interaction, and modern designs. This was not always the case.

South Africa’s first co.za domain name – bksinc.co.za – was registered on 25 June 1992. It was, however, many years before the World Wide Web really took off in South Africa.

Many of South Africa’s largest websites, such as News24, Bidorbuy, and IOL, only started in the late nineties.

The Internet Archive makes it possible to look back at what South African websites looked like in their early days.

The Internet Archive built an Internet library of websites, which include snapshots of South African websites over time.

It should be noted that these snapshots do not always contain images and other web elements. The screenshots below have therefore been edited slightly to remove the broken images.

Here is a look back at what some of South Africa’s top websites looked like in their early days.

News24

News24 is South Africa’s largest news website, offering local and international news to visitors as it happens. According to the latest Effective Measure statistics News24 attracted 7.9 million readers in May 2014, making it the top South African website.

Then – News24 on 2 April 2001

News24 2001
News24 in April 2001

Now – News24 on 9 June 2014

News24 in June 2014
News24 in June 2014

IOL

IOL is one of South Africa’s top websites and a direct competitor to News24. In May 2014 IOL attracted 2.6 million unique visitors.

Then: IOL in October 1999

IOL October 1999
IOL in October 1999

Now: IOL on 9 June 2014

IOL in June 2014
IOL in June 2014

MyBroadband

MyBroadband is South Africa’s largest IT Website offering its visitors the latest technology news, and hosting the country’s largest online IT community. In May 2014 MyBroadband attracted 1.4 million readers.

Then: MyBroadband (then MyADSL) in 2003

MyADSL in July 2003
MyADSL in 2003

Now: MyBroadband on 9 June 2014

MyBroadband in June 2014
MyBroadband in June 2014

Bidorbuy

Birorbuy is South Africa’s largest auction website. It was launched by Andy Higgins in August 1999, and has grown to become the “eBay of South Africa”.

Then: Bidorbuy on 28 November 1999

Bidorbuy on 28 November 1999
Bidorbuy on 28 November 1999

Now: Bidorbuy on 9 June 2014

Bidorbuy in June 2014
Bidorbuy in June 2014

Kalahari.com

Kalahari.com is South Africa’s largest online shopping portal. It was established in 1999, and offers shoppers millions of books, eBooks, music, DVDs, games, cameras, and electronics.

Then: Kalahari.net in January 1999

Kalahari.net in January 1999
Kalahari.net in January 1999

Now: Kalahari.com on 9 June 2014

Kalahari in June 2014
Kalahari in June 2014

Mail & Guardian

The Mail & Guardian Online, previously known as the Electronic Mail & Guardian or the Daily Mail & Guardian, was founded in the mid-Nineties by Irwin Manoim and Bruce Cohen. It is one of the world’s oldest news websites and among the first news sites on the African continent.

Then: Mail & Guardian on 19 January 1998

MG on 19 January 1998
MG on 19 January 1998
MG News on 19 January 1998
MG News on 19 January 1998

Now: Mail & Guardian on 9 June 2014

MG in June 2014
MG in June 2014

ITWeb

ITWeb was launched on 1 March 1996, making it one of South Africa’s first online news sources. ITWeb now delivers news, views and information through diverse content platforms, including online, e-newsletters, social media, print and events.

Then: ITWeb on 21 December 1996

ITWeb on 21 December 1996
ITWeb on 21 December 1996

Now: ITWeb on 9 June 2014

ITWeb in June 2014
ITWeb in June 2014

Moneyweb

Moneyweb was started in 1997 by Alec Hogg, and the website has grown to become one of South Africa’s premier online destinations. In May 2014 Moneyweb attracted 439,000 unique visitors.

Then: Moneyweb on 7 May 1999

Moneyweb on 7 May 1999
Moneyweb on 7 May 1999

Now: Moneyweb on 9 June 2014

Moneyweb in June 2014
Moneyweb in June 2014

MWEB

MWEB was founded in 1997 and is currently South Africa’s second largest Internet Service Provider. Over the years, the MWEB website changed from a basic business website to a portal offering a wide range of services.

Then: MWEB on 5 July 1998

MWEB on 5 July 1998
MWEB on 5 July 1998

Now: MWEB on 9 June 2014

MWEB in June 2014
MWEB in June 2014

MTN

MTN launched commercial mobile services in South Africa in June 1994. Over the last two decades the company grew to become a leading emerging markets mobile operator, connecting more than 204 million people in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

Then: MTN on 11 November 1996

MTN on 11 November 1996
MTN on 11 November 1996

Now: MTN on 9 June 2014

MTN on June 2014
MTN on June 2014

Telkom

Telkom is South Africa’s largest fixed line offering, and the only provider of ADSL services in the country. The company provides integrated communications solutions to both the business and consumer markets.

Then: Telkom on 14 January 1998

Telkom on 14 January 1998
Telkom on 14 January 1998

Now: Telkom on 9 June 2014

Telkom in June 1994
Telkom in June 1994

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SA’s top websites – then and now