Internet: One-to-Many Communication

The technologies on this page are all one-to-many communication methods that predate the Web. They've largely been eclipsed by their flashier cousin, but they still have their uses (except Gopher probably)

This page:
FTP | Telnet | Gopher | Finger


FTP stands for file transfer protocol. Your browser uses it whenever you download a large file (downloading software, for example). But if you want to upload a file — for example to your Web site — you'll probably want to get special FTP client software


Telnet sets up a direct connection with another server. Depending on what the sysadmin at the other end allows, you can use the remote computer just as you would if you were there in person

The first library catalogs on the Internet were accessible via Telnet, and it's still good for a text-only interface

You probably already have Telnet software on your computer. If not, you can download a Telnet program at


Gopher was a text-based, hierarchical way of moving among files. In its day, it was a cool way to navigate around the Internet, digging for riches. (One site was even called Gopher Jewels.)

Gopher had the point-and-click nature of the Web, but it was all done with menus. So, it didn't have links embedded in the text (hypertext). It also didn't have inline graphics or multimedia. For these reasons, it was eclipsed by the Web. Very few gophers remain online

In case you're wondering, the gopher protocol was developed at the University of Minnesota, home of the Golden Gophers. Even their gopher has been taken down

Because the gopher:// protocol may not work on your browser — Internet Explorer withdrew support after version 5 — the gopher links below go through Web servers


Copyright ©  by Robert Teeter (Copyright and disclaimer page)

Updated: December 25, 2016