from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Family: Internet protocol family
Operation area: Data transfer and a.
Port: 70 / TCP
Gopher on the TCP / IP protocol stack :
application Gopher
transport TCP
Internet IP ( IPv4 , IPv6 )
Network access Ethernet Token
FDDI ...
Standards: RFC 1436 (1993)

Gopher + (1993)

Gopher ( English for pocket rat ) is a network protocol for retrieving documents over the Internet . Developed in 1991 under the direction of Mark P. McCahill at the University of Minnesota , Gopher resembles the World Wide Web (WWW) in an early state.

Word origin

The Wikipedia article in the English language Wikipedia with the browser forg

There are several theories for choosing the name:


The reasoning that led to Gopher was the awkward handling of FTP (file transfer protocol), you look at the log and console commands in directories change needed to achieve the desired file find and download to. In addition, they wanted to create an information system that was easy to administer and that required few resources .

In the mid-1990s, some organizations that had Internet access , such as universities or governments, had a gopher server and made information from all areas available to the general public.

With the rise of the WWW and the now much more comfortable FTP programs, however, the era of Gopherspace came to an end. The reason for the decline was also the decision of the University of Minnesota, which holds the copyright to Gopher, to charge fees for the commercial use of the service.

Today there are only a few gopher servers left, but the trend has been increasing since 2018.


The Gopher network protocol is defined in RFC 1436 and is comparable to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Like many application protocols, Gopher is based on the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The default port number of Gopher is 70th

A Gopher client is required to get a Gopher document . In contrast to HTML pages, Gopher offers an automatically generated menu that is generated from the files in the current directory. The Gopher server recognizes whether it is a question of directories or files and indicates this with appropriate symbols (see figure).

In addition, gopherservers also offer configuration files that allow the operator to generate references to external gopherservers.

For the gopher server gopherd , which is supplied with the Linux distribution Debian , for example , this file looks like this:

Name=Web Server on Athene
Path=GET /
Name=NCT Gopher Server

In this file, a reference to a web server is defined on the one hand, but also a reference to another gopherserver.

This file is saved in a directory on the gopherserver under the name .Links (note the point in front of the file name).

In contrast to websites , gophersites are pure text files without any formatting or embedded graphics.


Gopher menu with Mozilla
Taz in Gopherspace (2019)

There are clients to explore the Gopherspace, e.g. B. gopher . The Lynx web browser can easily handle the gopher protocol.

The Firefox web browser has up to version 4, the SeaMonkey web browser up to version 2.1. natively supports the Gopher protocol. Windows Internet Explorer up to version 6.0. From version 6 Service Pack 1 (September 2002) onwards it was deactivated due to security holes in the program; Gopher was not considered important enough to correct the problem.

The The overbite Project Cameron Kaiser developed browser add-ons , to access by current web browser on the Gopherspace.

In the WWW you will find websites that provide an interface from Gopherspace to the WWW. Such an interface provides e.g. B. the proxy Squid is available.

search engines

Due to the fact that Gopher is a stand-alone protocol that is independent of HTTP or FTP , for example , separate search engines are required to search for Gopher content on the Internet. One of the oldest, but still active, is Veronica . There are also some further developments such as Veronica-2.


There is a gopher interface to the English language Wikipedia under the name Gopherpedia . The online articles of the taz can also be read in the Gopherspace in addition to the web space.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Floodgap Gopher-HTTP gateway gopher: // gopher / 0 / v2 / vstat. Retrieved May 28, 2020 .
  2. Firefox 4 without Gopher support . In: heise online . October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  4. Veronica-2
  5. Gopherpedia . March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  6. taz . October 18, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

Web links