small web

From IndieWeb

Small Web (or smallweb) is a term used in a 1999 article, a hosting service, two consulting services, a May 2020 article, a Aug 2020 blog post that describes (without citing) a subset of IndieWeb principles, most recently a HackerNews summary of Gemini, and has recent variants smol web (smolweb) and smol net (smolnet).


From 1999 to 2021, articles have defined & described "small web" to mean different things, and most recently recognized the ambiguity of the phrase.

  • 2020-09-30: Notes on the small web

    Where by small web I mean all the things people are doing to claw back the 'net from corporations: …

    The small web doesn't have lofty principles. Nor does it reinvent the wheel. The small web simply aims to put the fun back into making websites, and pride into the old title of webmaster.

    HTML is still good. CSS is still good. Even a little Javascript to spice up the page can't hurt now and then, in moderation.

  • 2021-03 The small web is beautiful

    I believe that small websites are compelling aesthetically, but are also important to help us resist selling our souls to large tech companies. In this essay I present a vision for the “small web” as well as the small software and architectures that power it.

  • 2021-07-03: Small Web

    I’m quite interested in concepts of the “Small Web” and adjacent topics, but it is definitely true that “small web” itself is a vague term that different people use to talk about different kinds of projects.

Other Snippets

  • 2020-08-30 section of a Gemini proxy Readme: What is the Small Web?

    The Small Web are those pages on the WWW that are typically characterised:

    • simple and document/content centric, using simple headings, bullets, links and tables only
    • accessible to different web clients, but do not need a monster browser such as Chrome to view them
    • do not require client side javascript
    • do not require tracking, cookies, forms or authentication to be viewed
    • can be accessed using standard HTTP GET requests
    • could be rendered as text/gemini without significant loss of information
    • apart from the huge commercial mega sites, a significant portion of the web


smol web

smol web (or smolweb) gained some use in 2022.

smol net

Apparently the phrase "smol net" (or smolnet or smol internet) has been in some use since at least 2020:

Criticism of Aug 2020 repurposing

Nirvana fallacy

The 2020 August repurposing (What is the Small Web? above) of "small web" and subsequent rhetoric describes what the "small web" aspires to be in comparison to a narrowly-framed view of what the IndieWeb actually already is today in practice, and thus is an example of the Nirvana fallacy.

Digital greenwashing


Appropriate all the good values and ideas from, re-heat it add some feel-good word salad and we have this "Small Web".

Yes, by all means let's get back to a more decentralized and distributed web. But providing a service where you are still hosting your site on someone else's servers and on someone else's domain and calling for values is just digital green-washing.

Emphasis added.

Narcissism of Small Differences

Desire to be left alone

Criticism of this page

See Also

Phrases similar to "small web" or values-aligned related projects: