First launched in 1996, Angelfire.com provided basic Web page-building services to users. The website also provided a medical transcription service for users. A small site at first, Angelfire manually approved every change to a member's Web page. Within a year, Angelfire did away with the transcription service and focused solely on Web hosting, offering both free and paid plans to consumers.
In the early days of the Internet, many websites popped up, all trying to find a place in the new online world. Among these, a website known as Angelfire.com quietly opened as one of the very first website building services advertised online. Through the years, Angelfire has evolved and developed along with the Internet, though its basic offerings have remained largely the same.
In 1997, a company named Whowhere that specialized in yellow pages and people searches purchased Angelfire. The next year, Lycos, a search engine, purchased Whowhere, acquiring Angelfire in the process. Angelfire saw multiple upgrades at this time, as Lycos crafted it to match its other Web page-building site, Tripod.com. In 2000, Terra Networks acquired Lycos, renaming the brand Terra Lycos. Angelfire continued its operation under each of these successive purchases.
After its major upgrade upon Lycos's purchase, Angelfire remained a popular free Web host for Internet users while also offering premium services. While its free Web pages came with many advertisements, Angelfire compensated by adding additional disk storage for users. It offered free email until 2004, at which time that became a service for paying members only. In September of 2010, Angelfire underwent a redesign to focus on its Web publishing tool. Taking advantage of the site's blog building services in addition to website building tools, Angelfire users continue to visit the site for Web hosting services.
Lycos Europe Shutdown and Beyond
While the Lycos network of websites changed hands many times, an independent network of websites known as Lycos Europe became licensed by a company in the United Kingdom. When Lycos Europe decided to shut its network down, the Lycos network in the United States continued to run. Some confusion abounded until Lycos released a statement in January 2009 explaining that it remained a separate entity unaffiliated with Lycos Europe. After this occurred, Ybrant Digital acquired Lycos and its network of websites in 2010, overseeing Angelfire's subsequent redesign in September 2010.