Gophper: A Gopher Proxy for Modern Times

The Gopher protocol was published in 1991. It was popular for some time, but died off in the late 1990s, partially because of some poor decisions by the University of Minnesota (which owned the licensing rights, and decided to charge for use), and of course also because HTTP and HTML was undoubtedly a better system for what became the World Wide Web.

There are still gopher servers out there today, but most browsers can't visit them anymore, because support for the Gopher protocol has been removed. There are a couple of proxy servers out there, but they all suck, and none of them are open-source, so I wrote Gophper, a very simple proxy server with a small PHP backend, and a parser written in Javascript.

About Gophper

Gophper has a bunch of cool features:

  • The backend is written in PHP using the Slim framework. It is very simple and easy to modify.
  • The bulk of the work is done in Javascript, so you can very easily re-implement with a different backend if desired.
  • It caches gopher pages for fast performance.
  • It detects when a user has requested a binary file (Image, Document, etc) and returns that file to the browser, rather than returning junk and crashing your browser like most gopher proxies.
  • Report traffic to GA, and also track stats locally to present reports to users.