This page is about the early history of 4chan. As you read this, remember that the site didn't really come into its own until at least 2005. Prior to that, it was small, quiet, sometimes offline for weeks at a time, and mainly reposts with no original content at all. If you want to know more about significant and important events in history, you can look elsewhere!

1 x 10^-42 Seconds Later...

I don’t think I could begin to sum up the whole of what 4chan has become and done lately. All this content here refers to the site’s earliest days, its Planck epoch if you will. For one brief period of time it was hopeful, unified, and there was a bright future ahead of it. I don’t personally remember that time, though. When I found it several hours after its creation, it was already an unmitigated disaster…

4chan was initially hosted on donated space from Apis Networks, a company that advertised heavily on SA. It was originally registered as (more on that later) through the ever generous and kind godaddy. Like most goon projects, Apis mostly sucked. The shared server was instantly swamped especially given one key problem (read on).

Day Zero - From SA

Unfortunately, moot's original post1) was edited in '07 and lost forever (There is a slightly older screencap that preserves quite a bit more here). It really was the thing I wanted to quote here and went to a whole lot of trouble for nothing. Fuck, after dealing with the no-frills world of 2chan/4chan/4-ch all the time, it's difficult to remember how clunky and stupid [SA's shit homebrew modified] vBulletin is. For anyone that gives a fuck, the first post was 30 September 2003 21:21. If someone saved it, I'd love to have it.

Some interesting shit from the thread that day includes the following:

thatdog wrote: p.s. world2ch sux
Nana-C wrote: I'd figure the best people to handle an english 2channel/futaba board would be actual english webmasters, instead of an underage, clueless webmaster from Japan with almost no english comprehension (and, as a result, a lack of communication to what the english majority wants in a BBS… *ahemworld2chahem*).

Oh, now I remember the reason we were bitter!

Lazy Dog wrote:2): Ah shit, looks like I'm going to have to mosey on over from world2ch…
Gonna miss that bastard golgolmois, though.
EDIT: Forget it, 4ch is 2chLITE. world2ch UBER ALLES.
moot wrote:3) is up now. Thanks to [NPH]'s hard work we no longer have my four lined half ass page up!
Note: Load times will be slow around 12AM-2AM I believe, this is when the server does tarball backups.
mazfurr wrote:4): Yeah, what was the point of 4chan anyway when we've got world2ch?

This is Shii's doing, obviously. Btw, check it: I saved the avatar for that mazfurr account. I saved the fuck out of it!$#&*! I saved it on 2 October 2003. Nothing can be deleted on my watch! There is no escaping my archival skills/mental illness!

This is it. title-mazfurr.jpg
I'm not kidding.
Amazing, no?

Day One - From

This file is a backup of the notorious “Death to Somethingawful” thread on w2ch. For whatever the fuck reason (probably Shii), it has been deleted from I'll sum this up and provide some choice quotes out of it later. Pay special attention to Menchi/Shii's stupidity and moot's posts.

Also here:

110 Name: 0037 @A0z7CY5eG2 : 10/01/2003 19:08UTC ID:zZLHX+AA
4chan!?! WTF MAN, you people have foresaken me! Bastard motherfuckers!
111 Name: @VCv4lMCNi2 : 10/01/2003 20:03UTC ID:dcZGC/RI
What a bunch of faggots.
This means we world2chers should show the true power of 2ch, by
trolling the fuck out of them. 2ch style.


Hmm… sounds familiar.

The source of the drama was simple: we believed we were ripped off. It was our impression that 4chan had simply taken our code and then apparently had the audacity (somewhere; still working on that) to claim they were the first English language imageboard. There is some evidence to the contrary, but they claimed to have operated completely unaware of us and had translated the code themselves with slightly devastating results (read on).

For whatever reason, Menchi/Shii also had a problem with loli being posted (apparently on DAY ONE, wow). Shii took it on himself to write e-mails to Apis and others alerting them to what he thought were violations of TOS. I still don't fully understand why Shii hated it so much.

A couple of us did stupid shit on /b/. Most were just noisy. I may have been the only creative one as I made this stupid picture (right).

The Very Earliest Days

Within hours of the first day, 4chan's user base exceeded w2ch's easily a hundred-fold. The war was over instantly. In fact, I more or less give a surrender speech in the dramabomb.txt file >>48. We proceeded to grumble about it, made suggestions on our side, and even taught them a thing or two about their own code… little good it did.

On 9 October 2003, it was pointed out on SA:

Man-Eating Cow wrote: Just to make sure moot knows: The images aren't having thumbnails generated; instead, they're just being shrunk on each index page. Thus every image is being loaded, whether or not people click on all of them. I don't know whether this is the intended operation, but I figure that bandwidth is a lot more expensive than a little bit more disk space and a modest increase in processing power.

Somewhere in the translation, they screwed this up. This is the devastation I've been building up to. Basically, if you posted a 1.1 MB picture, it was transferred to every user looking at whatever page it was on even if they didn't click on it. The 4chan admins apparently didn't understand what that meant because the problem was not corrected. On 16 October 2003 an announcement was made on 2chan regarding 4chan. The Japanese invaded and this coupled with the coding error effectively killed the site for the first time:

The reason behind the early death was pretty simple (money). This is by an SA user named nem (real name Matt something, I forget) who runs Apis:

…the server was doing 1 Megabyte per second, mathematically speaking we were looking at doing over ~2530 gigabytes per month, I have a 700 GB limitation, I would incur a lovely fee of ~$1370, I'm not taking that out of my 401k plan at all. Unfortunately 4chan spread like wildfire and was due to annihilating not only my bandwidth quota, but the server (with peaks of over 300 concurrent connections per second). I can't do that, sorry. I'm not ponying the $1370 per month either in fines, so it had to go.

Oh, fun note:
3:29am up 31 days, 14:41, 1 user, load average: 151.67, 228.55, 179.91

Historically speaking, that is the highest load average I have ever seen in my life.

(17 October 2003 13:19) Fucking lol and fucking emphasis mine. This of course would not be the last time 4chan died.

Moot responded (17 October 15:28):

The current plan is to get a new, dedicated server. I've already started talks with two people about getting a server online, one whom I know is trusted alot.

PETER PAYNE–MY FRIEND IN JAPAN contacted me, and didn't check it out, he seems… interested though. The only backup I have is one of /c/'s pictures (old), but I may be able to grab one out of the midnight tarball.

It'll take a few weeks, but I'll be damned if I let the dream die in fifteen fucking days. PayPal is the same as my regular mailing address, moot@raspberryheaven. Thanks to any that have the cash to donate, anything helps.

My friend in Japan is the J-list guy. He'd do something stupid immediately. We're dead for almost two days now. Imagine that shit happening now. The Internet would burn to the goddamned ground without it (18 October 2003 12:50):

Moot said:

Okay. Honestly, nothing on looks like something we'd be interested in advertising on. So I don't think we'll be able to help you.

MY FRIEND IN JAPAN is worthless :(

This was about the 300th stupid thing that happened to 4chan in the course of little over two weeks…

On 20 September 2003…

moot said:

4 days of downtime.

13 days later on 29 October, it was back online. Follow the money trail and you should realize there was significant out-of-pocket cost, donations aside (and there was about to be trouble with that too). It had to be plainly obvious by this point though that 4chan was going to be a really big deal and perhaps worth the effort.

moot said:
handyball was reading the wrong log, the entire site has done over 7GB in less than a day :(

EDIT: 12.17GB, what the fuck?


In the very earliest days, the bulk of traffic came from Japan. They posted very little but sucked up a lot of bandwidth. Oh, and then this happened on 1 November 2003:

moot said:
Peter Payne declines, more details on your local news at 11.

The unthinkable is considered on 2 November 2003:

Man-Eating Cow said:
I am more than willing to go for a subscription-based access system, and I think that is what it will come to. But it might be a good idea to restrict the access to domains to see how that affects the usage. I mean, if a subscription system is implemented after all, there will hardly be any .jp users anyway, unless Paypal works in Japan.

Of course we all know in the end how that went down. Tons of traffic and no financing would be the story for the next couple of years.

Early Content

Very early on all content was imported from Japan or copied from SA. The waha! girl (Suzuran) in particular was very briefly popular (through about early 2005?). There was a lot of hentai at first. With all the oppressed masses migrating over from SA, they were allowed to breathe free for the first time and did they ever.

Not even moot knew about tripcodes so no one used them. People from ADTRW would use a name. Japanese continued to use Anonymous. Those from between the words either went tripped or not at all (hell, we saw Nameless enough to know that's how it went). In fact, there was quite a bit of confusion by the proliferation of the soon-to-be much-loved Anonymous and it confused Westerners. Again, it's just my opinion, but I think the SA crew was fed up with the nonsense over there and responded with an outburst of anonymity and assholery. According to my research and recollection, loli was posted on the first day. That shit would get you banned instantly on SA and yet on 4chan it flourished. The Japanese posters that the others seem to show so much interest on them didn't really seem to be that influential or numerous to me. I do recall a couple instances of the usual Korea hate that shows up anywhere a Japanese person is allowed to speak. Later (the 16 October fiasco), the site was pretty much inaccessible.

threadpair-1103.jpg In these extremely early times, the board was not heavily populated. For instance, there was a time when /b/ moved so slow that we used to make threads to essentially host pictures we were talking about in IRC (does anyone use that shit anymore?). It was probably quite confusing for those viewing it without the common frame of reference and you'd even get other jerks adding in other pictures like they were trying to play along. Sometimes the thread would be there the next night. That's how slow it was, no joke.

Image left: I didn't make this screencap but I did save it on 15 Nov 2003. Do some math and note the post count vs. uptime. It was that slow!

I did mention that the Planck epoch was kind of boring. (more) Images forthcoming!

See also: 4chan-pix (There's a lot of crap here, be warned)

The Nickname/Mascot/Whatever

There is one point that I'd like to bring up that is entirely forgotten (or is it?). The early users were all otaku fucktards and tended to have an unhealthy grasp of Japanese (the modern /b/-tard has an unhealthy grasp on something else). The language uses counters: ippai, nippai, etc. where -pai is a counter (yeah, you'd actually say nihai, but I'm trying to explain this to idiots so give me a break). -pai means something cylindrical like a bottle, glass, or a dildo (or glass dildo). Basically anything that can be shoved… oh, wait. I got sidetracked.

Anyway, the counter ”-ba” refers to flat things, like “sheets of paper” or “leaves.” 2chan is nicknamed “futaba” or two leaves. If I've done my math right here, then 2 + 2 = 4 and therefore it is 4 leaves or yotsuba. This is why the site makes a big deal out of the character Yotsubato who conveniently always has her hair done up in four green pigtails. Well, that was the reason they made a big deal out of her. I imagine anymore, it's because of the many filthy incest doujins going around.

As for why Random is /b/ rather than say /r/, well that's because that's what it was on 2chan. There's little mystery there. Well, kind of. /b/ on 2chan is actually the “2D board” (now split into like five or six on last count).

the 4chan-archive page has some shit edited out or otherwise not important enough to be here.


Throughout this wiki I often speak of accepting change and just rolling with whatever the kids are obsessed with now. You have to learn to take punches. Reidick though was something special. It tried and nearly succeeded in dick-slapping /b/ to death.

2) Oct 01, 2003 12:43
3) Oct 01, 2003 21:38
4) Oct 02, 2003 05:25
4chan.txt · Last modified: 2016/03/09 13:23 by admin0037
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