Mac Classic


Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a protocol used for securing information sent between a web browser, and a web server. HTTPS is standard HTTP served over an SSL connection. This creates an encrypted connection between the two systems. HTTP was the standard protocol used before encryption became necessary on the internet.

HTTPS was still new when Mac OS 9 was released (1999), and was used increasingly towards the late 2000's. Most of the internet is now inaccessible to Mac OS 9 users due to the the lack of HTTPS support in older browsers. There was an effort made in the early 2000's to bring modern browser support (Classilla) to Mac OS 9. Classilla was excellent throughout the early 2000's but development has been inactive since 2014.

Unfortunately early Mac OS users are out of luck when it comes to modern web browsing. Google is still accessible over HTTP, but almost all results come from HTTPS sources. Web design standards are often changing and older browsers have not been able to keep up. This results in modern websites not being displayed correctly, or not at all.


The following tips can improve browser performance for older Mac OS systems:

  • Increase the memory allocated to your web browser
    When the older web browsers were released websites were much more basic and required very little system resources 
  • Disable Java applets & JavaScript
    Support for Java was ancient and most scripts will crash the entire browser or prevent pages from loading. 
  • Disable Style Sheets (CSS)
    Most modern websites won't display correctly, disabling CSS will tell the browser to load text only. 
  • Create Custom Style Sheets
    There are several browsers that let you create custom style sheets that override all websites visited. This can help if you prefer a minimalistic/custom browsing experience across all websites. 
  • Disable Images
    Images on modern websites are not optimized for browsers of the 90's and early 2000's. Oversized images can cause the browser to run out of memory and crash.

Websites still served over HTTP

Known sites to work on Classilla



21 September 2021

Wait, does this mean that Mac OS 9 comes with no SSL/TLS at all, requiring it to be baked into programs? Or did it have some built-in SSL protocol?

Greystash - Admin

21 September 2021

As far as I'm aware there was no support at all built into the system. There may have been some packages within the Macintosh Toolbox but I've never looked into it. Any implementation seems to be app-specific and purpose built.

HTTPS was mostly unused by the typical user at this time so it wasn't very common.


23 April 2020

Hello, I am a strong supporter of OS 9 and it’s sad that the internet can’t function as it used to be in the early 2000’s - with the internet not able to render most if not all websites, what about email through outlook express ? Can I still set up email at least?

Greystash - Admin

30 July 2020

Hey Roman, I've had some success but I haven't yet tried with services such as Gmail etc. See my post on Email Setup to see how I did it with Outlook Express.

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