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A software utility for finding files stored on FTP servers, Archie was the original internet search engine.
Using Archie you can search through millions of files available via FTP servers on the Internet and find the specific one you are looking for. The Archie database is made up of only the names (and sometimes short descriptions) of the files, unlike web searches that index the entire contents of a webpage, so you need to know the specific name or the exact topic for the file you are looking for. The more specific your request, the more likely you will find the file you want.
Archie was originally designed in the late 1980s, and its first implementation involved a program that regularly contacted a list of known FTP sites to create a list of their content, which was then stored on the local server and could be searched using a plain-text search tool (rather like the Find tool in your favorite word processing program). Archie was later expanded so that collected data was shared between multiple servers, allowing additional users as well as the ability to connect to the information using a variety of Internet technologies. In 1992, the first commercial implementation of Archie was released and was adopted by millions of Internet users worldwide.
With the rise of web browsers and the more efficient Web-based search engines, use of Archie declined swiftly throughout the 1990s. Today, Archie is no longer widely used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t you need a username and password to access FTP sites?
Archie searches anonymous FTP sites which make their content publicly available over the Internet. Since these do not require a login, Archie servers can view and index all of their content, and Archie users can access any of the information they discover through a search.