Older Macintosh Computers and the Web

Written for Poetworld's Mac Users by Hardsdisk

Page last updated: 11/20/03

The Internet service provider mentioned on this page, is used as an example. This does not constitute an endorsement for any ISP.

Update 8/27/10: The parent company of Poetworld, recently announced that it was discontinuing its dial-up service. Information in this article pertaining to the suitability of Poetworld's service for old Macs is now obviously irrelevant. However, the non-specific instructions will still work with many dial-up ISPs.

Browsing today's web with a dialup connection will be extremely slow on any Mac with less than a 68040 processor (includes the Quadra, Centris & Performa 600 series). Even the slowest PowerPC (601 processor) Macs will seem speedy on the web, compared to the fastest Quadras. Since good working 1st and 2nd generation PowerPC Mac CPUs can currently be purchased in on-line auctions for less than $20, consider using 68K Macs primarily for e-mail and backup web access.

Poetworld has been tested and will work with any Mac running System 7.1 and up, however, your web experience may be better if you use at least OS 7.5.5. Information about upgrading your operating system and why it may be necessary to upgrade, is here. The following instructions assume that you are familiar with using a Macintosh computer. If not, please take the time to learn how to use your system first.

OS 7.x users will need to install the following software, if it is not installed. This software is available from apple.com in their Older Software Downloads section and will work with System 7.1 through OS 8.1 (OS 8.1 comes with more recent software than is listed below. While the listed software will work fine with OS 8.1, there is no reason to install this older software on your Mac running OS 8.1).

1) Open Transport 1.1 (on some Macs you will need to hold down the Option key when clicking the button to install. This will override the false error message) then upgrade to:

2) Open Transport 1.1.2 and install:

3) OT/PPP 1.0


TCP/IP Control Panel:

Once this software is installed, you will need to open and configure the TCP/IP Control Panel for Poetworld by selecting Connect Via: "PPP" as your connection type and "Using PPP Server" as your Configuration. Enter the Poetworld DNS numbers, (return &) in the Name Server Addr: field and enter "poetworld.net" in the Search Domains field. Select "Quit" from the File menu and save your changes.

PPP Control Panel:

Open the PPP Control Panel and enter your username (username@poetworld.net) in the Name field. Enter your Password. If you don't want your password to have to be typed each time someone connects from your Mac, check the box. Enter the primary local access phone number you will use to connect, in the Number field. Press the Options button. Redialing: Here you may add an additional local access number, if available, and have it redial automatically if your primary number fails. Connection: Decide if you want your browser and/or e-mail program to open your connection for you, if you want a verbal log of your connections kept, whether you want to be prompted about maintaining your connection, if you want an icon to flash when you are connected and whether you want to be disconnected if you are inactive for 10 minutes. Generally, all other settings should be left at their defaults. Click "OK" then select "Quit" from the file menu and save your changes.

Modem Control Panel:

If your modem came with installation software, make sure its modem script is in the Modem Scripts folder in the Extensions folder. Chances are it's already there but check anyway. If it isn't, it is usually better just to find it on your modem installation disk and drag it to the folder. Some modem software installers will install software that you don't want and create problems that you don't need. Open the Modem Control Panel. Select the port that you have your modem connected to (usually the modem port) and the type of modem from the list. It is a good idea to opt to leave the sound on so you can hear how the connection is proceeding. Select Dial or Pulse tone depending on what type of phone service you have. Select "Quit" from the File menu and save your changes. You are now configured to connect and will use the PPP Control Panel for connecting when you are ready. You may find it convenient to make an alias of the PPP panel, rename the alias "Connect To Web" and put it in your Apple Menu Items folder or on the desktop for quick access.


The only browser that is continuing to be developed for 68K Macs is iCab <http://www.icab.de/> Their PowerPC version is also gaining popularity. Both versions are currently available as free demos. See the pickle's notes regarding the use of Systems 7.0.1 and 7.1. Other older 68K Mac browsers will also work but, depending on their age, might not support today's web standards and may not provide safe browsing on secure pages, as their security certificates may have expired by now. PowerPC users may use any recent browser compatible with their OS.


Most, if not all older-Mac-compatible email programs will work with Poetworld. Due to recent changes in the Poetworld Servers, You are no longer restricted to using programs that require you to enter your username and POP server separately. These can be entered as one "POP Account" as required by Claris Emailer and versions of Eudora prior to 4.0. Your POP Account will be your username + @mail.poetworld.net, "username@mail.poetworld.net". This will not be the case with all ISPs that use an email address format for a username (username@myprovider.com). If you are configuring for another ISP and your username is a single string of alphanumeric characters with no "@" or dots (username), you can count on using Emailer and any Eudora that is compatible with your System.

Note: When using other non-Poetworld POP3 mail addresses with Poetworld's SMTP, you must check for mail in your Poetworld mail account before you attempt to send mail from your other accounts. This will log you into the server and allow the transfer. If it has been more than an hour since you logged in, you must check your Poetworld mail again, before you attempt to send mail. Failure to do this will get you a "This system is not configured to relay mail from..." message when you press "Send".

System 6 Users:

Due to the above mentioned changes at Poetworld, you may now use Macs running System 6 for access as well. See Jag's System 6 directions and the links at the bottom of the page for configuration information, Browsing will be limited to text only on System 6-supported 68020 - '030 Macs, with the MacWWW browser. There are even a few web servers left, that will still accommodate you. Email with Eudora 1.3.1 works fine on 68000 (and better) Macs like the Plus, SE and Classic. You can also Telnet into a UNIX system with your System 6 Mac. Your monochrome compact Mac is the perfect terminal for this.

Other Sources:

If you want to get your compact Mac on the web, Jag has written an excellent tutorial. If you want to put your floppy driven, System 6 Mac Plus to work emailing, have a look at Jeff's setup here (will not work with some providers).

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