back to article Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Vodafone has confirmed it will shutter Demon Broadband, the pioneering Iron Age ISP, as part of its network upgrade plans. Demon has around 15,000 business customers who will be migrated to the more modern Vodafone services over 60 days, or longer if the extraction process is hairy. Demon wasn't the UK's first ISP, but it was …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modem ISP

    Is there still a modem based ISP out there? Just wondering.

    1. waldo kitty

      Re: Modem ISP

      That depends on what you call an 'ISP'... There are still BBSes around with POTS dial-up offerings. Depending on their setup, you might get email on the BBS or they may offer PPP...

      Still a sysop, 30+ years...

    2. Richy Freeway

      Re: Modem ISP

      Apparently there is

    3. Mr Benny

      Re: Modem ISP

      This might come as a shock to some hipsters, but there are many rural areas in the UK that still dont have ADSL never mind cable and if they want net access its either cough up for BT to set it up at the exchange (and potentially lay new cables) an expensive microwave system or dial up.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Modem ISP

        "But there are many rural areas in the UK that still dont have ADSL never mind cable and if they want net access its either cough up for BT to set it up at the exchange (and potentially lay new cables) an expensive microwave system or dial up."

        Whilst BT has systematically nobbled commercial rural broadband ventures it's relatively easy to setup a cooperative and you can get (for a short remaining period) EU grants to set such things up.

        This very organ has documented how various groups and individuals have setup rural broadband wifi systems, frequenrly backending off someone's ADSL connection (not all suppliers prohibit such activity)

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Modem ISP

          it's relatively easy to setup a cooperative and you can get (for a short remaining period) EU grants to set such things up.

          Obviously, someone who hasn't actually tried to do it...

          Yes, setting up a cooperative is easy, getting money out of people and commitment is another matter, as is dealing with your local BDUK project...

          1. -tim

            Re: Modem ISP

            The equipment for setting up a dial in service is now cheaper than the power it will use in a year. Ebay has E1 dialup RASs for less than $50 but can you still get an E1 service or would you need to build a server pretending to a fake phone company and a VoIP service that can deliver uncompressed data properly? The last time I saw a rack full of dialup servers, there were only two active calls out of a capacity of about 5,000.

  2. Steve Kerr

    Bye bye.....

    Used to use demon when they first started out on dialup

    then onto Broadband at 512K, managed to get it via their then owners when demon themselves didn't sell it. Rather surprised the chap from demon when there was issues with it (fault in the exchange), he told me it wasn't available to buy from demon yet, got it sorted.

    Went all the way up to 8mb, started having flaky connections, argued with the now indian support who said I should wait rather than move as I asked for MAC code as exchange was being upgraded, then moved to Be and now on Entanet.

    I still have my demon mail domain hosted on O36x now as I've been using it for so many years and it's not a lot to keep it.

    Fun days at the beginning of the internet boom now long gone.

    1. Alfie Noakes

      Re: Bye bye.....

      "I still have my demon mail domain hosted on O36x now "

      Me too, so i hope that Vodafone give the demon domain to NamesCo (rather than just closing it down, which seems to have been their MO so far!).

      The icing on the cake would be for NamesCo to drop O35n, as it seems to add several K of "diagnostics" bloat to even the smallest e-mail :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bye bye.....

        The mail situation is a worry, I have had my 4 letter domain since the £10 a month days and you cannot get a straight answer what will happen to it.

        Latest confirmation I had is that namesco had the domain and had no plans to terminate it.

        It would be good if Demon/Vodafone/NamesCO put this in trust and provided an undertaking to keep this running indefinitely for a reasonable nominal fee to cover costs for those owning the mail addresses so we can all keep our mail addresses.

        1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

          Re: Bye bye.....

          I was told in before transfer in 2015/6 that the specific email host address 'belonged to me' and to mitigate the blow of termination of their service they would provide discounted host migration to Namesco - which they did. However I note from Whois that the domain is still registered to Vodafone (not namesco) and is due for renewal in May ... anyone's guess what happens then.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Bye bye.....

            Get ready to pounce and buy it?

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Bye bye.....

              No chance, the drop catchers will snag it before any individual gets near it. You could register with a grabber service but you'll probably end up bidding against others.

              1. katrinab Silver badge

                Re: Bye bye.....

                I’ve picked up quite a few domains that way, including a four letter 6 months ago.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: Bye bye.....

                  No popular domain like demon will get past drop catchers.

      2. AnoniMouse

        Re: Bye bye.....

        If Vodafone do not maintain the domain and the associated nameservers (which hold the mx records) then all email addresses of the form <mailbox>@<x> will become broken.

        In this day and age, when an email address is an important element of an individual's identity, such an action would be tantamount to corporate identity theft.

        If Vodafone no longer have any use for the domain and are not prepared to maintain it then its ownership should be transferred to another organisation, such as NamesCo, who already manage email hostnames of the form <x>

    2. Paul 77

      Re: Bye bye.....

      Yup, I remember the good days when (rarely) I had an issue you would phone someone in London, and if they couldn't sort it out immediately they would (shock horror) call you back. That all died when the support moved to India, and I left to move to Adsl24, where I could still talk to someone whose native language was English, and could actually do something to help me.

      1. Chris Parsons

        Re: Bye bye.....

        Zen still call you back...and ring to make sure you're happy when the fault is cleared.

      2. WorsleyNick

        Re: Bye bye.....

        Sometime in the '90s I had spent Christmas Eve cannibalising my computer and the children's computer (plus newly purchased components) to build 1 computer for each of my children and a new computer for myself. By about 3am on Christmas Day each computer was up and working but I could not get dial up to work.

        On the off chance I called Demon support thinking that I would get a recorded message. I was surprised when the phone was answered after one ring by bright, cheerful lady. She was very competent and soon helped me sort it out. I apologised for calling at 3am on Christmas morning; she said she was glad of the call, not having had a call since she came on shift at 9pm. We spent sometime talking about her Christmas, she had volunteered for the Christmas shift (Demon were rewarding handsomely).

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Bye bye.....

      Another former Demon customer here...

      For those that can remember that far back, one of the advantages Demon had was their own line to the USA - they'd rented their own bandwidth on a transatlantic cable. That made the internet a touch faster, as their traffic (most servers were in the US those days), didn't get mixed in with everyone elses, so it was as good as dial up could get.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Bye bye.....

        I think I was one of Demon's first thousand; I used to connect via, which was in a friend's spare room in Edinburgh and connected to London via (iirc) a 128kbps leased line. Since I could only dial in at 14.4kbps, he very kindly downloaded Netscape 0.9c and Trumpet WInsock for me. Remember the days when a state-of-the-art browser fitted on a floppy disk?

        Later I moved to because (a) the first year came free with OS/2 and (b) they too had their own private route to the US, which was a damned sight faster than Demon could manage.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Bye bye.....

          "I think I was one of Demon's first thousand;"

          I was, IIRC Demon's twenty fourth customer. Having been aware of Giles Todd at university I got a tip-off that the service would be starting and knew that I could trust the Demon team who were all well-known among geeks at the time. I lasted as a customer up until Godfrey vs Demon Internet and the sale of Demon to Thus plc. at which point the Demon "Crack Legal team" swung into action and demanded that customers sign an open-ended agreement to indemnify Demon without limit for any future libel action. I declined the offer to underwrite Demon's costs and went elsewhere around 2002, I think. That was when their "Crack Legal Team" started to get all shouty and threaten disconnection unless I signed a document that no one in their right mind would sign.

    4. Just Enough

      Re: Bye bye.....

      I was with demon until they got bought over and all support went to India, including their finance department. I had constant problems with their bizarre new invoicing process, paying off the wrong bill with the wrong money and then threatening to disconnect me. It was almost like they had designed a system guaranteed to make it difficult for you to pay them. I left them soon after.

      It's a pity. They were the gold standard of ISPs in the early days.

  3. SeanR

    I (still) hate Turnpike.

    1. goldcd

      slip over PPP

      You probably owe this guy some money -

      Watching a 'live' picture of a coffee jug

      *nostalgic sniff*

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper

        Re: slip over PPP

        And finally being motivated to learn about vpns and tunnelling to access message boards touting scurrilous rumours over the company network. *fn/bq*

    2. jonathan keith

      Thanks for that. I'd managed to successfully suppress those memories.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Well, KA9Q was always where it was at.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        KA9Q - I Remember it well, and the junior numpty at work (several companies ago) who joined a usenet 'sci-fi' group and kept a 14.4k modem busy for 2 days with updates when he logged in after a weeks holiday!

        'Junior' is now quite senior.

        1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

          I used Demon when they only had 8 or 16 modems! I 'owned' until someone pointed out to me that that might be misconstrued among the gay community. Started with KA9Q and a really ancient Toshiba laptop from 1987 or something that had a 2400 baud modem. In those days, services ran on ka9q that were open to the internet. I remember there was a way of sending a message to an IP address that would appear if they used KA9Q. We all had fixed IP addresses in those days and I remember trying to send a message to my boss ( and something went wrong with ka9q and locked up his session. It kept his phone line up all night, which pissed him off as he got a large bill for an 8-hour phone call that month!

          All I could do was email other people and of course I didn't know anyone with an email address, or chat on the newsgroups - uk.telecom was my favourite. Those were the days...

    4. veti Silver badge

      I loved Turnpike. Still beats all kinds of hell out of Outlook.

      But that was before it went all gui.

  4. Ol'Peculier

    I might be wrong, but I'm sure they were one of the first to offer static IP addresses, all you needed to do was ask.

    Have to admit, I'd totally forgotten about them, even though I was a customer for years.

    Never had any problems, so allowed me to get out for a --->

    1. Peter Galbavy

      Static IPs were standard, you didn't need to ask for one. We argued with RIPE over and over again because they thought it was wasteful to give basic consumers real IPs. NAT was in it's infancy and we needed fixed IPs to push SMTP delivery when users dialled in and real-time DNS updates were not really feasible either.

      1. PyLETS
        Thumb Up

        SMTP push was useful to me then

        For a couple of years before I got cable broadband and started renting a cloud server, Demon's Internet service enabled me to operate automated mail discussion list distributions which propagated 4 x daily using a crontab based dialup routine together with Linux, Sendmail and Majordomo. In order to avoid spending too much on the then per minute dialup charges I had a forced timeout after 20 minutes or so. This worked fine until one of my mailing list users tried sending a 9MB attachment to one of my lists, which had the effect similar to repeatedly trying to get an elephant through a revolving door blocking other traffic.

        Another problem was the 'demonic' domain name, solved by registering the driveout account which formed the subdomain .

        1. Ian 70

          Re: SMTP push was useful to me then

          Based on that domain address you were a lecturer at UCE.

          For some reason the URL stuck in my head from way back.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        we needed fixed IPs to push SMTP delivery when users dialled in

        I made extensive use of that - SMTP was the only option on RiscOS at the time, as I remember (unless you paid for a dial-up suite) - and (when always-on came around) I used the fixed IP to serve up files to friends occasionally, running straight into an ftp or web server on my RiscPC. My current ISP offers fixed IPs. I have one, and it's costing me a few pennies over and above the normal subscription.

        I have no idea if they continued, but Demon was also one of a dwindling band of ISPs to carry a full(ish) newsfeed too. I had great times on the likes of uk.d-i-y.

        Made fairly extensive use of my free webspace too, which included the amazing, before-its-time Virtual Tour of the Aber Valley

        Typical vanity website, a lot of the stuff on there is somewhat embarrassing nowadays, but then it was the mid 1990s - the Tour itself went on line in January 1997 and I'd had a Demon account for maybe a year by then?

        We dropped Demon during a house move in 2009, it wasn't really Demon's fault - it was BT who decided to cut off our telephone on the instruction of our buyer about a fortnight before completion date and wouldn't admit fault.

        The ADSL kept working for a while, but itself stopped a few days later, and Demon was no help either - BT had told them to switch off as part of the disconnection.

        When ADSL Max had been enabled on that line some years earlier we went up from our paid-for 512kbps to a rock solid 8Mbps, being about a half a mile from the exchange.

        Things are different where we are now, our ADSL2 struggles to reach 5Mbps most days.

        Oh yeah, and I did like the fact that the phone numbers mostly ended in "666" :-)


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          When we moved away from Demon (aka not-really-demon-anymore) they still nominally offered a newsfeed but some investigation with dig showed that they actually were just reselling (well, it was free so not selling) someone else's. I don't know when it changed, and in fact I can't remember when we moved away from them: it might have been as late as 2011.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Newsfeed

            By about 2001 the Demon newsfeed had become patchy in article collection - and didn't hold archives for very long. I had to subscribe to a US dedicated provider to be able to follow alt.rec.urn for the public consultation campaign to limit the damage to naturists of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

    2. Christian Berger

      Static IP addresses were standard with early ISPs, in fact there was a volunteer driven one in Germany which even allowed you to get your static IP no matter which dial-up number you were using.

      There's a nice talk about that time:

  5. Peter Galbavy


    Ah, yea olde dayes... it's not the same anymore.

    1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

      Re: sniff!

      Aye, nostalgia isn't what it used to be

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: sniff!

        Their old DOS character based menu UI, the TIN newsreader and lynx browser, where I had to run image binaries through a mime decoder to see the picture.

        My US Robotics modem used to connect and if I got an extra long glow on one the RX LED I knew there was email for me.

        When I first set it up, there were instructions on how to connect an ftp session to a server in the USA. I didn't believe it was real.

    2. Stuart 22

      Shite of Shites!

      Wow - I had (don't joke) and when Cliff gave us webpages was one of the first to exploit it (1996?). As I couldn't think of anything original to put up - I thought I might use other Demonite's work.

      Hence 'Site of Sites'. I'd forgotten all about until a google search found the way and WayBackMachine did the rest. Here's a frontpage near the end in 1998 before I was forced to decamp to BT to get broadband or was it ISDN?:

      Some 'webmasters' were a little sensitive about their baby pages. Nowt changes.

      PS I've forgotten the the brains.* IP (senility) AFAIR it started 158.152 ... anyway of tracking it down?

      1. hackerson

        Re: Shite of Shites!

        Wow 'Site of Sites'... Memories!

        I was a Demonite! Mine was it was site of the week in 97

        I guess I have you to thank for the accolade. I loved Brain Storm! Fantastic work... and fun times...

        PS I wasn't that sensitive... I was just click happy :)

  6. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Sad News...

    ...but the reality is that Demon ceased to exist years ago.

    It's a shame, because they were really good back in the day.

    1. Mr Benny

      Re: Sad News...

      It died the day Stanford sold it to the clueless numpties north of the border to fund his me-too venture capital company and (going by his pictures) a lifes supply of fake tanning lotion.

      1. Lotaresco

        Re: Sad News...

        "a lifes supply of fake tanning lotion."

        Don't forget the pink Rolls-Royce!

  7. Pen-y-gors


    Was it Demon who launched as 'tenner-a-month'? I remember signing up with them (after hearing about it through CiX - Compulink Internet eXchange?) - they were jolly good, but like all small jolly good IT services they got bigger and became not-so-jolly-good. Now I use BT (sorry!) - but I do get 300Mbps, which is a tad more than I got on Demon. Yesterday downloaded a Knoppix DVD iso in 3 mins! Writing to DVD took considerably longer than the download.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tenner-a-month?

      Downvote. For using BT.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: tenner-a-month?

        Downvote for downvoting due to elitism. Especially when the OP is on FTTP or so options are limited anyway.

        I used to think the same as you did. I'd never go with a big ISP. But circumstances change and I did.

        My zen connection had a weird performance issue that was ridiculously hard to get fixed (appeared to be a zen problem and they were difficult to engage - so much for customer service). One of the side effects of the fix was that I had to turn off IPv6 to be moved to another gateway.

        My BT connection is both flawless in performance and in V6 usability. I don't look forwards to when it breaks, but it's all good for now. I don't have a static IP now but this isn't the end of the world.

        It's no longer the days where the big ISPs imposed stealth caps, traffic shaping and nonsense like phorm. I'm not about to move to A&A and get a data cap just so I can get support over IRC or similar gimmicks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's downvotes all the way, er.... down

          > Downvote for downvoting due to elitism.

          Looks like you've already been downvoted for downvoting someone for downvoting. (Not by myself, I should add).

          Never mind. I'm sure that we'll see downvoting of those responsible for downvoting the people who downvoted people for downvoting... ;-)

          1. J. R. Hartley

            Re: It's downvotes all the way, er.... down

            > Downvote for downvoting due to elitism.

            Looks like you've already been downvoted for downvoting someone for downvoting. (Not by myself, I should add).

            Never mind. I'm sure that we'll see downvoting of those responsible for downvoting the people who downvoted people for downvoting... ;-)


          2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

            Re: It's downvotes all the way, er.... down

            Awarded a downvote just to prove your point. You deserve an upvote for that.

    2. Paul 195

      Re: tenner-a-month?

      Yep, that was Demon. They were great once, but after they changed hands the service gradually got worst. I finally binned them sometime round the early noughties as their ability to provide a reliable ADSL service got worse every time they "upgraded". And of course, they had long since outsourced their help lines from people who understood the system and cared, to some remote call centre on the other side of the world staffed by people following a script.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: tenner-a-month?

        Demon got so popular that their network was overwhelmed.

        If I remember right a personal pipex account was the elite version.

        1. Down not across

          Re: tenner-a-month?

          Pipex? Hmm, I suppose it could've been. Demon started out as Pipex's customer iirc.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Wild West Days

    Ah, Demon. Times past.

    Is it true that the founder (Cliff somebody?) would only be photographed from the waist up?

    1. Cliff Stanford

      Re: Wild West Days

      Nope. I'd never heard that one before!

      Cliff somebody

      1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

        Re: Wild West Days

        A beer for you Cliff. Thanks for having the insight to open up the internet for us all way back when. You probably helped launch more careers than you could imagine.

        I graduated with degree in electronics/communications in 1990 and there was not a single mention of the looming internet or IP throughout the entire course.

        How quickly things were to change and develop.

        1. yoganmahew

          Re: Wild West Days

          And another beer from me!

          Ah, Trumpet winsock, WinDis and poking around in .ini files. Kind of like Linux is today :/

          You have deleted my usenet download history, right? Right??

          1. caffeine addict

            Re: Wild West Days

            They had to after you filled the server's log files...

        2. jeffdyer

          Re: Wild West Days

          Same here, but 1987.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wild West Days

          Same (ish)

          1997 with an A level.

          Had to pay the teachers 50p to even look at the internet and 10p a minute after that.

          All they ever talked about was mainframes and punched cards, and reading directly from the paper coursebook which was written in 1980 something. to the extent that 2 entire years complained that none of what we were doing was useful or relevant.

          Got marked down in my final coursework for writing a webpage which told you if your "hot or not" matches were geographically (By IP address) close. Could have been the first Tinder i tell you...

          Ended up writing an shitty, but acceptable book selling DB (Heavily inspired by Amazon) :)

        4. Mr Benny

          Re: Wild West Days

          I would buy the beer too if he'd sold it to someone who gave a shit about it and not just the company waving the fattest cheque which started the slow rot. As a business owner you owe it to your customers to hand it over to a good operation when you want to move on.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Wild West Days

            His contracts with his customers were fulfilled. He owed them nothing more.

            If I was running an ISP like demon around the time the big telecoms companies (with their networks, money, and other infrastrucure) started to sniff around at the thought of becoming ISPs, I'd have sold out for the fattest cheque too.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Wild West Days

              "If I was running an ISP like demon around the time the big telecoms companies (with their networks, money, and other infrastrucure) started to sniff around at the thought of becoming ISPs, I'd have sold out for the fattest cheque too."

              Looking back I'd offer that exact advice to anyone who contemplated holding out against the telcos (and there were quite a few). They had infinitely deep pockets compared to the small ISPs and they could afford to take a loss until the independents went under.

              Illegal? Well yes - but even if they get prosecuted it's long after the event, the fines don't go to the people put out of business and most importantly of all, the vanquished competition isn't resurrected by court order in the state that it was before the illegal activity took place. Cartel/monopolist behaviour has ALWAYS been profitable for the entities participating in it.

            2. Mr Benny

              Re: Wild West Days

              "His contracts with his customers were fulfilled. He owed them nothing more."

              The voice of modern business. God help us.

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                Re: Wild West Days

                Cheers Mr B!

                You'll be pleased to know that I don't own a business, so rest easy!

                Still, it's not like I was threatening to kick them out on the streets. - I'm sure every demon customer survived relatively unscathed and trauma free!

                In fact, if I was selling up, I'd be more concerned about my staff than my customers, and sticking it out would have been worse for them too.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Wild West Days

            "As a business owner you owe it to your customers"

            You might think that's true. The reality is that most customers have no loyalty to you or the brand and will jump ship in a heartbeat."Goodwill" as a business intangible is very hard to pin down but in truth it's not worth very much at all.

            If you do try to follow the espoused mantra and hold out for the best deal for the clients, you'll end up being eaten by the sharks.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Wild West Days

              Well said!

            2. Mike Pellatt

              Re: Wild West Days

              And of course "goodwill" in the accounts isn't goodwill at all, but the difference between what the value of the company at the time of purchase and what was actually paid for it (assuming it's a positive amount).

      2. J. R. Hartley

        Re: Wild West Days

        Cheers for not treating Amiga users like shit. It was appreciated.

    2. Peter Galbavy

      Re: Wild West Days

      I have full length shots, mostly in the Catcher, of Cliff somebody :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wild West Days

      Some say he has a tremendous fear of hedgehogs and has a word-class collection of traffic cones . . .

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Wild West Days

      That was Elvis "The Pelvis" Presley. The Internet can do you a topless Cliff Richard.

    5. James R Grinter

      Re: Wild West Days

      Is that you, Fis?

  9. msage

    My first internet routable email address was from a BBS hosted on demon. Used to dial in once a day to check my mail and the board... Happy days. I paid a fiver for that email address for life... it doesn't work any more. Bye demon. The next ISP I used (and worked for) was netcom, not the netcom but a canny company in the uk who managed to register before the netcom came over.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      If I recall the UK netcom were one of the few who would provide all the config detail to get ppp working with Linux, back in 1999 or thereabouts. I was with them for several happy years.

      It does feel a bit of a nostalgia-fest at the moment.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


        I managed to get PPP working with Redhat (original Redhat, not RHEL) with the information that provided back in 1997. I did not think that it was too difficult (I also managed to get it working with Breathe without much difficulty). I managed to set Linux up as a router as well, to share the connection with other systems, and even managed to get Internet Connection Sharing working in Windows (95 I think it was).

        Neither of them provided specific instructions for Linux, but IIRC it was perfectly possible with the information that they provided for Windows.

        I also managed to get Dial-on-Demand working with Smoothwall (a dedicated Linux firewall) a little later, providing protected network access on demand to the proto home network that connected the systems in my home office together. Seamlessly transitioned to ADSL as soon as it was available in my area without having to re-work any of the individual PCs other than the Smoothwall when the change happened.

        All those memories...

      2. Michael Strorm Silver badge


        That rings a bell. IIRC I had to mess about setting up a script manually to get dial-up networking running when I first went online with Linux in 1999...

      3. ivanbev

        Unofficial support for Linux/Unix

        The Linux Documentation project ISP connect document (from 1998) has links

        .. to John Phillips' last "slack help" documentation to connect Slackware Linux to Demon is dated May 1996

        ... and the documention to connect to the Demon news system has a history file from 1995-01-05

        I felt it was a shame there was no official Demon support for Linux/Unix. However, it did offer the opportunity for others to help out!

        Now very much "stuck in time"

      4. msage


        Yup! As first line support we were trained in getting both Linux and Windows customers online. Our Technical manager went on to work for and other famous faces.

        We were also one of the earliest ISPs to support SMTP ETRN to push mail down to customers servers on dial up.

  10. tiggity Silver badge

    Driven Away

    The takeovers and sidelining by big companies sounded the death knell for Demon.

    I'm amazed there were any customers left after the various changes made for no other reason (IMHO) than to alienate customers.

    Ex Demon user, was with Demon in the 90s, left a few years ago as too much functionality was removed / limited as the perception was that Vodafone did not want to give the "legacy" customers what they wanted / needed (esp as many early Demon adopters were quite "techy" and so made use of features other users may not care about ).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Driven Away

      From bitter experience with Vodafone's support in an Enterprise environment, it's more likely they just didn't have anyone on staff who understood the more complex offerings.

      I have been told, to my face, that their logs show no-one in this 10,000-strong organisation has ever used the royal mail's website.

      While I was on the royal mail's website.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Driven Away

        I used it!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Driven Away

      Modern agile telecos complain about legacy customers using legacy technologies then provide you with a bare internet connection (if you're lucky) and technical support that barely knows what a router is.

      Then down at the GSMA they all weep into their beer that they're being reduced to dumb pipes and can't sell any value added services... and that'd be because they don't even try.

      Icon is a demon, because it's appropriate.

      1. ibmalone

        Re: Driven Away

        Upvoted, but of course by "value added services" they don't actually mean services, they mean they pine for the days when they could sell ring-tones, and would dearly love to be able to capture a percentage of any financial transactions you make over your connection.

  11. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge


    We had 2 clients still on Demon, had multiple emails from them telling us they were going to close the demon system, and offering us deals on FTTC packages.

    Neither site is on an FTTC upgraded cab, and ended up with Voda telling us there's nothing we can do. Both sites are therefore on Zen now, who had no issues selling us an ADSL/ADSL2 based service.

    1. Ozzard

      Re: Migrate...

      Zen does feel very much like Demon in its golden days - I'm by no means a networking novice and the questions I ask of their telephone helpdesk are rarely of the "turn it off and on again" variety. I've never, ever, needed to go past first-line support. Very good crowd. Yes, expensive, but I'll take that for the quality.

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Re: Migrate...

        Zen too big now.

        You're need IDnet for the Real Demon Experience.

        Except for weeks of being dead thanks to RAID not being R if all the drives have the same firmware with the same bug.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the first time I started using the Net without *any* clue how it all worked - but at least already a modem/BBS (Binkleyterm)/CIX/Compuserve veteran (the latter used by my employer to give us email access across the globe).

    Now it's all basic knowledge, but at the time TCP/IP was a mystery to me, and KA9Q (remember that one?) was the window to a new world.

    That said, Demon were *very* helpful, and it did not take long for me to go from totally green to being able to self educate, and that's when all hell broke lose :). Fun times.

    Farewell Demon, and thanks for the memories.

  13. adam payne

    RIP Demon

  14. David Gosnell

    Gosh, can still just about remember the dial-up and negotiation tones, especially distinctive with all their numbers inevitably ending '666'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There was one particular negotiation "elastic band twang" that meant you were going to get a near enough 56kbps connection.

  15. MudFever

    Demon to Vodafone

    I was with demon from 1992 (ish) until last week and been through all the upgrades: modem to ADSL to ADSL2 and now to Vodafone. Never had any complaints.

    I took up the Vodafone offer of FTTC VDSL. It's only been a couple of days and seems to be going well and connecting at 40Mb, whereas ADSL2 was only capable of 14Mb. I also moved POTS to Vodafone too. Combined it is 50% cheaper.

    Demon was a great server provider. Remember the days when your ISP also included some free personal webspace? Going to keep e-mail address.

    1. arwel

      Re: Demon to Vodafone

      Yup, I was with Demon from 1994 until a year ago - it was ditching the email addresses which finally pushed me to Vodafone FTTC VDSL, and I’m getting around 55Mb, when I was lucky to get 3Mb before.

      I first got on this new-fangled Internet thingy at the start of 1994 with a Compuserve account and a 14.4K modem, and fairly soon I had a FIDONET point, but everything was at least an ‘a’ rate trunk call - it was Demon that finally got local dial-up numbers to me. I remember I was at the 1994 World SF Convention in Winnipeg at a discussion about the Internet, when they did a little survey of how much people were spending to access it - keep your hand up as they raised the price; I won because I’d just paid a £360 quarterly phone bill - at the time I only paid £270 for a return flight from Manchester to Toronto and a one-way flight from Winnipeg to Toronto on the way home!

  16. Panicnow

    Historical accuracy

    University of Kent's service was the first non-commercial ISP that pre-dated PIPEX

    (Please remind me of her name)

    PIPEX was the first UK Commercial ISP

    IBM PC User group was the first dial-up ISP service

    Demon followed a few weeks later

    Peter Dawe, Founder of PIPEX, LINX, ISPA and IWF

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Historical accuracy

      > (Please remind me of her name)

      That would be EUnet GB - I know as I was at UKC at the time, and *nearly* got up the courage to ask for a job there when their office was still on an industrial estate in Whitstable (and been kicking myself ever since).

      There are some references to it here:

    2. Peter Galbavy

      Re: Historical accuracy

      The major difference, in terms of consumer facing dial-up internet was Demon was the first (and only for a while) company that didn't charge a usage fee, just a subscription. I'm not including the phone charges as Demon didn't get any income from that until much later when the 0345/0845 market was opened up much to the annoyance of BT.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Historical accuracy

      Where I was working, we had a commercial arrangement with EUnetGB when it was part of the University of Kent.

      I thought that EUnetGB was bought by PIPEX sometime in 1992 or thereabouts.

      I was running a leased line to Canterbury at the time, and had to re-work the CISCO AGS router configuration one evening during a managed transition to ensure continued Internet access.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. David Nash

      Re: Historical accuracy

      I was an early Demon user, then later Pipex.

      Sadly the service from Pipex deteriorated in the later years.

    6. AbortRetryFail

      Re: Historical accuracy

      I was with PIPEX and it was a great service.

      Much like Demon, though, each time it was bought out and changed hands, it got a little bit worse until it was pretty much unusable. That was round about the time Tiscali or TalkTalk got their hands on it, I think.

      But back in the day, PIPEX was awesome.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Historical accuracy

      +1 for PIPEX.

      I remember when my dad got connected to this new fangled internet - through Pipex and a whizzy 28.8k modem.

      I think we stayed with them until BT finally listened to the demands for flat rate dialup, and we played the ISP hopping game as each provider got popular and the number of failed calls to engaged numbers increased.

      Then ADSL when it finally came to our rural village in the mid 2000s. At that point our internet bill went *down* as our usage meant we always had to have "business" dialup with a higher usage limit. At least the parents could make phone calls again, could never convince my dad to go for Home Highway...

    8. MRS1

      Re: Historical accuracy


      > Historical accuracy

      > [...]

      > IBM PC User group was the first dial-up ISP service

      As an additional historical note, IBM PC User Group (which I seem to recall was also called Winnet) was purchased by CIX in somewhere between 1998-2000. Sorry, I can't remember more clearly when it was. I do recall that all IBM PC User Groups servers were BSD-based.

      CIX also purchased Connect-2 in the same timeframe. Connect-2 was running all Windows-based ISP software (specifically the 'Microsoft Commercial Internet Server' package).

      Neither IBMPCUG's nor Connect-2's servers lasted long after CIX bought them: They were mostly integrated into CIX's mainly Solaris server infrastructure. I suspect that CIX quickly lost most of the customers from both ISPs too.

      Oh, memories...

      Mark Rousell

      Formerly tech support, then dev/operations (NT web servers, colo, network design, VPNs, customer router and firewall config), then technical presales at CIX from 1997 to 2001.

  17. Chris King

    And another old name is discarded...

    I was with Demon from 1996 to 2000, on Tenner-a-Month and back in the days when they were still technically competent. Anyone remember the Orange ROMP for mobile users ? 9.6K ISDN-like dialup on GSM mobile (HSCSD), before the days of GPRS - hideously expensive (10p/minute) but being able to check e-mail on the move with a Psion 5MX and Ericsson SH888 was quite something back then.

    Demon as I knew it died years ago - I remember a colleage migrating to ADSL to keep his static IP, and having no end of problems. By then I was was on Nildram (another name long gone) and eventually migrated to AAISP.

    Not many ISP's left from the early days...

    Demon - pretty much a shambling zombie in the hands of C&W and then Vodafone, and about to be put out of its misery ;

    Pipex - ended up as part of Tiscali, and eventually died as a brand with TalkTalk Business ;

    Nildram - ditto ;

    EasyNet - originally sold to Sky, but has had a procession of new owners since then ;

    ZetNet - went bust and was picked up by Breathe ;

    EntaNet - still around, but part of City Fibre ;

    Force 9 - merged into PlusNet ;

    Elite - still around, but more business-oriented ;

    Freeserve - became Wanadoo, then Orange Home, then EE Broadband and eventually part of BT.

    Zen are one of the few survivors from that era, along with AAISP and ClaraNet (but they're more business-oriented now).

    1. Chris King

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      As I recall, the Orange ROMP pretty much died the death when Orange changed hands from Hutchison to France Telecom - the point at which most of the technical innovations like Line 2, Fax and Wildfire got canned.

      But hey, we got the "Animal" tariffs and discounted cinema tickets/pizzas, right ? Yay for mediocrity.

      1. Oh Matron!

        Re: And another old name is discarded...

        Via Mannesmann, IIRC

        Orange were truly innovative. Line 2 was excellent and whilst everyone was still doing 9.6kbps dialup, Orange has HSCSD which did 28.8k. All you needed were a few AT commands and off you went :-)


    2. flingback

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      I'd forgotten about HSCSD but yes, a few of those dial-up companies had a separate ISDN number you could call from mobiles way more efficiently and quicker than using a modem bridge. Those really were the days, although IIRC I think you could only combine enough time slots to get 28kb/s (ie. 2xTCH). Still pretty rapid for a device on the move!

      1. gw0udm

        Re: And another old name is discarded...

        I found a loophole in that Orange allowed free calls to 0800 numbers at that time including data. So I signed up with one of these services which you accessed via 0800 and got effectively free mobile internet over an infrared link to my phone.

        Sadly Orange closed this without my noticing eventually and I got a huge bill... £150 in 2002 was a lot of money for me at the time!

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      PlusNet is owned by BT by the way, but runs as a separate division.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: And another old name is discarded...

        "PlusNet is owned by BT by the way, but runs as a separate division."

        I here reports of poor customer support but I've never needed to use that very much as they haven't contrived to do anything to piss me off. Unlike TT when they bought Tiscali who'd bought....

    4. agurney

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      Demon as I knew it died years ago - I remember a colleage migrating to ADSL to keep his static IP, and having no end of problems.

      One of the conditions when I upgraded my Demon dialup to ADSL was that I lost the static public IP address.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      "Nildram - ditto"

      Yup bought up by Pipex and then followed that route downlhill. Went to Be (who faffed around but never quite got round to supporting FTTC) until that was bought by Sky.

    6. nowster

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      Actually Zetnet Ltd was bought by Breathe who themselves put it into administration.

    7. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      Speaknig of early/free ISPs, anyone else here have an account on Spuddy? The support was great - they even installed a termcap for the crappy ICL m303 terminal I had to use to access it.

      The info page:

      1. NullNix

        Re: And another old name is discarded...

        Ah yes, Spuddy. Stephen is still around, btw, even if long moved to the US and not running Spuddy as a service for many years :) (the domain is still around, and he still uses it for his email, and there are still some users AIUI, of the personal-friend variety :) ).

        (Another ex-Demonite here, as was, joined in 1996 I think, via KA9Q at first. Transitioned to Linux after a few years, then migrated to Zetnet in 2003 because Demon was clearly not the wonderful thing it used to be; migrated in fury to AAISP in 2008 after Breathe bought Zetnet and screwed it up so catastrophically that even if you were running your own mailserver and your own MX records they still managed to lose all your mail with no recourse because you couldn't even get back control of your domain: they took an entire month just to let me get out: about what you'd expect of an ISP that bizarrely boasted on its own corporate homepage of how many times they'd gone bankrupt. AAISP at least have proved wonderful for a decade and counting now.)

    8. MRS1

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      And CIX itself it still around, too.

      1. Mellipop

        Re: And another old name is discarded...

        And many of us still have CIX mail accounts.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And another old name is discarded...

      I started with GardenCity ISP in 1997. A one man show who actually came to my house to set up my PC with Pegasus mail. IIRC they were connected via Nildram - to whom I eventually migrated in search of a better newsfeed service. That same quest then led to Demon until newsfeed dropped out of fashion.

      BT keep trying to tempt me to move to them. Demon have not contacted me recently about the closure - they sent an email in the summer - then denied they were closing the service.

      As long as Namesco keep my demon email running then I don't mind moving to someone else for the broadband. A&A appeals but I just need a little push from Demon/Vodafone.

  18. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Sorry to see them gone, but (as another commentard said) they had been effectively dead for years.

  19. iron Silver badge

    My first ISP back in '92 or '93. Dialling the Edinburgh vPOP from Glasgow was pricey but worth it.

    Thanks to Cliff and all the lads and lasses that worked at Demon back in the day, have a pint.

    1. Phlebas

      The Edinburgh vPOP was a row of modems in an attic in Trinity. I got a job there in the mid-ninties and was quite surprised when I turned up for my first day at work. (The interview was in a local pub).

      1. DaveEdi

        You could tell the house by the rather but cable coming in from the pole in the street.

        Fearghas, Charlie, Libbie, me!

        Happy days in the Statbank.

  20. Cliff Stanford

    Good article.

    It's a shame to see the brand finally disappear. But it ceased to exist in reality long ago.

    For the record, Demon Internet was launched on the 1st of July 1992 (not 1993) and also on the 2nd of July 1992 as it didn't work first time.


    1. Peter Galbavy

      Re: Good article.

      But the network didn't "Peter out" on a regular basis until a few years later once I had formally joined full time and started fiddle with the cables :)

    2. Andre Carneiro

      Re: Good article.

      Didn’t work first time?

      Now there’s a story begging to be told!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now there’s a story begging to be told!

        Who, him?

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Good article.

      Demon Internet was launched on the 1st of July 1992 (not 1993) and also on the 2nd of July 1992 as it didn't work first time

      Like the BBC2 launch?


    4. ShortLegs

      Re: Good article.

      Cheers Cliff

      Another former "tenner-a-month" member, and ex-Cixen

  21. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Oh another one gone under the Thus -> Clueless & Witless -> Vodamoan transitions. Reg, please note correct spellings of their names !

    Vodamoan are utter **** to deal with, even for business services at business service prices. Went through something similar at my last job, having to migrate away from the leased line and class C address block we'd had since ... well before I joined the company. Trying to get something as basic as a FTTC connection working was beyond them - I left the company before they got one of the lines working (it had been something like 5 months IIRC).

    Oh yes, and another one who got online thanks to Demon's tenner a month service. RIP

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The email was never free, it was a specifically named part of what was being paid for. Vodafone broke that contract using the excuse it was a free additional service.

  23. steelpillow Silver badge


    Demon Turnpike was a great email client for its day, though only ever developed for Windows, so my move to Linux left it behind. Took a long time for the likes of Netscape/Mozilla to catch up.

    Amazingly I find I am still on Demon broadband. The string BT provide is an insult, not even wet enough to hit 2M so I have been looking at a 4G home hub plus maybe a signal booster and let the landline go to hell in a handcart. Either way it'll be Vodafone, now.

    BTW, yes, I have friends in an urban area - Cheltenham to be exact - whose landlines are so awful they have no access to any kind of broadband and struggle to find a dialup service to get online. BT are cutting their own throats these days.

    1. Nematode

      Re: Turnpike

      I developed my dislike of tagged email filing systems with Turdpike. Couldn't believe Google brought it back with Gmail. #foldersforever

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turnpike

      "BT are cutting their own throats these days."

      Meanwhile, as a counterpoint, I've had nothing but full speed & and completely FTTC for 8 years this month. If I was on the next road over, I'd have FTTP. It's not that bad for a lot of people, or indeed most people, but those with bad experiences seem to like throwing stereotypes around.

  24. GlenP Silver badge

    Also My First...

    As with many above they were also my first ISP proper, having previously been on Prestel*. As I was living at Parents' at the time I did most of my browsing late at night to avoid tying up the phone line (and hoped the "ding" from the phone when connecting or disconnecting would go unnoticed).

    I moved over to Zetnet for a while as they were cheaper then Freeserve came out and made more financial sense for the relatively limited use as I wasn't at home very often.

    *To email a friend in the pre-Internet days I would dial in to work, initiate a PSS connection to JANET (Joint Academic Network) then onto the Northumbrian Universities network to access a MicroVAX in their department. Login to that and send an email!

  25. jeffdyer

    "shutter"? What is that supposed to mean?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      As in 'close the shutters and go home'

  26. Christoph

    "beardie bore board CiX"


    I'm not that boring.

    (Here from seeing a note on CIX)

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Are you that beardie though?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My dad got us onto Demon approximately 25 years ago, in early 1994. Changed my life. Can't believe it's been a quarter century since I joined my first newsgroups and IRC channels, sent my first emails, and trundled across the WWW with mosaic on my Amiga 1200 (And their fairly decent support for the Amiga was heartening). But I gradually came to loathe Demon in the broadband era (although much of the blame can be pinned on BT Wholesale Connect). My dad wouldn't ditch them though, and was still using them until I finally convinced him to upgrade to FTTC a few years ago. Raising a virtual glass for the invaluable experiences in the 90s and early 2000s.

    1. Jim 59

      Interesting to hear that people were surfing the baby web with non-PC equipment. My first browser experiece was again Mosaic, but on an Apollo DN unix workstation at work.

  28. stevekennedyuk

    Bye Demon

    As Peter Dawe says first ISP was Uni Kent, then PIPEX, then (maybe IBM PC UG) then Demon in June 1992. I was part of the original group that went to the UKUUG at Farnborough and discussed how an ISP could be built and then Cliff went away and built it.

    I pre-registered to be a customer, but my credit card expired by the time they launched, so was eventually customer number 63 (

    I eventually joined Demon in '95 and left 10 years later.

    It's a shame that Demon is now finally being closed.

  29. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    How is the beard, Andrew? :)

    Compulink, Pipex, CIX (still on there), Zetnet was the last 'dialup' (routed ISDN) ISP I used. Then Zen, Be, Sky when Be took it over, and now A&A.

    1. nowster

      Re: How is the beard, Andrew? :)

      Incidentally, Zetnet did SMTP delivery over dialup too, but with dynamic rather than static IPs.

  30. Dwarf

    "Turning off our legacy technologies is a critical to ensure we are investing for the future, reducing our energy costs and making sure our customers are able to take advantage of the latest broadband services."

    So, exactly how much of the C&W network is still a separate network within Vodafone, given that you purchased them 7 years ago ?

    Last time I was talking to people, the were both very separate and it sat in the "too complicated to move" box. Think it was just the badge over the door that had been replaced and not a lot more.

  31. defiler

    Fastest I ever saw on dialup

    I *think* it was 0131 3535 666 for one of the Demon POPs. I turned off compression and error correction, got 54666bps (fittingly) and ping down to 85ms.

    And so to QuakeWorld!

  32. StripeyMiata

    We looked at them in 1995 but my boss said no because of the name.

    We considered them as our first ISP back in 1995 (there wasn't a lot of choices back then) and my boss vetoed them as he was a devout Christian and didn't like the name.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I popped my Internet Cherry on Demon

    In fact I still remember the IP address for -

    It was one of the few ISPs in 1994-ish that would let me connect an Amiga and whilst they didn't officially offer help, the group was massively useful. Started out on their own supplied AmigaNOS with it's textual goodness and then blew my mind with AmiTCP which offered craziness such as graphical web browsing.

    Also remember that I ended up on a test for their Ascend modems, because I'd splashed an obscene amount of cash on a Sportster v34 modem before realising that most ISPs only offered v32bis.

    Good times. Thanks Cliff.

  34. Wraith Black

    Farewell Old Fiend.

    Sad to hear, though it is true they have been a shadow of their former selves for some time now.

    I've been using Demon since the 16k dial-up days with very few issues.

    Ah well, so long as I can find someone else who'll give me a static IP and let me use my own router.

    Might be the shove I need to dump the extortionate BT landline that has only been used for ADSL (and the occasional scam callers) for the past five years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Farewell Old Fiend.

      Static IP is more difficult to get (unless you pay for a reassuringly expensive "business" service, or go with the likes of Zen or A&A who offer it as standard) - but virtually any UK ISP lets you use your own router, with the exception of Sky (who actively make it difficult) and a partial exception of Virgin (you must use their router-modem, but it can be placed into modem only mode). Even TalkTalk (yes them) will tell you the PPP username/password!

      In reality, unless you can get Virgin, some alt-net, or use 4G, you're going to be keeping that landline in some form (and still be paying line rental for it)

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Farewell Old Fiend.

        Static IP is more difficult to get... virtually any UK ISP lets you use your own router

        I'm with The Phone CoOp, not necessarily cheap, but they seem to know what they are talking about if you ring for assistance. They have a few unbundled exchanges, but most are BT or TalkTalk and there's no IPv6. Static IP isn't mentioned anywhere on their "home" broadband website as far as I can tell, but they do offer it. Likewise, although they point out that you can get a (small) discount for supplying your own modem on ADSL, they don't appear to offer it with FTTC products, unless you ring them up when it turns out they do offer it, but not for web orders.

        If you need it, it's always worth asking, you might be surprised.


      2. Wraith Black

        Re: Farewell Old Fiend.

        Zen is looking like the way to go.. assuming that selling me out to Vodafone counts as enough of ai contract change to let me out without penalties.

    2. Paul Barnett

      Re: Farewell Old Fiend.

      Me too. been with demon since 1994 - starting with tenner-a-month dialup, and now adsl over a bt line. Stayed mainly through lazyness, but now it looks like I'll have to actually do something. (I have my own domain name, so with a fixed-ip address, I've not used the name for some time, so no great loss).

      So suggestions?, still keeping my adsl router and (a) fixed-ip. Zen looks to be

      a possibility....

  35. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Frontier internet RIP

    While we're reminiscing about long since lamented ISP's, I would like a special mention for Frontier. First class in every respect: I was a reseller of their services and had dozens of customers using them. Then Mistral blew it all to pieces, allegedly just in order to bulk up enough to be acquired by Kcom. I still have one client (that I'm aware of) that still has an ftech broadband login.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first ISP, in March 1996.

    Bought my first PC (Escom, remember them?) and a modem, was given a copy of the Demon software by a colleague who used them, and I was on the Internet that night. And thus was I back to MUDding.

    Their email was STMP down and up, so when I wanted to use POP-only Pegasus mail, I had to write a gateway script (used FoxPro) to parse the email.

    When the free ISP revolution arrived, I ended up switching to, until cable broadband arrived.

  37. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I used

    to play on the demon team fortress classic servers, badgered to work as one of their admins, great times were had by all as we ruthlessly enforced 'the rules' while having great larks blowing each other to bits.

    Its strange to think that long after valve switched over to their 'steam' system that the demon TFC servers stayed up configured under the old way(that I cant remember) and remained up and running for ages....... although I suspect it was 2 odd boxes at the back at the server room that had signs on saying not to be turned off... or something

  38. Daniel von Asmuth

    From Holland with herring

    The other side of the Little Pond has announced the passing away of the premier ISP Xs4All, which was founded by a the people of Hack-Tic in Amsterdam.

    1. Dave559

      Re: From Holland with herring

      That's sad to hear. The Reg should do an article about XS4ALL as well.

      One of the nerdily fun things about usenet and email lists was seeing the interesting range of countries and domain names that everyone was posting from; now everyone only has a forum username, and the world somehow seems a little bit smaller than it was, although of course there are more people on the internet than ever before.

      1. OnlyMortal

        Re: From Holland with herring

        With xs4all you got a shell and a compiler. I compiled the quakeworld proxy in their Sun box ;-)

  39. Delicolor

    I seem to remember aTenner a month was plus VAT, fortunately I had just gone self employed/vat registered then.

    ISTR using a powermac for access, the SMTP force download on first connection was a pain as I don't think you could get Mozilla going properly until all the mail was received and my client sent be big source files. I eventually solved that with Highway bonding and a move to Pipex but the arrival delay of mail was exponential to the attachment size and sometimes took an infinite time to turn up.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Godfrey vs. Demon

    Anyone remember that?

    Yes, Demon had an integral part to play in the history of the Internet in the UK.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Godfrey vs. Demon

      Wern't nuffink to do wiv me - honest gov!

  41. Libertarian Voice


    Anyone still have a modem dial 08452121666 see if it still works.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dialup

      Use a voice phone and whistle at it?

  42. TimGJ

    Happy days

    I worked for Demon managing their broadband products and various weird technologies shortly for a couple of years after they'd been taken over by Thus. Demon were one of the most talented bunch of people I have ever worked with. But the culture clash with Thus was horrendous, and the internal atmosphere, particularly once we'd decamped from Gateway House to Bunhill Row became increasingly awful.

    It's a shame that Bill Allen and the rest of the Thus senior management were such utter numpties. I have to wonder what would have happened had they been vaguely competent.

    It all seems like a different lifetime, yet it's less than 20 years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Happy days

      I believe that 20 years ago is now often touted as "a generation ago".

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still waiting to see an announcement on the website

    Been with them for over 20 years, currently on their Business Broadband product.

    I trust everything will be moved over seamlessly and transparently with the same static IP addresses and without adverse Interruption to my business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still waiting to see an announcement on the website

      I would not be surprised if they don't let you keep your static address - and also presumably our Demon domains will disappear from DNS.

      I had an email from them last summer saying Demon was closing and to reply for a discussion on which Vodafone service I would want instead.

      Sent a reply asking them for more details - silence. A while after I asked Vodafone chatline and they told me I was mistaken - effectively that no such email had ever been sent and Demon wasn't closing.

      I assumed an eager salesman had tried to turn the Demon customer list to their advantage.

      If the Demon mail domain is threatened then I had better make sure vital logins are registered to my back-up gmail account.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still waiting to see an announcement on the website

      I enquired on their chat helpline today. They said the final close date is 31st March - but it is being done in customer phases. They said I will receive a letter in the post giving me 60 days warning and outlining the Vodafone options - or change ISPs.

      Asked about the email domains.

      Me: Will Namesco continue to have the domain for the offloaded email service?

      ChatLine: Yes, Namesco will continue to have the Demon domain for the email service.

  44. Stuart Elliott


    Damn, they're my go-to domain name when I want to test someones Internet connection is working, because no way in hell is it going to be in their cache.. The end of an era etc. etc.

    1. Mike Pellatt

      Re: Nooooooooooooo (the "virtual" default route for any demon ROMP, IIRC, after one Network Tidying Purge by them) was my goto test IP to ping for many a year until it finally disappeared. Now it's just :-(

  45. DaveB

    Goodbye old friend

    Demon at one stage in my life was the internet,

    I can remember writing an SMTP MTA as a TSR on Window 95 system back in 97. This dialed demon ever half an hour to collect/send email.

    The mail was stored on a PATHWORKS share that injected/collected mail via VAXMAIL. It worked like a dream.

    Although we took some flack from RBS IT for creating it, the business would not allow it to be decommissioned.

  46. MrNigel

    Migrated from Demon in 1993

    ….because The Direct Connection (in Blackheath I seem to remember) techies knew all about uucp/mailx/sendmail/and other UNIX commands I have long forgotten. We had a nice consultancy business enabling Uniplex 'umail' for local/central Government until DNS ruined everything.....

  47. 2Fat2Bald

    I know it's sad - I used to use them. But they've not been Demon for some years. Not really.

  48. Colette54

    Sic gloria and all that

    I got a Demon dial-up account in 1994 so that I could access usenet groups, and through them found my people (sff fandom) and made many friends - I have a lot to be grateful to Demon for (when it was still Demon, anyway). I never used Turnpike - I was a big fan of Agent for both email and usenet. I stayed with 'Demon' through the Thus/C&W/Vodaphone days but gave up when they wanted to start charging for email. I was also pretty miffed when I discovered that they had deleted my Demon-hosted website without bothering to let me know!

    1. bartsmit

      Re: Sic gloria and all that

      Forte Agent was good. Anybody use fresco - the floppy-based dial on demand router? Don't touch that phone!

  49. Flywheel
    Thumb Up

    excited about Gopher

    Some of us never stopped being excited about Gopher - did you know that there are over 300 Gopher sites worldwide now? Not a big number in the grand scheme of things but if you want ad/junk-free content it's the only way to go.

  50. furby_singh

    and .43

    Two of my earliest Internetworking memories. I moved to London at 17 for my first IT job with Demon, I was a lousy employee but they was good peoples.

    1. Jim 59


      +1 for honesty.

  51. halldor

    Wonder what will happen to websites - they'll disappear?

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. Chris Jasper

    Demon, blimey....

    Long live Bogomip!!

  54. Lotaresco

    Things I miss:


    demon.local (aka demon.loco)

    EvapOr8 (a being of pure thought)

    Iolo Davidson

    Things I don't miss:

    The scientology flame wars

    james g. keegan (jr)

    All the other net-loons who, TBH, now look quite rational compared with the Twitterati.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still with them

    running ADSL2 at 3.8 mbps

    just checked on the vodafone website and sure enough...

    "None of our Vodafone Broadband bundles are available at your address right now"

    Check for 3G or 4G coverage in you area....


    4G outdoors only

    3G indoors you're unlikely to get a signal

    2G indoors it may be difficult to make and receive calls


  56. ~chrisw

    I knew it was curtains for Demon when they delinked from EFNet

    RIP Demon Internet, 1992-2019 (RIP, 1993-2009).

    Once the IRC closedown happened, it was only ever going to be a downhill trend from there. Corporate overlords' writing was on the wall. Usenet gone before end of 2014, email and hosting transferred in 2015 - very surprised the brand lasted another decade (!) without being totally subsumed by Voda, good on whoever was left of original Demon supporting their remaining customers.

    I'll be sad to see the Demon brand definitively shuttered, Voda should relaunch it as a specialist / niche VISP utilising their infrastructure. Perhaps some hybrid product offerings for those living in notspots.

    This is a nice, albeit brief read:

    (And don't forget their role in the creation of LINX)

  57. steamnut

    Bye Bye

    I was with them almost from the start with 32K USR modems (you can still hear those tones in your head cant you?) followed by iSDN, early ADSL, better and better ADSL standards and always reliable.The techies knew their stuff and the service was always the best around for me.

    When FTTC was available here I was told they were not supporting it and I was offered a move to Vodafone but the deal was not good and no fixed IP address was offered either. There was no great feeling of them wanting to keep me so I guess they already knew that Vodafone was going to shutter it anytime soon. I moved to Zen and have not looked back since. It is a shame to lose one of the pioneer ISP's; they served me well. Bye Bye Demon.

  58. fronty

    Ah memories...

    I started as a point in FidoNet then signed up for the tenner a month deal with Demon. I was and I had a mate who was, we both used to run Slackware and I remember telnet'ing into his box and shutting it down whilst he was using it (I knew his root password) hoho simple things, simple pleasures.

    I had a dump of the DNS domain at one point, managed to do a zone transfer from one of their DNS servers and used to use it for performance testing with dnsperf. Made interesting reading in a nerdy kind of way.

    I remember going to the Which computer show at the NEC and people were showing off this thing called the world-wide web with NCSA Mosaic! Wow it blew me away.... you could have pictures? Wow!

    Eventually I installed Windows 3.1 with trumpet winsock and Netscape. For porn I used to trawl the newsgroups and use FreeAgent to join the binary posts together and decode the images, so much easier than trying to mime/uudecode the posts my hand! lol Oh the joy of waiting minutes just to download some grot at 2400 baud. Then the joy experienced from upgrading to 14.4K, then 28.8K and finally 56K - what a delight, I still have those modem noises ringing around in my head.

    Ah they were the days... :-)

  59. Karel Hladky

    Happy Innocent Days ...

    I signed up with Demon in December '94 when I became self-employed and could no longer get to t'Internet by plugging a modem wired up to the UMIST Gandalf switch into my phone extension at night and setting it up to call me back at home when dialled ...

    Happy days of dialling into the Warrington PoP. It is sad to see Demon finally disappear.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Happy Innocent Days ...

      My first account, in 1993. I started with a CLI and worked my way up. I remember working out which PoP to use, the virtual PoP thing, and all of the other clever innovations. The software including Turnpike, Clive Stanford and his departure when he sold his share. It seems a long time ago. Tempus fugit.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Final Close date 31st March - phased closures 60 day warnings

    I enquired on their chat helpline today. They said the final close date is 31st March - but it is being done in customer phases. They said I will receive a letter in the post giving me 60 days warning and outlining the Vodafone options - or change ISPs.

    Asked about the email domains.

    Me: Will Namesco continue to have the domain for the offloaded email service?

    ChatLine: Yes, Namesco will continue to have the Demon domain for the email service.

  61. Tegne

    50p all day!

    In the days when you paid an arm and a leg per minute for internet access BT added a 50p unlimited duration Local call option at the weekends.

    Cue me and my mate switching to Demon Internet as they had many local dialup points including my town. I still recall 12h sessions costing only 50p instead of what would probably have amounted to well over a tenner to 01260 509666....

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    For the old school techies being displaced, I suggest you have a chat with AAISP; they seem to be one of the few remaining ISPs that do things properly. Heck, you can even get support via IRC and Newsgroups if you wish.

  63. tellytart

    Magic Roundabout?

    I vaguely remember thinking years ago someone at Demon was a Magic Roundabout fan. If I recall correctly, Demon had one of the first transatlantic fibres for an ISP rather than internet backbone, and the routers at either end were called Ermin and Trude!

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disconnection letters are going out now

    Oh dear,

    I got my "Service Withdrawal: Demon Broadband" letter this morning.

    I've been with them continuously, with the same hostname, since the dial-up days of 1994.

    My disconnect date is 6th May 2019.

    Such a shame.

    I don't want a Vodafone land line (part of their "new deal"), as I'm quite happy with my existing provider.

    I've put in a switch order to Zen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disconnection letters are going out now

      P.S., for all you people that think it was dial-up only, I'm still happily getting 22Mbps on ADSL2+/copper, during my termination period (I live just 500m from the exchange).

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