Sometimes the most popular options aren’t the best: perhaps they complacent and stopped improving when they reached the top of the mountain, allowing hungrier competitors to surpass them. This is true of some of the top websites in the world. There are so many sites out there, so why restrict yourself to the same old destinations?
And even when the most visited site in a category is still arguably the best, you might still want to check out some alternatives. There’s a thrill in being contrarian, after all — going right when everyone else is going left. Why not take some time to leave the beaten path and explore more of what the online world has to offer? Here are five cool alternatives to internet favorites:
Reddit is an incredibly popular destination for all those who like to discuss topics at length, but it isn’t perfect. In recent years it’s veered away from its free-speech goals towards censorship, a move that has made plenty of people happy but infuriated many others. If you like Reddit but think a change of scenery would be nice, or want to find somewhere to discuss topics with less tribal downvoting and censorship, try Voat: it isn’t as populous, obviously, but it’s far from empty.
Wikipedia is the best wiki site, and I know that because it says so on Wikipedia. Seriously, though, the problem with Wikipedia isn’t a lack of scope or commitment, or even top-level moderation: it’s the community. Somewhere along the line it became considered normal for mods to be hugely biased. For a similar site that isn’t so afraid to retain controversial elements, check out Everipedia: it began as a fork of Wikipedia, but continues to diverge.
Google dominates the digital world, which means it dominates much of the physical world too, and it isn’t unreasonable to be scared of just how much influence it has. Its search results dictate the reality of the online landscape for many: if something doesn’t appear in Google results, many will assume it doesn’t exist. If you’re concerned about how heavily the big G monitors your activity, or what it does with your data, then visit DuckDuckGo: it’s a rival search engine dedicated to anonymity and relatively-unaltered results.
How much time do you spend each week on YouTube? Enough to notice just how thickly it coats everything in a layer of advertising, probably. Instead of giving yet more views to a Google-owned site, why not take a trip to Vimeo? If you’re just looking for content, there’s a fair amount to be found, and if you’re a content creator then you can benefit from some great features (including the ability to password-protect a video for Patreon-style sharing).
All The Tropes
Something of a curveball, perhaps, but I often get lost in the labyrinthian spines of TV Tropes, the most popular website dedicated to codifying the common elements that go into popular media productions such as your favorite binge-worthy show. The problem, though, is that the site — like many others — has come under a lot of pressure to scrub content that doesn’t conform with today’s forward-thinking opinions. It doesn’t make it any less fascinating, but it does mean that many parts have been removed or watered down. If you stop by All The Tropes, you can find content that’s been left alone, making it a nice supplement to its larger rival.
Am I saying you should stop going to the biggest sites in the world? No, of course not. YouTube is still the biggest place for video, and Reddit will continue to dominate discussion, and that’s fine — but they aren’t the only sites that offer anything of value. Why not check out some of these suggestions?