Those of us with money could pay for hosting and custom domain names. Those of us without were typically hosted on sites like GeoCities or AngelFire, which provided ad-supported “free” web hosting. To help readers discover other good content, websites started forming webrings. Readers could click through the webring and discover new content by other authors.
These days, most people share their stories on ad-supported “free” hosts, such as Facebook, WordPress, or Twitter. But some of us still enjoy running our own sites, and browsing self-hosted content. (Like this blog!) This is especially common among the hacker community. We're a do-it-yourself kind of tribe. For the especially paranoid, these blogs are often hosted on Tor, to protect the privacy of visitors and authors alike.
One of the biggest reasons to run a self-hosted blog, as pointed out by dade in a recent blog post about starting a webring, is to decentralize the internet. If everyone keeps all their data on Facebook, then Facebook controls their data. If Facebook decides to ban a user and remove all their content, there's not much to be done. This happened on Tumblr in 2018, when the site decided to change its adult content policy, resulting in site-wide bans, censorship, and a whole lot of backlash.
All of this is merely a preface leading to the part of this post where I say “and so, I decided to add a webring to my website, as well as a Tor .onion address.” Now that I've said it, I can say my favorite bit: If you're interested in adding your website to my webring, let me know! I'll check out your content and consider it. Meanwhile, if you like my content, please add me to your own “webring” page!