The Yog-Sothoth.com domain name was first registered on 16th June 1998 and the 1st generation web site set up immediately afterward. There were two primary reasons why the name Yog-Sothoth was chosen:
- Cthulhu.com was already taken.
- Yog-Sothoth was the favourite Lovecraftian Outer God of the registrant (Paul of Cthulhu)
First Generation 1998-2001
The 1st generation of the site featured a very typical black background beloved of many Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu related web sites. It featured flat HTML pages, large banners, animated GIFs and Macromedia Flash. A joy a design freedom, luckily it was not all bad. The 1st generation site also featured streaming audio recordings and the early versions of the Call of Cthulhu Bibliography (now named the Call of Cthulhu Collector's List). This document aimed to compile as complete a list as possible of Call of Cthulhu English language rules and supplements.
The site also featured 'Holiday Snaps' of CoC related entities, along with an incoming 'Live Typed' transmission from Delta Green.
Second Generation 2001-2002
By the Summer of 2001 while new material and development of the Call of Cthulhu Collector's List was ongoing, the webmaster wished to try new techniques to deliver information in a more engaging and vibrant style. Hence on 13th November 2001 (the 20th Anniversary of Call of Cthulhu) the 2nd generation site was launched in all its green profundity. The new site was driven by server-side delivery of component page parts, called on request to build the page. Navigation was both by a left hand column list and dynamic menus across the top. The 2nd generation also saw the installation of discussion forums and marked the first interaction with Sandy Petersen the author of Call of Cthulhu.
The site expanded to hold interviews, more images, downloads and the first instance of the what is today known as the Call of Cthulhu Product Database. The Product Database being a dynamic, searchable database of Call of Cthulhu materials found in the Call of Cthulhu Collector's List.
As the site continued to grow it became apparent that the particular site implementation did not scale well, as templates for new pages still had to be created each time. While visiting other web sites it became clear that new Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) had become available that allowed more time to be moved from design to content production. At the end of 2002 this led to another complete revision and Yog-Sothoth.com's 3rd generation.
Third Generation 2002-2010
The 31st December 2002 saw the site move away from the 'cosmic green' incarnation and into its present form, a dymanic database driven content amangement system. April 2003 saw the re-introduction of the forums and marked the re-establishment of the YSDC community on the site.
Fourth Generation 2010-2013
The third generation site software became outdated and eventually obsolete that meant a front-end software change was needed after eight years. YSDC "4G" was a large step forward in usability and function while using a similar colour scheme to the third generation site.
Fifth Generation 2013-2018
While the fourth generation front-end software was perfectly usable, the software providers "next gen" platform was considered unfavourable so a side-grade to a competing platform was undertaken in August 2013. This is the software that YSDC currently runs on.
Since 2003 Yog-Sothoth.com has continued in a similar manner, providing news, downloads, forums and searchable databases, including a Players' Directory to help people find other players of the game. The site has also expanded its remit to include not only the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game but also other Lovecraftian-inspired games and materials.
The site is run and maintained by 5 Yog-Sothoth.com Staff and contributors who all volunteer their own time and energies to help make the site a resource for people interested in Call of Cthulhu and H.P. Lovecraft.
Sixth Generation 2018-Present
The 20th birthday of the site (June 2018) saw a major upgrade to a newer version of the existing software. The update allowed better commerce features and forum and download facilities. The web site moved over to a full secure SSL (https) system.
In June 2019 Yog-Sothoth became part of the "Deep Web" with member-only access to enhance user privacy and provide extra security facilities.
Today YSDC is home to more than 20,000 members, thousands of files, hundreds of hours of podcasts and more.
YSDC Patron Scheme
In September 2006, Yog-Sothoth.com instigated a YSDC Patron Scheme in order to help keep the site online after recent increased costs due to server moves and growing popularity.