This was possible in the late '80s and early '90s through the use of anonymous FTP servers and through the Gopher protocol.
At this time the internet was mainly an academic and military network and there was not widespread use of the internet.
On the Web, there are both commercial and free pornography sites.
A 1995 article written in The Georgetown Law Journal titled "Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway: A Survey of 917,410 Images, Description, Short Stories and Animations Downloaded 8.5 Million Times by Consumers in Over 2000 Cities in Forty Countries, Provinces and Territories" by Martin Rimm, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate student, claimed that (as of 1994) 83.5% of the images on Usenet newsgroups where images were stored were pornographic in nature.Before publication, Philip Elmer-De Witt used the research in a Time Magazine article, "On a Screen Near You: Cyberporn." Godwin recounts the episode in "Fighting a Cyberporn Panic" in his book Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age.One recent entry into the free pornography website market are Thumbnail gallery post sites.These are free websites that post links to commercial sites, providing a sampling of the commercial site in the form of thumbnail images, or in the form of Free Hosted Galleries—samplings of full-sized content provided and hosted by the commercial sites to promote their site.There was a rapid growth in the number of posts in the early 1990s but image quality was restricted by the size of files that could be posted.
The method was also used to disseminate pornographic images, which were usually scanned from adult magazines.Around this time frame, pornography was also distributed via pornographic Bulletin Board Systems such as Rusty n Edie's.These BBSes could charge users for access, leading to the first commercial online pornography.One of the early Gopher/FTP sites was at tudelft and was called the Digital Archive on the 17th Floor (List of websites founded before 1995).This small image archive contained some low quality scanned pornographic images that were initially available to anyone anonymously, but the site soon became restricted to Netherlands only access.Internet pornography is any pornography that is accessible over the Internet, primarily via websites, peer-to-peer file sharing, or Usenet newsgroups.