according to wayback archive it looks like 1996 but the earliest page i can find is .............here
The original site wot I built for the RLSA and which incorporated the Virtual Terrace had the snappy address of http://greatestgame.simplenet.com
and kicked off sometime in 1996, I think. I can't honestly remember, I never kept a diary.
If anyone wants to trawl through back issues of TGG! from round about that period I'm sure the website launch will be mentioned in there somewhere.
At some later point I also can't remember exactly (when I learned how to purchase and map a domain name) it became rlsa.org.uk and then when I jacked it in altogether it was reborn as rlfans.com under new ownership.
I joined LPL in Nov 2000 and TotalRL.com was born in March 2001.
Where does the time go?
I can remember before websites and email. I am old.