IGS was first started in February 1992. The first server was located at the University of New Mexico. Within the first year, two more servers were deployed, one in Berkeley and one in France.
Besides being a Go server, the IGS also hosts several art galleries. The main gallery contains Japanese and Chinese art that has a Go related theme. Other galleries deal with art made by strong players and with photography from the 19th and early 20th century, related to San Francisco and Chinatown.