West Virginia Explorer was established in 1999 by historian and magazine publisher David Sibray to provide a journalistic online venue for West Virginia information. Its first online version, at WVExplorer.com, was unveiled in 2000. By 2006, the site had become one of the leading guides to West Virginia and the flagship guide for more than 30 sites that promoted travel in West Virginia and adjacent states.
By 2008, West Virginia Explorer had grown to become one of the leading venues for the promotion of outdoor recreation in West Virginia. Beth Gill, marketing director for ACE Adventure Resort, a frequent development partner, quantified West Virginia Explorer in 2014 as one of the three top sources for audiences in which the resort invested.
Sibray in 2011 proposed a complete recast of the site that would promote social-media integration and embrace wholly mobile-ready architecture. “A large part of our audience were using mobile devices, so there was little question that we needed to invest in architecture that was mobile-ready from the outset.”
The recast, mobile-ready version of West Virginia Explorer was unveiled in 2013. Unlike earlier versions, which included the work of a limited number of untitled authors, the 2013 version has began to rely of correspondent authorship and contributors for content. The work of more than 20 writers, editors, and photographers has been incorporated into the publication. Sibray then said he saw no reason the publication should not open its pages to unlimited contribution.