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The World Wide Web has become such an integral part of our daily life that it can be very difficult to imagine life without it. Many tend to forget that the web hasn’t always existed, and in fact, the first webpage didn’t go live until 1991.
Here’s how it all happened:
The beginnings of the very first website
The creation of the very first website is entirely due to the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. According to a History article, his parents were also computer scientists and he later studied physics at Oxford University.
In the early 1980s, Berners-Lee worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN. At CERN, he “observed how difficult it was to keep track of the projects and computer systems of the organization’s thousands of researchers, who were spread all over the world,” according to the History article.
In 1989, he proposed to CERN executives to create an information management system to make life a little easier for everyone. According to an NPR article, “The system would use hypertext to connect documents on separate computers connected to the Internet.”
His proposal was not initially accepted, so Berners-Lee worked with CERN colleague Robert Cailliau to refine it.
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The birth of the World Wide Web
Berners-Lee submitted his revised proposal in 1990 and was eventually allowed to work on it. Using a NeXT computer designed by Steve Jobs, he then created the foundations for building websites today, including hypertext markup language (HTML), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), and ‘URL (Uniform Resource Locator).
On August 6, 1991, Berners-Lee launched the very first website to ever reach the World Wide Web. The first website contained details of the World Wide Web project, including “how to create web pages and learn about hypertext,” according to NPR.
This marked the birth of the World Wide Web. The NPR article points out that by 1992, 10 websites had been created. This number rose to 3,000 two years later. By the time Google’s search engine was launched in 1996, two million websites had already been created.
According to History, Berners-Lee actually refused to patent the World Wide Web. Nor did he make any effort to profit from it. “He wanted the web to be open and free so it could grow and scale as quickly as possible,” the article notes.
Can you still access the very first website created?
It may come as no surprise, but NPR reports that at some point Berners-Lee’s very first website was lost. CERN then launched a restoration project in 2013.
So yes, the very first website is still accessible at its original URL, no less.
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