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A Brief History of the Web

by: Hostwinds Team  /  December 23, 2016

The worldwide web penetrates every facet of our lives today, from how we connect with friends and family to deciding on what and where to purchase that new 80" TV from. According to, the Indexed Web contains at least 4.76 billion pages (Thursday, 01 December 2016). But, the web wasn't always so robust. Before it became the billion-page behemoth it is today, the web started from humble connectivity beginnings. How did the worldwide web start?

The idea and implementation of the worldwide web started to easily present and share data across a universal platform and language amongst physicists. Tim Berners-Lee identified the issue while working as a contractor at CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) during the early 1980's. In the current situation, scientists used various machines that could talk with each other through TCP/IP protocols, but nothing so universal as what Berners-Lee was about to develop upon his returning placement to CERN.

Shortly after Berners-Lee's return to CERN, TCP/IP protocols were installed on some key non-Unix machines at the institution, turning it into the most prominent Internet site in Europe within a few years. As a result, CERN's infrastructure was ready for Berners-Lee to create the Web (Segal, Ben (1995). "A Short History of Internet Protocols at CERN." With the help of fellow CERN employee, Robert Cailliau, Berners-Lee built the foundation for a working Web: the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the first Web browser, the first HTTP server software, the first web server and the first web pages that shared the project the two men worked on.


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Berner-Lee's creation spread through scientific academia and began gaining traction as an effective way to digitally present, search, and explore new information from remote sources. Throughout the early 1990s, web browsers developed quickly to optimize this technology and find new ways of refining how the information would be presented to the end-user. The refinement, now including integrated multimedia, fueled the rise of the World Wide Web as the de-facto platform.

As web technology passed through the mid 90's businesses began to adopt and use it for commercializing their products. The once humble information gathering and sharing tool quickly blossomed into millions of websites. Today, the web allows us to watch any show we could ever want through its connections on our 80" flat screen.

Take a look at this flashback from the mid '90s on how the Today Show felt about the internet…

Written by Hostwinds Team  /  December 23, 2016