Flashback 1991: Welcome to the World Wide Web

Stop for a moment and try to remember life before the Internet. Typewriters. Trips to the library. Looking stuff up in the Yellow Pages. A different world, right?

The World Wide Web we take for granted today was launched 25 years ago this week, according to tech historians Marcel Brown and Jeffrey Powers .

Tim Berners-Lee, who would become to known as Father of the World Wide Web, set up HyperText Markup language (HTML) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) on a NeXT computer as a way for scientists to share information while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, which operates the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. The creation and launch of this server made possible the development of websites that could support more than straight text and is considered the public release of the World Wide Web.

Three months later Berners-Lee put up the first webpage, marking the public debut of the Web as a service on the Internet.

In a related footnote of tech history, NeXT was the company founded by Steve Jobs after he resigned from Apple in 1985. He would return to his beloved Apple 12 years later when the company purchased NeXT under an agreement that made him chairman and CEO.

Today, Berners-Lee is director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the organization he founded in 1994 to “lead the Web to its full potential.” Visit w3.org and Twitterto see his current initiatives.

For more background, check out the biographies here and at the Internet Hall of Fame.

Do you remember the first time you sent an email? Or went into a chat room. Or used Netscape Navigator to search for information? Share your memory in Comments.

triforce7's picture

The first time I used the internet was in early 1996 to go download the shareware version of Doom over a 14.4kbps connection. Our school used AOL so I remember the 'You've got mail!' jingle. I could have made a collection out of all of the AOL and CompuServe disks and CDs I got in the mail.

gunhed's picture

I remember heading down to the computer lab at University to use the internet pre NSCA Mosaic browser. I used ftp to transfer Amiga demoscene files and irc chat to talk to other uses. Back then there were about 750 to 1000 users at any one time on about 100 irc chat rooms. Required knowledge of CP/M commands kept the "lamers" away. Then Mosaic came out and we knew there goes the neighbourhood. Now even arts students could use the internet !

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