How the Web Was Created: Timeline History


The World Wide Web was officially introduced to the world on August 6, 1991, by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The following Web history highlights were originally referenced from the BBC. The resource links have been added for your convenience.

  • 1957: The United States Department of Defense formed a small agency called ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop military science and technology.
  • 1961-1965: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) started to research sharing information in small, phone-linked networks. ARPA was one of their main sponsors.
  • 1966: The first ARPAnet plan is unveiled by Larry Roberts of MIT. Packet switching technology is getting off the ground, and small university networks are beginning to be developed.
  • 1969: The Department of Defense commissions the fledgling ARPAnet for network research. The first official network nodes were UCLA, Standford Research Institute, UCSB, and the University of Utah. The first node-to-node message was sent from UCLA to SRI.
  • 1971: More nodes join the network, bringing the total to 15. These new nodes include Harvard and NASA.
  • 1973: ARPAnet goes global when the University College of London and Norway’s Royal Radar Establishment join up.
  • 1974: Network intercommunication is becoming more sophisticated; data is now transmitted more quickly and efficiently with the design of TCP (Transmission Control Program).
  • 1976: Unix is developed at AT&T; Queen Elizabeth sends out her first email message.
  • 1979: USENET, the mother of all networked discussion groups, is developed.
  • 1982: Internet technology protocols are developed, commonly known as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol). This leads to one of the first definitions of an “internet” being a connected set of networks.
  • 1984: Number of hosts is now up to 1000, with more being added every day.
  • 1985: The first registered domain is
  • 1987: Number of hosts breaks the 10,000 mark.
  • 1988: First large-scale Internet worm affects thousands of Internet hosts.
  • 1991: Tim Berners-Lee develops the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee formally introduced his project to the world on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. In the post, he said the project “aims to allow links to be made to any information anywhere“. It did this by using hypertext a method for linking between different documents. Although invented many years earlier Mr. Berners-Lee’s invention married hypertext with the internet. He also made available all of the files necessary for people to replicate his invention.
  • 1993: The World Wide Web’s annual growth is now at a staggering 341,634%. Tim Berners-Lee managed to persuade CERN to provide the web technology and program code for free so that anyone could use and improve it. The decision is credited as one of the key reasons the web grew so quickly. The HTML markup language used to create webpages is released.
  • 1994: ARPAnet celebrates the 25th anniversary. Yahoo was started by Stanford University students David Filo and Jerry Yang. It was originally called “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” a site featuring a hierarchical directory of other sites. It was renamed Yahoo soon after. The name stands for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.  PHP is developed by Rasmus Lerdorfm which in turn facilitates the creation of Wikipedia (2001), WordPress (2003), Drupal (2000), Facebook (2004) and many other empowering web platforms. President Bill Clinton puts on the web.
  • 1995-1997: RealAudio introduces Internet streaming technology, dial-up systems emerge (America Online, Compuserve), the Internet backbone continues to be strengthened with the addition of MCI, Microsoft and Netscape fight for WWW browser supremacy, and there are now more than 70,000 mailing lists. The online bookstore was originally founded as by Jeff Bezos in 1994. It was one of the first major companies to sell goods on the web. Although it started as an online bookstore it now sells music, electronics, furniture, and even food. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is released as part of Windows 95.
  • 1998: Google opens its first office in a garage in California. MySpace was originally an online storage and file sharing firm but was shut down in 2001. The social networking site in its present form launched in July 2003. It was set up 2003 by Tom Anderson, Chris DeWolfe, and a small team of programmers. MySpace now has close to 100 million users. The site lets users build a personalized home page, blogs, photos, music, and a messaging system. In 2005, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch paid 580m for the site. MySpace paved the way for other social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  • 1998-2000: The dot-com bubble had been growing since 1997. The excitement surrounding the web caused share prices to soar. In January 2000 it reached its peak when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record level never reached before or since. On March 10 the NASDAQ Composite Index also reached an all-time high. Soon after, the markets began to crash and with it went many of the start-up companies bankrolled during the dot-com boom. Nearly 20 million websites online at this point.
  • 2000-2014: The “Wardrobe Malfunction” Becomes the Most Searched For Image in Web History: January 5, 2004. During a halftime show with Justin Timberlake at the Superbowl pop star, Janet Jackson had a “wardrobe malfunction”. Following the event search engines reported a surge in searches for terms such as Janet Jackson and Super Bowl as people looked for images of the event. According to Internet statistics, after reaching 1 billion websites in September of 2014, a milestone confirmed by NetCraft in its October 2014 Web Server Survey and that Internet Live Stats was the first to announce. We can still read  Tim Berners-Lee tweet  about the event.
  • Future: There are (at the time of this post) 1,269,711,977 websites online.
  • Further reading:  World Wide Web Foundation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *