Skip to main content

The Web: Important Events in its History

Fact of the day: The internet is not the same thing as the web. Mind blown, right?

According to the Associated Press Stylebook, the “Internet is a decentralized, world-wide network of computers that can communicate with each other. The World Wide Web, like emails, is a subset of the Internet.”

If the web isn’t the internet, then what is it? The web, according to the Associated Press Stylebook, is a “service, or set of standards, that enables the publishing of multimedia documents on the Internet.”

Although not technically the same thing, they are intrinsically connected. As such, we will first look at the origins of the internet and move our way to the web during our brief journey into the pair’s linked history.

Let’s start at the very beginning, because it is, of course, a very good place to start:

1958: In 1957, the USSR launches Sputnik into space. In response to this, the United States creates the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This special government department spurred the development of global connectivity.

1960 - 1962:

1. Paul Baran conceives packet-switching technology, which became an integral part of the internet’s conception.
2. As a doctoral student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Leonard Kleinrock uses his doctoral thesis to publish his findings on how to use packet-switching for networking.
3. J.C.R. Licklider, also at MIT, writes a series of memos and begins discussing the idea of a “Galactic Network.” His idea of this interconnected information being freely accessed and shared is very similar to the internet of today. Licklider became the first director of the computer science division at ARPA.

1966: Robert Taylor, the acting director of ARPA’s research division launches the ARPAnet project, which according to the Internet Hall of Fame, is “the foundation for today’s Internet.”


1. In 1969, according to the Internet Hall of Fame, “The physical Interface Message Processor (IMP) network is constructed, linking four nodes: University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Standford), University of California at Santa Barbara and University of Utah.”
2. Dr. Howard Frank wins the contract to design ARPAnet’s structure.
3. Under the direction of Leonard Kleinrock, the first data packets are shared between connected computers. The computer crashes, however, when attempts to type the word “Login” failed after the letter G was typed.

1. The number of nodes in the IMP Network increases to 15, comprising of 23 hosts.
2. Ray Tomlinson, of the BBN, invents email. He even chooses the ‘@’ sign to separate the user from the host.

1973: The University of London becomes the first international entity to connect to the ARPAnet.

1974: The term “internet” is born after Vint Cerf and Robert Kahan publish “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection.”

1980s: Radia Perlman creates the Spanning Tree algorithm, which enables us to save data to the cloud today. She also designs the Intermediate System to Intermediate System IS-S, the protocol for IP routing.

1983: The Domain Name System (DNS) institutes the .host names we are now familiar with such as .com, .gov., .edu, etc.

1985: Symbolics Computer Corp., originally a manufacturer of single-user computers and software, becomes the very first registered domain name.

1987: The internet now has over 20,000 registered domain hosts.
Finally, we get to the web:

1989: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a graduate of Oxford University and a computer scientist, invents the world wide web.

1990: Berners-Lee creates and writes three technologies still used today: HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Uniform Resource Identifier (URI, more commonly known as URL) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

1991: The world wide web is open for business

1993: The White House, as well as the United Nations, are now online, along with 600 other websites.


1. Berners-Lee moves to MIT and founds the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which paves the way for open-web standards.
2. Netscape Communications, known for Netscape Navigator, launches.
3. Microsoft creates Windows 95.

1995: Burgeoning eCommerce begins. Today’s eGiants, like and eBay go live.

1998: Web publishing tools are now available, issuing an emergence of blogs.

1999: Craig Newmark founds the infamous eCommerce beast Craigslist.


1. A denial-of-service attack occurs to many large .coms, making people think twice about internet security.
2. Nii Quaynor champions Africa to use the internet.

2001: The source of all worldly information, Wikipedia, launches.


1. Feb. 4, 2004, Facebook launches but only college students are allowed to join.
2. Mozilla announces the launch of Mozilla Firefox.

2005: The go-to hub of Vine videos emerges:


1. Twitter launches.
2. Facebook opens its eDoors to everyone.

2009: Happy 40th to the internet!


1. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launch Instagram, the photo-sharing phenomenon.
2. Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp create the very addictive Pinterest.

2014: The web celebrates 25 years


1. The Federal Trade Commission adopts laws to keep the internet free and open.
2. Facebook has over 1 billion users.
3. Pinterest is published in more than 30 languages and has over 73 million users.

The internet and the web, so forever connected, will continue to grow and progress, reaching even more people and making even more history. To all who have made the internet and web possible, we thank you.


Cnet: Internet History Moments

Internet Hall of Fame Timeline

Internet History Timeline

Internet Society: History of the Internet

Computer HIstory Museum: Internet History

World Wide Web Foundation: History of the Web

Federal Communications Commission