The first page on the World Wide Web

The first page on the World Wide Web

August 4, 2023

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IIt’s 32 years of the Web as a public service. Today we celebrate what was the first step towards the creation of all the digital content we have today: on August 6, 1991, the first page on the World Wide Web was published.

Although the first page was published only in 1991, the development of the World Wide Web began 11 years earlier. The research done in the technological race between the USA and the USSR, during the Cold War, culminated in the development of a worldwide network that allowed them to store sets of data.

In this article we remind you how it all happened and how it evolved until today.


Table of contents:

The first page in the World Wide Web


The World Wide Web’s evolution


The first page in the World Wide Web

The year was 1980 and Tim Berners-Lee had been hired by CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research, to develop a dataset storage project. 11 years before the publication of the first page in the World Wide Web, ENQUIRE was launched, which came to be the embryonic project of the WWW.

In addition to storing data, ENQUIRE was able to recognize information, facilitating the work of scientists who were developing other projects at CERN. ENQUIRE, while innovative and highly functional, had some limitations, so Tim Berners-Lee returned to CERN four years later.


How did the World Wide Web come about?

In order to create an interconnected database that would allow sharing information throughout the world, Tim Berners-Lee began to design a project that, in 1984, did not spark the interest of many.

To improve the performance of INQUIRE, Berners-Lee developed a database that made it possible to gather information hosted on different servers and in different types of software. In addition, ENQUIRE would also have links, to facilitate access to information and encourage technological and scientific development.

For this project, the developer used the first web server – a computer called NeXTcube –, wrote the first browser (called WorldWideWeb), outlined the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (the HTTP) and developed the HTML code language. In addition, Tim Berners-Lee also wrote the first webpage. What distinguished the WWW from other systems that already existed was the fact that it was not the owner of the published content. That is, it was possible to create other software within this network.

In 1991, Berners-Lee had all the tools developed and, on August 6th, he published the summary of the project he had been developing for the previous 11 years. The first page in the World Wide Web launched was a kind of online newspaper and the site was called “alt.hypertext newsgroup”.

The World Wide Web then began to be used publicly, first by physics laboratories and university research departments, and two years later, it became publicly available.


The Evolution of the World Wide Web

After Berners-Lee published the first page on the World Wide Web to share information with other scientists, adaptations of his work appeared all over the world so that the entire network could communicate.

For example, in 1991, software developer Paul Kunz, who worked for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), was impressed with Berners-Lee’s work, and decided to take the NeXTcube server to the center where he developed his own projects. Together with Louise Addis, he adapted the server to the VM/CMS operating system to be able to display the SLAC catalogue. So, this was the first web server in North America.

It wasn’t until 1993 that the World Wide Web became public and free to be used by the community outside laboratories and universities. It became known as web 1.0 and was characterized by being static and not having interactivity. Each published page was read-only.
18 years later, web 2.0 officially appeared. Everyone already knows it well and uses it in all areas of personal and professional life. It is characterized by being highly interactive and having a reduced data transfer time.

Currently, web 3.0 is being developed and different regions of the world are already preparing to adopt it. This third wave of the web is focused on protecting personal data, maintaining the intellectual property of those who create content for the internet, whether on social networks or websites. It is intended that web 3.0 be decentralized and, to this end, encryption strategies and technologies such as blockchain are being applied.