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A short history of the Web | CERN

An intangible space today runs the world. Internet has become the basis of daily life. From a student to a government official, to a home maker, or a medical professional, almost everyone uses the internet. Almost every urban home today has access to internet with a high-speed internet connection. Even public spaces like railway stations, airports, or certain junctions have a public wifi network for internet access. Finding a Broadband connection in Chennai or Bangalore is very easy in these cities.

Almost all broadband connections get high speed internet. You can easily conduct a network speed test to determine the same.

How did our world become so dependent on the internet? What is the story of this intangible world we depend on today? Where did this word internet come from? We will try to address these answers today in this article. 

So, let’s get started! 

The origin of internet

One can say that the cold war phase of the 1950s actually created the need for a large-scale computer network. The need for effective communication during the cold war made scientists and engineers thinking about the possibility of such a network. 

Did someone invent internet?

To put it in simple words, no one person invented the internet. When various researchers started writing about a networking technology and packet transmission, it was decided to bring all these findings together to create a network. This gave birth to the ARPANET. 

Paul Baran first proposed communication network and called it as a distributed network. Then Lawrence Roberts took up this idea and created distributed network. Leonard Kleinrock also worked on this project with Roberts. 

Various experiments were performed by connecting computers in different regions. These were referred as nodes in the experiment. 

Finally, Bob Kahn’s and Vint Cerf’s invention of TCP/IP transformed everything and contributed in evolving ARPANET into the internet we know today! The TCP/IP take care of how data moves through a network.

The word ‘internet’ was minted by Vint Cerf. 

DNS, WWW, and Mosaic (first widely used web browser) were later developed to make internet available to the common public. 

Growth of the internet and introduction of Web Browsers

The introduction of DNS, TCP/IP, and email were exponential to the growth of the internet in 1980s. Around 30,000 people were using internet to communicate with each other. Sending messages to each other, swapping news, and files over internet was becoming normal. 

But internet required a better platform for easy usage and access. Berners-Lee raised this concern and later came up with the concept of web of information which evolved into World Wide Web. 

With Mosaic’s launch as a web browser, internet became more accessible to the common public. People even understood how to create their own HTML pages. The number of websites grew from 130 in 1993 to 1, 00,000 in 1996. 

By 1995, Netscape Navigator (most popular used browser at that time) had over 10 million internet users! 

Thanks to Berners Lee creation of World Wide Web, followed by Marc Andreessen’s invention of Mosaic and then Netscape Navigator in 1994, the world of internet was finally opened to the real world! 

The Dotcom bubble of 1998 and 2000

As the internet grew its reach globally, the world moved towards new technological inventions between 1998 and 2000. This period is known as the dotcom bubble. It was anticipated that the internet will become central to all economic growth activities. The investments manifolded and investors kept unrealistic expectations in terms of return. 

Although many venture capitalists did really well in the market, several companies founded on weak grounds suffered great losses. 

Since then, till now, the internet is seeing new technological advancements every day and there’s so much more yet to come.