Early Days

The invention of the World Wide Web was first conceived by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, when he became frustrated with information on computers being hard to share with other people (plus, the information was often in different computer languages). Since the Internet allowed computers to be connected, Berners-Lee’s idea was to use hypertext as a common platform; click on one thing and you instantly jump to another. In 1990, he created three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s web:

  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language. The markup (formatting) language for the web.
  • URI: Uniform Resource Identifier. Also commonly known as a URL. Is a kind of “address” that is unique and used to identify each resource on the web.
  • HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol. Allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the web.

Tim also wrote the first web page editor/browser; WorldWideWeb.app and the first web server; httpd.

Free For All

In April 1993, Tim and other advocates at CERN agreed to release the underlying code to the public on a royalty-free basis. This sparked a global wave of creativity, collaboration, and innovation never seen before. This allowed significant growth from the start of the year when there were only 50 servers around the world to over 500 servers by October that year and the number of internet users grew from 2.6 million in 1990 to 44.4 million by the end of 1994.

Tim moved from CERN to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994 and founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main standards organisation focused on developing the protocols and guidelines that ensure the continued growth of the internet.

History of the World Wide Web

A lot of people think that the World Wide Web and the Internet are the same things, and so they use the terms interchangeably. However, this is not the case. The World Wide Web is an information platform that people can access using their computers when they are connected to the Internet. Another term that people confuse with the Internet is ‘Wi-Fi’, which refers only to an internet connection being broadcast over radio waves.

A timeline of the history of the world wide web

The number of internet users has increased dramatically since Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web and from the graph below you can see the between 2000 and 2005 the number doubled during which time social media networks such as Facebook and hosting platforms like WordPress launched giving people more creativity and connectivity through websites.

number of internet users between 1990 and 2022

Digital Careers

If you’re interested in learning more about the world wide web or looking to launch a career in digital and technology we have a range of options to help kickstart your adventure: