First-ever website is back online

First-ever website is back online

Summary: The first site on the then-new World Wide Web is back online, and we have researchers at CERN to thank.

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A quick history lesson for you ZDNet readers*.

In 1989, British physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented what would be called the "World Wide Web." The first trials were held in December 1990 at the laboratories of CERN, the major research laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland that's better known today as the home of the Large Hadron Collider. 

On April 30, 1993, CERN published a statement -- on the Web, no less! -- that made the technology behind the World Wide Web available on a royalty-free basis. (Specifically, this was the software required to run a web server, a basic browser and a library of code.)

And thus the modern public Web was born, at info.cern.ch.

The first website in the world was, understandably, dedicated to the World Wide Web project itself. (For Apple geeks reading this, it was hosted on Berners-Lee's NeXT computer.) The website described what the Web was and instructed how to access others' documents.

That original NeXT machine is still at CERN, but the world's first website is no longer online at its original address.

CERN seeks to change that. To mark this anniversary, the researchers announced today that they are beginning a project to restore the first website and "preserve the digital assets that are associated with the birth of the web."

Dan Noyes writes:

For many years, this URL has been dormant, inactive. It simply redirected to the web host root of http://info.cern.ch We just put the files back online, using the archive that is hosted on the W3C site. This is a 1992 copy of the first website. This may be the earliest copy that we can find, but we're going to keep looking for earlier ones. 

History and technology nerds, it doesn't get much better than this. Want to browse the original site? Click this hyperlink, as the kids used to say.

*...unless you're one of those people who have been reading ZDNet since we debuted on CompuServe in April 1991. In which case, you should be giving the history lesson.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Tech Industry

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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6 comments
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  • Nice!

    Good to see the early history of the web being preserved. These are the types of things we need to make sure we never lose.
    Tiggster79
    • This is a big deal!

      Preservation on the ephemeral Internet is a real challenge. When ZDNet turned 20 years old in 2011, we had a hell of a time trying to dig up what the old gal used to look like. We're still not 100 percent sure for many of the early years.
      andrew.nusca
  • Happy Birthday WWW

    I was on the internet before there was a WWW. Nothing changed the internet the way WWW did.
    mheartwood
  • I've been in ZDNet since 1998.

    It's been a very long time.
    Grayson Peddie
    • Ah, forgot to add...

      Back during the old days, there used to be Linux fanboys. Now, there are Windows 8 fanboys!

      What happened to Dietrich T. Schmitz?
      Grayson Peddie
      • DTS

        He is doing stuff like this:
        http://www.linuxadvocates.com/2013/04/confused-by-fuse.html

        He truly is "Your Linux Advocate" now!
        benched42