Team rebuilding world's first website


Team rebuilding world's first website

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The Web's first site was created by CERN in 1989. On April 30, 1993, they made it available to the world royalty-free. The design of the site is very different from Web pages today, but also showed the roots of what was to come. It can be fun to look back through Internet history, so CNN consulted the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find out what early versions of other websites looked like. Click through the gallery for a trip back in time.

Purple and lavender accents adorned the homepage in August 2000. Election season was well under way.

The landing page of October 1999 looks similar to its current version. But the site now offers many other services beyond search.

A white background with bright, blue links helped users find what they were looking for in October 1996.

"Your digital video repository" could have been at in July 2005.

The New York Times front page, as it appeared in December 2006, is compact by modern Web design standards.

Still getting CD-ROMs in the mail? Primary colors and an article on "marginal behavior" online were viewed by visitors in December 1996.

This screenshot of in December 1998 exemplifies the narrow, vertical design of websites in the 1990s to accommodate lower-resolution monitors.

For those looking to find a sense of community online, the of October 1996 presented a colorful option.

Visitors to, shown here as it looked in July 2006, connected with friends against the backdrop of a slightly different layout., shown here as it looked in April 1999, gained popularity for its catchy background tune and cute rodent graphics.

An effort is underway by the group that created the Web to rebuild its first site
CERN researchers created the World Wide Web in 1989
It was released free to the public on April 30, 1993
Researchers say they want a new generation to see what the Web was like then

(CNN) -- Twenty years ago, a team of researchers shared the Web with the world. Now they want to show a generation that grew up online what it was like in its earliest days.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the date it released, for free, the technology and software needed to run a Web server.
In honor of the anniversary, a team has been assembled to recreate a working version of the first website, a how-to guide hosted by the project's creators.
The organization issued a statement on April 30, 1993, that announced the release of that Web to the public.
British physicist Tim Berners-Lee created and named the Web (also commonly called "W3" for short in those days) in 1989 at CERN. Originally, it was designed as a way for scientists at different universities and other institutes to share information.
"Vague, but exciting," Berners-Lee's supervisor wrote on the cover of a proposal while greenlighting the project.
See a 1993 copy of the first website
By 1993, there were roughly 400 known Web servers. But the World Wide Web accounted for only about 1% of Internet traffic. The rest was remote access to computer networks, e-mail and file transfers from one computer to another.
Since then it has, obviously, become a constant presence in the lives of people around the world. Today, there are somewhere around 630 million websites.
"There is no sector of society that has not been transformed by the invention, in a physics laboratory, of the Web," said Rolf Heuer, CERN's director-general. "From research to business and education, the Web has been reshaping the way we communicate, work, innovate and live. The Web is a powerful example of the way that basic research benefits humankind."
The first website was, not surprisingly, devoted to the Web project itself, describing how to use it and set up a Web server. It was hosted on Berner-Lee's NeXt computer -- the product developed at a company founded by Steve Jobs before he returned to Apple.
That computer is still at CERN's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. But it no longer hosts that first website.
CERN's team aims to change that, restoring the earliest versions of files that were on the site as well as making it a home for stories about those formative days. They'll be combing CERN's servers for data preserved from that time.

Source: Team rebuilding world's first website

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