You might not know it, but an important milestone has passed for the World Wide Wed — its turned 27! On August 6, 1991 — 27 years ago — the world’s first website was published from a lab in the Swiss Alps by Tim Berners-Lee.
Today you can still visit the world’s first website, decades after its creation! You can find it still welcoming visitors at its awkward URL “http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html,” — its earliest versions were never saved due to frequent updates after launching, but its original barebones format from 1992 has been preserved.
The website was set up to explain the World Wide Web to newcomers, reading: “The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents,” before explaining how others could create their own webpages.
It was while he was working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland in 1989 that Berners-Lee first proposed his idea for a worldwide network of computers sharing information. According to CERN’s history of the first website, it was written on a NeXT computer—made by the company Steve Jobs founded after his ouster from Apple back in 1985.
After Berners-Lee’s site went live in 1991 it was only accessed by a small group of fellow CERN researchers. It took off in 1993 — when the web browser Mosaic was released.
Berners-Lee was honoured at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics with a musical performance and an appearance in London’s Olympic Stadium. You might not have known who he was, but now that you know, you can take a moment to visit his original website and appreciate how far we’ve come since.