The first-ever website is 25 years old, crazy times

21 Dec 2015

Tim Berners-Lee, via Wikimedia Commons

The internet has been around forever, if you are 25 years of age. For everybody else, where were you in December 1990? Because Tim Berners-Lee was hard at work creating a communications revolution.

“Vague, but exciting.” So read the supervisor’s comment on the cover of Tim Berners-Lee’s original internet proposal.

Now we have more fail videos, vlogs, tower defence games and reviews of Game of Thrones then you could ever imagine. We have Imgur, Reddit, YouTube and Rate My Poo.

The endless opportunities we are now provided with, all because of this pioneering idea.

One moment in time

And it all started with ‘vague, but exciting’, words that would suit so much of the internet content of today.

That was in 1989, when CERN scientist Berners-Lee had an idea to create a distributed information system for his lab.

By Christmas the following year, as Zig and Zag rose to the coveted Christmas No 1 spot with their imaginatively named The Christmas No 1 single, the first web page was born.

Tim Berners-Lee first ever website

The world’s first website, created by Tim Berners-Lee, via CERN

And so the internet is born

With URL, http and html all jotted down, was created as a sort of visual instruction manual for what has become today’s internet.

By looking at the page, you could learn more about hypertext, technical details for creating other web pages and even an explanation on how to search the web for information.

The main image supplied is not the original page, unfortunately, with the process an ongoing, evolving mess of text and updates.

Last March was the 25th anniversary of Berners-Lee’s HTML code, with the occasion inspiring the Englishman to call for an online bill of rights.

The start of it all

“It’s not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it,” he said.

A couple of years ago, CERN started a project to restore the first website and to preserve the digital assets that are linked with the birth of the web.

The site eventually went live outside of CERN’s walls in August of 1991. By then this Zig and Zag tune was no longer cool, somehow:

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic