Business Courses / Course / Chapter

The History of the Web

Instructor: Monica Gragg

Monica has taught college-level courses in Tourism, HR and Adult Education. She has a Master's in Education and is three years into a PhD.

This lesson takes a look at the history of the Web and why it is not the same thing of the Internet. We'll also look at some Web innovations and how we use them today, as well as a timeline infographic to help you understand how the technology changed over time.

Who Invented the Web?

In March 1989, Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee was trying to solve a problem, the solution to which eventually led to knighthood. Berners-Lee was working at CERN, a particle physical lab in Geneva, Switzerland. In the latter part of the 20th century, computers were connected on the Internet, but were not able to share information. They also operated differently. So if you wanted information from another computer, you would have to physically log in, or ask a co-worker.

Berners-Lee wanted to eliminate the hassle by using a hypertext, a text that contains links to other text, to share information between computers. A year later, his boss gave him time to work on it, using one of Steve Job's first products, the NeXT computer. Have you have heard of these three acronyms, hypertext markup language (HTML), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and uniform resource locator (URL)? Guess what? Those were the first three technologies that created the Web.

Berners-Lee and his colleagues believed that everyone could benefit from the Web. So in 1993, CERN agreed to make the Web royalty-free and available to everyone, forever. Once that was settled, Berners-Lee left CERN and founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT. W3C is still an operating community that focuses on Web development. But before we continue with its history, lets discuss the Internet.

Difference between the Internet and Web

The Internet is an information infrastructure that was introduced about 31 years before the Web. It should not be confused with the World Wide Web. J.C.R. Licklider, who some computer scientists consider the 'Father of the Internet', called it the Galactic Network concept, which was based upon the idea of a group of globally connected computers. Leonard Kleinrock and his colleague, Lawrence G. Roberts, believed that computers could talk to each other, so they tested the first telephone dial up between a computer in Massachusetts and one in California.


In the same year that millions of people watched Los Angeles cops chase football celebrity O.J. Simpson in his white bronco on live television, the Web made groundbreaking news. For example:

  • The 'Internet in the box' became the first Internet connection package made available to the public.
  • Netscape Navigator became the first commercial Web browser on the Internet. While it started out as a paid subscription service, Netscape Communications' policy changed when Microsoft launched Internet Explorer, which was available to the public for free.
  • Cookies were created to keep track of your browsing history. The term refers to a tiny piece of data sent from a website to your computer for future reference.

1995 - 2000

The year after the Web became available to the public, three important developments occurred, which we still use today. These included JavaScript, a language imbedded into Web browsers to create interactivity. JavaScript is the difference between reading a screen with just text and a multicolor screen with different font sizes, embedded audio and popups.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Resources created by teachers for teachers

Over 30,000 video lessons & teaching resources‐all in one place.
Video lessons
Quizzes & Worksheets
Classroom Integration
Lesson Plans

I would definitely recommend to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.

Jennifer B.
Jennifer B.
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account