Amazing Timeline Facts of the Internet and Web DesignMay22017

Categories: Design
Amazing Timeline Facts of the Internet and Web Design

The first event to plant the seed for global communication was in 1957.

Who knew?

Read our timeline of amazing facts on the evolution of what we know as the Internet, as well as interesting year landmarks in Web Design protocol.



USSR launches Sputnik into space and, with it, global communications.


Bell Labs Invents Modem
Bell Labs researchers invent the modem (modulator - demodulator), which converts digital signals to electrical (analog) signals and back, enabling communication between computers.



ASCII Is Developed
The first universal standard for computers, ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Exchange) is developed by a joint industry-government committee. ASCII permits machines from different manufacturers to exchange data.


First Wide-area Network
Lawrence Roberts (MIT) and Thomas Marill get an ARPA contract to create the first wide-area network (WAN) connection via long distant dial-up between a TX-2 computer in Massachusetts and a Q-32 computer in California. The system confirms that packet switching offers the most promising model for communication between computers.


ARPAnet Project Initiated
Directing ARPA’s computer research program, Robert Taylor initiates the ARPAnet project, the foundation for today’s Internet.


Charles Herzfeld Approves Funds for Computer Networking Experiment As ARPA director, Charles Herzfeld approves funding to develop a networking experiment that would tie together multiple universities funded by the agency. The result would be the ARPAnet, the first packet network and a predecessor to today’s Internet.


ARPAnet Design Begins

Lawrence Roberts leads ARPAnet design discussions and publishes first ARPAnet design paper: "Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication." Wesley Clark suggests the network is managed by interconnected ‘Interface Message Processors’ in front of the major computers. Called IMPs, they evolve into today’s routers.

Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) wins ARPANET contract. A visualization of Internet connections in the United States. The lines represent connections between routers in major urban areas throughout the country. A visualization of Internet connections in the United States. The lines represent connections between routers in major urban areas throughout the country.


Engelbart makes his "Mother of All Demos" presentation where he introduces hypertexting and collaborative computing for the first time.

The physical Interface Message Processor (IMP) network is constructed, linking four nodes: University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Utah.


1970 - 1979

Key Internet Protocols Implemented

Dr. David Clark implements Internet protocols for the Multics systems, the Xerox PARC ALTO and the IBM PC.


Peter Kirstein Starts European ARPAnet
Professor Peter Kirstein of University College London starts the first European ARPAnet node with transatlantic IP connectivity.


IMP Network Grows
Fifteen nodes (23 hosts) comprise the IMP network.


Ray Tomlinson Invents Email
Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents the email program to send messages across a distributed network. The "@" sign is chosen from the punctuation keys on Tomlinson's Model 33 Teletype to separate local from global emails, making "user@host" the email standard.


Jon Postel Helps Create First Internet Address Registry
While at the Information Science Institute, Jon Postel helps create the first Internet address registry, which later becomes Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). This administers IP addresses and other critical Internet functions.


Ethernet Invented at Xerox Parc
Faced with the challenge to be the first person in the world to be given the task of connecting a roomful of computers, Bob Metcalfe co-invented the Ethernet at Xerox Parc.


TCP/IP Protocol Development Begins
Development begins on what will eventually be called TCP/IP protocol by a group headed by Vint Cerf (Stanford) and Robert Kahn (DARPA). The new protocol will allow diverse computer networks to interconnect and communicate with each other.


Network Voice Protocol
Danny Cohen was the first to implement “packet video” and “packet voice” (Network Voice Protocol) when he adapted the visual flight simulator to run over the ARPANET in 1973. It was the first application of packet switching to real-time applications.


First Internet Yellow Pages
Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler begins to help lead SRI International’s Network Information Center (NIC), where her group eventually develops the first Internet “yellow-” and “white-page” servers, the first query-based network host name and address (WHOIS) server, and the Host Naming Registry for the Internet. As a part of this effort she and her group develop the top-level domain extensions of .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org, and .net.

Term “Internet” Coined for the First Time

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn publish "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection" which specifies in detail the design of a Transmission Control Program (TCP) and coins the term “Internet” for the first time.

Queen Elizabeth II hits the “send button” on her first email.

USENET is formed to host news and discussion groups.



IPV4 First used by John Postel in a test network.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided a grant to establish the Computer Science Network (CSNET) to provide networking services to university computer scientists.

Danny Cohen adapts the visual simulator to run over the ARPAnet, the first application of packet-switching networks to real-time applications.

MS-DOS Invented. The first IBM-PC invented.


First Public WAN Initiated
Teus Hagen initiates the European Unix Network (EUnet) as the EUUG dial-up service, which becomes the first public wide area network in Europe, serving four initial “backbones.”


ARPAnet Transitions to TCP/IP
The ARPAnet changes its core networking protocols from Network Control Programs to the more flexible and powerful TCP/IP protocol suite, marking the start of the modern Internet.


Domain Name System Invented
Paul Mockapetris expands the Internet beyond its academic origins by inventing the Domain Name System (DNS). John Klensin helps facilitate early procedural and definitional work for DNS administration and top-level domain definition.

William Gibson, author of "Neuromancer," is the first to use the term "cyberspace".


First U.S. Research & Education Network Developed
Dr. Stephen Wolff leads the development of NSFNET, the first U.S. open computer network supporting research and higher education.

First Domain Name Registered, the website for Symbolics Computer Corp. in Massachusetts, becomes the first registered domain.

The National Science Foundation’s NSFNET goes online to connected supercomputer centers at 56,000 bits per second - the speed of a typical dial-up computer modem. Over time the network speeds up and regional research and education networks, supported in part by NSF, are connected to the NSFNET backbone - effectively expanding the Internet throughout the United States. The NSFNET was essentially a network of networks that connected academic users along with the ARPANET.


IETF Holds First Meeting
In January 1986, in San Diego, California, 21 people attend a historic meeting now known as IETF 1. It’s the first meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force, an open, global community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers who help guide Internet architecture and standards.

The number of hosts on the Internet exceeds 20,000. Cisco ships its first router.


First Internet Exchange Point Established
Dr. Glenn Ricart sets up the first Internet Exchange point, connecting the original federal TCP/IP networks and first U.S. commercial and non-commercial Internet networks.

Daniel Karrenberg Helps Build First Pan-European ISP
Daniel Karrenberg helps build EUnet, the first pan-European Internet Service Provider. By 1989, Karrenberg helps found Reseaux IP Europeens (RIPE), the key collaborative forum for Internet coordination in Europe. He also leads the formation of the world’s first Regional Internet Registry, the RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC).

1988 - 1989

Solves Internet Congestion
Van Jacobson develops algorithms for the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that help solve the problem of congestion, which are still used in over 90% of Internet hosts today.

1989 becomes the first commercial provider of dial-up access to the Internet.

Global Internet Development Grows
Dr. Stephen Goldstein plays a key role in evaluating and funding development of Internet initiatives around the world, helping connect about 25 countries to the NSFNET.

First Internet Publishing System
Brewster Kahle invents the Internet’s first publishing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) and founds WAIS, Inc. A precursor to today’s search engines, WAIS is one of the first programs to index large amounts of data and make it searchable across large networks.

1989 – 1990
Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, develops HyperText Markup Language (HTML). This technology continues to have a large impact on how we navigate and view the Internet today.



Electronic Frontier Foundation Founded
John Perry Barlow co-founds the Electronic Frontier Foundation to provide legal aid to defend individuals and new technologies from “misdirected legal threats” related to technology.


Linux Created
Linus Torvalds creates Linux and becomes a leading supporter of Open Source software.


CERN introduces the World Wide Web to the public.

HTML 1.0 debuts as a hybrid of SGML that includes the “href” tag marrying an already well-accepted text markup language with the ability to link documents. The first basic text website went live with hyperlinked words linking to other pages.

PGP Email Encryption Created
Philip Zimmermann creates Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), an email encryption software package that's published for free. Originally designed as a human rights tool, PGP becomes one of the most widely used email encryption softwares in the world.

Bill to Fund "Information Superhighway"
Al Gore creates the High-performance Computing and Communications Act of 1991 (the Gore Bill), which allocates $600 million for high performance computing and helps create the National Research and Educational Network. The Gore Bill also creates the National Information Infrastructure, known as the Information Superhighway.

World Wide Web Opens to Public
The World Wide Web is made available to the public for the first time on the Internet.


RIPE NCC set up to register and distribute Internet number resources and support Internet infrastucture.

The IETF concludes that IPV4 address space will not scale.

The first audio and video are distributed over the Internet. The phrase “surfing the Internet” is popularized.

Neil Papworth, a 22 year old test engineer for Sema Group sent the first SMS Text Message to a mobile phone (12-3-1992) from his personal computer to the Vodafone network to the phone of Richard Jarvis.

Vint Cerf, Robert Kahn Found Internet Society
Hosts on the Internet pass the one million mark.

Table-based web design is introduced.


NCSA Releases Mosaic Browser
Marc Andreesen develops the Mosaic Web browser at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. The number of computers connected to NSFNET grows from 2,000 in 1985 to more than 2 million in 1993. The National Science Foundation leads an effort to outline a new Internet architecture that would support the burgeoning commercial use of the network.

The White House and United Nations go online.

10 million+ Internet users and 600+ Websites online.


Netscape Communications is born.
Microsoft creates a Web browser for Windows 95.

The World Wide Web Consortium (www) was formed to standardize the technologies used in building the web.

HTML 2.0 becomes the first official set of standards for HTML - the base standard by which all browsers were measured until HTML 3.2.


Compuserve, America Online and Prodigy begin to provide Internet access., Craigslist and eBay go live. The original NSFNET backbone is decommissioned as the Internet’s transformation to a commercial enterprise is largely completed.

Yahoo! Inc. is launched as a web directory.

Javascript was created to allow webpages to be more dynamic.


New Protocols Enable VOIP

Dr. Henning Schulzrinne co-develops key protocols that enable Voice over the Internet protocol (VoIP).


Brewster Kahle Founds Internet Archive; Email Surpasses Postal Mail

There is more email than postal mail in the U.S., and Brewster Kahle founds the Internet Archive, a free digital library with a mission to provide “universal access to all knowledge.” Chronicling over 85 billion pieces of deep Web geology, Kahle creates a history of the Internet’s formation.

The browser war, primarily between the two major players Microsoft and Netscape, heats up. CNET buys for $15,000.

ASK (formally known as ASK Jeeves) is founded as a Q&A focused search engine.

Flash animation was created and CSS (cascading style sheets) were introduced.

74 million+ Internet users and 65,000+ Websites online.


PC makers are allowed to remove or hide Microsoft’s Internet software on new versions of Windows 95, thanks to a settlement with the Justice Department. Netscape announces that its browser will be free.

Google Search is conceived.


Paul Vixie, an American computer scientist created and launched the first successful commercial anti-spam service MAPS (Mail Abuse Prevention System), a California non-profit company with the goal of stopping email abuse.


Blogs First Appear
The advent of web publishing tools available to non-technical users spurs the rise of blogs.

Apple Introduces the first IMAC.

PHP 3 is released and paves the way for dynamic web pages.


Mitchell Baker gets involved in the Mozilla Project and becomes a founding chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation. She helps legitimize Open Source Internet application clients.

AOL buys Netscape. Peer-to-peer file sharing becomes a reality as Napster arrives on the Internet, much to the displeasure of the music industry.

CSS introduces new functions and features, changing the face of web design and development.

HTML 4.0, published as a recommendation in late 1997 is finally approved as HTML 4.01.

RIPE NCC gives out the first IPV6 allocation on August 12, 1999. launches online.

Bluetooth introduced.

Initial release of Napster.

The term "Internet of Things" is first used.

279+ million Internet users and 2.2+ million Websites online.



Aaron Swartz Co-Creates RSS
Aaron Swartz co-creates RSS, a program that collects news from various web pages and puts them in one place for readers, with the goal of making information freely available to everyone.

The dot-com bubble bursts. Web sites such as Yahoo! and eBay are hit by a large-scale denial of service attack, highlighting the vulnerability of the Internet.

AOL merges with Time Warner.

RIPE NCC begins IPV6 testing on ITS networks.

Microsoft launches Internet Explorer5 as the first brower to fully support CSS.

HTML and XML join forces to become XHTML, picking up the rigid code structure of XML to enforce cleaner code.


Aaron Swartz Helps Build Creative Commons
Under the leadership of Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, Aaron Swartz helped build the open architecture for Creative Commons, which works to minimize the barriers to sharing and reusing research and educational materials.

Jimmy Wales launches Wikipedia.

A federal judge shuts down Napster, ruling that it must find a way to stop users from sharing copyrighted material before it can go back online.

iTunes introduced by Apple.

Wikipedia goes online.

Palm, Inc. introduced the Kyocera 6035, the first smartphone.


Native IPV6 added to RIPE NCC's DNS services.

544.2 million Internet users worldwide.


The SQL Slammer worm spread worldwide in just 10 minutes. Myspace, Skype and the Safari Web browser debut.

Web 2.0 introduces the era of user-based information. Social media sites, blogs and wikis are front and center.

LinkedIn launched.

782 million+ Internet users and 38+ million Websites online.


Facebook is launched and the era of social networking begins.

Mozilla Firefox open-source web browser is released.

Flickr is launched.

2005 is launched.


AOL changes its business model, offering most services for free and relies on advertising to generate revenue.

The Internet Governance Forum meets for the first time.

Twitter is launched.

Over 92 million Websites online.


Apple introduces the iphone and paves the way for mobile friendly websites to be designed.


Open Source software becomes more popular. The Mobile Web takes over and more people access the Internet using their cell phones rather than a desktop computer.

HTML5 is published from a four-year old draft.

The Android operating system for smartphones is released.


The Internet marks its 40th anniversary., the RIPE NCC's comprehensive website on IPV6 is launched.

RIPE NCC begins to offer IPV6 training courses to its members.


HTML5 introduces an improved language with support for the latest multimedia.

Ethan Marcotte coined the term "Responsive Web Design". Websites automatically expand and contract themselves to correctly fit various device screens.

Facebook reaches 400 million active users.

2 billion+ Internet users and 240+ million Websites online.


Google+ is launched.


IPV6 introduced as the new addressing scheme that massively increases the number of available IP addresses.

from 4.3 billion unique addresses to 340 undecillion (that's 340 trillion trillion trillion). With IPv6, there are now enough IP combinations for everyone in the world to have a billion billion IP addresses for every second of their life.


3.5 billion+ Internet users, up from 2.21 billion in 2015.

In case you were wondering . . .

What is IPV6 ?
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet.

IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion.

What is RIPE ?

RIPE Network Coordination Centre. The RIPE NCC is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) providing Internet resource allocations, registration services and coordination activities that support the operation of the Internet globally.

Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) manage, distribute, and register Internet number resources (IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and Autonomous System Numbers) within their respective regions.

What is RIR?

Within their respective regions, RIRs provide services for the administration, management, distribution and registration of Internet number resources; specifically IPv4 addresses, IPv6 addresses, and Autonomous System numbers.

Services are based, in part, upon policies that the communities of each RIR develop in a multi-stakeholder, bottom up approach that is open to all interested parties. The Policy Development Process within each RIR region defines the way these policies are developed and adopted.

The key services the RIRs provide are administration of the Internet number resources to help ensure uniqueness, responsible distribution, ensuring that resources go to those with a demonstrated need for them, and global publication of all allocations and assignments.