Scientists: First Known Web Page Discovered

Dennis Faas's picture

Researchers at the organization where the world wide web was first created have a good idea about what was on the first-ever web page. But now they've taken another step closer to finding the oldest surviving version of that page.

The web was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN, the physics research centre that currently houses the Large Hadron Collider.

While the Internet (a global "network of networks") existed before Berners-Lee, there was no easy way to navigate to a particular document on a particular machine.

Berners-Lee developed the idea of the web using hypertext links connecting individual documents to one another, regardless of the location where the relevant files were physically stored.

Back in May, CERN marked the 20th anniversary of publicly releasing the code that makes the web work.

Original Page Recreated For Web's Anniversary

As part of the celebrations, CERN published a recreated copy of the first ever page. Most of the page came from a floppy disk that Berners-Lee had held onto since 1992, when he took a copy of what was then the CERN website.

However, CERN believed an older copy might exist somewhere and put out an appeal to find one. (Source:

An answer to that appeal has now been answered by Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He got a copy of the page from Berners-Lee at a 1991 conference and has transferred it across different machines over the years.

1991 Computer Still Working But Inaccessible

Amazingly, Jones has the original machine: a NeXT computer still in working order.

Unfortunately, he's long forgotten the computer's password. Experts are currently trying to unlock the machine and retrieve the page code -- or at the least confirm the precise date and time that Jones first put the web page file on the computer. (Source:

Meanwhile, CERN staff are still looking for an earlier copy. It's rumored an optical disk containing the information exists somewhere in the world.

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