Internet's Very First Website Brought Back to Life

Dennis Faas's picture

Twenty years ago this week the World Wide Web's technology became publicly available. To mark the event, the first-ever website has been recreated and republished.

The web began at CERN, a research facility for particle physics in Switzerland. In recent years it has become well known for housing the Large Hadron Collider instrument used to hunt down the Higgs Boson, a previously undetected particle that could help explain how the universe works.

Back in 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, one of the people working at CERN, came up with the idea of the web as a way to make it easier for researchers to share information. The Internet already existed at this point, but it wasn't always easy or convenient to access all the computers connected to it.

Berners-Lee initially wrote a proposal for linking together documents within CERN using hypertext: documents where some words or phrases contained a link that loaded a different document. His supervisor famously gave him the go-ahead to develop the project by writing "vague, but exciting" on the proposal.

Web Goes Public, Free In 1993

By 1993 Berners-Lee and his colleagues had not only developed the web concept to work across the entire Internet, but had persuaded CERN management to make the technology publicly available without any constraints or charges.

That led to the April 30th, 1993 publication of the first-ever web page, a document explaining what the web was and how it works. It didn't contain any graphics, multimedia, or text effects, other than a few links.

The page eventually went offline. However, CERN officials have now worked backwards to remember and figure out what it contained. They've now republished the page at

First Website Worked On All PCs

According to CERN staff, it's important to show off the bare-bones page because it reminds people of the original idea of the web: that anyone with an Internet connection can access any page, regardless of how unsophisticated their computer might be. (Source:

The next step in the recreation project is to repair and restore the computers that Berners-Lee used to create the web. The computers were called NeXT, were cube shaped, and were produced by a company founded by Apple's Steve Jobs. (Source:

CERN now hopes to get one of those computers working, connect it to the web, and have it once again host the very first web page.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet