The History and Evolution Of The Internet


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You’re likely to spend some time on the internet while you read this article.

Given the impact that the Internet has had on our lives, how many people actually know the history? How did it happen?

This is a brief history of the Internet. This includes important dates, people, and projects.

While the history of the Internet is too long to cover, this article will concentrate on the key milestones and events which shaped the growth and evolution of the Internet between 1969 and 2009.

1969: Arpanet

Arpanet was the first network to use packet switching technology.

On October 29, 1969, computers at Stanford and UCLA connected for the first time. While “Login” was supposed to be the first message sent over the network’s network, it is believed that the link broke down on the letter “g”.

1969: Unix

Another important milestone in the 60’s was the creation of Unix. This operating system strongly influenced Linux (the most popular operating system in web servers/web hosting) and FreeBSD.

1970: Arpanet Network

Harvard, MIT, and BBN created an Arpanet network in 1970 (the company responsible for the development of the interface messaging processor computers) that was used to connect to this network.

1971: Email

Ray Tomlinson was the first to create email. To separate the user name from the computer name, he also used the “@” symbol. The domain name was later created.

1971: Project Gutenberg, eBooks

Project Gutenberg was one the most important developments of 1971. Project Gutenberg is an international effort for public documents and books to be made available electronically in a variety of ebook and electronic formats.

When Michael Hart had large amounts of computing time, it all started. He saw that computing was not the future but the storage, retrieval and searching of information previously available only in libraries.

He manually typed the “Declaration of Independence”, without using OCR at the time, and launched Project Gutenberg. 


France launched its own Arpanet-like project in 1972 called CyCLADES. It pioneered the idea that Cyclades should be responsible only for data transmission, and not the network.

Arpanet made its first transatlantic connection in 1973 with the University College London. This year, 75% of Arpanet’s network activity was attributed to

1974: The birth TCP/IP

1974 was a significant year. A proposition was published to link Arpa networks together into an “internetwork”. This network would not have central control, but would operate around a transmission protocol (which later became TCP/IP). 

1975: The email client

John Vittal, a University of Southern California programmer, created the first modern email program. He did this in response to growing interest in emailing. It also added “Reply” and “Forward” functionality.

1977: Invention of the PC modem

1977 was an important year in the history and development of the Internet. It was created by Dennis Hayes and Dale Heatherington.

1978: Bulletin Board System (BBS).

The first bulletin board system was created in 1978 by Chicago’s blizzard.

1978: Spam was born

1978 was also when Gary Thuerk sent his first commercial email to 600 California Arpanet subscribers.

1979: The earliest form of multiplayer games

MUD was created in 1979. It was the precursor of World of Warcraft.

1979: Usenet

In 1979, two graduate students created the Usenet. This was an internet-based discussion forum that allowed people from all walks of the globe to discuss the same topics using public messages classified by newsgroups. 

1980: ENQUIRE software

CERN stands for the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Enquire is a Tim Berners’ program. This hypertext program was used by scientists at particle Physics to track hypertext projects, people and software (hyperlinks span>).

1982: The First Emoticon

While many credit Kevin MacKenzie with inventing the emoticon in 1979, it was Scott Fahlman in 1982 who suggested that an emoji be used to convey a joke and not the original “-” MacKenzie had suggested. 

1983: Arpanet computers shift to TCP/IP

January 1, 1983 was the date Arpanet computers were forced to migrate to TCP/IP protocols designed by Vinton Cerf. Also in ’83, the nameserver was also created.

1984: Domain Name System (DNS).

In 1984 the domain system and the first Domain Name Servers were established.

Domain names are important because they make addresses more accessible than their numerical IP addresses counterparts. DNS servers allow Internet users to type in a simple domain name and it is automatically converted into an IP address.

1985: Virtual communities

1985 saw the creation of The, abbreviated for Whole Earth Lectronic Links. This was one of the most active and oldest virtual communities.

It was founded by Larry Brilliant and Stewart Brand in February 1985. It was unrestricted, open and “remarkably literate”, and an intellectual gathering.

Wired Magazine once called The Well “the most influential online community in history.” “

1986: Protocol Wars

1986 marked the beginning of what we now call the Protocol Wars. European countries were pushing Open Systems Interconnection protocol (OSI), while the United States was using Arpanet protocol. The latter won out.

1987: Internet growth

There were nearly 30,000 Internet hosts in 1987. 

1988: IRC – Internet Relay Chat

Internet Relay Chat was first introduced in 1988. This enabled instant messaging and real time chat.

1988: The First Major Internet-Based Malicious Attack

Robert Tappan Morris created the “Morris Worm” in 1988. It caused major interruptions in large areas of the Internet.

1989: AOL launched

Apple ended the AppleLink program in 1989. Apple ended the AppleLink program in 1989. America Online was established. This made the internet more popular for average internet users.

1989: The World Wide Web’s proposal

1989 was the proposal to the World Wide Web made by Tim Berners Lee.

It was published for the first time in MacWorld’s March issue. The article was first published in MacWorld’s March issue.

1990: First commercial dial-up ISP

1990 was the year that The World was introduced. This was the first commercial dialup Internet provider. 

1990: All World Wide Web Protocols have been completed

Based on his proposal from the previous year, Tim Berners-Lee created the code that powers the World Wide Web. He also created the standards for HTML, and HTTP.

1991: The original web page was created 

In 1991, the Internet witnessed some major innovations. Its purpose was to explain what the World Wide Web is, much like the first email explaining email.

1991: The original content-based search protocol

In the same year, Gopher search protocol was launched. This protocol examines file contents and not file names.

1991: MP3 is standard

In 1991 the HTML3 format file became a standard. The format is used to share whole albums and songs over the internet. 

1991: The original webcam

This was the first webcam. 

1993: Mosaic is the first graphical browser that was made available to the public

Mosaic was the first Internet browser that was widely downloaded. It was released in 1993.

1993: The fun starts with the government

1993 was the year of the online launch of both the domains for the White House and the United Nations. This was the beginning of the domain name.gov/.org.

1994: Netscape Navigator

In 1994, Netscape Navigator was Mosaic’s first major competitor.

1995: The internet became commercially available

1995 is commonly referred to by many as the year the internet became commercially viable.

Even though there were online businesses prior to 1995, some important developments were made. SSL encryption makes it easier to transact online (e.g. ).

Echo Bay was also the first to go public in that year.

Echo Bay was later renamed eBay. Amazon.com also was founded in 1995. It did not make a profit until 2001.

1995: Geocities is now online for the Vatican and JavaScript 

Geocities, another important development in that year, was also launched. It was officially closed on October 26, 2009.

1996: First web-based email (webmail) 1996: The first web-based (webmail!) service

HoTMaiL launched in 1996. The capitalized letters are a tribute to HTML.

1997: is the first time that “weblog” was used.

While the first blogs were around for a while, 1997 was the year that began to be used.

1998: The web’s first story will be published over traditional media

After Newsweek killed the story, Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky fraud was made online by The Drudge Report.

1998: Google!

Google was founded in 1998. It revolutionized how people search online for information.

1998: Internet file sharing takes root

Napster also was launched in 1998. This opened the door to file-sharing audio files via the internet.

1999: SETI@home Project

1999 saw the launch of one of the most fascinating projects ever, the SETI@home Project. It uses the computing power of more than 3,000,000 computers worldwide to run the screensaver.

This program analyzes radio telescope data to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

2000: The bubble bursts

2000 witnessed the dotcom collapse, which resulted in huge losses for legions of investors.

Many companies were shut down. Many companies were closed. The NASDAQ then fell 10% in one day, and reached its lowest point in October 2002.

2001: Wikipedia launched

Wikipedia was created in 2001 following the dotcom crash. Wikipedia is the first website to allow social networking and collective web content creation.

2003: VoIP goes mainstream

2003: Skype was made available to the public. It offers a user-friendly interface to Voice over IP calling.

MySpace opened its doors in 2003. 

2003: The CANSPAM Act puts an end to unsolicited emails

Another significant development in 2003 was the signing of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of2003 also known as the CAN-SPAM Act.

2004: Web 2.0

The term Web 2.0 was originally used by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 to describe rich internet applications (RIAs) that are interactive and user-driven. However, it gained popularity in 2004.

John Batelle, Tim O’Reilly, and the founders of Web 2.0 described the Web as a Platform. This is a collection of software applications that can use the internet’s connectivity. This is a departure from the desktop, which can have its downsides such as dependence on the operating system or inability to be interoperable.

2004: Social Media and Digg

Chris Sharpley was believed to be the first person to use the term “social media” back in 2005, when Web 2.0 was still a popular concept.

It was then that social media-sites, apps and websites began to appear. Many people loved the idea of being able to travel with their families and share photos and experiences even though they weren’t physically there.

Digg, a social news site, was launched in November 2004. Since then, it has been used by Reddit Mixx as well as Yahoo! Buzz.

Digg revolutionized traditional methods for creating and finding web content. Digg promoted news and links democratically, which are then reviewed by the community and voted on.

2004: College Students May Use “The” Facebook

Facebook launched in 2004, though at the time it was only open to college students and was called “The Facebook”; later on, “The” was dropped from the name, though the URL http://www.thefacebook.com still works.

2005: YouTube- streaming video for the masses

YouTube was created in 2005. It offers online video sharing and hosting for free.

2006: Twitter starts tweeting

Twitter launched in 2006, originally going to be called Twitter.com/ (inspired by Flickr). The first tweet was “Just setting up my Twitter twtr span>

2007: Major move to bring TV shows online

Hulu’s first online service was launched in 2007 by NBC, Fox and ABC. It was a joint venture between ABC, NBC, and Fox that made TV shows available online.

2007: Mobile Web and the iPhone

In 2007, the iPhone was the most important innovation. It was almost entirely responsible for the renewed interest in mobile web design, and mobile applications.

2008: “Internet Election”

2008 was the first “Internet Election”, when the U.S. Presidential Election took place. 

Hillary Clinton loved the YouTube campaign videos. Virtually every candidate had a Facebook page or Twitter account.

Ron Paul set a new fundraising record when he raised $4.3 million in just one day through online donations. He beat that record just weeks later by raising $4.4M via online donations. This trend is unlikely ever to change.

2009: ICANN policy modifications

One of the most important changes in Internet history occurred in 2009. The U.S. has relinquished control over ICANN, which is the official naming organization of the Internet. They are responsible for registering domains ).

The Future?

What’s the future direction for the Internet? We can assume that the Internet will continue to grow.

The Internet has changed from its initial development to PPC advertising. It’s now more impressive than ever.

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.