User:Zompist/Early Web Info

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Early websites[edit]

Notes from World Wide Web Starter Kit, by Kevin Coffee and Ross Scott Rubin, 1995, ISBN 1568301766, a cheap book I picked up to help make my first website, and which suddenly looks like historical source material.

A big leap forward: the creation of NCSA Mosaic in 1993 by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina, which first integrated text and graphics.

During 1994, the Web grew from 1000 to more than 12000 servers, and to more than 2 million web pages.

The Lycos search engine received between 8000 and 18000 requests an hour. So those would be a very high-end numbers for 1995.

Here's some sites that are prominently discussed in the book:

  • EINet Galaxy, a hyperlink directory
  • Netscape home page... man, that cartoon dinosaur brings back memories
  • ANIMA Arts Network for Integrated Media Applications - never heard of it myself!
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies - they mention that NASA already had an enormous web presence— seeing space pictures available nowhere else was an enormous attraction for geeks!
  • The Internet Shopping Network (, one of the earliest shopping sites
  • Website for Batman Forever, mentioned as one of the first URLs to be widely advertised offline
  • Lycos, TradeWare Galaxy, WebCrawler, WWW Home Pages Broker— all mentioned as early search engines
  • Yahoo, from back before it acquired an exclamation mark and was maintained by two people.
  • NCSA What's New page

Some notes from the first web pages at CERN

The “W3 servers” page lists 26 servers— mostly universities.

Resources already included "VOICE magazine— The first global online hypertext magazine? Ed. Tom Boutell”, copies of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Qur'an, a version of the Jargon File, and pages (all at CERN) on “classical reviews, Poetry, Scifi reviews”.

Another 1995 book (Create Your Own Home Page) recommends publicizing your awful new home page with Submit It!. The list of sites it submitted to: Yahoo, Starting Point, WebCrawler, EiNet Galaxy, Lycos, NCSA What's New, Harvest, What's New Tool, Infoseek, Whole Internet Catalog, Open Text Web Index, World Wide Web Worm, Apollo, JumpStation, Netcenter, NIKOS,, DBSG WWW Database.

Size of the web[edit]

Matthew Gray's early web stats: Executive summary— number of websites:

  • Jun 1993— 130
  • Dec 1993— 623
  • Jun 1994— 2738
  • Dec 1994— 10,022
  • Jun 1995— 23,500
  • Jan 1996— 100,000
  • Jul 1996— 230,000
  • Jan 1997— 650,000

By Gray’s definition, would count as one website. That's reasonable, but note that what many people would consider a website wouldn’t have been counted— e.g. Mirsky's Worst of the Web was at until 1996. (It later got its own domain.)

Netcraft has been counting websites for years, and extends the above numbers to the present. Here’s a graph:

New Yorker[edit]

Complete list of sites featured in its Only Connect column for 1996 (its first year):

  • April 22 - Adaweb ( - interactive conceptual art
  • May 13 - The Netizen ( - political blog (in today’s terms) and forum
  • May 27 - The Tricycle Hub ( - on-line version of the Buddhist magazine
  • June 10 - SpinnWebe (“a window on the weird”)
  • June 24 - Enterzone ( - literary zine
  • July 15 - The Onion - “satirical weekly”
  • July 29 - Astronomy Picture of the Day - from NASA
  • Aug 12 - The Tulip Book of P. Cos ( - a catalog from the tulip boom from 1637
  • Aug 26 - Letter to Laredo ( - home page of C&W start Joe Ely
  • Sep 16 - Guyana ( - four-way travel journal
  • Sep 30 - - a commercial site with “panache”
  • Oct 14 - Cyber-Seuss ( - a “rich” site on the good doctor
  • Oct 21 - Political sites: Skeleton Closet, NewtWatch, Left-Wing Lingo, Ideologies and History, The Right Side of the Web, Fidel ’96
  • Nov 18 - New York Scrapers - virtual tour of New York skyscrapers
  • Dec 2 - Jerry Rice World Wide Web Page - an “informative and pleasing” fan site
  • Dec 16 - Word by Word - Anne Lamott's “online diary” at Salon

Dates of some early sites[edit]

Some info here is from the Wikipedia article on the WWW; some is from the French version of the same page, which has some extra info

  • 1990 - First web server:; first website:
  • 1991 - First web server outside Europe, at SLAC
  • Aug 1991 - Web publicly announced
  • Nov 1992 - Time capsule of CERN site preserved here
    • Sites listed: CERN, NCSA, VOICE - "The first global online hypertext magazine? Ed. Tom Boutell", Fermilab, SLAC, Cornell, IN2P3 (Lyon), KVI (Groningen), CWI (Amsterdam), ZEUS (Hamburg), KEK (Tsukuba), Denmark's Technical Library, CCIT Arizona, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem, Helsinki Technical U., ICTP (Italy), FUNET (Finnland), NIKHEF (Netherlands)
  • Jul 1993 - Principia Cybernetica Project at the Free University of Brussels - "The Principia Cybernetica Project wants to integrate the whole of human knowledge in a simple, universal and easy-to-use framework." The first Wiki, under another name?
  • Nov 1993 - Time capsule A catalog of early servers Unfortunately undated, but last internal date is Nov 93. Some entries:
    • Global Network Navigator - the only web guide listed
    • Don Geddis' Personal server - the only personal server listed


First dates found in Wikipedia articles, or the sites themselves; CSOD cites give early indications. Also see the NCSA's What's New archive.

  • 1991 - Digital Picture Archive on the 17th floor - as ftp site; later as website, operational at least by Jan 1994
  • 1991 - WWW Virtual Library - first web catalog, started by Tim Berners-Lee
  • Jun 1993 - JaysHouse MOO, first web MUD
  • Sep 1993 - Doctor Fun, first webcomic
  • Dec 1993 - JumpStation, the World Wide Web Worm, and the Repository-Based Software Engineering spider existed by this time as spider-fed search engines per here. NCSA confirms Dec for JumpStation; it mentions the Worm for Mar 94
  • Jan 1994 - EINet Galaxy - web directory appeared now Galaxy
  • Feb 1994 - “Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web”, later Yahoo, later Yahoo!
  • Feb 1994 - [] AKA Bianca’s Smut Shack; WP article says it was first "web-based chat room"
  • Apr 1994 - WebCrawler released per here
  • Apr 1994 - CommerceNet, "first large-scale market trial of electronic commerce on the Internet", founded by Jay Tenenbaum
  • Jun 1994 - SpinnWebe, then called “The Spider WWW Site”; CSOD in Sep
  • Jun 1994 - Lojban WWW Server
  • Jul 1994 - Lycos released per here; by end of 1996 they were most comprehensive search engine
  • Aug 1994 - Cool Site of the Day - all of its archives are still available!
  • Aug 1994 - First individual US Senator to have a web page, Edward Kennedy. (According to NSCA Mosaic What's New)
  • Sep 1994 - The Amazing Fishcam
  • Sep 1994 - Klingon Institute (CSOD, NCSA What's New) (but an Esperanto site was online by Sep 1993)
  • Oct 1994 - HotWired, online presence for Wired; launched Wired News, HotBot,; said to have first banner ad (for AT&T)
  • Nov 1994 - Femmes Femmes Femmes Je Vous Aime ( existed by this time, per this archive
  • Dec 1994 - Useless WWW Pages existed by this time (CSOD)
  • Jan 1995 - Mirsky's Worst of the Web
  • Feb 1995 - äda 'web - art zine, later featured in New Yorker
  • Mar 1995 - Ward Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb starts (first wiki)
  • Apr 1995 - The Dilbert Zone existed by this time, per this archive
  • Jun 1995 - The Spot
  • Jun 1995 - Astronomy Picture of the Day - this is the earliest date in their archive
  • Aug 1995 - (earliest page from their archives)
  • Aug 1995 - CNN
  • Dec 1995 - Salon (by this time— CSOD)
  • Dec 1995 - AltaVista - its site says it was first searchable full-text search engine; this site gives release date
  • 1995 (sometime) -
  • Apr 1996 - Jennicam begins; perhaps the first such webcam
  • 1996 (sometime) - The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Outside our period, maybe, but damn funny.