World Wide Web

CERN, Espl. des Particules 1, 1211 Meyrin, Switzerland


Working system implemented in 1990, became public in 1993


Tim Berners-Lee


The Web was invented by English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN. He was motivated by the problem of storing, updating, and finding documents and data files in that large and constantly changing organization, as well as distributing them to collaborators outside CERN.

Berners-Lee submitted a proposal to CERN in May 1989, without giving the system a name. He got a working system implemented by the end of 1990, including a browser called WorldWideWeb (which became the name of the project and of the network) and an HTTP server running at CERN. As part of that development he defined the first version of the HTTP protocol, the basic URL syntax, and implicitly made HTML the primary document format.

The technology was released outside CERN to other research institutions starting in January 1991, and then to the whole Internet on 23 August 1991. The Web was a success at CERN, and began to spread to other scientific and academic institutions. Within the next two years, there were 50 websites created. CERN made the Web protocol and code available royalty free in 1993, enabling its widespread use.

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