To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the open World Wide Web, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) will retrieve the world’s first website and bring it back to life.
CERN said it had begun recreating the website that launched the World Wide Web, as well as the hardware that made the groundbreaking technology possible through a project called The World Wide Web W3, a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give public access to a wide variety of documents.
CERN takes the credit for inventing the internet thanks to the efforts of British physicist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. The first trials took place in December 1990 at the organisation’s laboratory, and the technology became public four years later.
On 30 April 1993, CERN published the first statement on the web allowing it to be publically accessible free of charge.
The world’s first website was about the technology itself, according to CERN, allowing early browsers to learn about the new system and create their own web pages.
The original computers used by Berners-Lee to host the first website are still at CERN, but the website is no longer online.
“For many years, this URL has been dormant and inactive,” said CERN Web Manager Dan Noyes to AFP. “It simply redirected to the web host hhttp://info.cern.ch. We just put the files back online, using the archive that is hosted on the W3C site. This is a 1992 copy of the first website.”
He added that CERN would continue to look for older websites in order to help them go live again.
“We’re going to put these things back in place, so that a web developer or someone who’s interested 100 years from now can read the first documentation that came from the World Wide Web team,” he said.