The Internet is expansive, ever-changing, always evolving, and is fast becoming a necessity in our modern lives. The Internet was the work of dozens of forward-thinking scientists, programmers, and engineers, each of whom developed new features and technologies that were combined to create the information highway that we know today. 

The Internet is vital for digital marketing but not many people are aware of the rich history behind their favourite past time. Before the technology existed to create the Internet, innovative minds such as Nikola Tesla were thinking about a future that involved a world “wireless system” for information. Find out more about the history of the Internet below. 


The Start: 1958


The 7th of February 1958 was when the American Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy signed Department of Defense Directive 5105.15. It was this simple signing of a document that launched the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)

Why is this important? Well, because it lead to the creation of the Internet as we know it today. America was, at this point, very conscious of what other countries were doing in terms of technology and were concerned about possible attacks on their long-distance communication systems. 




In 1962, the existing defence force was relying on wires and telephone lines that were highly susceptible to damage, making it an unreliable form of communication. It was in this same year that ARPA and MIT scientist J.C.R. Licklider had the revolutionary suggestion of connecting computers to maintain an active communications network in the USA. 

This network was known as ARPAnet. In 1965, packet switching allowed for better data transferrals and saw two computers at MIT using this to communicate with one another. In 1969, the military contractor Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) started the very first routing devices known as interface message processors (IMPs), paving the way for the transmission of data




After the revolutions of the previous years, progress has been made in leaps and bounds. This is when the world saw innovations such as the Stanford University Network, one of the very first local area networks which connected distant work stations.

 In 1981, the NSF expanded ARPAnet to national computer science researchers when ti funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET).  ARPAnet later adopted the transmission control protocol (TCP) in 1983 and separated out the military network. The new network was launched formally as the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) in 1985 and was used to connect university computer science departments across America. 

It was this opening of the networks that saw an acceleration in the production and creation of internetworking technology. This technology spread like wildfire across university campuses as well as to Internet Service providers across the country whose aim was to support commerce and industry. 

The NSFNET soon became a linked resource for five supercomputing centres across the USA helping to connect researchers to their regional networks. It then grew to nearly 200 smaller networks and thus became the backbone of the Internet as ARPAnet was phased out in 1990. 


WWW (World Wide Web)


1989 was an important year for developments in internet communications. Previously, in 1983, the Domain Name System (DNS) is used to establish the familiar suffixes of .edu, .gov, .com, .mil, .org, .net, and .int system for naming websites. This is far easier for people to remember than long strings of numbers such as 123.456.789.10. 

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) created the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) which gave computers the ability to access the same internet sites even while based in different locations – a truly exciting step forward. Essentially, Berners-Lee can be considered as the father of the World Wide Web. 

In 1993, the Mosaic web browser was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was an important development that came from NSFNET. It was the first platform to show images inline with text and offered many other user interface features that we have come to know and appreciate today, such as the browser URL bar and the home and back buttons used on a regular basis. 


The Internet As We Know It Now


In 1993, the number of websites on the world wide web had reached almost over 600 and saw both the White House and the United Nations going online. The number of computers connected to this network rises from just 2 000 to almost 2 million – a truly impressive jump in numbers. 

1994 saw the creation of Yahoo! by Jerry Yang and David Filo, after changing its name from Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web. One year later, Amazon went live and new Internet providers began to develop in different parts of America and across the world. 1995 also saw the development of the very first dating site, 

Viral videos are nothing new. The very first viral video was shared in 1996 and contained a 3D dancing baby animation. 1998 saw the birth of the Google search engine, completely changing how users searched for information online. Blogging saw a boom in 2003 with the innovation of WordPress and in 2004, the very first version of Facebook was invented and placed online. In the same year, Mozilla launched its Firefox browser. 

2005 saw YouTube released as well as the popular forum Reddit. In 2006, Twitter was created and launched, which saw a move towards shorter, more accessible social media content. The 2000s were the truly innovative years in terms of Internet and digital marketing, allowing users to interact directly with brands and businesses. 


After this (not too) brief history of the Internet, there is no way that you can afford to miss out on digital marketing for your business. Contact NetMechanic today to find out how we can help you improve your online presence.