The rise of websites: 30 years of the World Wide Web

The rise of websites: 30 years of the World Wide Web

As of 2018, we have over 1.6 billion websites on the internet

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

The World Wide Web, the cornerstone of the modern-day internet, turns 30 this year. From a fledgling CERN project in 1991, the WWW has grown to encompass nearly every facet of human life, from education to debate to news and entertainment, with over 5 billion users worldwide.

According to data by Data Reportal, humans will spend over 1.3 billion hours on the internet in 2021 alone. For reference's sake, the Earth is a little over 4.5 billion years old. This means the hours that humans are collectively spending on the internet is reaching cosmic proportions of time, a truly astounding feat.

Powering this insane industry are over 1.6 billion websites, according to the Internet Live Stats. Though the World Wide Web was invented in 1989, the first website was published by CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee on August 6, 1991, called the World Wide Web project. Two years later, CERN made the 'W3' technology available to the world without any royalties, heralding the growth of the World Wide Web into what we know today.

The next 15 years were what shaped the face of the modern-day internet, as companies like Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Facebook (known as The facebook during its early days, Twitter (then known as twttr), and YouTube came to be, as the number of websites showed both relatively sporadic and explosive growth in numbers, peaking at an over 2,000 per cent increase in websites in 1994, to a low of just 6 per cent in 2003. The single-biggest jump in sheer numbers, however, was in 2016-2017, when the world went from around 900 million websites to 1.7 billion.

As of 2018, we have over 1.6 billion websites on the internet, a small fall from 2017, though a vast majority of them are not necessarily operational and are in the form of parked domains (registered domains which are not connected to web hosting).

As of 2021, nginx is the leading web server provier, holding 36.48 per cent of the market, followd by Apache at 25.19 per cent, according to Netcraft. OpenRetsy and Cloudflare follow in their wake, though with much lower market shares of 6.23 per cent and 4.26 per cent rerspectively.

So the next time you login to your Gmail or your social media, remember that it is the sum of every innovation that has come before, and will likely be the foundation of something far bigger in the future.

 

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