101 Facts That You Don’t Know About the World Wide Web

by Stuart McHenry August 29, 2009

1. In 1996, Americans spent an average of 30 minutes a month surfing the World Wide Web.


2. The average American Spends 27 hours a month online, this according to Nielsen’s Three Screen Report for the 4th quarter of 2008.


3. The Web was invented in 1989 by a British physicist named Tim Berners-Lee


4. It is just one of the many services that operate on the Internet. Other services include e-mail, newsgroups, and FTP.


5. The Internet, in turn, was created by ARPA to connect computers of various researches geared towards regaining technological over Soviet Russia after the Russian space program successfully launched the Sputnik satellite. It was on October 29, 1969, when 2 computers from UCLA and SRI International got connected thus realizing what the internet became later, the ARPANET.


6. The first proposal for a “large hypertext database with typed links” was written by Tim Berners-Lee on 1989 but generated little interest
Berners-Lee saw the Web as a network-based means of sharing information that works on any computer running on any OS.


7. The first Web site was built at CERN. CERN is the French acronym for European Council for Nuclear Research and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.


8. A NeXT computer was the world’s first Web server


9. The first Web server software was CERN httpd


10. The first browser, also invented by Berners-Lee was called the WorldWideWeb. The first successful build was released on December 25, 1990


11. Mike Sendall was Berners-Lee’s boss at CERN. He approved the purchase of the NeXT computer where Tim wrote the beginnings of the Web.


12. The first Web browser was already capable of downloading and displaying movies, sounds and any file type supported by the operating system. The concept of stylesheets was already in place when the first browser was released.


13. The first browser was also the first editor for creating web pages


14. WorldWideWeb was programmed with Objective C


15. The first browser could already open http:, news:, ftp: and browse local file: spaces


16. The World Wide Web took advantage of things already available on the internet like TCP/IP and DNS. TCP/IP took shape way back 1973 through the work of Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. DNS was created in 1983 by Paul Mockapetris and his friends. In fact, before the Web, email was already using TCP/IP and DNS.


17. Hypertext came out as an idea way back in 1945 by Vanevar Bush. The term hypertext was actually coined by Ted Nelson


18. Hypertext is implemented in the Web as links in the browser window. Links are references to text that the user wants to access. When a link is clicked, the referenced text is displayed or bought into focus. The World Wide Web is the most extensive implementation of hypertext but it is not the only one. A computer help file is actually a hypertext document.


19. What Tim Berners-Lee did when he invented the World Wide Web was to figure out a way to use hypertext and connect it with DNS and TCP/IP so that links found in other computers can be displayed in the browser.


20. The website of the world’s first web server is http://info.cern.ch/


21. The URL of the first web page was http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. Although this page is not hosted anymore at CERN, a later version of the page is posted at http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.


22. A screenshot of the world’s first browser running inside Tim Berners-Lee computer can be seen at this page: http://info.cern.ch/NeXTBrowser.html


23. In December 1991, the first institution in the US to adopt the web was the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). True to the Berners-Lee vision, it was used to display an online catalog of SLAC’s documents.


24. The first browser that made the web available to PC and Mac users was Mosaic. It was developed by the National Center for Supercomputing (NCSA) led by Marc Andreessen in February 1993. Mosaic was one of the first graphical web browsers and led to an explosion in web use.


25. Near the end of 1992, there were only 26 web servers around the world. In October 1993, the number of web servers worldwide grew to 200.


26. April 30, 1993, is an important date for the Web because, on that day, CERN announced that anyone may use WWW technology freely.


27. Marc Andreessen started Netscape and released Netscape Navigator in 1994. During the height of its popularity, Netscape Navigator accounted for almost 90% of all web users.


28. The first International Conference on the World Wide Web was held in 1994 at CERN.


29. It was also in the Conference Dinner on May 26, 1994, where the first Best of WWW awards were given. It was by pure coincidence that the jazz band that played during the awards was called “Wolfgang and the Were Wolves”


30. The best overall site for 1994 was NCSA’s web site.


31. Microsoft released Internet Explorer on 1995. This event initiated the browser wars. By bundling Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system, by 2002, Internet Explorer became the most dominant web browser with a market share of over 95 percent.


32. The latest entry to the browser business is Google Chrome in September 2008


33. As of July 2009, Microsoft Internet Explorer accounted for 67.68 percent of all browsers used. Mozilla Firefox was used by 22.47 percent of all users.


34. The browser wars refer to the battle for dominance in the late 1990s between Netscape Navigator and the eventual winner Microsoft Internet Explorer. Currently, the browser war is raging between Microsoft Explorer and emerging competitors like Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera.


35. When Netscape opened for public trading, on the first day, Jim Clark, co-owner, earned $663 million.


36. The top three dominant Web servers according to Netcraft’s July 2009 Web Server Survey of 239,611,111 sites are Apache HTTP Server (113 million sites), Microsoft IIS (56 million), and qq.com’s QZHTTP (30.3 million)


37. Apache web server was the first to achieve the 100 million installation milestone. This was achieved in 2009.


38. Open source technology dominates the web. The most common software used for web serving is called LAMP standing for the Linux operating system, Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP scripting language


39. Google has its own web server called the Google Web Server or GWS. As of July 2009, only 14.2 million sites worldwide use GWS and is the fourth widely used server.


40. Apache HTTP web server has been the most dominant server since 1996.


41. The development of standards for the World Wide Web is managed by the W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium.


42. The W3C was founded in October 1994 and is headed by Tim Berners-Lee


43. The need for standards arose when the web gained popularity, various vendors were making different versions of HTML thus making web pages incompatible with each other. The primary mission of the W3C is to ensure compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards.


44. The first White House website was launched during the Clinton-Gore administration on October 21, 1994
Even though worldwide is a valid English word, WWW is spelled World Wide Web, not Worldwide Web. For a while, there was a hyphen in the name: thus World-Wide Web. The hyphen caused a lot of confusion for people who were not so grammatical. Tim Berners-Lee decided to drop the hyphen.


45. WWW is often abbreviated to W3. Another way of abbreviating World Wide Web is to use Web.
However, the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams once said that WWW is the only abbreviation he knows that takes longer to say than what it actually stands for.


46. Contemporary media uses the words World Wide Web and Internet interchangeably. However, they are not one and the same. The internet is the hardware and software infrastructure used to connect computers while the World Wide Web is just one of the services running on the internet.


47. The “www” part of a website (www.google.com) is optional and is not required by any web policy or standard.


48. Computers who are connected to the internet all have IP addresses. By using this addressing scheme (called IPv4), each computer in the internet is capable of reaching up to 4.3 billion other computers.


49. Despite IPv4’s 4.3 billion unique addresses, it is forecasted that by 2011, the address space will be consumed. A newer scheme called IPv6 is slowly replacing IPv4 in some countries. IPv6 has the capability to address 2128 computers. To give perspective to this very big number, the world’s population of 6.5 billion people as of 2006 can be given 295 unique addresses.


50. The blue colored links on a web page are just a browser default although way back on the days when monitors only had 16 colors, blue was the darkest color that did not affect text legibility.


51. As of August 22, 2009, the most popular website according to Alexa.com and Ranking.com is Google.com. Next is Yahoo.com
Google is named after googol, which is 1 followed by 100 zeroes. According to Google’s website, their name reflects the company’s mission to organize the vast amount of information out there in the World Wide Web


52. The supposed reason for Google.com’s sparse homepage was that its owners did not know HTML well enough that even the first versions of the homepage did not contain the submit button. The only way to make Google start searching was to hit the Return or Enter key.


53. Although Google and Yahoo are today’s top search engines, they certainly were not the first. One of the earliest search engines, Gopher Search Engine, was already working since 1991.


54. Gopher was another application working on the internet and was an alternative to the World Wide Web. The main reason for its present-day obscurity is that web browsers are much more user-friendly and, unlike Gopher, are able to integrate text and graphics


55. The oldest, still working .com website belongs to symbolics.com. It was registered way back March 15, 1985.


56. Vice President Al Gore’s misinterpreted statement about taking the initiative to create the Internet was one of the main causes of his defeat during the 2000 presidential elections.


57. Al Gore was credited by Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf as the first political leader who recognized the importance of the internet.


58. The number of hits returned by Googling “internet” is 1.6 billion.


59. If you Google “sex”, the number of hits is approximately 637 million while “money” returns 913 million. It’s kind of reassuring though that “love” returns more than 1.4 billion hits while the family has more than 1.1 billion hits.


60. The business of web hosting in 2009 is estimated to be almost 51.2 billion dollars.


61. The largest market is in Asia with a value of 15.7 billion


62. By 2014, the value of web hosting is forecasted to be more than 73 billion dollars.


63. Intel’s rival chipmaker AMD estimated the number of internet users in January 2009 to be 1.4 billion.


64. Vint Cerf coined the term internaut to refer to any technically capable professional user of the internet.


65. All three letter word combinations from aaa.com to zzz.com are already registered as domain names.


66. There is a race to register generic and sellable domain names. This practice is called domain name speculation and is the intent of the owner to sell them later for a profit. Recent domain names that have been sold for a million dollars include business.com and sex.com


67. 1 million domain names are registered every month


68. Domain name speculation using the names of famous people is considered cybersquatting and could be a violation of intellectual property laws in some countries. Bruce Springsteen, Kevin Spacey, and Julia Roberts, all have at one time been victimized by cybersquatters.


69. 100 percent of the top 10000 family names are already registered as domain names.


70. In 1996, Yahoo’s front page did not include email. It was only in the 3rd quarter of 1996 when the first webmail site Hotmail was launched.


71. The webmail service that came to be known as Yahoo Mail was launched much later in October 2007.


72. According to AT&T vice president Jim Cicconi, 8 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. This was on April 2008. On May 21, 2009, YouTube receives 20 hours of video every minute.


73. YouTube’s bandwidth requirements to upload and view all those videos cost as much as 1 million dollars a day and growing. The revenues generated by YouTube cannot pay for its upkeep.


74. The bandwidth consumed by YouTube in 2007 is comparable to the entire bandwidth consumed by the whole internet in 2000


75. There is a company named Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment, a manufacturer of metal machine tubes and pipes. Its website, utube.com often got overloaded by traffic meant for YouTube. The website was later renamed utubeonline.com


76. The contents of most of today’s active websites are stored in databases which are largely invisible to search engines. Termed the Deep Web, it contains data such as book prices, airfares and other stuff that will never surface unless somebody queries for that information.


77. The Deep Web and all that hidden information are what prevents search engines from giving us a definitive answer to simple questions like “How much is the cheapest airfare from New York to London next Thursday”?


78. The size of the Deep Web has been estimated to be 400 to 550 times larger than the searchable web


79. In a recent survey conducted by security specialist Symantec of the 100 dirtiest websites, 48 percent feature adult content


80. Around 75 percent of the music that is available for download has never been purchased and it is costing money just to be on the server.


81. Of the 13 million music files available on the web, 52,000 tunes accounted for 80% of download.


82. Naked women make up 80 percent of all the pictures on the internet


83. By 2012 it has been said that there will be 17 billion devices connected to the internet. In most of Asia, mobile phones are leading the way to internet connectivity


84. The maker of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, born 1984, is said to be the youngest self-made billionaire


85. He is the 321st richest person in the US


86. Zuckerberg launched FaceBook in his dormitory room while still in Harvard


87. The online population of Facebook, 250 million users worldwide, and MySpace, which had 100 million accounts by 2007, are bigger than the populations of many nations worldwide


88. On April 2008, Facebook overtook MySpace in terms of monthly visits


89. It took the Web only 4 years to reach 50 million users. Radio took 38 years while TV made it in 13 years.


90. Amazon.com was formerly known as Cadabra.com


91. Bit torrents, depending on location, are estimated to consume 27 to 55 percent of all internet bandwidth as of February 2009


92. Blogger Kyle MacDonald who through a series of trades over the Web, managed to get a house from a paper clip.


93. After the deed to the house was signed in MacDonald’s name, his girlfriend accepted his proposal and the engagement ring was made from the original red paperclip.


94.  Mahir Cagri achieved internet fame by way of his endearing use of broken English in his website. The banner of his site reads “This is my page….. Welcome to my homepage!!!!!! I kiss you!!!!!”


95. It was estimated that 1 of 8 married couples started by meeting online


96. An image search on Google for “241543903” will show heads in freezers


97. It is said that there are 5 porn pages for every single normal page


98. Typing “the” in Google search results in 11,360,000,000 hits. In October 2004, the number of hits was 5,890,000,000


99. Google is no longer a search engine.  Today Google is one of the leading companies in the world and has expanded into, high-speed internet, phones, and computers.


100. 247 Billion emails are sent everyday.


101. The top Internet Marketing Firm is……. McKremie.

Stuart McHenry
Stuart McHenry is a US-based SEO Consultant focusing on link building, content marketing, local SEO, and reputation management. Follow Stuart on Twitter @smindsrt

Leave a Reply