The History of the Internet

  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) goes online in December, it connected four major U.S. universities. It was designed for research, education, and government organization.

  • Electronic mail is introduced by Ray Tomlinson,, a computer scientist from Cambridge. He uses the @ to distinguish between the sender's name and network name in the email address.

  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed

  • Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and running mate Walter Mondale use email to plan campaign events.Queen Elizabeth sends her first email. She's the first state leader to do so.

  • The word “Internet” is used for the first time.

  • Domain Name System (DNS) is established, with network addresses identified by extensions such as .com, .org, and .edu. Writer William Gibson coins the term “cyberspace.”

  • Quantum Computer Services, which later changes its name to America Online, debuts. It offers email, electronic bulletin boards, news, and other information.

  • A virus called the Internet Worm temporarily shuts down about 10% of the world's Internet servers.

  • The World (world.std.com) debuts as the first provider of dial-up Internet access for consumers.

  • Tim Berners-Lee of CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics) develops a new technique for distributing information on the Internet. He calls it the World Wide Web.

  • The Web is based on hypertext, which permits the user to connect from one document to another at different sites on the Internet via hyperlinks (specially programmed words, phrases, buttons, or graphics).

  • The first attempt to index the Internet is done by Peter Deutsch at McGill University in Montreal, who invented Archie, an archive of FTP sites.

  • Gopher, which provides point-and-click navigation, is created at the University of Minnesota and named after the school mascot

  • Mosaic is developed by Marc Andreeson at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). It becomes the dominant navigating system for the World Wide Web, which at this time accounts for merely 1% of all Internet traffic.

  • The White House launches its website, www.whitehouse.gov.Initial commerce sites are established and mass marketing campaigns are launched via email, introducing the term “spamming” to the Internet vocabulary.

  • Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark start Netscape Communications. They introduce the Navigator browser.

  • CompuServe, America Online, and Prodigy start providing dial-up Internet access.Sun Microsystems releases the Internet programming language called Java.The Vatican launches its own website, www.vatican.va.

  • 45 million people using the Internet, 30 million in North America (United States and Canada), 9 million in Europe, and 6 million in Asia/Pacific.

  • 43.2 million of U.S. households own a personal computer, and 14 million of them are online.

  • Internet traffic records are broken as the NASA website broadcasts images taken by Pathfinder on Mars. The broadcast generates 46 million hits in one day.The term “weblog” is coined. It’s later shortened to “blog.”

  • Google opens its first office, in California.

  • College student Shawn Fanning invents Napster, a computer application that allows users to swap music over the Internet.

  • The number of Internet users worldwide reaches 150 million by the beginning of 1999. More than 50% are from the United States.

  • “E-commerce” becomes the new buzzword as Internet shopping rapidly spreads.MySpace.com is launched.

  • deviant computer programmers begin designing and circulating viruses with greater frequency. “Love Bug” and “Stages” are two examples of self-replicating viruses that send themselves to people listed in a computer user's email address book.

  • America Online buys Time Warner for $16 billion. It’s the biggest merger of all time.

  • The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rules that Napste is violating copyright laws and orders it to stop distributing copyrighted music. The file-swapping company says it is developing a subscription-based service.

  • Wikipedia is created.

  • As of January, 58.5% of the U.S. population (164.14 million people) uses the Internet. Worldwide there are 544.2 million users.

  • Apple Computer introduces Apple iTunes Music Store, which allows people to download songs for 99 cents each.

  • Spam, unsolicited email, becomes a server-clogging menace. It accounts for about half of all emails.

  • Internet Worm, called MyDoom or Novarg, spreads through Internet servers. About 1 in 12 email messages are infected.Online spending reaches a record high—$117 billion in 2004, a 26% increase over 2003.

  • Facebook is born. Not accesible until 2006

  • YouTube.com is launched.

  • More than 92 million websites online.

  • Legal online music downloads triple to 6.7 million downloads per week.

  • The online game, World of Warcraft, hits a milestone when it surpasses 9 million subscribers worldwide in July.

  • Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion to challenge Google's dominance of search and advertising on the Internet

  • A coding error discovered in April in OpenSSL, encryption software that makes transactions between a computer and a remote secure, makes users vulnerable to having their usernames, passwords, and personal information stolen.