A Timeline History of Web Hosting 1965 – 2001

Young adults under the age of 25 won’t remember it, but there as a time a good few years before the turn of the century when the Internet was still something of a novelty and not the principle resource in the digital world we have today. If you’re in that age bracket it will be probably be hard for you to imagine, but for those of us in the ‘biz’ of sorts and old enough to remember what we felt like on the Millennium NYE it’s really quite something to look back and see the way the Information Superhighway became so integral to the entire world.

Now not to toot our industry’s horn too much, but it’s web hosting that’s served as the conduit between domains and getting onto that Information Superhighway. And if you’re in business online then perhaps it’s more opening yourself up to it. Either way, you can’t deny that reliable web hosting has been pivotal for a whole lot of us being able to do with our own website or overall online presence, no matter what aim it serves. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like any Canadian web hosting provider in that a look back on the history of web hosting isn’t going to be as informative for us as it is for you.

Still pretty darn interesting all around though! Seeing as the whole word is pretty much on pause we may find there’s not a whole lot new or interesting to discuss all the time, so how about we look back on all the important moments that happened along the way as web hosting played an important role in building the digital world we enjoy today. We’ll go until 2001, and then we’ll continue with this next week.

1965 – MIT Scientists lay the foundation for the Internet by having two computers reliably communicating with each other.

1973 – The dawn of the Internet – 2 European organizations are able to connect to ARPANET, the U.S. Defence Department’s Internet predecessor.

1974 – The First Internet Service Provider (ISP)


Telenet provides a version of ARPANET for the public to become the first ISP.

1979 – Founding of Network Solutions


Originally an engineering consultancy company, Network Solutions eventually became the first company to handle the Domain Name System (DNS) and make domain names available to websites.

1983 – TCP/IP


ARPANET begins using the Internet protocol suite, or TCP/IP. This is still used today to connect networks through the Internet.

1983 – DNS


The DNS (Domain Name System) makes its arrival, establishing the standard method for locating where the websites are hosted.

1984 – Cisco


Stanford University staff found future technology giant Cisco Systems, Inc. By 1987, Cisco was able to sell their own routers after negotiating royalties with Stanford University.

1985 – The first domain is registered – symbolics.com

1987 – Reached 30,000 hosts on the Internet.

1988 – 1st Hosting Companies On the Scene


1&1 Internet (now known as 1&1 IONOS) is founded in Germany. 1&1 becomes one of the first web hosting companies.

1989 – The World Wide Web is Invented


While working at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee creates his prototype of a global, interconnected “World Wide Web.”

1989 – First Commercial Dial-up Services


Commercial dial-up Internet becomes available from ISPs such as World.std.com[xii] in America and DIALix and Pegasus Networks in Australia

1990 – HTML Launch


Berners-Lee develops HTML, allowing documents to be display in web browsers via a programming language. HTML remains a primary building block for the web.

1991 – Linux


TheLinux operating system arrives, and with it comes a cheaper, near-identical alternative to Unix. This enabled Linux hosting providers to offer their services for cheaper than previous Unix hosting providers.

1992 – Startings of Colocation Web Hosting


Metropolitan Fiber Systems (MFS) breaks new ground in colocation web hosting with their MAE-East Internet exchange point. A few ISPs decide to connect their networks through MAE-East, and MFS provides colocation facilities for them.

1993 – A whopping (jk) 623 websites on the Internet now, and government organizations like the UN now have their own sites

1993 – Mosaic


Marc Andreesen and Eric Bina create and debut Mosaic web browser, and it’s a big contributor to the 90s Internet boom.

1994 – Register.com, Netscape, & EarthLink Launch


Peter Forman founds Forman Interactive and over time it grows into a major web hosting provider and domain name registrar before the company name changes to register.com. The ISP and eventual web hosting provider EarthLink is also founded this year. Netscape is founded under the name Mosaic Communications Corporation and the Netscape web browser is made available.

1995 – Free Web Hosting, AIT, Inc., and the Arrival of Internet Explorer


Free web hosting starts to become available from sites such as Geocities and Tripod, with revenue coming from banner ads. Advanced Internet Technologies, Inc. is also founded this year. The first Virtual Private Server comes from AIT and it becomes one of the largest privately owned web hosting companies in the world.

1996 – Verio Founded


Verio Inc. is founded, and it quickly takes up a spot as one of the earliest and most prominent dedicated hosting companies. They purchase many smaller ISPs and hosting companies and consolidate them under the Verio brand name.

1996 – Microsoft Releases ASP


Microsoft releases the server-side script engine ASP (Active Server Pages), which makes users capable of building compelling interactive pages.

1997 – GoDaddy Launches


Fomain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy Inc. is founded as Jomax Technologies. Birds go wild. Absolutely wild. By 2019, GoDaddy becomes the largest web hosting provider in the world.

1997 – Virtual Web Hosting


LexiConn becomes one of the original companies able to offer virtual web hosting.

1998 – Content Delivery Networks (CDN), Rackspace, and Hostway Launch


Akamai Technologies, one of the first and largest content delivery networks in the world, is founded. Rackspace also makes its appearance, and becomes one of the biggest giants in the cloud computing industry. Hostway, one of the oldest dedicated hosting providers, also begins operations in 1998.

1999 – Yahoo! purchases Geocities.

2000 – Domain Name Registrars


Ever greater numbers of domain name registrars start to pop up. Domain.com starts conducting business and before long becomes another prominent player in the domain name registry and web hosting fields. Namecheap, Inc. is also founded this year and over the next decade becomes known as one of the more well known domain registrars and web hosting companies.

2001 – Linux VPS Hosting


RoseHosting is founded, becoming the very first company to offer commercial Linux VPS hosting to the masses.

2001-2002 – New TLDs Launch, and among there are popular ones .info and .biz

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