back to article Is this the first ever web page? If not, CERN would like to know

Boffinry nerve-centre CERN has attempted to recreate the very first website to mark 20 years since the official launch of the World Wide Web. It is feared the first ever web page is lost to the sands of time as it was changed daily and any backups are few and far between. However the team has pulled up a snapshot of the very …


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  1. Turtle

    First Website Ever?

    The first website ever? No Flash, right?

    Those were the days!

    1. I think so I am?
      Thumb Up

      Re: First Website Ever?

      wonder how long it took before porn made it to the web

      1. Francis Boyle

        According to wikipedia

        the first picture on the web was les but maybe I've missed something in translation

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First Website Ever?

        wonder how long it took before porn made it to the web

        Virtually no time at all ... by chance I found out about the web very early back in the days when NCSA still maintained a "what's new this month" page and one of the CS dept at Dutch Universities advertised that it had a site and either on the what's new page ... or more likely on their home page they proudly announced that they had the largest collection of porn on the web!

      3. julianh72

        Re: First Website Ever?

        That would have been the second page on the Internet!

      4. RDW

        Re: First Website Ever?

        "wonder how long it took before porn made it to the web"

        If you count usenet URLs, it was only 5 clicks away right at the beginning:

        First website->What's out there->by Type->Network News->alt->

      5. Montreal Sean

        Re: First Website Ever?

        Probably April 30th 1993.

        But it took until May 9th 1993 to finally make out the first nipple...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First Website Ever?

      "The first website ever? No Flash, right?"

      Flashing tags came along shortly after though. I think it was some mid 90s web designer unwritten rule that every bloody page had to have at least half a dozen of the damn things blinking away tring to get the user to have a seizure. Those were most definately NOT the days.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: First Website Ever?

      I STILL blame the dancing hamsters for ruining it all!

  2. Andrew Moore
    Paris Hilton


    That can't be the internet. There's no sign of any porn anywhere...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait...

      that was not the internet, but the web, so no porn. The internet was full of porn even then, you just had to download multiple files from newgroups and stitch them together - only photos though, no video.

      1. Christian Berger

        Re: Wait...

        Yes, and all women in online porn were named Gif

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Wait...

        The internet was full of porn even then, you just had to download multiple files from newgroups and stitch them together

        Plenty was available via FTP, too. And no doubt Gopher, and probably other Internet protocols. And gateways to BBSes, from which it could also be downloaded directly using XModem and its successors, Kermit, uucp, etc. Probably someone was serving porn via IND$FILE.

        only photos though, no video.

        Porn video was also available online pre-WWW (though perhaps not on Usenet binary groups, as even low-res compressed video would have been terribly large for many links of the day when uuencoded). Danged if I can remember a specific reference (it was something I was only tangentially aware of, when the occasional acquaintance felt the need to demonstrate some discovery), but I have a clear recollection of horrible, grainy, audio-free, VGA-resolution video (about as bad as VCD, but VCD apparently only appeared in 1993) of unattractive people engaged in what appeared to be stunningly unrewarding exertions, while employed at a location I left in late 1991.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Wait...

      Porn didn't appear until several minutes later. It was a slower-paced world in those days.

      No, I'm pretty sure that to be authentic, the very *first* web page would have to be a list of reasons why Picard is better than Kirk.

  3. Steve Crook

    Surely this is all recorded

    on the Wayback machine?

    1. Ageless Stranger

      Re: Surely this is all recorded

      I don't see how, the wayback machine started in 2002

      1. Steve Crook

        Re: Surely this is all recorded

        And there was me thinking that the "I'll get my coat" was going to be enough of a clue...

      2. Al Jones

        Re: Surely this is all recorded

        The wayback machine contains content from late 1996:

        They're just some websites that I figured might be in the archive, listed in the order that they first appeared - I really didn't expect to see RTE pop up there so early, but maybe I shouldn't be that surprised - there was an underground "RTE to Everywhere" project distributing audio files of RTE news broadcasts on the web as early as March 1994!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surely this is all recorded

          Yes the wayback machine has a lot to answer for. In 1996 I was creating and selling web sites and wayback has copies of them. They were dreadful. I'm posting as anon so you can't find them and laugh at me.

          The good news is that I was able to keep selling those customers upgrades for the following 17 years.

    2. Steven Roper

      Re: Surely this is all recorded

      If that were true, then the Wayback machine would itself be the first website in existence, no?

      Remember, a time machine cannot travel back before the time it was created and all that...

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Surely this is all recorded

        "Remember, a time machine cannot travel back before the time it was created and all that..."

        Damn - is this thing still under warranty?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It loaded instantly with no ads or bloatware. No animated smiley faces, pop-ups or things telling me I am an instant winner.

    Sometimes I wonder if "progress", really is.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      "It loaded instantly with no ads or bloatware. No animated smiley faces, pop-ups or things telling me I am an instant winner."

      And it works fine and fast on my mobile (feature) phone!

    2. Christian Berger

      Actually there are still sites like that. For example one of Germany's largest blogs

    3. Greg J Preece

      Sometimes I wonder if "progress", really is.

      Sometimes I get irritated when people get all wistful about the "good old days"...

      1. Graham Hawkins

        Irritation isn't what it used to be...

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          "Irritation isn't what it used to be..."


          Damn! Now THAT was funny!

      2. veti Silver badge

        I miss the good old days, when I used to get irritated by people getting wistful about the good old days.

  5. Ol'Peculier


    You can't telnet into the server now though... Also, there are newsletters dating back to January 1992, which is over 20 year ago in my book.

    Still, takes you back.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: telnet

      Oh good grief - I'll try to pitch this at a Sun reader level of comprehension,er, words:

      Telnet lives on the Internet, the World Wide Web lives on the internet, eMail lives on the Internet, loads of stuff some good some bad live on the Internet.

      This is about the birth of The World Wide Web which was most certainly only 20 years ago. The Internet which hosts it however is a bit older.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: telnet

        Patronising much?

      2. Ol'Peculier

        Re: telnet

        I'm perfectly aware of what Telnet is. Otherwise I wouldn't have a client already installed (and used every now and again) on my machine to try it, would I?

  6. FartingHippo
    Paris Hilton

    I've just been peeling onions, dammit

    "select this option with the mouse"

    "select an option with a number and press RETURN"

    Awwww, cute. *sniff*

    Look, Paris is wiping away a tear too.

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: I've just been peeling onions, dammit

      That's not a tear.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've just been peeling onions, dammit

        IT could be a tear from "The bald one-eyed man"

  7. DAN*tastik

    Missed opportunity

    So, they create the first webpage in the history of humanity and the content is not "<blink>First</blink>"?


  8. JoshOvki

    I bet it really said

    "Hello World"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I bet it really said

      Hello World Wide Web

  9. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    There is no sector of society that has not been transformed by the invention [...] of the web

    He's never been to rural [a], has he? a = whichever region pleases you.

    (P.S. First I wanted to write Ireland but figured that may leave dwellers of other rural areas feeling shrugged off. Yorkshire or Highlands spring to mind. Or, hell!, have you been to some rural, mountainous areas in Switzerland? And, for the sake of insulting although I've never been there: not to mention rural Mexico!)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I hope my reply gets to you as I write from within Ireland.

      Go speckled Jim..... fly.....

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Speckled Jim arrived here, in another rural area ;-)

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Yes, very tasty.

    2. Greg J Preece

      You think Yorkshire is rural any more?

      You're from London, aren't you?

  10. Richard Wharram

    Surely this is not the web.

    There's no "...WEIRD TRICK..." adverts. Therefore it is not the interwebz.

  11. Waspy
    Thumb Up

    I went to on a visit to CERN last summer while in Geneva...

    ...And saw firstly the cinematic show introducing the work that goes on at CERN and then the museum across the road. Strangely the 'world's first web server' appeared to be in both buildings under exactly that label - they'd sneakily put the actual NeXt cube on display in the cinema building and the rest of it (monitor/keyboard/mouse) was in a glass case in the museum!

    I'll let them off though, I wouldn't have found the place without the Web

  12. IronSteve was ASCII porn

  13. Steve Knox
    Thumb Up

    "Everything there is online about W3 is linked directly or indirectly to this document..."

    That about sums up the web, right there.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First web page was Eadon inspired?


  15. Bod


    First saw the WWW on a rare chance of getting access to a VAXstation at Uni (normally being tied to the text terminals). Mosaic being the browser I think.

    Wondered what the fuss was about. It just seemed to be like Gopher and WAIS, yet more dull academic documents but with pictures and colour.

    Its big selling point at the time was Hypertext but I recall being unimpressed as that was a buzzword being thrown about everywhere and on the trusty old Archimedes I had at the time (plain offline documents that had hypertext in them, I forget the package that did it). Networking the content didn't seem interesting, again as I was just seeing it as dull academic stuff.

    Wasn't until getting a 9600 modem and Internet access through Demon it started becoming interesting (noting the Uni blocked "The Internet" at the time! Students shouldn't be accessing the outside world after all).

    1. Irk

      Re: disappointment

      I was accessing the internet via a VAX terminal as late as 1999 - my (boarding) high school wouldn't supply anything else for personal internet usage. (For schoolwork there were Windows boxes available.)

      Was interesting navigating Geocities pages via Lynx text interface. Frames didn't work so well!

  16. sisk




    <title>Hello World<title>



    <p>Hello world</p>



    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Um....duh....

      <html> tags? Bloody luxury! I'd take a look at the source code for that page. It's not even as advanced as that.

  17. Paul Renault

    No, no, no, that's not what it looked like.q

    I distinctly remember that page when I first saw it: It had glowing amber phosphor letters on a black background. No, really!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judging by how long the linked pages took to load they're using the same hardware they did back in 93 as well.

  19. TrishaD


    There are no cats.....

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: But

      This is a _good_ thing.

    2. El Zed

      Re: But

      ah, the cats were to be found skulking around ftp servers and Gopher at this point.

  20. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Shame on you

    An article about CERN recreating conditions from the past and you DON"T use the phrase "moments after the big bang?" What kind of hackneyed, scientifically illiterate journalists are you?

  21. Pete the not so great

    I'm sure I saw a ..

    Like button on it

  22. nuked

    I thought it was

    1. M Gale

      Don't be silly.

      It's Goatse, surely?

      1. Katie Saucey

        Re:Don't be silly

        Thanks, you've just destroyed my lunch with the flashback.

  23. Dodel


    Surely the 1st webpage would have been a 404 ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 404

      Would it have been a 404 and not a 404 AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME?

      With no other pages in the known universe to load, the only page to load would be the 404, and because we didn't know of lolz catz, we'd only go looking for the 404 in the first place.

      Or something.

      1. julianh72

        Re: 404

        "Would it have been a 404 and not a 404 AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME?"

        Schrodinger's 404?

        1. hplasm

          Re: 404

          Schrodinger's LOLCat...

  24. Gerry Doyle 1

    ERROR: connection refused. refused to accept connection on port 80


    While trying to retrieve the URL:

  25. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Obviosuly a British invention

    When your tag line for the world changing invention = "don't be disappointed"

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIAA in already?

    Noticed while browsing the lists (General Overview > By Subject):


    MIDI interfacing , Song lyrics (apparently disabled for copyright reasons)

    Does this mean the Recording Industry Ass of America got their heavy-boys in on the very first web site in the world?

  27. Liam Proven Silver badge

    NeXT emulator -- help needed

    If they want to get the first ever web server back online via an emulator, they could help the Previous project:

    It's a (so-far incomplete) NeXT workstation emulator. More info than the project itself gives out on Wikipedia:

    And I want it because I have an actual boxed copy of NeXTstep but nothing to run it on. Perhaps CERN can throw a coder or two at it for a while?

  28. mhoulden

    I'm surprised the first page ever doesn't now have a link farm, a stock photo and "This domain may be for sale" on it now.

  29. My Alter Ego


    Good luck using that on Windows Vista and above. Microsoft in their wisdom removed it, apparently to reduce bloat (it's a couple of 100kB) and for security reasons (confusing a client with a server that was never enabled by default).

    It's quicker to google PuTTY, download, install and run than it is to install the telnet client.

    1. Phil W

      Re: telnet

      Or you could have just gone to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off and then ticked the Telnet client box. Same in windows 7 and 8.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: telnet

        No I can't only an administrator can do that, and I have no "business case" for a telnet client or for access to the telnet port through the firewall.

        1. Phil W

          Re: telnet

          J.G.Harston, I'd point out to you that my reply was in response to "My Alter Ego" who said he needed to download putty on Vista. So holds no relevance to your situation.

          If you can't add telnet to Windows then I doubt you can download and run executables either? Even if you could your firewall issue still stands.

          Perhaps you could try this at home if it troubles you so greatly.

  30. NukEvil
    Thumb Up

    Couldn't get it to load :(

    But, I'm just going to assume that, being the first webpage in the world, it didn't have those annoying <blink> tags, flashing smileys, generic ads (YOU *blink* ARE *blink* A *blink* WINNER *blink* !!!!!!), site hit counters, text marquees, animated gifs moving across the page, harsh text-to-background color interface, a link to a primitive java chat room that's the same as every other java chat room, iframes everywhere, a java chat room in an iframe, and loud MIDI music suddenly playing out of nowhere, for no reason whatsoever.

    Bet it had porn, tho.

  31. Jim Wilkinson

    On a NeXT machine

    Damn - had a NeXT machine back then and downloaded that first web page just for fun and interest. But then the NeXT died and I had to move on to a Mac (OS9 in those days). Somehow that code got lost in the transition. I've had plenty of time since to regret that.

    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: On a NeXT machine

      That would have been System 7, had you been downloading (viewing) something very near 'the big bang'.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Took about a minute to load

    Are they running it on 1992 hardware to be more authentic?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good read about what happened at CERN

    "How the Web was Born" by James Gillies and Robert Cailliau, both at CERN at the time and involved with Berners Lee. Covers all the little details, like how Cailliau had to hide Berners Lee's 20K salary from the physists who would otherwise complain about diverting funds from the real research. Heh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A good read about what happened at CERN how Cailliau had to hide Berners Lee's 20K salary from the physists who would otherwise complain about diverting funds from the real research.

      Go to Oxford, find some of his 'colleagues' from those days lurking in the 'Royal Oak' (if that's still their favoured watering hole) wait for the moment they bring a pint to their lips, mention his name, watch the fun (and count the expletives).

  34. julianh72
    Thumb Up

    Shortest path from the start of the internet to the end of the internet?

    And then there is the “Last Page of the Internet”:

    Which raises the interesting “thought experiment”:

    What is the shortest path from the First Page of the Internet to the Last Page of the Internet, only by clicking and following hyperlinks?

    (No cheating by getting to a search engine and typing in “last page” or some such.)

  35. A Man From Bras

    Unfortunate choice of letters

    I wonder did they ever regret choosing those Ws, given that "double-U" is alone in the alphabet as requiring 3 syllables to pronounce the name of a single letter. Thus making the acronym WWW only three letters, but a hefty 9 syllables long... which is presumably why most folks seem to come out with something like "wu-wu-wu", when telling someone else a web address.

    [interesting factoid: In Spanish W is called "ve doble" meaning "double-V". A more angular viewpoint on the letter-form]

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunate choice of letters

      In the Antipodes, it's pronounced 'dub-dub-dub'.

      I know, I know. Bloody colonials.

  36. mrjohn

    This bit it interesting, from the section on Ted Nelson

    "and the Xanadu project will aim to attribute royalties to the author of a work whenever it is retrieved across the network."

  37. daveeff


    Followed this link about 1st ever web page & the first thing I saw was an advert for Office 365, I wasn't reazlly suprised.

  38. DownUndaRob

    I preferred gopher

    Gopher worked far faster over 2400baud modems.

  39. Trustme

    Because I'll never get the chance

    to buy him a drink in person. At one stage in the late '90s I was housebound for 2 years and the WWW was a lifeline of communication for me. I couldn't leave the house, yet daily I talked with people all over the world. Thank you Tim Berners-Lee!

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