Snapshots of the Internet in the early days

A glimpse back in time, on the Internet

A look web sites from their earliest days

Prelude.

Back in December 2013, I was sat here grumbling as my Internet speed dropped below 4Mb/s…

– then I started to remember how it was with only 512kb/s a decade or so earlier.
– or further back to the late ’90s at around 56kb/s,
– or the early to mid-’90s creeping up from a paltry 9,600kb or less, through 14,400, 28,800 and up to the then giddy heights of 33,600kb/s.
– Or before that, back in the 80s, before even the internet*.

Back then, before the Internet, among my other jobs, I was working with multiplexed Gandalf modems, updating an ORACLE database system for BNFL as I helped build a nuclear plant!

*Dial-up BBS goes back to 1978 and heralded movies like Wargames (1983), with a young Matthew Broderick.

It all rather puts things into perspective. We are so impatient these days. The snapshot images in this section take up a ‘chunky’ 6Mb.

On a Gigabit connection, you wouldn’t even notice a delay for a 6Mb page or file.

On 4-20Mb/s broadband, a few seconds isn’t so bad. Just be patient.

512Kb/s connection, ok, maybe a couple of minutes. A bit too much.

At 56kb/s, you are talking about 15 minutes to see this page.

Back in the early ’90s, if it would even load at 9,600kb/s – which it wouldn’t in all probability – you’d need to wait at least an hour and a half to see the images below. Even by the mid-90s, streamed video at the time, such as they were, were low-res, stuttering and postage-stamp-sized, literally the size of your thumbnail.

{ Reliving the Dial-Up Internet Experience in 2020 }


WWW, sites by the numbers

1991, initially just the one, the World Wide Web project.

1992, 10, including Fermilab.

1993, 130, including Bloomberg, MTV and Wired.

1994, 2,738, including BBC, IBM, and Microsoft.

1995, 23,500, including Amazon and eBay.
I expanded my business to start my first web company this year, mostly selling Internet access to students in my shop; effectively one of the early cybercafés in the world.

1996, 257,601 sites, including various games companies.

1997, 1.1m sites, including Netflix, surprisingly.

1998, 2.4m, including this one (Ackadia) and Google
Checking, I originally hosted with u-net, under Nordic Systems (which I sold), and ackadia.com is showing as registered on 28th January 1999. Site backups go back to October 1998.
Regardless, given the number of sites that have long since expired, or traded hands several times, that still makes this site one of the oldest surviving domains from back in the day. 🙂

1999, 3.1m sites, including Paypal

2000, jumps to over 17m sites.

Other, later, notables:

2001, Wikipedia
2003, WordPress and LinkIn
2004, Flickr and ‘thefacebook’
2005, YouTube and Reddit
2006, ‘Twttr’
2007, Tumbler
2010, Pinterest and Instagram

Statista - How Many Websites Are There

{ Statista: How Many Websites Are There? }


Introducing the Wayback Machine

So, using the Internet Archives Wayback Machine I’ve grabbed 52 slices out of time. One or two are of Ackadia, as I’ve been around for rather a while, the rest of relative new starters like, umm, Mashable and Huffington Post. Below is a slice of history, ranging from Mosaic in 1996, through tech giants like Apple, Intel and Nvidia, through games veterans like Interplay (who?), Bioware and Blizzard, with the rest taken from some of the most popular sites around, like Etsy, Flickr, eBay and the Wall Street Journal.

The pages are not necessarily when the sites were first created but as a reasonable approximation as they represent the earliest grabs the Wayback machine has of their history. Some, it seems have been lost, or were never taken. For instance, the archives have no snapshots of Ackadia from before Feb 2000, nor saves of themselves before 1997, despite saving Intel and others from that period.

Wayback machine

{ Internet Archives: Wayback Machine, grabbing snapshots of the ‘net since 1996 }


Internet in the early days. Snapshots front runners: 1996

Adobe, 1996

{ Adobe’s website, October 1996 }


Blizzard, 1996

{ Blizzard’s website, October 1996 }


Intel, 1996

{ Intel’s website, October 1996 }


Mosaic, 1996

{ Mosaic’s website, November 1996 }


Nvidia, 1996

{ Nvidia’s website, November, 1996 }


AOL, 1996

{ AOL, December, 1996 }


Bioware, 1996

{ Bioware, December 1996 }


ID Software, 1996

{ ID Software, December, 1996 }


IMdB, 1996

{ IMDb, December 1996 }


Interplay, 1996

{ Interplay, December 1996 }


Samsung, 1996

{ Samsung, December 1996 }


WallStreet Journal, 1996

{ WallStreet Journal, December 1996 }


WalMart, 1996

{ WalMart, December 1996 }


WoTC, 1996

{ Wizards of the Coast, December 1996 }


Internet in the early days. Snapshots of early adopters: 1997 to 1998

Apple, 1997

{ Apple, April 1997 }


BBC, 1997

{ BBC, April 1997 }


AMD 1997

{ AMD, June 1997 }


Financial Times, 1997

{ Financial Times, June 1997 }


Archive_org, 1997

{ Internet Archive, October 1997 }


Daily Mail, 1998

{ Daily Mail, May 1998 }


PHP_net, 1998

{ PHP.net, July, 1998 }


Ackadia, 1998

{ Ackadia, October 1998 }


Google, 1998

{ Google, November 1998 }


Craigslist 1998

{ Craigslist, December 1998 }


Mozilla, December 1998

{ Mozilla as at December 1998 }


Microsoft, 1998

{ Microsoft, as at December 1998 }

Internet in the early days. Snapshots of the fashionably late: 1999 to 2002

eBay, 1999

{ eBay, January, 1999 }


Compuserve, 1999

{ Compuserve, April 1999. (I had my first CIS account years before this) }


About_com, 1999

{ About.com, 1999 }


Blogger_com

{ Blogger.com, October 1999 }

Salesforce website, November 1999

{ Salesforce, November 1999 }


PayPal, 2000

{ PayPal, January 2000 }


Ackadia as at Feb 2000

{ Ackadia as at February 2000 }


w3Schools, 2000

{ W3Schools, June 2000 }


CNN 2000

{ CNN, August 2000 }

GoDaddy, 2000

{ GoDaddy, August 2000 }


Daily Telegraph, 2001

{ Daily Telegraph, May 2001 }


Stumbleupon, 2002

{ Stumbleupon, May 2002 }

Internet in the early days. Snapshots of latecomers, 2003 onwards

Skype, July 2003

{ Skyke, July 2003 }


WordPress_org, 2003

{ WordPress.org, September 2003 }


Flickr, 2004

{ Flickr, April 2004 }


YouTube, 2005

{ YouTube, April 2005 }


Daiily Motion, 2005

{ Daily Motion, May 2005 }

Huffington Post, 2005

{ Huffington Post, May 2005 }


ETSY, 2005

{ ETSY, June 2005 }

Mashable, 2005

{ Mashable, July 2005 }


Reddit, 2005

{ Reddit, July 2005 }


Wordpress_com, 2005

{ WordPress.com, August 2005 }


CopyBlogger, 2006

{ CopyBlogger, February 2006 }


Amazon, 2006

{ Amazon, as at May 2006 }


Tumblr, 2007

{ Tumblr, 2007 }


AskFM, 2010

{ AskFM, June 2010 }

Ack

Been playing with computers since the stone age, online since the '80s, and developing websites since the '90s.

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