David Goldstein - Internet Celebrates 50 Years Since First Connection Between Computers


    The internet had its 50th birthday in October, the anniversary of the first time two computers “talked” to one another. It was on 29 October 1969 at UCLA that Professor Leonard Kleinrock and his team sent the first message over a network of computers, called ARPANET, that would evolve into the internet. In an experience that computer users around the world have endured countless times ever since, the system crashed when the message “Lo” was sent. A second message, “Login”, was successful. By the end of 1969 4 computers were networked together.

    Since then, the changes have been immense. Some of the most important developments have been:

    • 1972: The first large, and also very successful, demonstration of the ARPANET occurred at the International Computer Communication Conference (ICCC). This was the first public demonstration of this new network technology to the public. Also in 1972 electronic mail, or email as it is now commonly known, was introduced when the basic email message send and read software was written, motivated by the need of the ARPANET developers for an easy coordination mechanism.
    • 1982: EUnet (European UNIX Network) is created by EUUG to provide email and USENET services. Original connections between the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and UK.
    • 1984: Domain Name System (DNS) introduced due to the growth of the host database. The host database had achieved a size where the storage of these hosts was no longer possible on one computer. The Domain Name System was developed allowing the database to be distributed on many individual servers.
    • 1985: is assigned on 15 March to become the first registered domain name. Other firsts:,,, (April); (June);, .uk (July).
    • 1986: US National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated the development of the NSFNET which today provides a major backbone communication service for the internet. Exponential growth of the internet commenced. .de (Germany) added to the list of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
    • 1987: Email link established between Germany and China using CSNET protocols, with the first message from China sent on 20 September. .ch (Switzerland) added to the list of ccTLDs.
    • 1988: A National Research Council committee, chaired by Leonard Kleinrock and with Robert Kahn as one of its members, produced a report commissioned by NSF titled ‘Towards a National Research Network’. This report was influential on then Senator Al Gore, and ushered in high-speed networks that laid the networking foundation for the future information superhighway. Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) established. .at (Austria) added to the list of ccTLDs.1989: RIPE (Reseaux IP Europeans) formed (by European service providers) to ensure the necessary administrative and technical coordination to allow the operation of the pan-European IP Network. Countries connecting to NSFNET: Australia (AU), Germany (DE), Israel (IL), Italy (IT), Japan (JP), Mexico (MX), Netherlands (NL), New Zealand (NZ), Puerto Rico (PR), United Kingdom (UK)
    • 1990: ARPANET ceases to exist and is replaced by NSFNET. The World comes online (, becoming the first commercial provider of Internet dial-up access. Tim Berners-Lee of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in consultation with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research based in Switzerland, wrote the first GUI browser, and called it ‘WorldWideWeb’ with Robert Cailliau. It ran on the NeXT computer. Tim is widely regarded as being the inventor of the World Wide Web, ‘WWW’ or ‘web’ for short. Countries connecting to NSFNET: Argentina (AR), Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), Brazil (BR), Chile (CL), Greece (GR), India (IN), Ireland (IE), Korea (KR), Spain (ES), Switzerland (CH). SWITCH becomes the first internet service provider in Switzerland and the registry for .ch.
    • 1991: World Wide Web was released to the public.
    • 1993: In December 1993 there were 623 websites worldwide.
    • 1996: 100,000 websites worldwide in January 1996. DENIC established.
    • 1997: By April 1997 there were more than one million web sites worldwide and by year-end it was estimated there were almost 100 million Internet users.
    • 1998: By year-end 1998 there were almost 3.7 million web sites and over 150 million Internet users worldwide. ICANN and established.
    • 1999: By year-end 1999 there were over 9.5 million web sites worldwide.
    • 2000: its selection of seven new TLDs: aero, biz, coop, info, museum, name, pro.
    • 2001 to 2002: .aero, biz, info, museum, name, coop, .pro and .aero.
    • 2004: .asia, .cat, .jobs, .mobi, .tel and .travel.
    • 2008: process for introducing new gTLDs commenced.
    • 2014: general availability commences for the first of the new generic top-level domains - .guru.
    • 2019: As of 30 June there were 354.7 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains of which 158.7 million were for ccTLDs and the remainder for gTLDs.