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Websites: Where They All Started

Let's face it. In today's modern society, everyone seems to be browsing the web. Websites have the potential to become successful selling platforms for businesses. Online shopping has become the latest trend these days. Is your business on the right track? 

Tim Berners-Lee

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Photo: Henry Thomas


Thanks to British computer scientist Sir Tim Berbers-Lee, we have the freedom to browse the World Wide Web. It all started back in 1989. During this time he worked as an independent contractor CERN located in Switzerland.  

By the year 1990, Tim had created HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the URL and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), along with the very first web page editor (browser). Fun Fact: Did you know that the first browser was called 'WorldWideWeb'? Later on, it was renamed 'Nexus'. 

This technology helped him in creating the first website. At first, it could only be accessed inside CERN. By 1991, it became available to those outside of the organization, but for the website to be available, it had to be hosted on a server. Can you guess which server it was? If your guess was on Sir Tim Berbers-Lee's very own NeXT computer, then you answered correctly.  

The first webpage ever created contained information about the World Wide Web project and how users could setup a web server for the sole purpose of creating their own websites and web pages. This page was static. It didn't allow users to interact with the content, they were only able to browse the page.   

Even though it was only a series of text documents, it was a representation of the beginning of 'the fastest growing medium of all time'. Wondering about how it would've been like to browse the Internet in 1991? If so, Click Here! 

World's First Website

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo Source: CERN

After this, more and more web pages started to arise, but were still static like the first one. When requesting a web page, users were only able to view it in the browser. 

Dynamic Websites

The number of webpages increased as well as the necessity for the interaction of users. Because of this, dynamic websites were created. Here, users were able to get responses from web pages following the actions of a mouse or keyboard. An example of this would be filling out and submitting a form. 

Take a look at some of the first dynamic websites from the 90's. Pictured below are Google, Yahoo, and Amazon's web pages from when they first launched. 

Web Design History

Reminiscing back to those days might bring back memories of web pages looking more or less the same. The main reason for this was because web design back in those days meant having to write codes to create tables that would provide structure for the information.  

Thankfully, the development of JavaScript solved this issue. The programming language allowed developers to add content that encouraged interaction to their webpage in a much simpler way. This was a historical mark in web design history, because for the very first time, the elements that were once static and dynamic, were no longer separated. During this time, dynamic content started to become more popular. The rise of using JavaScript in web design started in the early to mid-2000s. 

Flash Websites

Flash; a technology, was first introduced to the Internet sometime around 1996. This allowed easy animations of images to be inserted onto web pages, which resulted in increased interaction. The visual content was another plus. Youtube used Flash Player to display video content on their very first version. Back then, they were a really huge thing.


                                                                                                                                                                                          Photo source: Youtube

As time went on, Flash became the primary way to display video content. This was such a huge milestone during this time, but if you think about how long it took for a page to load, you probably would get annoyed. The reason for this problem was because Flash had been different software and those using it had to install it separately in order to view content. Mobile devices were a no go for Flash. Presently though, Flash is still used for some websites.   

The launch of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) happened sometime around this time. These sheets were way more successful when it came to structuring design. Separating content (which remained in HTML) from the presentation is what Cascading Style Sheets did. Even though it wasn't easy at first because of the fact that not all browsers supported it. As time went on, the previous problems were resolved and the third version of CSS is available today. 

Web Content Editors 

After the creation of flash websites, Web Content Editors, such as TinyMCE were created. HTML formatting tools made text customization possible - turning text to bold, underlined or italic, to a variety of alignments, or even adding media and etc. without having to write HTML codes. Web content editors were a necessary part of customizing content for every blogging and Content Management Systems (CMS), like WordPress or Drupal. 

Content Editor

Mobile Websites

In the late 2000s, web design history took a significant turn towards interactive content, a thing called 'Web 2.0'. At this time, people began to witness the rise of mobility in society, this led to creation of mobile websites. This was a result of the need for responsive web design. Today, all web pages must be optimized so that they can be displayed mobility. 

mobile phone

Faster Content

As more and more people gained access to the Internet, everyones wanted their own website, especially those in business. Not everyone retained the ability of having the advanced coding skills to do so. Now there's a new generation of CMS, it's simple and intuitive, allows users to pick from thousands of different website templates. This made it easy for the less tech-savvy business owners to create their website in a few simple steps.    

Coding skills were still required when it came to customizing the design of web pages. This was a necessity if a business didn't want to be caught having the same exact design as those they were in competition with. 

WordPress, which has many plugins, like Visual Composer or Divi Builder, allows you to add a drag & drop page builder to the theme of WordPress. Because of this, zero coding is required to visually customize page content and create compound page layouts in a hurry. This also helped site owners customize templates without the need to use coding. 


                                                                                                                                                                                              Photo Source: WPExplorer

There are thousands of websites and builders today that are made to create and get websites launched in no time. Although, we still write code more than ever before. Page builder plugins in WordPress help website owners customize their own websites and templates without the need to code unlike some other platforms out there. 

Website builders like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and etc. do not provide you with the complex and business growth requirements. Office 365, SAP, Oracle WebCenter, SharePoint, Episerver, Sitecore and other on-premise and enterprise cloud platforms are some products that businesses use. These platforms are used now more than ever in businesses today to get their content published, and costs keep on rising. Easy to use page builders are not included with these platforms. 

Customizing both content and design elements are some current needs. This doesn't just go for WordPress, but many other platforms as well. Businesses today are more agile and digital-oriented, this makes it crucial to get websites and modern content created at a much faster speed, and on a variety of other platforms. Let's just say, what they need for every platform is a page builder. 


Looking back, you can see that the road from the very first website to making it possible to create your own web page in no time at all was influenced by the necessity for agility. Every one of the developments in this area were created to improve the website's user experience, and it will keep on doing so. How excited does this make you about the future? 

Malinda Hostetler 

Content Creator

Malinda is a Content Creator @ Troyer Websites, a full service Web Design & Marketing Firm in Orrville, Ohio.

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Websites: Where They All Started

Websites: Where They All Started

Jonas Troyer

Jonas Troyer is the founder and owner of Troyer Websites, a full web-design and SEO company based near Orrville, OH. When he's not working on a website, you'll probably find him in a treestand hunting, in a boat fishing, or wishing he was. Reach out to him if you need help with your website.

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