A Timeline of the Most Visited Websites Since 1995

When was the internet first created? Although the internet’s official birthday is January 1st, 1983, the makings of the web can be traced back to the 1960s when government researchers and scientists used large computers to store information. In order to share data on the computers, one had to physically travel to the site of the computer itself or receive magnetic computer tapes through the conventional postal system. Scientists knew there had to be a better way. Spurred by the Cold War and fears of a Soviet nuclear strike, President Eisenhower formed the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1958. The goal of this organization, which united some of America’s brightest scientific minds, was to advance American military technology. A key component to these efforts was to create a large-scale computer network that could not be shut down by an attack. By 1969, the first packet-switching network, called ARPANET, was born. By 1973, 30 military, research, and academic institutions joined the network, expanding it across the world. As it grew, rules were needed, so scientists Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf invented a new method called transmission-control protocol (TCP/IP). This essentially allowed computers to communicate in the same language. After the introduction of TCP/IP, ARPANET exploded into a global network of networks, becoming the internet we know today. Since then, countless websites have risen and fallen in popularity. Some of the original rulers of the web such as AOL are still online today, while others (like Infoseek and GeoCities) have faded into nothingness. It shows how rapidly Google rose to power. Google.com’s domain was first purchased in 1997 and it became the 9th most-visited website by 2001 and 4th most-visited by 2002. By 2006, it became the most-visited website in the world and has stayed strong in that position ever since.

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