Happy 25th Anniversary World Wide Web!

By Christine Hollinden

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. After a quarter century, there’s still a lot of confusion between the World Wide Web and the Internet. In fact, most people use the terms interchangeably. While certainly intertwined, they are separate technologies that are not synonymous. Do you know the difference? Here’s a brief explanation.

In short, the Internet is a network of networks. It is the infrastructure that connects networks of computers around the world and includes both the hardware and software. Originating in the early 1960’s, it was developed to allow government entities, universities, and others research institutions to communicate and share data by linking their computers. I remember in the mid-1980s connecting a computer at Texas A&M University with a researcher’s computer at the Southern Technology Applications Center in Florida so we could watch (passively) as they did database searches for us.

World Wide Web
In 1989, the World Wide Web (Web) brought the Internet to the masses. The Web is a way of accessing information via the Internet. It was developed as an information management system that would allow individuals to access and collect data.

The Web utilizes browsers to access web pages that contain graphics, sounds, text, documents and videos. Web is just one of many ways that information is disseminated over the Internet. When you send an email, instant message, or transfer a file using FTP (file transfer protocol), you are using the Internet, but not necessarily the Web.

Think of it like this. The Internet is like the system of roads and highways in a city. Along those roads and highways are located places of information or content (stores, libraries, universities, etc.). The places of information – the stores –are like the Web.

So, Happy 25th Birthday to you, World Wide Web. You’ve definitely redefined our world, particularly our marketing world. Where would we be without all the information at our fingertips, virtual stores, social media, and analytics? Thanks to the Web (& the Internet), we can measure marketing ROI like never before.

P.S. If you’d like to take a trip back in time, the first website is still up in nearly its original format (