World Wide Web, also commonly referred to as www is a term we frequently hear about. Though this has become an integral part of our lives, many still feel it is same as the Internet. However, Internet and World Wide Web are closely linked and are two different entities. Internet refers to a global network of computers interconnected in a specific way. The World Wide Web or www is a collection of web resources and pages found over this network. To access the world wide web, a web browser is needed.
A broader definition of www provided by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is:
"The World Wide Web is the universe of network-accessible information, an embodiment of human knowledge"
HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol).
The history behind World Wide Web:
World Wide Web or Web was invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. This was invented initially for scientists to easily share data available as part of their experiments. However, this became completely functional in the early 1990s. Prior to this, HTTP and internet already existed, but no one had designed an architecture to link documents together using the Internet.
Overall, Web consists of three key components:
- HTML – Hypertext Markup Language. This is a standard markup language used to create web pages.
- URL – Uniform Resource Locator. This is the understandable form of a web address which is used to identify a resource.
- HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. This protocol is stateless and acts as the foundation of the Web.
The web was designed with the assumption that every computer understands these three key components. Apart from designing the Web, Tim also created the first-ever web browser and web server.
In 1991, the first website went live at CERN in Europe. Sir Tim Berners-Lee create this website and was hosted by CERN in Switzerland. In 1992, the first web server outside Europe was set up. This was set up at Stanford University in the USA. Overall there were only 10 web servers available worldwide until 1992.
In 1993, CERN allowed the use of web protocols and code for free, which became an open source. This allowed several people to experiment and create websites. By 1993, the number of servers increased to 50.
1994 became the crucial period for the spread of web, where telecommunication companies started to provide internet access. The number of web servers increased drastically to 623. This is the same year when World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was launched by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. To date, W3C forms a crucial part of Web development and was launched to ensure world wide web continues to develop.
Evolution of World Wide Web:
The web has seen a drastic evolution over the past two decades. The first developed websites were plain static contents and required a lot more HTML expertise. The HTML code had to be handwritten without any easy to use editors. This is also commonly referred to as "Web 1.0".
Post this more of dynamic page loading was evolved. More people started to adopt web for communication and sharing. Blogs and social networking sites gradually started to evolve. This was also referred to as "Web 2.0".
The modern web is further progressing and search engines have employed various analytics to decipher data and provide data insights. This allows a more useful and relevant content to be showcased to users.
What is ICANN?
ICANN was formed in 1998 and is responsible for maintaining the unique identifiers across the globe. A domain name forms an integral part of the web. In a web address, the part to the extreme right of the address is known as TLD (Top Level Domain). Some of these include: .com, .net, .org and many more.
ICANN ensures you get a unique IP address and a domain name mapping. Domain names are available across different Domain registrars such as NameCheap, GoDaddy to name a few. ICANN plays an administrative role for domain names allocation. When you register your own domain name, you are buying a right to use the domain name for a period(s) of 1-year, 2-years, 3-years, 5-years or 10-years. One cannot register a domain name for a lifetime, but you may continue to renew the domain name before its expiration date.